November 6, 2009

Geometric Growth and finding our Mojo

I frequently enjoy the blog posts of Chris Dixon, a web startup guru operating out of New York. One of his latest posts discussed Startup career paths, where he states that a career start in a startup is like an apprenticeship in becoming an entrepreneur.

If you talk to any of the main commentators on what NZ's high tech economy requires for growth, it is geometric growth. Much in the way Neville Jordan describes in this article about the success of his old company MAS Technology leading to half a dozen employees starting their own telecommunications businesses in NZ.

An interesting non-tech parallel is that of Mojo Coffee and their 'magic formula'. Mojo has expanded throughout the Wellington region and nationally since its establishment in 2003. Being in the service industry it is vital for them to retain the personal touch. "Its all about people", says owner Steve Gianoutsos in the Jan 2009 article on He has turned down numerous requests for franchise licenses, preferring to go into partnership with employees from his stores to open new stores. This is geometric growth - a store opens, another two stores open with someone from the previous store, which generate a further few stores, and so on and so on.

If NZ is to generate the 200 new tech companies people such as Prof. Paul Callaghan talk of, we need people to do "apprenticeships in entrepreneurship", as Chris Dixon says. If you want to really make a difference to NZ as a recent graduate, working for (or even starting) a startup company is a great way to do this. The benefits of working in a startup are well documented.

Although we are not a startup company just yet, I've learnt one or two things myself this year while working at scaling up and commercialising some of our university research toward forming a startup company. That is a post for another day, however.

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