By Jane Kennelly, Director, Frog Recruitment
Spotted an invitation in my inbox, to a presentation being given to the SPARK Entrepreneurship Challenge Group at the University of Auckland, by Paul Cameron, CEO & Founder of Booktrack.
Being in an innovation-mind-set at the moment, I decided to check this out with a colleague, Glenn Bratton, who heads up our Frog IT.
Cameron navigated us through his compelling story of the arrival of Booktrack. It started with a simple observation of human behaviour by a clever eye that was able to join mental dots, detect a trend, create an idea, and convince others…then ‘boom’…Booktrack was under way.
I will resist the urge to go into the ins & outs of Booktrack except to say that when you think about all the text in the world, the innovation they have founded is mind-blowing.
With NZ Innovators awards, NZ Hi-Tech awards and endorsements by the Huffington Post; Booktrack is one cool company to keep watching.
Four Notable Cameron Pointers
1. Cameron referred to a model that he had borrowed from Kevin Roberts, outlining the changes we are feeling now as we shift from the old mode to current day thinking. It sums up where we are at, well:
- Return on Investment
- Pumping Markets
- Return on Involvement
- Creating a Movement
2. Cameron was asked about burnout and the hours he worked. He explained that as he works across both NZ & USA time zones, a typical day starts at 4am and concludes around 6pm. He also commented that he felt that New Zealanders’ did not work as hard as those he had come across in USA. He used the ‘emptying of NZ offices by 5-5.30pm’ as an example. And he noted: “Small companies love productivity.” In talking to numerous SME business owners as I do, Cameron is, of course, totally bang on with this comment.
In responding to the burnout factor question? Well Cameron isn’t suffering from burnout. He just loves what he is doing!
You could feel his fervour, exhilaration and drive. His enjoyment was palpable. Almost uncomfortably so as a few questions popped up we should ask ourselves:
“How many of us feel this way about what we are doing?”, “When did you last feel this way?”, “Would you like to feel this way?” and “What the hell are you going to do about it?”
3. Cameron had a great question for Grads to ask employers in smaller companies and start-ups:
” I know that I’ve got a lot to learn but are you able to be support me while I am learning?”
4. Follow-up. Cameron commented that Kiwis are ‘not good’ at follow-up. Noticeably so. For example; Cameron can meet a highly influential bod somewhere/natter; and find an email in his inbox that night or first thing the next day with suggestions on who to connect with/follow-up with/introduce him to. The general feeling, Cameron has concluded, is that people really do want to be helpful. (Can we say the same of ourselves in NZ? Let’s ponder that one for another day.)
Cameron also talked about Kiwi ingenuity and boldness. He mentioned the difficulty US people have in breaking into circles of people of influence… and how with a bit of Kiwi boldness and a kinda cute accent; doors can be opened and influential conversations held. This is the stuff that makes our Kiwi hearts beat, LOUDLY. And to a soundtrack, I am thinking.
Three final comments about being in this assembled group in Room 325, Owen Glenn Building;
- The time invested listening to Cameron in amongst a group of livewires was a treat/stimulating/relevant and thought provoking. Plain and simple.
- If this was a micro-shot of the extraordinary talent soon to be reaching the workforce, they are set to transform our workplaces.
- Cameron immediately came over and introduced himself to us. We decided this was because, as the two elderly peeps in the room we looked like academics (or investors!).
I emailed Paul the next morning regarding the notion of CV’s with sound effects! Got an immediate reply. Thank you Paul. (He’d been at work for four hours by then.)