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Lessons learned from Internet Icons

March 3rd, 2014

tigermel

Last week, I went along to the Internet Icons event at Electric Works. It featured Sheffield’s own Andy Mayer from Yoomee, followed up by a panel of digital entrepreneurs live streamed from the British Library in London.

Let’s start with Andy – he had four lovely tips for people starting up their own digital businesses:

  1. Make sure what you do is what you love. Would you do it without pay? It’s this passion that will keep you going through the hard times and Andy believes you can turn any passion into a business.
  2. You need to be transparent to succeed in the digital world. Share your plans and what makes you tick – this attracts like minded people. And beware of vanity metrics – what’s important is people who care.
  3. Give it lots of time. To break the rules you must first master them. Stick at what you’re doing for at least six years.
  4. Make space to be creative. Work doesn’t happen at work. You need to give your mind time to quiet down and be playful and give yourself room to make decisions.

Then it was time to listen to the panel, which was made up of Nick Robertson of ASOS, Kathryn Parsons of Decoded and Nick Jenkins from Moonpig.com.

All three were interesting and entertaining speakers. I won’t try and summarise their talks but here are a few key points that I took away:

From Nick Robertson:

  • Keep it tight, be focused. And stay flexible.
  • Be prepared to kiss a few frogs and don’t sell out too soon – grow it and build it instead.
  • You are your business – you are the one who motivates people.

From Kathryn Parsons:

  • If you’re not sure what your passion is, have a look at your bookshelf. And don’t get put off – it can be fun to do the impossible.

From Nick Jenkins:

  • Make sure you understand the value of your customers versus the cost of customer acquisition.
  • Watch what your competitors are doing – they can show you the way.
  • Be decisive – hire good people and then let them get on with it.
  • Look after your people – money shouldn’t be the reason for them to stay or go.

And finally, a theme that ran throughout the event was around marketing and what to do when you don’t have a large budget for executing marketing tactics. All three panelists talked about how their customers do their marketing for them – something which doesn’t just apply to online businesses.

It was also interesting to watch the tweeting during the event. Have a look at #BLicons – the stream captured lots of other highlights as well as questions from the audience in London and at live stream venues around the country.

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