At our very first Beam Talks series, Sydney entrepreneur Dean McEvoy chats with us about the startup culture.
Here is a snapshot of our key learnings.
6 Things to Know about Startups
1. Get it pitch perfect
When pitching new ideas it's important to have a minimum viable product. This serves as proof that more than one person is convinced and committed.
2. The importance of community
Concentrating startups in a specific area increases participation and overall probability of success.
People often come out of recently failed startups and join a new one immediately. Startup communities create a safety net to bounce back from failures.
Meeting other people like you creates heaps of opportunity to learn from all kinds of failures. In theory, this should reduce the probability of further failures.
Startup communities offer a more attractive option for people in corporate jobs to join a startup. This is one of the main reasons why San Francisco is doing well despite a relatively high failure rate.
3. Don’t keep your vision a secret
Company vision must belong to everyone who joins it. It’s not just about the bunch who started it.
In the early stages, formulating what a startup is, what it is not, and what it stands for, is generally a pretty difficult problem to solve. Don’t be afraid of the evolution.
4. The paradox of academia
Many programmers, fresh out of university or working in corporations, program by superstition. They do things in a certain way without knowing or asking why.
Beam’s favourite quote: Good developers write good code and great developers find ways not to.
Universities have taken the "science" out of "computer science" and tend to produce workers, not thinkers.
One way of dealing with these challenges is to source talent as early as possible and give them responsibilities that forces them to think.
5. Corporates can catch the bug too
Often, career progression in corporations is intertwined with job safety, which encourages workers to stay under the radar by not doing too much. Innovation is seen as high risk, with no return.
Corporates in Australia have caught on or caught the startup bug and are looking at ways to bring in the lean aspect of startups into their environment.
An example of this is by allowing staff to join startup teams instead of doing an MBA for experience and return to the company after.
6. Are you a startup kind of girl/guy?
Not everyone is suitable for startups, so invest in the hiring process.
When interviewing, test if the person is passionate about at least one thing, anything.
Dean’s example question was, “Do you believe in aliens?”. Share other unusual interview questions you’ve been asked by a startup.
About Dean McEvoy
Dean is a Sydney entrepreneur and the found of Spreets. A friend of Beam, he helped us find the right direction at the early stages of our evolution. Read more about Dean on the Business Insider:
What is Beam Talks?
People who work at Beam are naturally curious, hard working, smart and eager to learn. A great way to learn, in our opinion, is by talking to successful people with interesting perspectives on business and life in general. Beam Talks is our way of intellectually spicing up Friday lunches.