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Welcome to the
CommBank
Entrepreneurs
Hub.

The exclusive resource for entrepreneurs.

Episode 1:
Stephen Irwin tips the odds.

This innovator turned a Pivot Point Tipper invention into a successful business with the right team.

Individualist
Stephen Irwin
is an
Innovator
Innovator

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Entrepreneur

James Tuckermann 

James Tuckerman is an entrepreneur, angel investor, professional speaker, and Editor-In-Chief at Anthill Magazine. He is best known for launching Anthill Magazine in 2003. In 2009, he reinvented the business model towards 100% digital production. In 2004 and 2005, he was named Best Small Publisher in Australia by ABA (now Publishers Australia). He founded the 30under30 among other programs and initiatives designed to support entrepreneurs in Australia.

Got a great entrepreneurial
idea? Speak up before
it's gone
By James Tuckermann 

Is Stephen Irwin an inventor or an entrepreneur? Or should I ask, what's the difference?

I think it can often be distilled into one word. Fear.

Too many inventors seem to suffer from what often becomes a debilitating reluctance to seek help or even share the basic details of their idea or invention.

As for entrepreneurs? That's a different story.

Let me elaborate.

It's said that entrepreneurs are risk takers. I don't believe this to be true. I simply think that entrepreneurs are better at distinguishing real risks from perceived risks.

Try this sometime. Ask an inventor to talk about his or her idea. His or her response is, more often than not, unlikely to be forthcoming.

What's the cause of this reluctance?

The inventor is either afraid the idea will be stolen or that they might accidentally discover the idea is not as good as they thought it was (and it's difficult to know which risk causes the greater fear).

So, what is Irwin? He's a rare thing; an entrepreneurial inventor. Why?

I believe it's his rare willingness to talk freely about his ideas and surround himself with people who are able to help. It sounds so simple, right?

He has evaluated the two common risks above and decided, firstly, that the chance of his idea getting stolen is slim. Product development requires a marriage of many things. So does idea theft.

The exact person with an exact window of availability to pursue the idea in the exact position and exact frame of mind to execute must come along. That's rare (personally, I have trouble giving good ideas away).

Secondly, he has evaluated the rare risk of theft against the benefits of discovering, nice and early, that his invention has too small a market, is too expensive to produce, has limited reseller channels or is just plain flawed. And, in seeking feedback, he has acquired advocates, partners and possibly ironed out problems with the product that could have been a deal breaker later.

And, as a result, this video tells a happy tale.

Entrepreneurial inventors are rare. But when they come along... wow! What separates the likes of James Dyson, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and the also-rans? It's usually a willingness to seek feedback, pursue partners and have the guts to share their ideas with the world – just like Irwin.

What's your experience with inventors? Are you guilty of being irrationally coy? Perhaps your experience has been like Irwin, where by talking freely about your ideas you made a big breakthrough? I'd love to hear your stories. (Or simply let me know if I'm barking up the wrong tree!)

James Tuckermann 

Entrepreneur

James Tuckerman is an entrepreneur, angel investor, professional speaker, and Editor-In-Chief at Anthill Magazine. He is best known for launching Anthill Magazine in 2003. In 2009, he reinvented the business model towards 100% digital production. In 2004 and 2005, he was named Best Small Publisher in Australia by ABA (now Publishers Australia). He founded the 30under30 among other programs and initiatives designed to support entrepreneurs in Australia.

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