Its easy to forget what great opportunities are in your area when you surround yourself with the day-to-day life of working. Thankfully Jonathan Moules, Enterprise editor at the Financial Times, was on hand at Google Campus to remind us of all the resources that are at our disposal in Shoreditch, and what we need to do to exploit them. Describing Old Street as a hub of “incubators and accelerators that encourage growth,” Moules went on to highlight tax breaks and financial opportunities available to start-ups in the UK.
“The idea of a job for life,” he told the audience – who were now bouyed by the thought of working in and around Old Street’s tech hub forever – “is well and truly dead.” Businesses, as well as personal interests and aspirations, can be fleeting in the current economic climate, and so if you have an idea – “you have nothing to lose in going for it.”
Of all the start-ups that come out of the UK each year, a small 6 to 7 percent flourish. Moules describes these companies as “gazelle businesses,” which grow fast and don’t follow the crowd.
Not following the crowd, as hinted at in his title – ‘The Rebel Entrepreneur’ – was the overarching theme of Moules’ presentation. Trend setters such as Steve Jobs, Antony Ceravolo, John Paleomylites and Kevin Ryan were each referenced with case studies, reiterating the obvious – but o!en overlooked – idea that the best ideas aren’t innovation, they’re imitation. None of these men are inventors, but they are all successful entrepreneurs.
Be a rebel, stand out, steal an idea and make it better. That’s what Antony Ceravolo did when he found out about Netflix, the US dvd delivery and online streaming service from Reed Hastings. Australian Ceravolo (who also holds British citizenship) created Video Island after arriving in the UK with backing from Index Ventures. From there he co- founded and nurtured his own, UK based Netflix style business, which later grew into online giant LOVEFilM. LOVEFiLM was acquired by Amazon in early 2011 for a reported £200m, proving that taking inspiration from someone else’s idea and adapting it to your own needs and skill-set pays off.
Letting someone else come up with your big idea is something that can be applied to your business from its very beginnings to its present state. Both Nick Jenkins and Sir Richard Branson, founders of Moonpig card delivery service and Virgin Group Ltd respectively, understand the need to employ others to do the thinking for them. Branson, when probed by the Financial Times, admitted that the secret to his huge business success is “finding good people and letting them run my business.”
The secret to success in 2013’s enterprise environment? Don’t follow the crowd, don’t stifle new ideas, exploit the resources of your local area, and most of all, be a rebel.