Monthly Archives: July 2017

Planning for Failure: Outback Style

“Cash only!” yelled the BP station assistant manager in Winton, Queensland.  Turns out internet connections were down and the station couldn’t process any EFTPOS or credit card transactions.  They weren’t alone, one business in Longreach shared they lost $8,000 in revenue in one day due to the outage; the banks couldn’t automatically verify account balances and had to use landlines to verify account balances before giving cash; ATMs weren’t functional.

So what can a business do to help minimize a single fault such as the Telstra outage of July 2017?

  • Have alternate methods to accept payment outside of cash
    • Consider  a second bank with different merchant processing and a different cellular or satellite carrier for processing payments. Key terms to review include the data connection provider and merchant processor.
  • Have redundant internet and data connections that can easily be swapped in the event of a failure.  In Longreach you can now have 2 different carriers: Telstra and Southwestern Wireless.  You could also use wifi hotspots if your cellular provider has one or use a pay as you go system only for emergencies or system faults.
  • Document clearly with pictures or illustrations how to move from your primary service to the backup service; cross train employees on any handheld electronic payment systems
  • Test your systems to make sure that they operate as planned and per the written documentation, document any changes so your newest employee with limited experience can bring the system back online.  Have an employee go through the process to share and fix any areas of confusion on where parts are located or connection points.

There are heaps of ways to mitigate risk to your business, start with one simple item per week or month and progress from there.  Industry terms, books and workshops that cover these and provide guidance or consulting is: Business Continuity.


Startup Weekend is Absurd


The entire concept behind Startup Weekend is absurd, really, really absurd.

Think about it… gather a room full of strangers of various background and interests, supply food and drinks and let them share their business idea and see what they can accomplish from Friday until Sunday. Pepper in some education components and pressure in the form of guidance from mentors and coaches and remind participants they have to share how much progress they made to a group of seasoned business professionals. Participants walk away and some continue building their concepts, refining and getting past the idea stage into a real business with potential to generate jobs, spur innovation and change someone’s career path.

Oh, and people pay to do this or support the event as a sponsor!

I’ve done it. Lots of my friends have participated. I’ve been the guide through about 50 of these events in 7 countries. For free.


On July 7, 2007 in Boulder, Colorado, a young guy had this absurd idea and willpower to pull it off. The format has been slightly tweaked as more than 350,000 budding entrepreneurs through 4,500 events in over 150 countries! These community events are also supported by over 10,000 volunteers. This ringleader, cheerleader and genuine man is Andrew Hyde.

  • To Andrew, THANK YOU for having an absurd idea and bringing it to the world.
  • To those that have participated, thank you for trying a new experience.
  • To the sponsors, coaches, mentors and partners, we couldn’t help seed ideas, support networking and build confidence without you.
  • To the volunteer leaders who give their time, talent, connections (and sometimes funds) to bring the event to their community — your efforts are appreciated, keep up the great work!
  • To the regional managers (current and past) and support staff, thank you for supporting us to build our communities, linking us and sometimes humoring oddballs like me with great experiences around the world.
  • To those that have yet to join us on the journey — find one to attend or host an event in your community.
  • To Startup Weekend — Happy 10th Anniversary!  Here’s to the next absurd idea!

So what’s your absurd idea to share and bring to the world as something new (business, personal, travel)?