Shane Bradley on Grab One and secrets to success

New Zealanders aren't usually ones to blow their own trumpet, so I'm making it my business to talk to some of our less-known industry leaders and gain insight into how they got to where they are today. First up is Grab One founder, Shane Bradley.

In case you've been living in a cave for the past year, Grab One - founded by 33 year old Shane Bradley - rose quickly to become New Zealand's #1 daily deal coupon site (65% market share), despite being third into the market and up against some deep-pocketed competitors including Trade Me, Mediaworks, and US-based Groupon and Living Social.

By all accounts the site is a run-away success, having recently sold $500,000 worth of coupons in a single day, and with a growth curve not seen on a kiwi web site this side of Trade Me. So, how did he do it? And more importantly, what lessons can be learned and applied by other up-and-coming Kiwi entrepreneurs?

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posted by Dylan on 5 August 2011, 2:30 pm in , , ,

Trade Me valuation and future threats

Recent news that Fairfax may float part of the Trade Me business they acquired in 2006 has led some Internet commentators to speculate the auction giant may now be worth much less than the NZ$750 million they paid in 2006.

Unlikely.

Online auctions may be yesterday's news, but in a "Web 2.0" Internet where many ventures remain cool but wildly unprofitable, Trade Me continues to truck on and generate upward of NZ$80 million per year in earnings for Fairfax - and growing.

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posted by Dylan Bland on 9 June 2011, 10:48 pm in , ,

Make small deposits

Small deposits are an investment in our future, and made often enough, they can add up to something big.
We all know about deposits in a monetary sense, but deposits can be just about anything: a small favour for a friend, consistently arriving early to work, doing little things to show your partner you care, remembering your friend's birthday, answering a call for help from a colleague, always replying to email in a timely manner, checking in with family and friends who live outside your weekly routine, paying your bills on time, going out of your way to do small favours for customers, being punctual to appointments and so on and so forth.
Life is a lot easier for people who consistently make small deposits, and equally difficult for those who don't. Favours are more willingly given to friends who help friends. Employers are more flexible with time off for errands or illness when employees are punctual or have been generous with their own time. Colleagues are more likely to have your back in a tight situation if you've previously helped them in kind. Friends and partners can forgive tardiness or forgetfulness if you've been consistently thoughtful and made time in the past. Customers forgive screw ups if you have previously demonstrated attention to detail and good service.
Cut yourself some slack. Make small deposits.

We all know about deposits in a monetary sense, but deposits can be just about anything: a small favour for a friend, consistently arriving early to work, doing little things to show your partner you care, remembering your friend's birthday, answering a call for help from a colleague, always replying to email in a timely manner, checking in with family and friends who live outside your weekly routine, paying your bills on time, going out of your way to do small favours for customers, being punctual to appointments and so on and so forth.

The thing about small deposits is they add up to something big and you get to cash them in. Life is a lot easier for people who consistently make small deposits, and equally difficult for those who don't. Favours are more willingly given to friends who help friends. Employers are more flexible with time off for errands or illness when employees are punctual or have been generous with their own time. Colleagues are more likely to have your back in a tight situation if you've previously helped them in kind. Friends and partners can forgive tardiness or forgetfulness if you've been consistently thoughtful and made time in the past. Customers forgive screw ups if you have previously demonstrated attention to detail and good service.

Cut yourself some slack. Make small deposits.

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posted by Dylan on 22 May 2011, 4:58 pm in , ,

How to raise $1000

The 40 Hour Famine has moved into the 21st century and delivered a master class on how to set goals and achieve them.

Door knocking for sponsors? Gone. Hand-written sponsorship booklets? Gone. Collecting your earnings? Yup, that's gone too.

Replacing all of that is your own personal web page that proudly displays exactly how much money you're aiming to raise. Friends and family can see your goal, and sharing the link via email, Facebook and Twitter makes getting the word out easier than ever. Payments are collected online and sponsors and would-be sponsors can track your progress in real time. Brilliant.

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posted by Dylan on 13 April 2011, 1:11 am in ,

Volunteers vs. employees vs. politicians

Paul Watson is one of the most passionate animal rights activists alive today, and this short video beautifully illustrates why he's so effective. He really understands human nature and what motivates people.

Understanding motivation is key to putting together a great team. Paul chooses volunteers over employees because employees are often motivated by money, not passion or a strong belief in the cause. Paul weeds these people out by removing money from the equation completely. This is a great insight for business owners. Paying high salaries isn't necessarily going to attract the best candidates.

Most individuals and organizations are motivated by profit. Every time Paul disrupts a whale hunt he denies the whalers of income selling the whale meat. When the costs of whaling exceed the income, whaling ends. The same principle applies elsewhere. Buying McDonalds isn't smart if you believe factory farming is wrong. Treat your dollar as a vote and choose carefully.

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posted by Dylan on 11 April 2011, 12:25 am in

The risk of multi-purpose devices

Our lust for multi-purpose devices has reached fever-pitch. Even an Amazon Kindle is seen as redundant when "an iPad can do all that, and more!" A telephone is no longer a device you exclusively use to speak on, or even communicate with. It's now a phone, a camera, an email client, a web browser, a GPS, a compass, a map, a gaming console, a social media-platform and a computer. And not necessarily in that order either.

It's great, right? Or is it...

The problem with a multi-purpose device is that you're never quite sure what you should be doing with it. Am I sitting at my computer to work, or to read the news? Am I using my iPad to read a book and learn something new, or browse Facebook and chat with my friends? Am I reaching for my iPhone to communicate, or am I just avoiding talking with the people I'm already with? Unless you have amazing self-discipline (and most people don't) it's actually really difficult.

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posted by Dylan on 1 April 2011, 12:11 am in

Talent only gets you so far

Natural talent is overrated. What's really required is a lot of hard work.

I've had the good fortune to work with some very talented people, both professionally and in my capacity as a musician. However in every case it's wound up being hard work and putting in the hours to gain experience that ultimately got them to where they are today.

We're all born with unique talents, and as children it's easy to identify the especially talented and raise them up on a pedestal. We can all remember the kid at school who could play grade 8 piano at age 9, or who consistently came first in the school cross-country.

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posted by Dylan on 18 March 2011, 12:50 am in

It's okay to screw up

Despite our best intentions, from time to time we all screw up. Sometimes badly. The same is true in business.

Flights are delayed, the wrong packages are sent out, appointments are double-booked, wrong amounts are invoiced, an incompatible product is recommended and so on. If you're busy and constantly pushing the boundaries, screw ups are inevitable.

While mistakes should be kept to a minimum, great service is oftentimes about how you respond when they happen.

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posted by Dylan on 8 March 2011, 12:20 am in

Social Blogging

Today Facebook revamped the commenting plugin and I've decided to give it a whirl.

I was forced to delete my existing seven (!) comments to make way for the new system, but I'm keen to jump in and see what it's all about. Who knows, maybe we'll look at adding more social plugins to Mighty Ape in the future.

Ignoring some minor visual tweaks, the plugin only took a few minutes to implement.

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posted by Dylan on 2 March 2011, 8:32 pm in

The truth about human nature

We're brought up to believe it's a dog eat dog world out there. Today's horrific events in Christchurch prove otherwise. 

United in grief, New Zealanders and countless others from around the world, come together to show compassion, concern, generosity, bravery, selflessness and above all, love.

This is our true nature and we should never forget it.

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posted by Dylan on 22 February 2011, 11:54 pm in

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