“Off the Cuff” with Entrepreneur, Greg Nicholls

Greg Nicholls

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA—Nicholls Technologies managing director, Greg Nicholls, has a passion for taking new and innovative products & services to market. His insatiable curiosity and entrepreneurial skills have led him to build multiple start-ups in Australia since emigrating in 1997. These include Australian Graphic Supplies, Xanita, Triga Systems, Virtualize and of late, Lifdek— wood-free, corrugated fiberboard pallets which assemble in 30 seconds. JournoNews chats with Greg.

My secret pleasure is … unplugging and going for a kneeboard surf.

My first job was … Emergency Paramedic.

My most annoying habits are … checking email before breakfast.

Sardinia Bay

A clear childhood memory is … fishing in crystal clear gulleys at Sardinia Bay, Port Elizabeth.

What makes me really nervous is … fear of failure.

The best advice my parents gave me was … The Lord is my Shepherd.

If I wasn’t an entrepreneur, I’d be … sailing around the world.

I’m most thankful for … my beautiful wife and two children.

My favourite meal is … Seafood.

I know it’s good for me, but I hate … Cauliflower!

A book I love is … What would Google do?: Reverse-Engineering the Fastest Growing Company in the History of the World

A song that resonates is … U2 Beautiful Day

My ‘happy place’ is … anywhere in the ocean.

My most embarrassing memory is … stage fright in an interview with Peter Switzer.

My hidden skill is … African dancing.

If I was a dog, I’d be a … German shepherd.

It’s a bit corny but I love … being corny with my brothers.

I’m most at peace when … in the ocean.

Ocean

Country I’d love to visit … Botswana.

Favourite quote … “Friction-free capitalism” by Bill Gates.

@gregwnicholls

www.nichollstechnologies.com

Nicholls Technologies Logo

‘Off the Cuff’ with the BENHAM BROTHERS

Benham Brothers

CONCORD, NORTH CAROLINA — Acclaimed North Carolina real estate entrepreneurs and former professional baseball players, David and Jason Benham have achieved untold success in their sporting careers and property ventures. Today the duo live out their faith by helping people from all walks of life in the areas of leadership, work, family, and culture. The twins shared their lighter side with JN.

My secret pleasure is …

Jason … eating peanuts and chocolate chips late at night
David … chocolate chip cookie cake with white icing (addicting!)

My first job was …

Jason … mowing lawns with my brother
David … taking out the trash for my neighbor in Dallas ($.10 per bag)

My most annoying habits are …

Jason … taking small sips of water while I eat – I just can’t stop
David … I don’t like to step on sidewalk lines

A clear childhood memory is …

Jason … riding big wheels with my brother in Kentucky – we were 3
David … when Jason and I threw rocks at cars!

What makes me nervous is …

Jason … thinking about my kids growing up in this culture
David … getting warmed up before a competition workout

The best advice my parents gave me was …

Jason … bloom where you’re planted
David … read the Bible from cover to cover every year

If I weren’t an entrepreneur, I’d be …

Jason … a professional movie critic
David … a Military commander

I’m most thankful for …

Jason … the wife God gave me – I don’t deserve her
David … my wife

My favorite meal is …

Jason … ribeye steak, sweet potato, green beans, caesar salad with anchovies
David … Ribeye steak (medium rare), sweet potato, mushrooms, salad

I know it’s good for me, but I hate …

Jason … drinking Kombucha
David … Apple cider vinegar (with the Mother)

A book I love is …

Jason … Jude – small but powerful
David … How Now Shall We Live, by Chuck Colson

A song that resonates is …

Jason … I Remember L.A. by Celine Dion

David … We Will See, by Gateway Worship

My ‘happy place’ is …

Jason … at home on my porch swing with my wife while our kids play outside
David … in the gym working out

My most embarrassing memory is …

Jason … farting on a blind date!
David … kicking a hole in the gym wall during a basketball game

My hidden skill is …

Jason … I’m a killer DJ – I can get people on the dance floor pretty easily
David … I love to interior design/decorate

If I were a dog, I’d be a …

Jason … Boxer
David … German Shepherd, to stop the bad guys

It’s a bit corny, but I love …

Jason … watching chick-flicks with my wife
David … romantic, heartfelt music

Screen Shot 2015-12-17 at 10.32.30 pm

I’m most at peace when …

Jason … I’m sitting with my wife and my kids aren’t arguing!
David … reading my Bible after a workout and a shower

The country I’d love to visit …

Jason … Italy
David … Italy

Favorite quote …

Jason … “I’d rather have bad breath than no breath at all” – my father-in-law, Frank Cantadore

Frank-Cantadore

David … “Never throughout history has a man who lived a life of ease left a name worth remembering” – Teddy Roosevelt

Teddy Roosevelt

CONNECT WITH DAVID and JASON

Whatever_the_Costwww.benhambrothers.com

@BenhamBrothers

@DavidDBenham

@JasonBBenham

WHATEVER THE COST

benham-brothers

“Off the Cuff” with Bronwen Healy, Founder of HOPE Foundation

Bronwen Healy

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA―As the founder and Chief Executive Officer of the Hope Foundation, Bronwen Healy’s mission is to help women wanting to be free from addiction and/or the sex industry. A former heroin addict and sex worker, Bronwen established and launched the charity in 2007 to help other women transform their lives. Bronwen set up the Hope Haven―a drop-in space for Hope Chicks under the Foundation’s umbrella. She drives a program of fundraising, events, counselling and services, including the development of a high school-based program, Every Choice has a Consequence. She took time out of her busy schedule to chat with JournoNews.

My secret pleasure is … snuggling up on a couch or hammock and reading for hours on end.

My first job was … in my mum’s friend’s milk bar when I was 11, stocking shelves and making milkshakes (I was saving up for a double tape deck to make mixed tapes with! It was 1986.)

My most annoying habits are … I asked my kids … they said “repeating yourself” but I told them that’s only because they require encouragement to do things, sometimes more than once. Haha.

A clear childhood memory is … holidays at Tootgarook on the Peninsula in Victoria … BEST memories.

Before-and-After
Bronwen’s visible transformation from heroin addict (pictured left) to brand new woman, free from addiction (pictured right)

What makes me really nervous is … not a lot does, to be honest.

The best advice my parents gave me was … dream BIG dreams and do them.

If I wasn’t a Change Agent and Story Teller, I’d be … a script-writer/film director.

I’m most thankful for … the second chance at life that God gave me back in 1999, and for my 3 daughters.

My favorite meal is … Thai food – any.

I know it’s good for me, but I hate … cleaning the house, like the ‘full-vacuum-and-sweep-and-scrub-the-bathroom’ kind of clean.

A book I love is … the Bible – it is my favourite. Living word that changes my life every day …

A song that resonates is … Amazing Grace.

My ‘happy place’ is … the couch, hammock, resting.

My most embarrassing memory is … my first kiss …

My hidden skill is … cooking, I love to cook!

If I was a dog, I’d be a … Cavoodle, because our dog Max is one and he is the BEST and he is SO loved!!

It’s a bit corny, but I love … candlelit dinners.

I’m most at peace when … my kids are happy and content and/or when I am in God’s presence.

Country I’d love to visit … France―I am going there on my honeymoon one day (when God brings my future husband across my path … )

Favourite quote … “If you can dream it, you can do it” – Walt Disney

Connect with Bronwen:

Hope FoundationTwitter: @bronwenhealy
Website: http://www.hopefoundation.org.au/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HopeFoundationBrisbane

Make a Donation here

Other “Off the Cuff” guests

Wild Olive African Artisans – a fragrance of hope

Eight years ago, when Romanian Mădălina Bhatia arrived in Cape Town to live with her South African partner, she was fascinated with what she found.

“I spent the first year looking around, trying to figure out why there were no lions in the streets and why people didn’t live in the bush, because that is what we hear …

“Then I started really learning and observing,” says Bhatia, who works under the name Mărioara de la Țară.

What she learnt amazed and appalled her and it was what she learnt from her domestic worker, Nokubonga Liwani that kicked off a journey which saw Bhatia acquiring the business, Wild Olive.

Now called the Wild Olive African Artisan Apothecary and Artistic Perfumery, the business, which sells a range of artisanal soaps, fragrances, bath oils and other body products, made up of exquisite African and other essences, recently opened the doors of its city store at 29 Pepper Street. This is the third shop – there is one in the Cape Quarter and another in Bucharest.

Wild Olive's flagship store, 29 Pepper St Cape Town

For Bhatia, who was raised in communist Romania, it has been a journey she would never have imagined.

“It really all started when I met this little girl called Nokubonga who came from the Transkei and was supposed to help me with the housekeeping at home,” she relates, in a strong Romanian accent.

“We made friends – but it was clear she hated being a housekeeper. Her eyes looked dead. She was bored. I asked her if she was happy doing housework and she said, no.

“I was determined to find out more about her … She took me to the Imizamo Yethu township where she lived. I’d never been taken by anyone else. That was the taboo place that no-one in my circles spoke about. I started realizing that the real problem in South Africa is that nobody gives a damn about people who are unemployable.”

Wild Olive bath oil, soap and perfume

Bhatia was not interested in following in the footsteps of her new South African friends and getting involved in charities. “I decided that was a dishonest waste of time and money.”

She resolved to find an enterprise which would interest Nokubonga and her younger brother, Thembela, who had arrived from the Transkei and was also looking for work.

Not long afterwards, she stumbled upon a little business. Wild Olive had been set up in 1997 when a local pharmacist set about creating a natural soap for people with sensitive skin. The pharmacist emigrated and sold the business, which, till then, had been selling its products at a few shops – and had built up a loyal clientele.

When Bhatia took it over in 2007, the business consisted of a soap formula and a machine and some notebooks.

Welcome

“Nokubonga and I went to look at the business. We drove home along Chapmans Peak drive. I said to her, “shall we buy the business?”

The answer was a resounding yes and Bhatia bought the business the next day.

Bhatia and Nokubonga started making soap in their kitchen at home. “We really knew nothing about product development and packaging. It was so much harder than it sounded.

“We sat at home with piles of books and started learning all there was to know about making soap and other body products.

“We studied all the essential oils … Before we started this business, we didn’t know what an essential oil was. Today Nokubonga can recognise more than 200 different essential oils.”

Being a perfectionist and determined to understand the science behind what she was doing, Bhatia signed up to study cosmetic science. “I also contacted many people who were already in the industry in SA and in Europe.

She also had to learn how to conform with global standards of quality control.

“When we bought the business, our packaging was so ugly even the charity markets wouldn’t take us on,” she jokes.

Explaining her fastidiousness, she says: “I grew up in communist Romania where we had very high standards of education. When you did something, you learnt absolutely everything about it. I am still continually learning and doing new research.”

Born into a family of academics in Bucharest, Bhatia studied dance and classical music from when she was three-and-a–half years old until she was 20. “I studied “very seriously and in communist style”. She later changed direction to study law.

It was while working in Austria as a bar tender in her 20s, that she met local businessman Tony Heneck.

In 2006, she moved to Cape Town to live with him.

Products

Fascinated by the passion and natural talents of the people she encountered as well as the high quality of design in South Africa, she was also appalled at the lack of opportunity for some South Africans.

“I absolutely fell in love with the people. I find with Xhosa people, it feels as if I have known them for millions of years. “There is a kindness, a friendliness, a humility and a deep seriousness I have never encountered before. When someone has nothing to offer except their beautiful soul it is a very honest gift. And interestingly there are such similarities between Xhosa and Romanian traditional dress.”

The business continued supplying Wild Olive’s regular customers with soap – and then started going from shop to shop trying to sell the soap.”

They then started selling their products at the markets and became increasingly popular.

During their first year of production, they also made shampoo and conditioner.

In 2008 they took up a stall at the Biscuit Mill and they were soon approached by the developers of the Cape Quarter shopping centre and encouraged, to open a shop there.

“The one man said ‘my wife is obsessed with your product, why don’t you open a shop?’

Soon the small team was making bath oil, perfumes, body lotions, body butters, exfoliators, room sprays, face toners and serums.

Candles, came a little later and, in October 2009, Wild Olive opened a shop with a large selection of products at the Cape Quarter.

Having started making the products at home in her kitchen, Bhatia moved the factory to a cottage in Hout Bay before moving it to Woodstock.

The entire production business moved into Pepper Street earlier this year and the products are created “from kitchen to shelves” on the premises. Even the felt for the bags in which the organic fragrances are packaged is hand made in the same factory.

Wild Olive

Hand and face cloths, made from handwoven unbleached organic cotton in Knysna are all individually hand embroidered.

“We are literally from source to consumer. It is an unusual business model. We do just about everything ourselves on these premises.

When we meet, the finishing touches are being done to the building in Pepper Street but staff are hard at work, making and packing the products.

Wild Olive employs about 16 full-time people as well as a number of people in Imizamo Yetho, who have been trained in making candles and soap and who are called in to assist with big orders.

Nokubonga who is passionate about her work, runs the factory and is responsible for drawing up the production schedules and “deciding what we cook and when we cook it”.

Thembela, is in charge of producing the porcelain containers for the much-loved Wild Olive candles. “He works in the porcelain room, also on the premises, which has a kiln … and has been on a number of courses with porcelain specialists.”

Bhatia who describes herself as “a sucker for art and artists” has incorporated a number of artists’ collaborations in her products, including a line of candle holders by local ceramicist Lisa Firer.

“Lisa also designed the bath oil bottle and the candle holder for our new classic collection.”

In another collaboration, the company 20 Eight Design has made bath oil bottles out of concrete.

The design of the company’s packaging is inspired by the Xhosa ceremonial costume.

The wide product range includes a classic collection, an apothecary collection and the artist collaborations.

Wild Olive Stoep

Fragrances – many of which incorporate Fynbos, Buchu, African Wormwood, Cape May, Geranium and other African plants, include Flora Capensis, Plantifolia Lignosa, Rosaria and Vetiveria Citrata.

Since meeting Nokubonga and Thembela, Bhatia – who is “going nowhere”, and firmly committed to staying in SA – has adhered to a policy of employing people from the Transkei with the intention of training them “for years” in artisanal processes.

“One of the main purposes of this business is to give opportunities to local people.

“Our purpose is to teach skills, and, to promote the capability of the people. South Africa’s biggest resource is the human resource. People must start acknowledging that we have to build up our local people. It’s an investment we all have to make and a vision we all have to have.

“I love the fact that Nokubonga and Thembela’s children will be better off because of the work we are doing now.”

The Wild Olive African Artisan Apothecary and Artistic Perfumery is open for business at 29 Pepper Street, Cape Town, South Africa.

www.wildolive.eu

www.facebook.com/wildoliveartisans

Small business – tips on weathering the storm

I’m reading Henri J M Nouwen’s, The Inner Voice of Love, his personal journal during a time of deep anguish to freedom. It’s a book about spiritual imperatives.  I wondered whether these could be mirrored in business imperatives.  So this is a journey I am going to pursue.

Small business is under pressure and it is challenging to maintain a smile, hope, creativity and new ideas.  But small business is critical to our country’s blooming. Some estimates indicate that the total economic output of SMEs makes up about half of South Africa’s GDP and that SMEs provide employment to about 60% of South Africa’s labour force.

In an SME (small to medium enterprise), there is usually a handful of people who come up with the idea, produce the item, take it to market, handle complaints, do the books, manage the admin, remember to tweet, capture news on Facebook, update the website, and make coffee.  When competition, rejection, regulation are just the breeze of any day, that’s a lot to manage without falling over.

As an entrepreneur, how do you stand in the storm?   Here are some of the things that help me:

  1. I take some time out in nature every day, I either walk on Kalk Bay mountain, or swim in Dalebrook, although swimming is over for a few months till temperatures are back at the upper teens.
  2. I check in with my industry.  Thanks to technology this is really easy – interest groups on LinkedIn, blogs, websites, conversations.
  3. Connecting is easy for me; I’d rather be shot at dawn than cold call.  So I connect, with clients, past clients, friends.
  4. Is there anything I am working on that can be pushed along a little further? Research, pricing, proposals, administration?
  5. I’m never at my desk in my pyjamas – I get ready as if I have somewhere to go.
  6. Social media – I attended an excellent social media course lead by Charlotte Kemp of Niche Training.  As an entrepreneur, social media is part of your job description, it’s part of your marketing plan, not something that you have and never update.  If it’s not your strength, do a trade exchange with someone who has those skills, and get them to build your reputation and get your brand out there on social media.  The challenge with social media is to be current and for your postings to be meaningful or to add value.
  7. No client’s budget is ever too small. You never know what might open up or who you might meet.  I recently did a trade exchange with an artist – Dathini Mzayiya.  We traded a painting for some publicity for his recent exhibition at Greatmore Studios.

So some admin …

I take a deep breath, look at the beautiful view from my office, drink a good cup of Truth Coffee. And stand.

Kim Barty

Kim Barty is Managing Director of Trojan Horse, a boutique Kalk Bay communications agency in South Africa. She assists clients to get behind enemy lines and into new markets, using personal and innovative exchanges with the media and targeted audiences.

www.trojanhorse.co.za

Brisbane invention revolutionises cooking process

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA – Brisbane’s Joanne Kennard kept her sustainable cooking invention buried in a cupboard for 20 years before unearthing it and redesigning a product worthy of the world stage, exhibiting at the March 2013 Global Alliance for Clean Cook Stoves in Cambodia.

“I had the idea twenty years ago as was always going to pot luck teas etc. where we had to wrap food in cloth to keep it warm – there was never enough oven space for all of us,” says New Zealand-born Joanne.

What grew from a simple idea to keep food warm has grown into a concept called EasyOven™ that not only retains heat, but cooks food too. Made from fully washable, brightly coloured insulated poly-cotton, it has generated massive interest world-wide, particularly for its use in third world countries.

Joanne first introduced the product at the Aid and International Development Forum (AIDF) in Washington DC in June last year where she was invited to exhibit her other range, Kozy Koala Sleepmats and Kiddysac. The lightweight all in one bedding had generated much interest for use in areas affected by the ravages of war or disaster.

EasyOven

But it’s the EasyOven™ that has taken centre stage for now, especially with a world focus on environmental preservation. It has far reaching appeal. Vulnerable women in remote rural African regions, for example, spend much of their day fetching and carrying fire wood for cooking, and lugging heavy containers of water. Joanne’s product allows them to heat their food, for example, rice or staple maize meal, and boil for just two minutes.

The entire pot is then place in the EasyOven™ and left for an hour to cook in the insulated device. Stews can be boiled for 15 minutes, placed in the device for four hours and are ready to eat. Vegetables such as potatoes can be boiled for a mere five minutes and left to stand for an hour in the EasyOven™. Wood collection is thus greatly reduced as a pot is not left boiling for hours, burning through fuel.

EasyOven

The product also helps prevent excessive smoke inhalation in countries where rural communities make fires inside their dwellings for cooking food. This poses a huge health and burns risk. “Diseases related to smoke inhalation are rated in the top five causes of deaths in the world,” says Joanne.

Energy efficiency is a given. In fact, Joanne’s research shows that when using the device four times a week, half a ton of carbon is saved a year. The product is carbon neutral after only four months when used four times a week.

Not only is it generating interest in third world countries, however, it also has appeal in the Western World where electricity and water costs are soaring. The concept can be used for camping, picnics or barbeques, even food programs at schools in remote communities. It can also be used for keeping products cool – for example frozen foods including ice cream.

Even chefs have sung its praises. Australian celebrity chef and television personality, Ben o’Donaghue has endorsed the product after trying out a range of meals. Olympic hurdler, Kyle van der Kamp has also endorsed its virtues.

The appeal is growing. Pilot projects have been set up in Vietnam, Kenya, Ethiopia, Lao, Timor-Leste  (East Timor) and Indonesia. Micro-businesses are also being investigated where the product is sold by locals who earn a living from sales.

And while 20 years seems a long time to wait for an idea to come to fruition, Joanne believes the timing was perfect.

“Twenty years ago if I had said I wanted to help save the environment, no-one would have taken any notice – so much has changed in that time.”

www.easyoven.com.au

‘Off the Cuff’ with Joanna Penn

Joanna Penn is the author of the ARKANE thrillers, Pentecost and Prophecy. Joanna is also an entrepreneur and professional speaker.

Her site for writers http://www.TheCreativePenn.com has been voted one of the Top 10 sites for writers 2 years running and offers articles, audio and video on writing, publishing and book marketing. Connect with Joanna on Twitter @thecreativepenn.

My secret pleasure is … Hotel Chocolat 85% Madagascan dark chocolate.

My first job was … Cleaning toilets in a dry cleaning factory.

My most annoying habits are … being hyper sensitive to sound so wearing ear plugs a lot.

A clear childhood memory is … flying over the Sahara when we moved to Malawi, Africa when I was seven.

What makes me really nervous is … the moment before I start speaking at an event (although I am a professional speaker and enjoy it once I get started!).

The best advice my parents gave me was … to floss.

If I wasn’t an author, speaker & blogger, I’d be … a psychologist.

I’m most thankful for … my husband, Jonathan.

My favorite meal is … chicken tikka masala.

I know it’s good for me, but I hate … going to the doctors.

A book I love is … The Success Principles by Jack Canfield.


A song that resonates is … One Way by the Levellers.

My ‘happy place’ is … scuba diving somewhere tropical.

My most embarrassing memory is … being found out at school for wearing clothes from the hand me down shop.

My hidden skill is … I’m pretty good with a revolver.

If I was a dog, I’d be a … golden retriever.

It’s a bit corny, but I love … karaoke and songs from the 90s.

I’m most at peace when … I’m scuba diving.

Country I’d love to visit … Iran for the amazing history and architecture.

Favourite quote … “Whatever you do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.” Goethe

Connect with Joanna on Twitter @thecreativepenn.

Founder of mosaicHUB inspires entrepreneurs

MARY-ALICE BRADY is CEO and Founder of mosaicHub, a dynamic business community connecting entrepreneurs with the pieces necessary to create great businesses.  She was recently elected by The Boston Business Journal as one of 2012’s class of 40 under 40 honoreesShe spoke with JournoNews.

JN: What inspired you to start mosaicHUB?

M-AB: My inspiration came from several sources and gradually built over years of practicing law. While at a law firm and then at a financial services company I saw many smart, driven people slowly lose their passion and become complacent. I am not saying everyone loses their motivation as a corporate employee but there are many people sitting behind desks miserable because they don’t like what they are doing and don’t see any other options. They think they are too old or have too many responsibilities to do something different or they just don’t know where to start. I then spent several years at a venture capital firm working with early stage entrepreneurs.

I saw their excitement and vision, but also saw many wasting time on things that shouldn’t be that time-consuming. I wanted to see these entrepreneurs succeed, as well as encourage more people to explore entrepreneurship as a way to follow their true passion.

JN: Love the name – mosaicHUB – How did you come up with it?

M-AB: Choosing a name is hard. I wanted a simple, easy to understand name. But, these days, so many names are taken. I spent a lot of time trying to find the right name. As soon as I had something I thought was perfect, it was either taken or my friends gave it a thumbs down. When I was travelling in Greece and heard how the early mosaics were made by incredibly resourceful people from tiny bits of clay and other scraps, I immediately thought of today’s entrepreneurs, the most resourceful people I know. It just fit. And the hub is where it all comes together. Because so many people have asked about our name, I put the story on our About page.

JN: Take us through the types of Start-up Tools mosaicHUB provides.

M-AB: Here are our primary tools:

Answers: Our Answers feature provides a venue for rich content-driven discussions amongst entrepreneurs, service providers, mentors and investors.

Resources: Our Resource Center contains articles, videos and other valuable business resources to obtain more in-depth information on a particular topic.

Service Provider Search: Through our Service Provider Search members can quickly find service providers to help them with various business needs.

Exchange: With our classified ad and listing feature, members can easily request help with a project or offer a deal, job or other item.

Pitch-It!: Members can promote their startups (video examples below) to potential customers and investors and get valuable feedback from other members through our Pitch-It! feature.

JN: mosaicHUB also provides free advice and support for aspiring entrepreneurs. What do you find are the more common types of advice that members tend to post on the site?

M-AB: The great thing about our community is that we bring together entrepreneurs, service providers, mentors and investors so our members can get advice from different perspectives. For example, I recently asked a question on web hosting platforms and received great advice from other entrepreneurs on what worked best for them. These are real people who have dealt with this exact struggle so I really value their advice. We also have questions around social media, legal matters and other specialized topics and many of our members who are experts in these areas have provided very helpful and reliable advice.

JN: Best lessons learnt about starting an online business?

M-AB: To start with a minimal viable product (MVP) and listen to your community.

I get tons of advice and suggestions, from users, my team, casual visitors and potential investors, but the best advice is from people’s actual behavior. What people think they want and what they actually use can be very different. At first, I would go off and build something because I thought it would be useful or because people told me they wanted it. I recall one feature a potential investor told us would make the product much more valuable. Well, we went off and built it and our members didn’t use it much. I also have been surprised by features that we didn’t spend much time on being very popular.

JN: Describe the typical profile of a mosaicHUB member.

M-AB:  There really isn’t a typical profile. We have entrepreneurs focusing on technology startups, consumer product companies and service businesses. We have experts from large law firms, accounting firms and advertising agencies offering their expertise. While a majority of our members are currently from the US given we launched here, we are attracting members from around the world.

JN: How does the Community-driven ranking system work?

M-AB: This is still a work on process. The challenge with an online community as it grows is to maintain the high quality. To help ensure great content we have implemented a voting system where our members can vote up or down questions, answers and resources so that the best materials are at the top. We believe that the community is in the best position to help drive good content.

Romance In Rings Fountain

JN: Why do you think entrepreneurs love to help others succeed?

M-AB: Because entrepreneurs are a very special breed. We are passionate people and are always looking to the future. We see possibilities and get excited to think creatively. Most of us decided to start our own businesses because we saw that things could be done better, more efficiently. Because we focus on tackling new problems or new ways of doing things we see reinventing the wheel as a waste of time, so if we can share knowledge to help others get on to bigger things more quickly we are eager to help.

JN: Your team comes from different business backgrounds. How does this mix of skills contribute to mosaicHUB’s success?

M-AB: We are diverse in age and skills. Having a range in age is valuable since our community includes members from a broad age range. People in different age groups interact differently online. It’s important to develop a site that caters to this broad age range and having team members with different ages helps tremendously with product development. I also come from a more structured, professional background and tend to be more formal online, but having team members who come from a less formal background helps keep the site both professional and fun. Again, it’s all about striking a balance to appeal to a broad range of users and having a diverse team helps with finding this balance.

JN: Aside from financial gain, what success-factors do you value the most when leading a business?

M-AB: Creating value. The best thing about being an entrepreneur is that you can create something amazing. Building a community where people share knowledge and make starting and growing businesses easier is incredibly satisfying.

If we can share knowledge to help others get on to bigger things more quickly we are eager to help.

JN: How do you and your team spend your free time outside working hours?

M-AB: For me, I am usually running, biking, skiing or doing some other fun outdoor activity, usually with my husband. Stephen is usually long boarding, Chris likes biking and they both like watching sports, which leaves me clueless when they catch up on the latest sporting events in the office.

JN: What business book has impacted you? Why?

M-AB: The E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber. The balance between the entrepreneur, manager and technician really resonated with me. I started my career as a technician, then became a manager and finally an entrepreneur. You need all three personalities when running your own business and I sometimes find it hard to strike the right balance. This book helps remind me to keep rebalancing, as well as to work “on” the business, rather than “in” the business.

JN: When are you at your most creative?

M-AB: When running. It’s time when I can really think with no distractions. I also tend to think more about the possibilities as opposed to obstacles when I am running.

JN: What character traits do you admire in a leader?

M-AB: Patience and perseverance. As a leader you have a lot of responsibility to tackle big problems as quickly and efficiently as possible. It’s easy to view everything as a sprint, particularly in today’s fast paced world. I admire those leaders who can see through all the day-to-day fire drills and keep the big picture in mind.

JN: Favorite food and restaurant?

M-AB: Toro Restaurant in the South End of Boston. It’s a fun Spanish tapas bar. I love trying a variety of foods and it’s easy to order a lot of different things at a tapas bar.

Hanalei Bay, Kauai, Hawaii

JN: Best holiday destination?

M-AB: Hanalei Bay, Kauai, Hawaii. My husband and I love to travel and we’ve been fortunate enough to have visited many amazing places, but Hanalei Bay is my favorite thus far. I love this quaint little village, the people who live there and the local traditions.

JN: What’s the next BIG thing for you and the team at mosaicHUB?

M-AB: Our focus is to build a large, valuable mosaicHUB community where entrepreneurs connect from around the world and share their knowledge, advice and experiences to help more people launch and grow successful ventures.

JN: Favorite Quote?

“Life is a journey, not a destination” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

mosaicHUB, Inc.

50-52 Broad Street
Second Floor
Boston MA 02109
www.mosaicHUB.com

http://www.facebook.com/MosaicHUB

@mosaichub

San Diego’s Public Market is Coming!

Dale Steele and Catt White

Catt White and Dale Steele

AFTER TEN YEARS of tenacity, chutzpah and vision to see a public market established in San Diego, Dale Steele and Catt White have finally signed a lease on a massive 92,000 square foot property near the harbor and Petco Park.

Watch the Kickstarter video below to discover more about this exciting development that will become a landmark for the city.

Read about the venture on Kickstarter