Australia, We Hear You!

I recently spent a week in Australia. One of the things I often say when I travel to speak to startup communities around the world is: “We can’t hear you!”

My point is that I want them to be loud and proud about what’s going on there. Often I hear them lamenting about not enough capital, not enough startups, not enough success, or whatever. I challenge them to start acting like what they want to become–to start talking about their greatness.

I also ask them to start blogging. Start some dialogue.

My favorite example of this was the “tall poppy syndrome” that exists in Australia, a long-standing cultural attitude of fostering hostility toward successful people. I was speaking to a group of Australian entrepreneurs and I suggested that someone there blog that tall poppy syndrome is a thing of the past. So they did! And now, tall poppy syndrome is closer to disappearing. It’s no longer going to be cool to talk about tall poppy syndrome. It’s going to feel uncool and out of the norm

Sometimes what we believe will be true becomes true!

It’s great to see communities acting like what they want to become. And it’s great to see them making some noise:

Australia, I hear you!

Applications are now open for our first Techstars accelerator program in Australia as well!

file under: Startups
  • Damian Zammit

    David I have a small confession to make… firstly I was the guy sitting next to you during this meeting (at Techstars).
    In Australia ive organised and facilitated 6 startup weekends.
    A tiny tiny voice in my head started nagging at me for volunteering my time so that this giant US company could leverage off all our volunteer work (when Techstars took over startup Weekend),
    Within about 15 seconds of you entering the board room, I felt completely overwhelmed by your humble and generous nature (knowing you’d just completed a trip from Australia and a full day’s mentoring before meeting us).
    “So how can I help you guys? What would be valuable to you?”
    I could literally feel the guilt wash over me, and had to stop myself from kneeling down and declaring “David, I’m a terrible person!”
    So two things:
    1) Thank you so VERY much for the amazing work that you do around the world (including contributing 700K pa to keep startup weekend going).
    2) your insights had a profound effect on my life (I’ve already added #givefirst to my email signature). So for this I want to thank you. More importantly I’d like you to understand how squeezing a bunch of random Aussies into your packed schedule has the incredible capacity to effect massive positive change.
    Boulder is now officially my second favourite destination in the world (after Cairns, the topical paradise I call home). Thank you for showing us what is possible by adopting a #givefirst approach to the game of life. #respect.

    • I can see why you love Cairns! i went diving off the coast there many years ago and it’s such a beautiful place! thanks for this note – you know, it is actually something we’ve struggled with a bit. the assumption you had (other the the “giant company” part!) are actually quite logical. and in fact, startup weekend does benefit Techstars. but my hope is that all the community leaders we work with come to realize that being connected to this global network is an even larger value. after all, if we ultimately “fund” a company from your town, that’s good for the community! and we’re unlikely to fund it all anyway – startup funding is very collaborative. and, of course, we can’t and don’t fund the vast majority of startups that we work with – it’s a labor of love in most cases. if we can help them a tiny bit, we help the ecosystem over time and we change the world together. so thanks for this note, it means alot. as far as how you can help, it would be great to know your ideas for helping others who run startup weekend understand the true motivations and intentions. we did a whole bunch of AMAs when we first integrated with up global, so those are available. but perhaps you have ideas for how to engage the global community more. i’m not sure we’ve done the best job there.

  • Great ideas. I’m going to share them with my team and see if we can make them happen. Thanks for taking the time.

    • David Masefield

      When I caught up with David Brown and Marc Nager in Madrid at the Europe Summit in 2015 I suggested that we could launch a “Startup Weekend Veterans” that’s not army vets but facilitators, organizer’s and other folk that can prove they have at least taken part in X number of previous SW events. Now that could be run off the back of, or as a precursor to something like the annual conferences. Cheers.