Archive for May, 2007

The idea and the model

Our new business is called TrickyTix. It is a web based ticketing solution aimed at small businesses and will exist online at event organiser or company will have the ability to visit the website and create a ticketing account for themselves. This account will allow them to then create events which people can purchase tickets for.

The tickets for any event will be available for sale on the TrickyTix website, as well as on the website of the event organiser. Customers will be able to purchase a ticket using a credit card, and have the ticket sent to them via email or SMS.

The money for the tickets sold will be received by TrickyTix and held for a defined period of time. After deducting bookings fees and charges levied to the ticket purchaser, the remaining funds will then be electronically transferred into the Event Organisers nominated account. The fundamental business model is therefore one in which TrickyTix takes a small fee from the cost of every ticket sold.

That is about as complex as it gets. There are a few small to medium companies out there offering a similar service, and one 900 pound gorilla.

We believe our approach has a number of fundamental differences which position us to capture a previously untapped segment of the market, but I will go into much greater detail in future postings. Suffice to say, we are excited about the potential.

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From service to software

How do you move from a services/consulting company to a software company?
Not easily.

For over 2 years now we have steadily built up a web consulting company, all the while thinking of the next big thing we could build. News Limited buys Myspace for $700 million, and Google grab YouTube for a paltry $1.6 billion. Even the weakest start-up can find a few million in funding to get off the ground, so surely a couple of smart guys sitting in Melbourne can come up with a winning idea that will sweep the world? It all seems so easy.

It’s not.

Ideas for new businesses and web applications fly through my head every day, but 2 years on we still haven’t started one. Two false starts in those two years, with neither progressing far past the planning and branding stages.
If ideas were enough I would be a millionaire by now (and I’m not). Ideas are worth nothing on their own. Execution is where the sweet spot is.

But sticking with a half way decent idea and then just building it is not all that easy either (hence our two false starts). It is probably easier to take the funding option from the start and focus exclusively on your idea, as that way there are no distractions. The move from a consulting company to a software company is a much more difficult path to follow, requiring more time, more adjustment, and more pain. Try looking at the invoice for the monthly office rent, then decide whether you are going to work on that website for your ASX listed client, or your unfunded, half developed start-up.

Eventually, things have to come to a head. When I was 26 I decided I wanted to own my own company by the time I was 30. I made it with 45 days to spare, but only by chucking in the safety of a full time job and making the leap into the “I want to be an entrepreneur” mindset. The same definitive step needs to be taken now, so here goes.

We have the idea, a successful consulting company, the cash reserves and a collection of enormously talented developers. So we are commencing development before we have a full business model sorted out. Before we have any customers lined up. Before we know what we are going to

Good enough is good enough, and we will launch something within eight weeks no matter

That is our stake in the ground. Set the launch date, and work back from that to work out what can get in and what cannot. Once launched, we will iterate quickly to eventually build a product that everyone needs and wants.

Our consulting business will continue to grow and develop, but we won’t be sitting here wondering what might have been this time next year.

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Diary of a Start-Up

Posted by Paul Ryan
Australian Anthill Magazine

A little while back, a young Melbourne businessman by the name of Scott Handsaker contacted us with an intriguing offer. He and a few colleagues at web consulting company Huge Object were launching a new web company and were offering to provide us with a diary of the company’s progress as it unfolded.

It’s certainly not the first time we’ve received this offer. However, such offers in the past have always been motivated by a quest for shameless self-promotion, with little benefit for readers. But Handsaker and his team offered to provide an extremely candid account of their start-up journey, with exclusive access to blog posts, photos, audio, video and, most courageous of all, financials. So we agreed. Enjoy the ride!

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