If you didn’t need money, what would you do?
Set up a car yard in Central Auckland which only sells 1980’s Japanese hatchbacks from a tech-free office of the era. Beige suits, Datsuns and a Rolodex. It would definitely lose money, but would be super fun.
Then go on huge trips exploring continents with my wife, Kirsten, in our Kombi campervan. The encounters with different cultures, new scenery and exploration of food would be life-changing.
What is the secret to success?
Focus on your goals with every decision you make. Try to work smart rather than work hard. Look for inspiration and ideas from other products/companies/industries unrelated to what you are doing.
For Urbanaut, we have found successes from being inspired by creative ideas outside of the brewing world. Also, not being afraid to trying something new, knowing it could turn out to be a total disaster.
If you aren’t putting yourself out on line and challenging norms, you’ll stop learning and growing. If you find it’s not working out, listen to others and don’t be afraid to accept defeat, make the call to completely drop it and start something new. You’ll learn as much from failure as from success.
What is the worst mistake you’ve made and how did you fix it?
Flooding the tenants in the office unit below the brewery with 5000L of water overnight, by accidentally leaving a tap open. It was literally raining from the ceiling onto their computer desks when we arrived in the morning.
It was fixed by a lot of squeegees, dryers, anti-flood pipes and extensive apologies.
What is your advice for people to fund their dream?
Start by getting as much experience as you can in your chosen field before getting started. For me, this was working for 10 years in other breweries. We could have splurged huge amounts of cash on consultants, engineers and advisors, but sometimes a little knowledge is not such a dangerous thing.
Then find financial partners who share the same vision, have experience in your field, or who you trust and admire, to join you in your dream. It goes a really long way when the going gets tough. The government-run Callaghan Grant has been really helpful to grow our innovation program and connect Urbanaut with other pioneering businesses.
What is the best bit of advice, or quote, that resonates with you?
Think big, act fast.
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