The Fetch Blog

Curated reads and events for professionals

Event Review: Sydney FailCon — June 25, 2012

Event Review: Sydney FailCon

This event review is from Sydney Community Ambassador, Lisa Fox (CEO and cofounder of OpenShed). 

photo credit: Josh Stinton

FailCon Sydney twitter stream commenced with a steady stream of #Fail tweets as late participants declared that it was only 10am and they had already racked up their first fail for the day!

FailCon is all about removing the stigma that attaches to failure and embracing it instead.  I found it a thoroughly refreshing morning (unfortunately I couldn’t stay all day). The speakers generously shared their highs and LOTS of their lows. It was very different from the usual events where successful entrepreneurs talk about their success and gloss over their failures.

FailCon was started in San Francisco in 2009 as a one-day event for technology entrepreneurs, investors, developers and designers to study their own and others’ failures and prepare for future success. Last year it launched in France and Brazil. And earlier this month 6.2 brought it  to Australia to be part of Vivid Sydney 2012.

Andrew Fallshaw has summed up the day perfectly with his post How to fail Better and you can check out the day’s twitter stream here, so I thought I would just leave you some of my favourite insights from the day:

Cass Phillipps, Producer of FailCon – “Having a mess up doesn’t make you a mess up.”

Clover Moore,“Don’t go away at your first failure”.  (You can read Clover’s complete presentation here)

Matt and Pip, The Loop “If you’ve got a good idea, the real failure is not executing that idea”

Matt Perry, Republic of Everyone “If we are going to go down, let’s try not to be brought down by a preventable failure”

Paul Breen: “Failure’s an event, a circumstance, not a character trait.”

Ben Rennie, 6.2 “the idea that “failure is not an option” is dangerous. It makes it invisible, then inevitable”

Rebekah Campbell, Posse “prioritise your fears” – what’s worse than failing? “Missing out”

I couldn’t agree more!

About our Ambassador // Lisa Fox is a recovering a Government Lawyer and the Co Founder and Director of the peer-to-peer rental site, Open Shed.  Lisa is passionate about spreading the word about the Australian Collaborative Consumption movement and helping Australians access what they need when they need it! Connect with Lisa via @_lisafox or @openshed.

Event Review: Portable Presents Frank Chimero — June 12, 2012

Event Review: Portable Presents Frank Chimero

I attended an inspiring talk last Friday with Frank Chimero put on by Portable. We were back for an afternoon session at the Vivid Ideas Exchange held at the MCA. An influencer in the design arena, Frank has worked with leading businesses worldwide such as The New York Times, Nike, WIRED, Microsoft, Facebook and more. However, on this Australian speaking tour Frank shared less about his own portfolio and more about his thoughts on design thinking, defining good design and the creative “search” we were challenged to take.

I often find myself most inspired by events and meet-ups that reach beyond my usual work. I must confess, sitting in a room of designers listening to a talk on design thinking (when you’re not a designer) is wonderful. After all, design thinking touches more than just those who actively work in the field. The messages around technology’s growing role in our work and the potential to design a better future rang true with me as someone who identified as a digital marketer and perhaps just ‘creative person.’

One thing that really stuck with me was Frank’s message around the path that we take when creating. He said that he often does things the long, hard and stupid way. He swears and makes the people around him miserable throughout a project. While it’s painful at the time, in the end that hard work is seen by the world. Others can see when someone puts time and care into a project and the audience appreciates it for that reason. We recognise good design when it delights us.

I often feel this way when I’m writing the fortnightly Sydney Fetch (I promise I don’t swear when curating the Fetch). I take my time pulling each link manually. There are quicker ways we could populate the newsletter, but I like to think that some of this manual process can be seen by our readers — that they can see the care and thought that was put into it.

Frank also shared, that as creative people, he thinks we don’t shy away from the difficult path.  We are willing to take on the hard work and go on “the search” in our careers and ask the tough questions. Something that I think many friends of the Fetch can identify with.

Thank you Frank Chimero and Portable for a great event.

What inspired you this week? Let us know, leave a comment below. 

Event Review: Three Awesome Things about Awesome Soup — June 9, 2012

Event Review: Three Awesome Things about Awesome Soup

What: Awesome Soup was organised by Sydney’s chapter of The Awesome Foundation as part of Vivid this year. Each month the group come together to read applications of local projects and then fund one of those projects with a $1000 microgrant. Awesome Soup awarded a $5000 grant to the winning idea chosen by all of the attendees. Your ticket to the event went toward the grant total. By contributing financially and participating in the voting process, attendees of Awesome Soup gained some insight into how the Awesome Foundation operates each month.

Where: Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) as part of the Vivid Ideas Exchange.

Overheard: Oh no, I said that ‘awesome word’ again.

Awesome Ideas

We heard five finalist pitches (narrowed down by the Awesome Foundation board). It was everything from a day of bubbles bringing random joy to Sydney-siders, to a business that would turn Japanese tattoos into wallpaper. Each project shared had its own level of awesomeness; however our champion at the end of the night was Oxford Street Design Store — a project that has already shown a promising start, and will continue to give back to the community.

Awesome People

One of the best parts of Awesome Soup was all of the wonderful people who it attracted. It was great to chat with some friends of the Fetch and also see some new faces. As part of the event, we had dinner (soup, if you couldn’t guess by the name) and get to know our table. We were bonded by good conversations and good food, a winning combination in my book.

Awesome Sydney

Hearing these ideas and being in this room surrounded by inspired people was just another reminder of how awesome the Sydney community is. I’m glad that this event was part of the Vivid lineup.  I wonder what other awesome, local, ideas we can support over this coming year.

Have an awesome idea that needs some help getting off the ground? Apply for an upcoming grant from the Awesome Foundation. 

Event Review: Etsy Success Sydney 2012 — June 8, 2012

Event Review: Etsy Success Sydney 2012

This event review is brought to you by Delphine Vuagnoux, from our Fetch Community Ambassador Team in Sydney.


What: Etsy Success Sydney, a day-long conferences and exchanges to inspire, inform and connect local creative entrepreneurs who wish to learn new skills and understand the need for change in the new economy.
Where: in the newly-renovated Museum of Contemporary Art, with incredible views on the Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge
Over Heard: “I’m not perfect. I’m perfectly myself.”

Etsy is a global platform for people to buy from and run independent, creative business. It’s a community marketplace selling unique handmade products accross the world. Launched in Australia in 2011, Etsy is about connecting people, supporting independent businesses and artists and promoting a sustainable and viable trading.  Etsy Success Sydney, part of the Vivid Ideas Exchange at Vivid Sydney 2012, provided a rich programme for everyone looking for ideas to create or expand his/her own business. 300 creative people came to get inspired, to connect, to learn and to share.

Here are six lessons I learned from a full day of inspired stories and rich insights:

1. Find your courage

Starting something new is one of the biggest challenges in life, whether it’s moving to a new place or launching a new business. Chad Dickerson, Etsy CEO, set the tone of the day by telling us how he found the courage to do what he really wanted to do. Yes, there are always a ton of reasons not to change, not to try. So how to overcome your fear? By starting somewhere. Anywhere. “Courage comes from doing,” Chad said. Once you started you have to persist. You make some mistakes, that’s normal; the main thing to keep in mind is that you learn something everytime you failed. And then, always be true to yourself; when in doubt, go with your heart.

2. How Etsy success works for newbies

Danielle Maveal started selling on Etsy 4 years ago and as being now Etsy’s Seller Education lead, she shared tips for the beginners. Etsy has 15 000 members. They sell products which are vintage or handmade or supplies to make them. Danielle was really enthusiastic and as she emphasized, ‘with Etsy, it’s not only opening a shop, it’s about values.” She shared practical insights about how to use keywords (must be clear and detailed) or social media (it’s all about storytelling: sharing your unique point of view, of inspiration). And of course, being consistent so you keep investing time, editing and sharing.

3. Ways to use fashion as a vehicle for social change

Dr Grace McQuilten narrated us the story of The Social Studio, a social business in fashion industry, adressing the issue of refugees in Melbourne. Starting from scratch 3 years ago, The Social Studio is now a fashion label, a retail space, a cafe and a printing studio. “It’s a complex solution to a complex problem”, Grace confessed. Employing 20 people, training 35 students a year in association with the fashion school, the social studio has 5 outlets accross Australia and studies the possibility to be present in Sydney.

4. How to boost your creative business through networking

Hard to believe that Valerie Khoo used to hate giving speeches and networking as she was one of the most interesting speakers of the event. Valerie is the founder of Sydney Writers Centre, a journalist, a blogger and an author. So she had a lot to share about how to make the most of your networking opportunities: both in person and online. It’s all about to connect with your customers and continuing the conversation, building your community as we trust recommendations of people in our community. In real-life networking events can be scary but “if you force yourself, you’ll end up by liking it!”, confirmed Valerie. Overall, always remember that “your network is your networth”.

5. The story of the garage sale trail

It began as part of a local creative community festival in Bondi in May 2010. In April 2011 it went national and was activated in locations all over Australia. In May 2012, more than 150 000 people participated in event nationally. According to Darryl Nichols and Andrew Valder, 3 keywords explain this amazing success story: sustainability, community and creativity. The general idea is to “encourage recycling and relationships between neighbors.” People just adore the idea to make money and celebrate community. “Commerce is powerful when it’s fun and social.”

6. DIY Media and PR: a practical guide

There weren’t enough seats for the last conference of the day! People were really keen to learn all the secrets on how to reach their favorite journalist and get coverage in the media. Jo Walker, editor at Frankie Magazine, and Lexi Kentmann blogger at PottyMouthMama, provided basic rules such as: keep your media release short and simple, error-free and  addressed to the right person. Rather than sending randomly your media release to 100 magazines, carefully choose your target. When you send your email, be sure that it contains all the information needed, in the limit of 300-400 words, with pictures in low resolution. Timing is a key component of success: always think ahead, at least 2 months for a bi-monthly magazine.

This is only a small glimpse of the Etsy Success Sydney 2012. To find out more stay connected on Twitter with @EtsyAU. Also check out some snaps from the event on the Fetch Sydney Facebook page.

About our Amabassador // Delphine Vuagnoux is a Communications officer, working for corporate and not-for-profits sectors. She is passionate about social change and is an idealistic: she believes that all together, with a collaborative approach, we can make this world a better place to live. She just obtained a Master in Public Relations and Advertising at the University of New South Wales, Sydney. Connect with Delphine via @delphinevuagnou.

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