The first Foundry658 Boot Camp!
Fri, 7 Dec 2018 14:06:10 +1000
By: gosh'at'DigitalFriend.org (Steve Goschnick)
Over the last 4 weeks my partner and I attended the very first Foundry658 Boot Camp for startups, two and three days per week. We have built up eBook Dynasty .net (a publishing imprint of Solid Software P/L) over the last 5 years, as a two-person show. Via this imprint we have published over 120 books in Chinese, most of which began life in the English language, and many of which Christine personally translated to Chinese (I'm the tech guy, she's the human language expert with a PhD in Chinese Literature and several translation certificates).
The pair of us (and the Home office) are currently the bottleneck in growing the business, so we set about replicating ourselves many times over with a whole platform that can scale what we do, even without us if need be. It was this need to scale the business startup that got us a spot in the first ever Foundry658 Boot Camp - a preliminary workshop that leads to the Foundry658 accelerator: a 3 month programme focused on high-growth potential and market-ready projects in the creative arts.
Foundry658: creative industries accelerator - is a new startup incubator collaboration between the State Library of Vic, Creative Victoria (Creative State Strategy) and ACMI. (http://foundry658.com ). We were in the first of two boot camps. There were 17 teams participating in our boot camp, which culminated in a pitch night (see team snapshot insert), that was impressive, creative and highly varied (said the judging panel).
In our case, we have a three-pronged approach (value propositions in three target segments - got the right jargon now:) with: a platform for authors; translators and other book professionals; a social-networking platform for readers with our very own eBook reader file format (and eReaders) for the Chinese language (and some other languages to follow).
[Nb. in direct contrast to my previous blog in November 2018 on age-discrimination in IT - one of the great advantages of being an Analyst/Programmer of my seniority is having a lack of distractions when writing a complex application like our own ebook format and eReader (desktop, Android, iOS), i.e.: I have the skills and experience and repertoire of my own toolbox built up over 3+ decades of both coding and AI/ICT research - and I will not be diverted from that task via approaches of high-salaried roles coming my way unasked . . . i.e. Such diversionary offers simply don't happen any more in IT when you are over ~50, so you can stay fully-focused on your startup platform, day and night:) ]
Back to the Foundry658 bootcamp: it was excellent value with very experienced presenters, high calibre invited speakers who were all generous in their advice, great venues, thoughtful mentors, challenging exercises, and an excellent set of notes/toolkit from Value Proposition-to-Growth marketing and Pitching - all professionally organised. In particular, it reminded me of the hard lessons that Usability Lab's brought to Designers in double short time, back in my IDEA Lab days: there, a Designer behind a one-way mirror or video camera would see-for-themselves how their website or app interface failed in the hands of real users. In this bootcamp, we got to see how our imagined/stereotype customers, we're not really who the real customers for our services were. Through Customer Validation Testing we were able to overturn a few gross assumptions about the problem we were actually trying to solve.
I thoroughly recommend an application to future Foundry658 boot camps to anyone with a new creative-industries startup idea, or an existing creative-industry-oriented business that is ready to scale, as they will surely run again later in 2019.
Steve Goschnick (gosh'at'DigitalFriend.org)