For those of us who don’t know, what is 5Why?
A youth media publishing and events business that’s creating a community around life hacks, advice, entertainment and travel.
How did you get the idea?
I got it when I was at university a few years ago. I realised there was plenty of pop culture coverage out there, but nothing when it came to life hacks and advice – like how to apply for an apartment, what to wear to an interview, best countries to be an ex-pat in etc.
What’s the biggest win you’ve had so far?
Working with Netflix. It was a huge opportunity and we pitched a concept that they loved enough to let us film with them at Fox Studios. Great opportunity, great experience, and naturally when you mention it, people immediately take notice.
Have you had any challenges with sourcing and growing your team?
The key is being really open and transparent in communication.
Describe your working environment and its pros and cons.
Being relatively cheap and meeting other startups, a co-working space is good for collaboration I think the best part is chatting to people who have had similar problems or issues and leaning on their experience. The worst part is sometimes not having the ability to really make a space your own, but that’s a small con in comparison to the pros.
Do you believe someone with no business or entrepreneurial experience can succeed in the startup world?
Absolutely. There are so many examples of people like this out there today who have succeeded. I think work ethic is the most vital part, because if you have that ability to keep pushing and working, you’re probably going to learn a lot more on the job than anyone else – a lot quicker, too.
What needs to improve/change for Australia to become a global leader in innovation and tech?
I think we’ve got the right foot forward. The startup hubs overseas, and the recent investments here in Australia are all good initiatives, but we need to start hero-ing the successful startups more. The general public might only be able to tell you about Atlassian at most, when there are so many more good companies to come out of Aus. From a media perspective, I think we need to do a better job at that.
We need to start hero-ing the successful startups more.
What would you be doing if you weren’t doing this?
I worked in the media, advertising and sales business before going full-time on 5Why, so probably something in that field. I’ve just launched my side media consulting business called GDM too, so probably that as well!
If you could go back to the start, tell us two things you would do differently.
One – every detail, agreement and ownership in full, legally-binding documents. Two – business plan like a maniac. I was guilty of being a bit soft with this early on, but if you get really particular on making sure this is super tight, you’ll be in a good place.
What’s a secret you’ve been dying to share?
There is a big difference between working hard and working effectively. I think for founders, startup employees and people working in general there is this idea that if you’re at your desk pounding away for 8 hours a day you’re “working hard”. You might be, but if you’re working effectively you’re actually prioritising important tasks, and effectively working towards your goals. I’ve been guilty of spending days responding to emails and telling myself mentally that I’ve been “working hard”. I think working effectively scales your ability to get important tasks done quickly.
What’s the best advice you could give to someone starting out?
Fail fast. Pull triggers and make mistakes, because it’s the only way you’ll learn quickly and effectively. Convince your ego that you’re going to suck at a lot of things, and embrace your vulnerabilities. And also accept that you can always be better.
Convince your ego that you’re going to suck at a lot of things, and embrace your vulnerabilities.
If you were given $1M on the proviso that you spent it all in one day, how would you spend it?
What’s the reach of $1M on Facebook ads for a day? In honesty, I’d spend it on some type of memorable experience for the nearest and dearest; so much to thank them for what I take for granted.