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The Way Forward
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The Way Forward

Author: Anuj Singh-Sahni

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We’re bringing you interviews from inspirational people that have had success and failure around the startup space, publicly listed space, and unique industries. Through their stories, we’re here to help you pave the way forward.
25 Episodes
Today we’re in conversation with Liam Forde who is the founder and CEO of The Zone, which makes organisations more human through coaching and leadership development.Liam’s passion for people shines through in this episode as we talk about the importance of your values and how to embrace them in the workplace. We also hear Liam’s stories on optimising his time, keeping remote teams engaged and hiring, where he reveals simple yet effective tips for leaders to implement today.Struggling to hire tech talent? We’ve got a long-term solution: - Liam’s story behind starting the Zone - helping organisations be more human04:00 - Start with your values04:50 - Transitioning from a fixed to a growth mindset06:00 - Can you teach an old dog new tricks? How?08:52 - Advice on managing stress and making the most out of your time 14:13 - How to keep remote-first teams connected, engaged and more human20:33 - Prioritising between price, service and quality22:49 - Liam’s advice for a founder’s first five hires26:35 - What Liam would like to see more of in the startup space 
Today we’re in conversation with Tane van der Boon who co-founded mattress startup Winkl; MAUI63, a not-for-profit protecting marine life; and Inviol, an AI-driven workplace safety solution.Tane treats us to practical and realistic advice around bringing in a successful business model overseas, disrupting traditional industries, and the operations behind next-day delivery. We also hear Tane’s passion for protecting marine biology as he talks about MAUI63, before diving into his advice on using off the shelf tech and financial forecasting.Struggling to hire tech talent? We’ve got a long-term solution: - A crash course into Tane’s startup journey - from fixing computers at 15 to experienced founder 06:55 - Tane’s advice for bringing a successful business model overseas into NZ 09:54 - Advice for entrepreneurs using tech to disrupt a traditional business model13:27 - What strategies helped Winkl become a household brand name in 18 months?17:15 - Taking a peek at Winkl’s operations - how did they do next day delivery?20:05 - How MAUI63 is protecting the world’s rarest dolphin with technology23:26 - Why you should start small when building a piece of tech25:46 - Tane’s advice for cash flow and revenue forecasting 27:58 - What Tane would like to see more of in the startup space 
Today we’re in conversation with Toby Cox who is the CTO of Dovetail.Toby shares his advice for best practices for your MVP, how to identify a good fit when recruiting and building a strong engineering culture. We also hear his unique experiences in tech solutions and startups - from developing an app for Dreamworks, to being an Entrepreneur in Residence in the UK and to conducting due diligence on tech startups.Struggling to hire strong tech talent? We’ve got a long-term solution: - Toby’s passion for computers, people and Ruby on Rails03:14 - Early days with Carnival.io04:55 - Challenges when working with large organisations07:54 - Three pieces of advice on MVPs for first-time founders09:15 - Toby’s experience as an Entrepreneur in Residence11:13 -  The pro of working within a corporate’s startup function and similarities in Dovetail12:58 - Work life balance and why you should give yourself head space16:11 - What Toby thinks about when doing due diligence on a startup17:41 - Recruitment process tips for technical jobs 21:10 - What is a common issue in startups that can’t be fixed?22:27 - Key advice for smaller tech startups25:33 - What Toby envisions for the AUS/NZ startup scene
Today we’re in conversation with Greg San Miguel who is the co-founder and CEO of RegTech scaleup Law of the Jungle. Greg takes us back to 1999 as he talks through his journey diving into startups as a litigator with no background in tech, starting a tech company during the .com crash and building a high-performing team. Greg also shares how he navigated product-market fit, outsourced teams and sales, sharing gold nuggets of advice for other startup founders. Struggling to hire tech talent? We’ve got a long-term solution: - Greg’s early days as a litigator and passion for democratising law04:24 - The problem that inspired Law of the Jungle06:52 - How did the first few engineers come on board back in 1999?09:55 - Starting a tech startup just before the .com crash15:26 - What it’s like to work with outsourced teams17:55 - What was Greg’s key indicator of product-market fit?23:03 - Key factors of Law of the Jungle’s success26:36 - Pivoting the team culture30:13 - Building confidence and success in sales37:52 - Advice for first-time founders going from corporate to startups40:23 - What Greg would like to see more of in the startup space
Today we’re in conversation with Trent Gunthorpe, the Chief Product Officer of payments company ASL.Trent tells us about his 20 years of experience in financial services as a part of GE Capital and then leading strategy and payments at American Express. We walk through his learnings from the GFC, high-pressure scenarios, thriving in foreign environments and negotiation. We also hear his thoughts on what fintech startups and SMBs could learn from corporates and even Web3. Looking to hire tech talent globally? We’ve got a long-term solution: - Trent’s values and his experience during the GFC03:13 - What Trent learned from working across several countries07:20 - Working in a high-pressure environment08:30 - What startups and SMBs could learn from corporates12:20 - Think about the long-term relationship when negotiating14:33 - How will blockchain and cryptocurrency impact the payments industry?17:48 - Why the relationships you build at work are more important than you think21:40 - What Trent would like to see more of from the fintech space
Today we’re in conversation with Rob Vickery, the founder and Managing Partner of Hillfarance Venture Capital.In this episode, we get an insider’s look into how Rob evaluates startups and what he cares about as a VC. We also uncover the person behind the title, touching on Rob’s life outside of work, his experience with burnout, and how he sets boundaries to respect his time and mana.Struggling to hire tech talent? We’ve got a long-term solution: - Rob’s beginnings in the UK and successful venture firm in the US04:43 - Rob’s vision for the NZ tech startup space06:13 - How to become successful at enterprise sales08:55 - Who is Rob outside of the VC space?10:16 - Success and failures as a VC11:40 - How Hillfarance is 47% higher than the industry in representing women-owned companies 13:00 - Three common barriers for startups14:50 - How much should founders pay themselves? Should they?18:55 - How Rob evaluates a tech startup21:26 - Conversations with founders about pivoting 23:03  - How Rob approaches burnout as a VC25:13 - Tips for setting boundaries and respecting your time28:13 - What Rob would like to see more of in the startup space - seed investing and embracing failure
Today we're in conversation with Ben Hutt, the CEO of Evergen. Ben tells us his roller-coaster journey growing an early-stage startup to a global marketplace, going public, then venturing into the renewable energy space with Evergen. This episode is packed with Ben's raw and honest look at the mistakes he's made leading an early-stage startup and also as a first-time publicly listed CEO. This episode is important for anyone that wants to grow their company, know what it’s really like to be publicly listed or get an insider’s look into the wins and challenges in the energy space.Struggling to hire tech talent? We’ve got a long-term solution: - Joining an early-stage startup and the mistakes made 6:19 - Scaling Search Party and the learnings from going public15:28 - Three things Ben would do differently looking back at Search Party20:14 - How Ben came across Evergen and joined them as CEO23:31 - How Evergen stays close to customers as an energy company26:32 - What it’ll take for the world to reach 90% renewable energy33:46 - What Ben would like to see more of from the NZ/AUS startup space - choosing your investors carefully 
Today we’re in conversation with Lauren Peate, the founder and CEO of Mutlitudes, which helps managers and CTOs use data to improve their team's culture and performance.Having worked around the world, Lauren’s experiences abroad fueled her passion for using technology and data for equity and inclusion as we chat about Multitudes. We explore the unique attributes she looks for when building an early-stage high-performing team, and how to scale teams without sacrificing on values. Our conversation takes many interesting turns as we dive into a range of topics, from keeping compensation fair in a rapidly changing market, to blockchain’s impact on data and analytics.Struggling to hire tech talent? We’ve got a long-term solution: - Lauren’s experience working around the world, from Nicaragua to Morocco8:51 - Why it’s important to think about ethics when using technology12:10 - Building a high-performance team14:50 - How Lauren takes care of her mental health as a founder16:56 - Attributes for an early-stage high-performance team21:30 - Two important considerations when scaling a high-performance team24:30 - How could you keep compensation fair when the market rates are changing so quickly? 28:08 - Over analysing vs under analysing - how leaders can balance this act30:05 - Where do you draw the line in terms of how long to spend on decisions?31:18 - How people can use data to improve their wellbeing and live more sustainably32:44 - Blockchain - a solution looking for problems35:35 - What Lauren would like to see more of from the tech space - acknowledging the digital divide and having braver conversations about our impact on people
Today we’re in conversation with Michael Batko, the CEO of Startmate.After years in finance and consulting in his early days, Michael moved to Australia to work in a bar - and ended up at early-stage startup Mad Paws. We have the pleasure to hear Michael’s career journey in the startup space and the things he’s learnt along the way. If you’re interested in hearing his advice to founders and VCs alike–from the worst way to pivot to how to find a niche as a VC–this episode is for you.Struggling to hire tech talent? We’ve got a long-term solution: - Welcome to The Way Forward00:20 - Sponsor shoutout 00:47 - Intro to today’s episode01:02 - Michael’s early days in early-stage startups5:47 - A learning about financial modeling - it’s all about the story6:43 - Hiring for attitude and not skill9:23 - Aligning your career with your life’s mission11:20 - Advice to early-stage founders above the age of 3013:47 - Traction vs product-market fit 15:25 - Disappointments 17:54 - What Michael looks for in startups from an investor perspective20:47 - The worst way to pivot22:38 - How Michael maintains his mental health24:40 - Advice for VCs 26:00 - A common misconception about going into VC28:11 - What VCs bring to the table (and it’s not just capital)31:27 - Signals and anti-signals of great founders33:21 - What Michael would like to see more of from the NZ/AUS startup space
Today we’re in conversation with Seb Poole, the co-founder of med-tech startup Frankie Health, a Giant in residence for Blackbird and the former CPO/CTO for Hulii. Seb brings a wealth of experience on the operations and tech side of growing tech startups. Lucky for us, he’s sharing them through practical tips and tools and some straightforward advice. If you’re a CTO, engineer or someone interested in starting a tech startup, this episode is for you.Struggling to hire tech talent? We’ve got a long-term solution: - Welcome to The Way Forward00:47 - Intro to today’s episode1:30 - Seb’s first foray into the startup space with Grana 2:50 - Mistakes and lessons learnt at Grana 3:42 - How do you differentiate startups at Seed vs Series A?4:38 - What growing from 0 to 20 engineers looks like 6:37 - How smaller teams can replicate a QA process 9:40 - Tidying up multiple stacks and frameworks across teams10:43 - Journey with Frankie Health - Seb’s why, discovering product-market fit13:20 - Indicators of product-market fit14:45 - How do you make your product commercially viable? 17:19 - Using tech to beat traditional business models20:39 - What tech founders should focus on when building an MVP22:50 - Is UI important? 24:28 - How technical founders can do sales25:30  - Seb’s sales messaging advice 26:53  - Where there’s chaos there’s opportunity28:45 - Seb’s advice for taking care of your mental health30:42 - How startups founders can ask for help32:40 - Seb’s hopes for Australia’s startup space 
Today we’re in conversation with Sachee who was recently appointed the COO of CorePlan, helped with the growth of startups like UberEats and was the founder of Bugle. Sachee tells all, revealing his lessons from building a marketplace, quadrupling CorePlan’s revenue, and on a more personal note, burnout.Timestamps:00:00 - Welcome to The Way Forward00:20 - Sponsor shoutout 00:47 - Intro to Sachee1:23 - Sachee’s early career and scaling teams to becoming the best in the country2:54 - Lessons from starting a marketplace startup4:26 - Why marketplaces should quality check their supply 7:07 - How to differentiate your marketplace 9:07 - How to find your early-stage users11:16 - Pre-launch activities that will set you up for a successful launch12:58 - Community-driven marketing, featuring Thrive’s successful community15:20 - Getting a community going18:00 - How CorePlan quadrupled their revenue by doing less22:02 - It’s okay to start small24:53 - Why the mid-market is probably your best market for scale26:58 - How early-stage startups can react to (and benefit from) black swan events29:08 - Burnout - how booking a spontaneous holiday away isn’t the solution, and what Sachee does instead34:28 - Sachee’s hopes for the startup space in PerthStruggling to hire tech talent? We've got a long-term solution:
Our first guest of Season 2 is Alexey Mitko, the former Finance Manager of and He is now the current CFO for Eucalyptus and is powering the next generation of digital healthcare companies.Today we learn about building financial models for simple and complex startups, how to make your numbers align with your mission and why CFOs should put on a long-term lens rather than focus on the short-term. We also dive into 'getting ahead' hacks, that have served Alexey well during his career. Struggling to hire tech talent? We've got a long-term solution:
Today we’ve got Flavio, who’s coached multiple startups within the New Zealand tech space. He's helped validate tech ideas, rocket-charge revenue operations, and build strong money + business models. Now if you don’t know what some of this means, then you must listen to this podcast, we go through it all, in this hour-long podcast that could potentially rocket-charge your startup. If you want to learn more about how Flavio helps the startup space rocket-charge their success then please view Struggling with hiring tech talent? Here's a long-term solution:
Today we’re in conversation with Tracey Taylor, the current CEO of Yellow. She has got a wealth of experience in the people space, managing the human side of a business. In this podcast, we talk about business, startups, and high performance from a human perspective. Regardless of where you are in your journey, I’m sure you’ll capture a couple of epiphanies and that they will help you pave the way forward. Struggling with hiring tech talent? Here's a long-term solution:
When we talk about tech startups, a CTO plays an incredibly crucial part in its success. In today’s conversation, we dive into what being a CTO entails and how you as a software engineer or even a founder could move into a CTO position.  Regardless of where you are in your startup journey, you’ll learn a thing or two about building + scaling a tech team and system. Struggling with hiring tech talent? Here's a long-term solution:
A conversation about startups but from an investor's perspective. We demystify VC funding, dive into the impacts of an economic crisis on a startup, and discuss how to create a growth-driven culture. For all of you looking to start a venture, or in the midst of scaling one, you’ll definitely take a lot from this conversation here.Note: This is Part 1 Of 2. Struggling with hiring tech talent? Here's a long-term solution:
Today we’re in conversation with Mark Tanner, the COO of Qwilr. Qwilr was founded in 2014 by Mark & Daniel in NSW, Australia. We dive into Marks's journey, starting from McKinsey & Co, when the GFC happened, to his first gig at a Startup, then an amazing role at Google, and now finally to Qwilr.  You’ll learn how he jumped in and out of the startup world, what he learned within the enterprise world and how you can apply all his learnings to your journey. Struggling to hire tech talent? We've got a long-term solution:
Today we’re in conversation with Jason Paris, the CEO of Vodafone. His journey will inspire all of you because, without a degree or MBA, he’s been the CEO of MediaWorks, CMO of Spark, and is now CEO of Vodafone.  His path has had adversity and also a lot of hustle. We also touch on how tech startups today could better position themselves and also muscle through breaking new norms when solving problems using new technology. Struggling to hire tech talent? We've got a long-term solution:
Running a public listed company has its similarities to a startup but the KPI’s are much larger, the ship to navigate is much more complex and has its large employer size but the reason why I’m saying this is because I believe that a lot can be learned and applied from them within the startup space. So, Today we’re speaking with Sophie Moloney, the CEO of SKY TV and we’re going to get to learn about her journey, including her career in the UAE. Of course, with this all, we’re going to cover the advice she has for startups out there. Struggling to hire tech talent? We've got a long-term solution:
Today we’re in conversation with Dan Borthwick, The CTO of Mindset Health. Dan began his tech career in 1998 and has worked in multiple mobile game startups. Where he's worked on games such as Pet Society, The Sims, Need for Speed, and more. In addition to all this, he’s been the tech leg of many startups in the VR and MedTech space.  With a lot of experience building tech teams, in this podcast, we dive into the tech side of a startup, why it’s overlooked and sometimes undervalued, particularly at the early stages. Regardless of where you are in your startup, you’ll still take a lot of AHA! Moments that I’m sure will help you pave the WayForward. Struggling to hire tech talent? We've got a long-term solution:
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