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My team amazed me recently by pitching a new cyber security angle for GoPC. It was under our nose the whole time but it took Corrado Fiore our Solutions Architect talking to Peter McCredie our new head of Marketing for the lights to come on.

After days of grueling debate we tested our hypothesis in the market and over the last 2 months every single business we’ve pitched to has bought it asked for an evaluation.  We even have a government department and one of Australia’s largest banks now evaluating it.

BankVault was born. It’s literally 10x easier to sell, it’s 10x higher margin, and spearheads everything else we do. We’ve lodged a new patent application and now investing behind success to grow this derivative product that runs on the Rainmaker platform.




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One entrepreneurs journing: pitching, raising, hustling and risking everything.

Here’s a talk I made last week about my entrepreneurial journey and some of the war stories. I personally find the war stories to be the most interesting and so I decided to share some of ours.

Morning Startup, a vibrant group of entrepreneurs who turn up at 7:30am every second Wednesday. There were 70 registrations which is a remarkably strong group.


Andreesson and other Silicon Valley VCs have chimed in warning on the growth of vacuumous business models built on hype and hope.

My own lesson from surviving the GFC in Silicon Valley was the sooner you work on the hardest issue of all, what it takes to get a customer to pull out their credit card, the better off you and your investors will be. The day investment sentiment turns is the day you need to be viable. For most SMB entrepreneurs revenue is fundamental but Startup entrepreneurs think they can out smart that fundamental. Some do but for every one that does thousands vaporize. A proportion of those could have done it better and become viable businesses.

GoPC moved away from a Freemium model straight after the GFC. I remember meeting the CEO of in 2009 when they had some 700,000 subscribers. I asked him how they were monetizing and he told me they had ideas but being funded by Sequoia Capital this wasn’t urgent. The following year they ran out of funds and were shutdown.

We actually tried a Freemium model again in 2013 with Rainmaker. Consumers were able to get a complete virtual machine free and simply pay for add-on applications and storage. We finally accepted that Rainmaker should just target SMEs, not consumers. They have much deeper pockets and real IT problems that need to be solved. I’m happy to say its working.

And this month we just starting trialing another consumer play with a new technology product called Raindrop, but it’s monetizing from day one.

On Thursday 25th Sept 2014, I’m presenting the background story of technology innovation, evolution and entrepreneurship that went into creating

Hosted by Engineers Australia, ITEE, IICA, IET and IEEE at the Engineers Australia Auditorium, 712 Murray Street, West Perth, Australia. The event is catered with food and drinks so includes small $30 cover charge.

If interested in coming along then here is the Flyer and Registration page:

IEEE 2014 Event Sponsor - Flyer

The interview with Robert Scoble in San Francisco after was recognised by Rackspace’s Australian CTO Alan Perkins.

Big thanks to Robert for the invitation to be interviewed.

Tags: , have asked me to present the background war stories behind  It’s very much a personal story of an entrepreneur’s awakening which I hope will be interesting and useful.

GoPC was recognised at Silicom Ventures Summit at Stanford University in 2009 as one of the leading Cloud Computing startups in Silicon Valley.  When the GFC hit we elected to self fund and keep control but the last 4 years have been as tough as a long dark winter. This month however I am returning to Silicon Valley to launch a truly ground breaking new technology code-named “Rainmaker”. invited us to present Rainmaker and have recommended further investation be done.  Robert Scoble, a prolific technology evangelist followed by 4,000,000 influential early-adopters, has arranged a video interview with me next month that will launch GoPC like nothing else could.

So what are the lessons learned over the last 9 years that increase our likelihood of success?  Where are the risks?  Should we raise more capital and lose control after having conquered all the hurdles? This will be an interactive presentation where I’ll be happy to share my own insights and answer questions.

Registration beforehand is needed for catering:

I apologise the event isn’t free.  eGroup charge $25 to non-members to cover costs which includes finger food and drinks.  The venue is at Wray and Associates Patent Attorneys in West Perth.

I’m personally inviting those who have in some direct way helped or inspired me along this journey.  I really look forward to sharing Tuesday evening with you.

Stoked to see do an article on our Pitch night and help build the publicity around this event.

Seats are almost sold out now. The line-up has been condensed to a top 10 and we’ll be refining this further over the next few days with some dry runs and coaching to help the entrepreneurs sharpen their pitches. It’s now getting very hard to pick between them. Definitely some billion dollar ideas amongst the line-up. Can’t wait for Wednesday night.

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I’m running another LESANZ “Innovators Pitch Night” at IBM on 31st July. This is to showcasing 7 investor-ready entrepreneurs to the investment, startup and commercialisation networks in Perth.

Please help me get the word out.  I am filtering and coaching pitches this week so still open for submissions from investor-ready startups.

With the event oversubscribed last year we will be limiting numbers and there is a cost to cover catering so please register early to ensure a place.

Venue: IBM West Perth, 31st July from 5:15pm – 8:30pm
Judging Panel: Larry Lopez, Ray Hart, Dr Marcus Tan
Moderator: Graeme Speak
Full Details Here:

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I wanted to post this as a pin-up or reminder for myself of some really high value insights of one of Silicon Valley’s most successful entrepreneurs. This was a summary of a Ryan Mac’s summary from the lecture series he did at Stanford. #ForbesGreatestHits

1. Globalization is not (all there is to) progress.

There is no innovation going from from 1 to n and copying something somebody else has done. To be great, you have to do something new and important. All great companies went from 0 to 1. They solved a problem in a unique way.

2. It is better to be right than to be contrarian.

Value tends to be hidden. The key question is: What important truth do very few people agree with you on? The business version of this is: What valuable company is nobody building? A certain degree of contrarianism is embedded in these questions. Wrestling with them can lead to important truths.

3. Secrets exist.

They are discoverable.

4. Capitalism and competition are antonyms, not synonyms.

Competition in practice it is destructive and should be avoided. Better to think about how to run away from the fighting and build a monopoly business instead.

5. People lie.

We overlook the importance of sales and distribution. Betting distribution right is crucial; most companies fail because of distribution problems, not technology problems. One must understand the theatre of sales.

6. Much of life is a power law.

Things are (not) normally distributed but follow a power-law distribution, which can be counter-intuitive and uncomfortable. Some companies succeed wildly. Most fail and go to zero. Finding the company that falls on the right tail of the distribution is absolutely crucial.

7. A bad plan is better than no plan. A good plan is even better.

Take a meaningful swing at something big. Playing it safe has serious costs and may not be as safe as it is perceived to be. You must have a plan. Without it you are resigning your fate to chance.

8. Foundations matter.

Thiel’s Law: A startup messed up at its foundation cannot be fixed. Founding mistakes will amplify and destroy companies from within. Think carefully about keeping people’s motivations and incentives aligned.

9. Founders are different.

Founders are at the extremes on both ends: they are extreme insiders and extreme outsiders, disagreeable and charismatic, infamous and famous.

10. Find a frontier and go for it.

Quoting from Ryan Mac
” There is something importantly singular about each new thing. There is a mini singularity whenever you start a company or make a key life decision. In a very real sense, the life of every person is a singularity.

The obvious question is what you should do with your singularity. The obvious answer, unfortunately, has been to follow the well-trodden path. You are constantly encouraged to play it safe and be conventional. The future, we are told, is just probabilities and statistics. You are a statistic.

But the obvious answer is wrong. That is selling yourself short. There are still many large white spaces on the map of human knowledge. You can go discover them. So do it. Get out there and fill in the blank spaces. Every single moment is a possibility to go to these new places and explore them.

There is perhaps no specific time that is necessarily right to start your company or start your life. But some times and some moments seem more auspicious than others. Now is such a moment. If we don’t take charge and usher in the future—if you don’t take charge of your life—there is the sense that no one else will.”

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This week I facilitated an event for members, the main Western Australian group representing Internet entrepreneurs.

The thrust of the evening was training on Lean Startup principals created by Eric Ries and Steve Blank. We can learn from a book or we can learn by doing. Rather than make this a lecture I decided to turn this into an experience.

The structure of the evening was split into an intial Brainstorming session in teams, generating as many new business ideas as possible. To put an edge on it the teams were to pitch their two best ideas to the larger group. It such a total success with everyone having a ball and some brilliant ideas pitched. Individuls then voted on the best pitches and then formed into teams to work on these business ideas.

The teams then used the Lean Canvas to flesh out the detailed business model for each idea, again pitching to the group at the conclusion.

There were about 30 Internet entrepreneurs taking part and the feedback was that people loved it. I am certainly a fan of the Lean Startup principals. I recall seeing a presentation in Palo Alto or Mountain View in 2009 on this very subject and wonder if it was Eric Ries. I felt at the time that it was one of the most important ideas I had learned from Silicon Valley.

Here is the advertisement to the

Entrepreneurs aspire to be SERIAL entrepreneurs.

This months eGroup is an opportunity to stretch outside your normal thinking framework and experience the power of group thinking processes which you can then apply in your own business.

We have picked a set of the best idea generators used by start-up entrepreneurs and will working together in groups to develop a series of never-seen-before online business concepts, which we’ll build into mashups and then turn these into robust business models. What is more the process will be compressed into just a 120 minute experience.

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