Ask the What if Question?

Sunshine Coast Innovation Centre

Innovation starts when people ask the What if Question? Today I attend a great lecture in connection with the 10 year anniversary for the Sunshine Coast Innovation Centre. The lecturer was Steve Huff, form managing director of Typefi, an automated publishing too used by companies such as Apple, Lonely Planet and Telstra.

Steve Huff was sharing his entrepreneurial experience, which he did really well. In 1999, just after the IT bobble busted, he founded Typefi, after asking the question; What if we could automate book publishing and save the publishers money by shortening the editing process from several days to today’s just 3 minutes. The entire lecture was framed by this question of: What if? Because as Steve said, that is the main question entrepreneurs ask themselves.

Steve shared a great story of an episode with an online conference call with Apple in Cupertino, where they experienced constant fall outs. The Apple employees became pretty frustrated about the situation and Steve Huff and his team had to admit that they did not have broadband.

Even though Steve’s story was pretty amazing, he underlined that being an entrepreneur is a hard job and he also had a few stories to about sleepless nights, extreme frustration and fear. But as he stated, if you are passionate about what you do, you don’t want to take a break from it.

Today Steve has asked himself the question: What if we could supply refugee camps in Africa with lightning and by that minimize the risk of assault and rape of women and children? With this question has Steve set out to create jobs in a whole new industry of lightning under the name of Doble.

The anniversary also gave the opportunity to say hello to Gideon Shalwick, an online video marketing entrepreneur specialized in turning online videos into cash. I had the pleasure of sitting in on a guest lecture held by Gideon just a week earlier on Campus. It was a great lecture, and I was happy to be presented with the opportunity to have a little chat about Gideon’s book publishing history.

All over a regular Thursday turned into an extraordinary Thursday. Now I am about to ask myself the What if Question? And so should you?

Was it worth the money?

New Years Sydney 2012

Happy New Year Everyone!

This year I spend my New Year’s Eve 2012 in Sydney, witnessing the spectacular Sydney Harbour fireworks. It was a truly amazing experience, despite the 12 hours wait for a good spot of the show.

After arriving home yesterday, I had a funny incident with my landlord commenting on the fact that I was so amazed by my experience in Sydney. What she confronted me with was a 6.3 million large figure representing the coast of the fireworks in Sydney, and whether or not I found 12 min of fireworks worth that large amount of money. I gladly answered that it was all worth it, to her surprise. We did not discuss it further. However it made me start wondering.

I knew what I had spent in Sydney for the four days I was there, and just with simple math I quickly realized that the 6.3 million was not such a bad investment. Just with some rough estimates I could easily disprove my landlord’s position.

It had wakened my attention and I had to research the actual figures of the event.  The official figures indicate that the 6.3 million fireworks had put 156 million dollar into the local economy and on average a total cost of 4 dollar per spectator. This means that 1.575,000 people saw the show.  In Australia the corporate income tax is flat 30% which means that the government has earned an estimate of 46.8 million dollar, deducting the 6.3, equal to 40.5 million dollar in tax revenue.  (These estimates due not consider speculations or other forms of avoiding taxes.) However the numbers speak for them self.

Was the 6.3 million dollar fireworks show worth the money? Yes it was all worth it!

Global Management Challenge 2011

Global Management Challenge

I participated in Global Management Challenge (GMC) the world’s largest Strategy and Management Competition, where more than 450,000 university students compete worldwide. Global Management Challenge is the largest international business simulation event and has a history going back to 1980 when if for the first time emerged in Portugal by SDG – Simuladores e Modelos de Gestão. Today 34 nations are represented in the game and the nationalities stretch from Denmark to Singapore; from Venezuela to China.

The game is a simulation game challenging me and all the other 450,000 participants with over 60 different decisions weekly, created to simulate a real decision board in a real company. Everyone participate in team of 3 to 5 people, and I was joined with 4 classmates about making the decisions.

The game gave me a great insight in what it takes to manage a production company, with all from buy of raw material, production facilities, employees, budgeting, agents, distributors, investors and 60 other parameters.

The game is played on a weekly basis, with one decision sheet per week. What defines the success on the scoreboard for the company is the value of the company’s stock on the stock exchange. The greatest companies reach the Danish final, where the best team will represented Denmark in the international final, in year 2011 taking place in Macao, China, only an hour with boat form Hong Kong.

Global Management Challenge is in Denmark sponsored by Maersk, Accenture, Siemens, Cowi, BiBoB, KPMG, BK Medical, IDA management forum and DJØF.

Read the official documentation for Global Management Challenge here