It must have been my lucky month, after returning from an inspirational trip to Necker Island with Sir Richard Branson I was nominated by our copywriter, Penny Gardiner as New Zealand’s most Inspirational Boss!
Somehow I managed to win the competition, sponsored by ASB Bank, and pick up the much coveted title. Along with the win came a great prize from Mike Hosking and the ASB team, an all-expenses paid trip for me to go to the Morgo conference (in Waitangi) and $7,000 to spend on the Pure SEO team.
I have been told by the team we can only spend the money on fun things, so the first thing we bought was an arcade machine with over 400 ‘old school’ games – this now sits pride of place in the office:
I had been intending to go to Morgo but decided against it because we have two young children (one just five months old) at home and I didn’t want a grumpy wife! I was therefore very excited to have the opportunity to attend (with my wife’s blessing).
A number of people who have attended Morgo in the past have told me it is a must for technology entrepreneurs. The conference was brilliant, featuring amazing people, ideas and inspiration.
The speakers included Rod Drury, who founded Xero, and Vaughan Rowsell of Vend (who beat Pure SEO in last year’s Auckland Central Business Awards). There was a cameo from Scott Houston, the GreenButton CEO, who recently sold his business to Microsoft.
My personal highlights were:
1. Think global from day one – this was a recurring theme throughout the conference. On reflection, it makes perfect sense: we limit ourselves with self-imposed ceilings. If you shoot for the sky you may well get there, and even if you fall short you may have gone far. If you never shoot for the sky, who knows how far you’d have gone?
2. Don’t be scared to raise capital to help you to the next level. Many successful businesses have used capital raising as a fundamental strategy to achieve market penetration and growth. Pure SEO was started with only $200 and has never raised capital, but should we decide to conquer America, external funding would certainly be required.
3. Values and culture are hugely important. This sentiment was also expressed on Necker Island. We have tried to build Pure SEO with culture at the core. We have grown at a huge rate during our past few years (doubling in size in the last 12 months), and preserving that culture has been built into our strategy.
4. Great people are accessible in New Zealand. At dinner I was sitting at a table with Rod Drury, Scott Houston, Tim Bennett and other equally exceptional people. Just to chat with them was a great learning experience.
The conference was great and I will definitely return in 2015. A big thank you to Mike Hosking at the ZB Breakfast Show and to ASB for making it possible.