Monthly Archives: March 2017

2 “same same but different” philosophies I use in business & sport


Employing people means you must treat everyone the same but everyone differently.

Ask anyone in business and they’ll tell you employing people is great if you didn’t have to deal with people.

It can be hard work because we are all different with different views, wants, needs and goals.

Ask anyone who has coached junior sport a similar question and you’d get a similar response except that the “different” can be two or three (or more) fold (I’m talking parents, divorcees, grand parents, etc).

Both can be rewarding though and one of the great joys I have is watching the growth in people you coach or employee (yes employing people can be like coaching) over the long term.

In the case of business I’ve been fortunate enough to be in a few companies where I/we have employed people at their start of their career or ready for their next professional challenge.

I’ve always had the philosophy of employing people being a win-win-win (link to post) for the employee-manager-employer where one of the techniques I like is helping to build their resume (link to post) as a way of growing them professionally by seeing it visually.

At DMi we employed quite a few young people who didn’t have much experience but certainly had good attitudes to want to have a go and learn.

I loved coaching them in a way of bring them along the journey and giving them the opportunity to swing high or hang themselves. I challenged them to always improve their resume; that is, improve their value and their resume was a tangible way they could see it.

I love even more to see, over 10 years on, where they are now and it gives me satisfaction knowing that I may have played a part in the base skillset they are using that makes them a valuable commodity to the current business they are working for.

Same deal since I’ve been at carsales; I love seeing those who I have worked with or mentored kicking some goals years after coming into the business.

My philosophy for coaching junior football over many years was to give kids the skills and passion for the game to keep involved over the long term (senior football) as opposed to teaching them skills that a kid can/should practice on their own if they have the desire – this is not too dissimilar to business.

For instance, in my opinion, a more important skill to teach to juniors is not to fall over in a competitive situation rather than kicking on their opposite foot (which they can practice themselves).

Seems pretty simple but go to a junior game of football and hear the parents clap the kids who make an unrealistic attempt to get the ball falling over in the process – “Good effort Johnny” and then “C’mon boys, all try harder like Johnny” – when in fact once they fall over they are out of the contest and can’t win the ball.

These efforts are not good enough as they get older and play higher level football or just senior football no matter what level.

If junior players can grasp this concept early they are not only ahead of the curve they have developed a skill that a) they can’t learn/practice on their own and b) will take them through as senior players, my ultimate goal.

The goal is necessarily not to produce players that will be AFL stars as that is a possible by-product but rather the skills and understanding of the game that will stand up as the competition gets bigger, quicker and better.

So my measure of success and satisfaction out of my junior coaching is to see how many are still playing football beyond the junior years as this is usually a drop off point.

This is a similar measure of success for business.

Yes employing people or coaching kids can be tough but it is the rewarding parts that keeps us doing it.


Equity – Who do you work for?


I have always been one to consider the company I work for as “my company” in a sense that I’ve always treated their money as if it was my own.

This has a little bit of a moral compass about it and not for everyone but hey, we’re all different.

I’ve worked for employers in private and public companies, started my own business which I divested to work for employers again and invested in private businesses as a passive and non-passive shareholder and/or director.

From an ownership sense though, a company can only be your own when you own 100%; the moment you have partners the company is not yours.

I remember a conversation with the owner of a competing business years ago who was insistent that partnerships in business didn’t work and he had to always have 100% of the business so he could do what he wants. Isn’t control good enough?

I put this to a work colleague recently – “You have a business with a few shareholders of which some work in the business and some don’t. If you were one of the working shareholders would you consider that you were working for yourself since you owned the company?”

His answer was “yes” very quickly with the argument that he didn’t care how much percentage he owned of a company, he would consider that he owned the company.

So I put another question to him – “What happens if you as a shareholder don’t work in the business yet the shareholders working in the business decide to purchase a capital item worth $80,000 when the clear written agreement is that any capital item over $10,000 requires unanimous shareholder approval and when you question the process the answer is ‘it is my company and I have this benefit being my own boss’?”

A smile came over his face. “Good point”, he said.

How can you be your own boss with business partners and/or shareholders?

Isn’t your responsibility to all shareholders to follow corporate governance?

What’s stopping you from buying whatever you want with the company’s funds?

Most people going into business want to do so to “be their own boss”. A lot of people do not think about the fact once you have other shareholders you are working for them and that you can only be your own boss when you own 100% of the company.

It should feel good to the passive shareholders that they have partners with “skin in the game” working in the business keeping on top of things.

Either way, I am adamant that unless you do own 100% of a company then you do not “own your own company” and you work for the shareholders.

Having “control” of a company through majority equity or greater then 50% shareholding is a whole other topic; I’ll leave that for another thread as it is/can be a whole new beast.


2 examples of a (my) changing, innovative world


We’ve all heard it before from our parents, “it wasn’t like this on my day”, and yes I am one of those parents now.

I’m not breaking any news story here that technology is (probably) the biggest change from our time to now.

My boys are 20 and 17, along with a little 11 year old girl (sent here to test me in every way imaginable by virtue of having me wrapped around her finger) and their lives are dominated by technology.

Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp and iMessage constantly vibrate and flood their smartphone screens. They are wired 24/7, it is incredible and hard to control.

Given I work in the tech space, I think about how I struggle with how much technology is controlling their lives and wonder how some of the more “technology challenged” parents deal with it.

There is another big change from “my day” to now and that is the industry of craft beer. The number of imported and craft beers that are available now is mind boggling and something that “wasn’t like this in my day”.

There are now hundreds of breweries around Australia and over 5,000 breweries in the US and growing quickly (to be precise there are 5,005 to the end of November 2016 – http://fortune.com/2016/12/10/america-record-number-breweries/).

Bars specializing in craft beer are popping up all over the place where in Melbourne bars like Beer Deluxe, the Alehouse Project, East of Everything, Howler, The Local Taphouse and Moon Dog Brewery Bar where they have beers on tap and in bottles from all over Australia and the world.

So whilst we are not drinking as much beer in Australia as we used to (apparently), all these imported and craft beers have helped shape a whole new niche industry.

The innovative ways these breweries position and market themselves is every bit as impressive as the innovation in technology.

Now I enjoy sampling craft and imported beers, at home and when traveling. I’m enjoying even more now in documenting this journey through Instagram and the interactions it gives me with my boys’ demographics.


My boys and their mates just can’t believe that our staple beer diet when I was 18-19 was VB, Melbourne Bitter and on special occasions Crown Lager.

They also can’t believe how we communicated with no Snapchat (let alone a mobile or even a smartphone) or even met a partner with no Tinder so we’ll take it all in context.

Technology and Beer – two examples of a changing, innovative landscape. What will be next?