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Here’s the first of a few posts including my notes and some from the Twitter stream (thanks to all who contributed tweets) from today’s AIMIA Victoria Conference “Meet the New Generation Digital Business Models“.

This first session was entitled “Show Me the Money


Martin Hosking – Red Bubble 
We wanted to establish an ecommerce company that would grow as a social network (the combination of these two variables at present a conundrum in internet business models). 

Is it making money? Yes it is making money – because we don’t have to spend anything on marketing. 

10 years ago red bubble couldn’t have worked because of the cost of data heavily reduced.
More people view art at redbubble (2mil/mth) than all Oz art galleries combined

Launching a global company from Australia – it’s not as easy as expected. There’s no Australian companies in the top 500 Internet companies which is an indictment on our nation. 

Tips: Need to provide compelling reason for people to be at your site. Our customers are coming back from the community, to sell their artwork online…
When I review many business plans, I consider who is the customer and as the customer, am I really gaining? Is there really a compelling need for me? Is there the needs, desires, and enough money for to pursue the opportunity?
Helps if your 1st customer is yourself: at least you have some insight into wants/needs

In Australia we can’t fund Twitter or Facebooks – they need to have good, underlying business models. The Australian VC or Business Angel community don’t support these – for good reason. Hence you need to consider not only customer needs but the economies underlying it – think of both areas – how are you going to fund it?

I think of Social Media as marketing. It’s about how you make it relevant around certain things – e.g. Woolworths – how do you make people interested in who’s buying what at Woolies? Unsure about that… It’s about making it relevant. 
Tips: e.g. On RedBubble someone loaded artwork of a flower which went to facebook stream and led to people discussing what flower it was, how to grow it = learning/information/value to people.
Empower the market to do things for youthat’s what redbubble is about

Don’t spend too much on marketing before you’ve worked out a bit more about your customers and explored social media. 

Leni Mayo – 99Designs
Yes! We’re making money.
We realised that designers were competing against each other and many smart internet people were seeking designers to create logos and designs. We saw this as an opportunity.
You register what you’re after and how much you wish to pay on
cash flow positive and profitable – $250k with 2 staff – today: 1 mill in revenue and 22 staff
The more designers that interact with the site the more attractive the site is to designers, buyers. We are the platform – so when we do things, we do good things for each of our customer groups.
Arbitrage opportunity in the past owing to cost base being largely Australian dollars vs US$ (not now owing to the US$). Now we have more people in the US = 5 people (was 1 person a year ago) 

Australian businesses not as good ‘marketers’ as we should be.

Q&A: Did you have unsuccessful business models at sitepoint? 
Main revenue 10 years was advertising then it wasn’t there any more! We tried a lot of different things quickly. We noticed traffic for particular article so we asked that person to quick writing articles – loads of traffic – then had him write a book – so we became a publisher. So we got into eBooks which 


I hope you enjoyed these notes – let me know what came up for you in reading – leave a comment!

Happy days to you

Come back again soon! See more of what I do and think via:

Program information: or tweet stream (today or for the next week) at:

Session information:
9.10 – 10.10am: Opening Interview “Show Me The Money”

To set the scene for the day, two serial entrepreneurs with successful online businesses put themselves under the spotlight as ABC Radio Australia’s Ryan Egan gets straight to the point: are you making money? What can you teach others about doing business online? Martin Hosking is founder of multi awarding winning online art community, RedBubble which, at 1.7 million unique visitors a month – 37 million page views, 400,000 items sold, 3 million images – is among the largest new model business models to have come out of Australia. Leni Mayo is an internet pioneer and co-investor in the fastest growing online marketplace for crowd sourced graphic design, 99designs.
Ryan Egan – Presenter/Producer, ABC Radio Australia
Martin Hosking – Co-Founder, RedBubble
Leni Mayo – Director, Sitepoint and 99designs