Talented Teams, And Crazy Ideas.

The Lord Mayor of Brisbane, Graham Quirk, invited us and many others who are in the startup space to City Hall to Launch ‘Startup Spring’. Cat Matson, Brisbane’s Chief Digital Officer asked me to share a startup perspective on the events surrounding Startup Spring.

These were my words:

I’d like to start with a story about a friend of mine from Tel Aviv, Israel. My friend had dinner at his in-laws in 2007. His brother in law had a friend over. He asked the friend what he was doing for work. The friend said he was working on a startup, which is a Smartphone navigation app that will compete with Google Maps for more accurate traffic data. My friend nodded politely, but straight away dismissed the idea in his head – after all, who in their right mind goes after Google, and claims they will have more accurate data? Surely that would never work.

6 years later, in November 2013 to be exact, Google bought the friend’s navigation app, called ‘Waze’, for $1.1B. Needless to say, my friend never dismisses new startup ideas any more.

I’m Ran Heimann, and I’m Co-Founder & CEO of Haystack, a Brisbane based startup. Like many other startup founders around town, I see many people dismissing our ideas in their heads. Saying it will never work. Our eco-system is much younger, and the doubters haven’t had my friend’s experience… yet. There are many talented startup teams around town who are working hard to change that.

Having a strong local eco-system is vital for startups to succeed. Startups need employees, networks, funding, office space, early adopters, test groups, suppliers, customers, users, accounting and legal advice, government support, and media exposure – all of which exist in a healthy eco-system. Brisbane is fortunate to have a Lord Mayor that is personally passionate about our industry. Together with his team, the Brisbane City Council, and Brisbane Marketing, he is leading the charge on supporting important activities and events such as the Startup Spring to help create this so important eco-system.

Talking about the ‘startup eco-system’. ‘Who is’ the eco-system? Well, if you are NOT a Programmer, Mathematician, Scientist or an Engineer currently working on a startup idea – you are the eco-system that supports the ones who are! Programmers, Mathematicians, Scientists and Engineers are the ones we, the eco-system, need to support.

Let’s not talk about what others need to do – Instead, ask ourselves: what am I going to do tomorrow to make that eco-system one bit better? Instead of dismissing the next startup idea we hear about, let’s try and think of how we can help these guys. Who can we connect them with?

Joe Gebbia, the Founder of AirBnB said recently: “We had really smart credible people out there telling us no. And had we listened to them there might not be Airbnb today.”

Us, the startups, are trying to create something that isn’t obvious to other people. If it was, someone would have done it by now. Let’s all make a habit of supporting talented teams, rather than dismissing crazy ideas.

Thank you.

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