Highlights from Sunrise 2018

image Blackbird Ventures

image Blackbird Ventures

Last week’s glorious sunshine had us travel over sea to Cockatoo Island where we were welcomed at a wonderland for the ambitious - also known as Sunrise Island - Blackbird’s annual Sunrise Conference.  This year the content program was a metaphor for the founder journey focusing on (1) what we can expect for the future whilst sparking new ideas, (2) overcoming obstacles and (3) all about the getting started part of it all.

Amongst the 999 attendees we were accompanied by investors, start-ups, corporates, government and even the future generation of founders: school students. Read on for some highlights shared by founders on the day as well as lessons learned during a few workshops:

“Consumers are always changing; you will never have an absolute perfect product market fit!” - Toby Pearce

Founder lessons

Cedar Anderson, Founder Flow Hive
Raised $12.4M in 30 days through crowdfunding without even a product in pre-productions phase

  • Tease the audience before you launch and keep them engaged; see how Flow Hive did it here.

  • Have a story to tell

  • Do something you believe in and don’t give up

  • Surround yourself with the best people, people you trust.

Toby Pearce, Co-Founder of Sweat
30 million users worldwide and expecting revenue of $100M this year

Your product:

  • Learn from your mistakes

  • Test, test, test as many things as effectively and efficiently as possible

  • Understand what your testing limitations and boundaries are as a brand

  • Back your MVP with you values and mission

  • Your product doesn’t have to be perfect to go to market

  • Consumers are always changing; you will never have an absolute perfect product market fit!

Your team:

  • Have a good on-boarding plan

  • Know what you don’t want.

Imposter Syndrome:

  • The worst thing you can do is isolate yourself – find mentors and coaches.

Workshop lessons

Building a growth engine
Tim Doyle, Head of Strategy & Growth at Koala

  • Acquiring customers is 99% the story you tell

  • Watch out for YouTube as the next hot conversation tool

  • Maximizing the value of customers is about building for the best behaviours. Example: customers of Koala valued their quick delivery service so this is what they built on and created a tracking app for their customers order.

The secrets of social success 
Mark Baartse, CMO at Showpo

  • It is about quality content - this will always win!

  • Don’t be that person at a party that talks only about yourself

  • Learn what people want – who is your target and do you create content that speaks to them?

  • Need help creating valuable content to drive conversions? TIP // Try researching your product on buzzsumo.com

  • Analysis is the secret! The more you post, the more chances you get to learn about your customers and what speaks to them.

  • The rules are always changing so you need to constantly challenge every assumption you make.

  • Get into the details, dig into your social dashboards.

Doing the best work of your life - how to build a high performance startup culture
Jen Mumford, Safety Culture

  • Think like a product manager

  • Design a culture that works for your company not someone else’s

  • Start defining your company culture now not only when your big

  • Plan in quarterly performance reviews with staff

  • Planning a 1:1? Make sure this is effective

  • Be able to measure someone’s impact – have a performance snapshot available at any time

  • Giving feedback shouldn’t be seen as something bad – tell people when you’ve actioned their feedback.

How to define company values that actually mean something
Didier Elzinga, Co-founder of Culture Amp

  • Values and performance are interlinked

  • Values are not created, they are uncovered

  • Values make you want to be a better version of yourself

  • What do you bring to the table?

  • How do you define values? Think about what you will not give up

  • Turn your team I believes into We believes.

We’re already looking forward to next year and what is sure to be another inspiring line-up of speakers and workshops!