Live from KICK. START. SMART: How to Follow in the Footsteps of Atlassian, Blue Chilli, Messina and Stylerunner


Four industry leaders, four core lessons.

When it comes to starting a new journey (or finding a new path on a journey you’ve already started), Kick. Start. Smart. is the place to find some helpful road signs.

Throughout today’s Sydney event, we’ve heard from some of Australia’s industry frontrunners in tech, hospitality and even gelato and one thing brought them together: the fact that they’re currently leading the charge in their industries and they’ve all been through their own beginnings.

Here are some of their fundamental lessons on…


VISION (with BlueChilli’s cofounder Sebastian Eckersley-Maslin)

Relaying his experiences mentoring clever kids through BlueChilli’s project Club Kidpreneur, Seb experiences prove that a sense of vision can make all the difference when it comes to creating something new. Whether it’s a kid or a seasoned entrepreneurs, the clarity of vision remains a fundamental part of entrepreneurship, especially

“It’s your job to set that vision to drive that,” he told Kick. Start. Smart audiences. In doing so, Seb suggests staying true to three ideas: speed of execution, empowerment of people and tolerance of failure.


LEADERSHIP (with Stylerunner’s cofounder Julie Stevanja)

Considering the mammoth growth of Australian athleisure ecommerce site, it’s not surprising that cofounder Julie found she had to dig deep on learning about leadership when things started to get a little bigger.

Explaining to audiences that she made a mistake “thinking teams would lead themselves”, Julie tired a different tact – accepting that her team’s ability to perform was dependent on her support.

“Were you clear enough on your expectations of your team member?” she urged the audience to ask. “Did they have the training? Did they have the systems?”


FAILURE (with Atlassian’s Head of Research and Development Dom Price)

Creating an environment that supports independent thinking is where Dom and Atlassian are industry leaders (apart from the US$4.4 billion valuation). Dom had a standout observation when it comes to failure. Consider the idea that there are two types of decisions, and in this case, doors: one way doors where stepping through means never being able to go back and two-way doors where you have the chance to check out what might be on the other side. Applying this law to your fear of failure when it comes to starting a business could be a game-changer – especially if you’re considering keeping your idea as a side project in the beginning.

“Don’t get worried about the five billionth customer,” Dom also urged. “Just start with the first.”


CREATIVITY (with Declan Lee)

If all else fails – which it so far hasn’t for Gelato Messina – at least you’ve had fun. For Declan and the Messina team, creativity is central to their brand. Not only did their Golden Gaytime flavour creation spark a complete media (and legal) storm but they’ve also sacrificed profit in order to be able to push boundaries continually. The Creative Department, which Declan describes as an ‘awesome, financial disaster’, is the extension of their famed gelato brand where they have limited sittings, gourmet ingredients and top-quality chefs making minimal turnover, just for the fun of it. It’s about cementing the honesty of the brand – another core value – in order to maintain authenticity.

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