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Monday 30th May saw Blackbird Ventures & Startmate present The Sunrise – a startup conference presented by founders, for founders.  Essentially founders helping founders first hand!

Unsurprisingly, as a passionate female entrepreneur, I’d had my ticket booked for months and spent the day vigorously sending out key take-home messages via my social platforms (with a little help from Canva for Business) and sharing my experience via Snapchat!

Some amazing entrepreneurs graced the stage to tell their stories and share their experiences. The line up included Melanie Perkins, co-founder & CEO of Canva; Mike Cannon Brookes, co-founder & CEO of Atlassian; Andre Eikmeier, founder of Vinomofo;  Craig Barratt, Head of Google Fiber; Chris Boshuizen, co-founder of Planet Labs; and Julie Stevanja co-founder of Stylerunner.

“A flash of inspiration is inevitably followed by hard work and dedication”

Bringing together some of Australia’s most successful tech leaders, speakers talked about pivotal decision, big mistakes, near misses and ah-ha moments. Each and everyone of them told stories of embarrassing moments, exhilarating experiences and inspiring lessons learnt.

Surprisingly though, regardless of industry, every story exposed the same key themes:

Most challenges come from people not from tech

No matter how challenging building your technology platform from scratch is, hiring and managing people is ALWAYS going to be a much BIGGER challenge.

Computational thinking can help address root causes of all personnel errors such as processes, systems and training.

“It’s not always smooth sailing. Sometimes it’s a giant fireball” – @cboshuizen

Entrepreneurship isn’t an easy road

But we didn’t expect it to be right?!

@Atlassian founder Mike highlighted the importance of work/life integration – ensuring he’s home for dinner at 6pm to spend time with his young family before starting work again at 11pm to get s*** done!  No matter how much work there is to be done don’t let your personal or family time fall short.

And no matter how hard things get, never ever forget to create a great customer experience by putting a lot of efforts into being real. There’s no compromise on customer service.

“It’s possible, and it’s hard. But it’s definitely worth it” – @JuliaStevanja

Culture is vital

All founders spoke of culture, having the right people around you and ensuring your team is wholly on board with the business vision.

For me, it was @stylerunners culture of gratitude – to get together on a weekly basis and think of something positive. Instead of complaining about your commute to work, be thankful that you’re able to get a train or bus. In essence look for the positives in life to make your workplace a much more positive place.

“Every day you are living your life. Don’t measure it against anything else.  Just be in the moment & commit to it” – @mofoandre

Never Stop Learning

As a founder you are 100% accountable and need to hold yourself accountable. Coach yourself and never stop learning. Have in place key processes, training plans and systems in order to set your team up for success.

It’s incredibly important to acknowledge the path you’re on, not the distance you are from where you thought you would be. Entrepreneurship is a forever learning journey – embrace it.

founders helping founders