Recently I celebrated a year of working here at GridAKL. This year has seen plenty of pivots, including a pretty massive change in my thinking, passion and trajectory. I have learnt plenty in the last 12 months; I now know what SAAS is, am a bit obsessed with data visualisation and know that true innovation comes from the convergence of many different viewpoints. Not bad for an ex-fashion lander.
Many of the things that excite me most are simple things that I have picked up from the startup ecosystem here in Auckland.
Tip one: Master your pitch - distill who you are, and what you do
Everyone in the startup world I meet can distill exactly what they do and why they do it elegantly and succinctly. They have their pitch down, and as someone outside of the industry it is pretty impressive. As well as being a fun (?) party trick, it is also something that everyone should be able to do. I sometimes wonder how many hare-brained ideas could have been stopped if their owner had actually practiced their 2 minute pitch and realised that their idea was insane. Learn how to master the art of your own pitch, including how to craft a one line pitch over here.
Tip two: Don’t dwell on the downturn - celebrate failure
I talk about this a bit because for someone outside of this industry it is quite a revolutionary concept. The idea that you not only outwardly admit failure but celebrate it, citing it as an opportunity to learn and to indeed iterate to an even better idea, is something more industries and people need to get behind.
Tip three: Give & share - work as a community
I can’t speak for other places, but everyone I have met in the Auckland startup ecosystem has been eager to help, collaborate, share and introduce. At GridAKL I see devs helping to bug fix other devs problems, CEO’s talking through pivots with each other and designers lending an unbiased ear. When I go to events, people are keen to introduce friends, share insights or work together. Imagine what we could do if every industry worked like this.
Tip four: Take risks - embrace the new, daring and unknown
The act of going out on your own with your idea, bootstrapping it with your own cash and then seeking investment is scary. Leaving behind the security of a full time role and steady paycheck is the kind of thing that makes most begin to panic. The thing is, entrepreneurship is hard but it can also really rewarding, not only financially but emotionally too.
Taking a risk doesn’t have to mean leaving your job and doing your own project - it can simply involve embracing the spirit of startup by trying new things, going out alone and making stuff happen. Risky yes, but also very fulfilling!
Tip five: Get involved
The number of opportunities I haven’t jumped onto because I’ve been ‘too busy’ is pretty massive. But when you witness first hand how much the founders at GridAKL say ‘yes’ - it tends to make you feel a bit lazy. The reality is that the guys that have been having sustained growth tend to be the ones who put their hand up to speak at events, share their learning around the kitchen table, attend meetups, go to conferences, make ten minutes for a radio interview whilst they are doing their printing. They pull full days and then I spot them in the audience of Women's Collective or Agile Auckland post-work.
Anya wrangles communication and brand for GridAKL and before coming to us she worked in the fashion and entertainment industries. She is glad to be in a space now where her love of coding is not an oddity, and where other people were also in the Starwars Galaxies Beta. You can follow her on twitter here.