Three Hot Tips From Three of Australia’s Most Successful Founders

First published May 31, 2016

We tuned into the Sunrise Conference that was awesomely available for livestream yesterday, as part of Vivid Festival in Sydney. (Thanks guys!) While we flitted between conference sessions, three things we heard from three of Australia’s most successful founders really stood out:

(Photo: Atlassian’s Mike Cannon-Brookes and his designer value the people behind the product. Credit: Atlassian)

  1. “Every single entrepreneur goes through the same challenges,” Canva founder Melanie Perkins advised. Kicking off as the first guest, she shared how she came to this realisation when she met Google’s Lars Rasmussen, the founder of Google Maps. “I sat across the table from him, and I realised, he’s just a normal person,” Mel explained. She described how Canva’s “overnight success that took nine years” taught her two things about entrepreneurship: “It’s possible, and it’s hard.” But, she added, definitely worth it.


  2. “Technology is all about people- the app, the coding, it’s all about the people behind it,” said Mike Cannon-Brookes, co-founder of Atlassian, on the importance of vision and teamwork. It can be tempting as a founder to set your eyes squarely on your product. By being team-facing rather than product-facing, Atlassian allows its team members to work to their strengths and build the best product possible.


  3. We decided not to follow NASA’s model (operating as a space company); we ran PlanetLabsas a regular software company,” explained PlanetLabs CTO Chris Boshuizen. Breaking PlanetLabs’ vision into its basics- as a software company, rather than a space behemoth- allowed PlanetLabs to be nimble, rising from its beginnings in rural New South Wales to Silicon Valley acclaim with its satellite-imagery technology.

    Okay, we loved this bonus tip: “Let’s get it 80% correct, and move forward. It’s probably a negative decision to get 100% of things correct. If you get your gut-calls 80% correct, and you’re constantly moving forward, you’ll be fine. Speed is the single most important thing that moves you forward,” said Mike Cannon-Brookes. In the medical world, 100% accuracy is the norm, and this perfectionism extends to other industries too. As a startup, though, Mike challenges this thinking by reminding us that speed is the startup’s biggest predictor of success. By testing quickly, and making mistakes quickly, your startup can move forward faster than your competitors, including your biggest competition- yourself. 

Interested in more events like these at Vivid Sydney? Check out our post on the Top Picks for Medical Startups and people interested in entrepreneurship