Thursday, August 30, 2012

First, Fire Thyself

First, Fire Thyself = a fantastic article on TechCrunch by Joe Kraus, partner at Google Venture and co-founder of and

The article discusses how founding CEOs often underestimate the opportunity cost of not extricating themselves from their natural 'skill' position to focus on bigger picture strategy and thinking time. An issue close to my heart at the moment!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Employee Share Option Plans

Great article in the SMH by BigCommerce founders Eddie Machaalani and Mitchell Harper on the challenges for Employee Share Option Plans in Australia, and the need for the taxation issues around these to be simplified for Australian startups.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

66 Meet-ups event 4 September

On Tuesday 4 September I'll be presenting and answering questions at a 66 Meet-ups event about how we closed our recent fundraising round for Shoes of Prey.

The event is being held at the Burdekin Hotel, 2 Oxford St. Darlinghurst kicking off at 6pm. It's free to register, you can RSVP here.

Also speaking will be Hamish Hawthorn, CEO of ATP Innovations. Hamish will be speaking about how entrepreneurs can best prepare themselves for the all-important pitch to investors. Despite the flurry of great investments we are seeing into Australian start-ups, raising capital continues to be a challenge. Getting your pitch polished and crisp, knowing the expectations of your potential investor, and crafting a compelling value proposition are all key element of success.

Hamish will share his experiences from both sides of the table – from raising venture capital with the companies at ATP Innovations, through to his experiences as a co-founder of Sydney Angels.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Founders Apprentice

A good entrepreneurial friend of ours, Ned Dwyer, has recently launched, a marketplace for website customisation. It's worth checking out if you have tweaks you need made to your website.

Ned is launching a program called the 'Founders Apprentice' to work closely with him for 6 months on a range of the day to day operations at with a focus on customer and product development. The role sounds perfect for someone interested in learning more about working with startups from an awesome mentor in Ned.

Full details on the blog here. It's also a great concept for helping encourage new entrepreneurs. We do a similar thing with our internship programs at Shoes of Prey and Sneaking Duck. and the role are based in Melbourne.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Welcome to the team Parn

Welcome to the team Natvatoo (Parn) Tungwongchai! Parn has joined us as a part-time 3D artist to help us add in more styles to the designer and make our 3D shoes look amazing.

Originally from Thailand, Parn studied Digital Media at the College of Fine Arts, majoring in 3D. She then completed a Masters of Digital Media and her short animation won the 2010 Best CGI Modelling, Wacom Award. In addition to being an awesome 3D artist, Parn has an impressive skill set including video and sound editing, games design, photography and drawing. Parn also enjoys reading and used to learn Tae Kwon Do!

You can view her showreel here.

It's very exciting to have Parn join us, welcome to the team!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Wanted: Customer Happiness and Operations - Assistant Manager

Would you like to join Sneaking Duck, one of Australia’s hottest internet start ups? So far in 2012 we’ve been recognised as the best new retailer in the country, twice for our innovative approach to retail and for our fantastic customer service*.

As part of a dynamic team your main role will be Customer Service and Operations. Customer service includes phone, online and in-person interactions. Operations includes processing, quality control and dispatching orders. We’re always trying to improve and you’ll be expected to help us find ways to do this.

This is your chance for a job with no limit - in a small and friendly team you’ll have every opportunity to see how a company is built from the ground up. Prove yourself, and opportunities from PR to marketing to business operations will be there. You need to be happy with variety, comfortable with a bit of chaos and ready for the excitement of joining a start up.

About us
Sneaking Duck is a new online optical dispenser and a new eyewear brand. We’re an internet start-up that’s growing fast whilst having fun. We love cool glasses and we love having a pair for every mood. We’re tired of one mega-expensive pair bought only because the last pair died.

We launched in October 2011 and have been growing ever since. On our site, people browse frames, try on ‘virtually’ with uploaded photos and purchase. We deliver frames fast and offer a generous refunds policy. Delighting customers is key - we send out frames for people to try-at-home, we contact optometrists so our customers don’t have to.

Our offices are in Surry Hills, Sydney and our work environment is relaxed - pets welcome.

Attributes, qualifications and experience
  • Self motivated and hungry to learn in a dynamic, fun & friendly, occasionally chaotic, start-up
  • Great at communicating by phone, email or Facebook. You’re someone who won’t rest until every customer is happy - no matter the issue. Whether it’s a technical query, styling dilemma or complaint every customers gets prompt, warm and knowledgeable service
  • High attention to detail - every order, every number and every email gets double-checked
  • A passion for going the extra mile. You’re the sort of person who innovates and solves problems without being asked
  • Computer literate - email, documents, spreadsheets, CRM, social networking sites
  • Ability and willingness to learn about optical dispensing

Core tasks and responsibilities
  • Responding promptly to customer emails, calls, IMs and social media comments in a super-friendly and efficient manner. Going the extra mile on this aspect is a priority.
  • Solving customer questions from start to finish - product enquiries, sales appointments, issue resolution, technical questions
  • Processing customer orders and managing suppliers to get glasses shipped fast
  • Quality control so every order is perfect
  • Packaging and dispatching glasses to customers
  • Contacting optometrists to obtain prescriptions on behalf of customers
  • Stock management and sourcing
  • Beyond this, there are virtually limitless opportunities to learn and become involved with other parts of the business

How to apply
Send your details and CV to, address to Mark

* Recognised by 2012 AMP Retail Awards as New Retailer and Innovation in Retail. Recognised at the 2012 Online Retail Industry Awards for Innovation in Retail and Customer Service.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Tom Howard of Adioso

"You took some funding, and you didn't make it to the next milestone. That's what failed startups look like."

This series of posts is a brilliant, open, honest and humble take on startup life by Tom Howard of Adioso. Well worth a read.

Part 1: Reality Check

Part 2: Stunts

Friday, August 3, 2012 raise $105m - incredible!, who we've followed since their launch recently announced they've raised a whopping $105m in Series C financing. Incredible!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

We're Hiring - Retail Store Manager

Job Description: To passionately create happiness is our first and core company value, is something we prioritise immensely and has been core to our success to date. We love going out of our way to make our customer extremely happy.

Many of our customers tell us they want to see and touch our shoes and materials, and try them on before purchasing. So we're going to open a retail store to allow them to do this. Your role is to provide an amazing retail experience that will inspire the happiness of our customers, you will be responsible for ensuring they're the happiest in the land. As our retail stores grow, the role has the potential to develop into one that includes building out and growing the stores nationally and internationally.

Some of the key day to day activities:

  • Running our brand new, exciting and innovative physical retail store where we'll allow women to design their perfect shoe
  • Preparing and analysing market research
  • Developing and executing advertising and promotional material
  • Formulation of marketing and selling strategies
  • Helping develop and document our customer related systems and processes

Skills Required:

Salary: $40k - $50k (based on experience) + bonus + generous stock options + lunch + shoes. If we hit our goals over the next 5 years you'll do very well out of the stock options.

Location: Our Surry Hills office + top secret Sydney location ;)

The role will report into Dave Knapp. To apply please email a cover letter and resume to