The Aussie Tech Startup Taking on Amazon’s Kindle – What I Learned Coaching The Team And How It Will Inspire YOU !

What I Learned Coaching the Aussie Tech Startup Taking on Amazon’s Kindle!

NextPaper’s (David) taking on Amazon Kindle’s (Goliath)

So last night, huddled around a laptop, on a cold, Sydney winters night in an unassuming Five Dock household with an uncommon motley crew of five housemates, a 3 year dream began its first ripple in turning it into a reality.

My housemate Tim Salvador, self confessed geek, tech enthusiast and wannabe (soon-to-be) unicorn startup entrepreneur launched the crowdfunding campaign that I hope will give Amazon Kindle some much needed competition. Over the last 6 months, it’s been absolutely inspiring to me to come home after work and see Tim and the crew working away well into the wee hours of the morning. The team doing all manner of things from talking to developers in China/India, whiteboarding prototype concepts, and of course the decision debates, many many debates and heated constructive discussion!

Support the crew here (and they promise a free hug when they see you next): 

1) Sharing this on your social media using a service called Thunderclap which is basically an organising tool to allow friends to share a cause or business idea at the same time by setting it up for a certain date ahead of time. It makes a social media BOOM! which gets us noticed and hence funded ! Here is the link: https://goo.gl/1DuKKG

2) BUY NextPaper and FUND the team or SHARE the link with people that you believe will love our story, the product and Aussies going out and getting it! You will receive a NextPaper when you make a pledge as part of the project! Here is the link – http://thndr.me/GtHBXR

I’ve been working in and around technology for over 15 years, almost all of it in sales and i’m particularly proud of this team because they dared to dream despite what I initially thought was vanity mixed with naivety. I now stand corrected. This Fellowship of the Paper Tablet Disruptors with Tim (Frodo) Salvador at the helm and his trusty side kick John (“in better shape than Samwise Gamgee”) Lee have become experienced startup adventurous as we hit a major milestone, the launch of the crowd funding campaign on Indiegogo, and support on Thunderclap.

The Prince of Paper – NextPaper!

Let me tell you why this so momentous:
Tim Salvador – is a nerd and a geek (Yes, there is a difference. Tim cautioned me never to make the mistake again – https://goo.gl/W3rFZ9). When I first met Tim all he talked about was technology and he was so excited that I sold software for a living. We spoke nostalgically about the 90’s and the dial up 56kbps modems, ICQ, MRC, the wild west of mp3’s with Napster and Kazaa, Nokia 510’s snake game and random concepts of Reddit, the evolution of internet porn. We spoke about Tim’s business aspirations and they were “questionable” – he believed he could make a search engine better than Google, that artificial intelligent sex dolls where the future, and that Elon Musk is some type of demigod if not God himself – the Messiah who spreads his gospel with technology instead of scripture. But the more I spent time with Tim the more I realised he was a passionate man that questioned and acted on disrupting the status quo his own in a quiet, introverted, understated, curiosity seeking demeanor. Tim’s essentially a Web Designer and Programmer – but it is big thinking and small actions mixed with patience which made me realise that there is more to this man and I may have understated Mr Frodo. And that history is always changed by those like our little courageous Frodo’s. Tim had a (loosely) assembled, fiercely loyal team…

Every founder needs a Samwise Gamgee. Like Wozniak to for every Jobs.

John (“Better Shape than Samwise Gamgee) Lee – is a geek. John (aka JL – because he thinks the abbreviation makes him cool) is the most socially awkward introverted extrovert you may meet. When I first met John he exposed my fried chicken finger liking loving ass to the world of being a raw vegan. That’s right! He only ate raw vegetables and fruits, 24 hours day, 7 days a week! He also doesn’t drink. He doesn’t smoke. He’s never tried drugs. John’s goal is to live to 100 years old. Up until 7 years ago John had 5 friends in his phone. At 33 years old this eligible bachelor, has never had a girlfriend. He’s always been the oddball. Growing up in Auburn on government assistance with his schizophrenic mom and disabled (from stroke) from the hip down father. JL was the primary full time carer of his father in his teenage years – almost never being able to leave the house. While most of us were asserting our independence as teenagers and leaving the nest, JL was holding it down at home. Ever the opportunist, like Super Villain Bain from the Dark Knight Rises, JL used his time in the darkness to grow strong… he dedicated his life… for over 6 years… 8 to 9 hours per day… to video games. Yes he was addicted and sucked into this fantasy of darkness. JL’s time in the void, lost in the matrix of Dota – taught him valuable skills – How Little Gains Matter, Patience, Knowing his strengths and weaknesses and that nothing gets achieved without TEAMWORK. Fast forward to today, and quirky JL is famous for pushing the boundaries from posing nude in a photoshoot with me this year to his (unconventional) parties. Raw vegan (no alcohol) smoothie parties, 3 Day No Sleep Birthday Conventions (which involve burpees, soccer and tug of war), and who can forget his theatre sports parties.

He’s competes back to back in the Tough Mudder events and Spartan Races. The man is a BEAST! JL is our Samwise. A massive heart and whenever the task is too heavy to bear… you can count on JL to be the one with biggest heart, integrity and stamina who will take you to the finish line when the odds are stacked against you at Hells Gate.

 

Sunny (“WTF just happened”) Garg – is an anime geek. At 22 years old, i’ve never met a guy that can lock himself in his room for days and watch anime the whole weekend – in his twenties! If we didn’t get him out he never would come out! You can be engaged in the middle of a conversation with Sunny and then you’d see him go off with the fairies zoning out and when you jolt him back its like resetting your WiFi router. Not a big deal but freaking annoying when you trying to get something done.

Despite what I say about his guy – he is my little bro. You see Sunny was born with a speech impediment that makes him seem like he is a little slow and his tone is innocent and childlike. His mom passing away at 12 years old didn’t help the condition and it caused him to be bullied as a kid – which is why he used to love zoning out, and retreat into his own inner world and escape from “reality” with anime.

What I realised early on after meeting Sunny was that he was a warrior looking for a cause. Somebody that saw his strengths. Put him in the right position on the team that capitalised on those strengths. A wolf that needed a pack that will allow him to make the contribution that he was born to make. Once we stoked the fire that was burning inside him – he never rests, pulls all nighters, and is a true “ride and grind” homie. His project planning was immaculate. He thought of every little detail, keeping people on time, on schedule living, breathing, eating and sleeping this startup that is NextPaper. The team would not be where they are without the backbone that this man provides! There is a fire in the eyes of Sunny and he is our very own… Gimli!

 

Here is the sexy beast posing for GQ and Men’s Health I believe 😉 #naturalposer #curlsgetthegirls

Last but never least, is Daniele (The Italian Braveheart) Bertolini. Daniele is NOT a geek. He is the groups playboy. With his long free flowing shoulder length locks, romantic Italian accent, deep curious brown eyes that look at you like you are the only person in the world and listens like you just said the most important thing – its no wonder that he has a way with the ladies – and with people. Bertolini won me over when we sang on warm Sydney Saturday summer’s night, Andrea Bocelli’s Con Te Partiro (apparently that’s “our song” now). This 22 year old man is a romantic dreamer who came from Italy to Sydney to forge his fortune.And forge it he has. It hasn’t been easy. He works 2 shift jobs, 6 days a week.  He studies management at college so that he can stay in the country on the student visa’s. In fact, he was actually about to get deported right in the middle of a key milestone in the creation of the NextPaper prototype – a story for another day. The team needs this homegrown Italian. One that is passionate about technology and people. And that is Daniele. Daniele puts the sexy into startup. He is loves the noisy networking events, the playful photo shoots, the pitching at meetups, and of course telling everyone how he has given birth this baby of NextPaper and it needs their support. The team geeks think is shallow and superficial, like coriander on pasta – Bertolini KNOWS its essential in getting the word out. He is the closest thing to the beautiful Legolas that they have !

So when I see this unconventional motley mob fiercely forming into a Fellowship of the Paper Tablet Disruptors dousing, stamping and blowing out the Amazon Fire’s Kindle you can see why if fills me with something more “precious” than gold and more powerful than paper.

Daring to be disruptors has had the guys build a working prototype, source and secure suppliers from China, contract developers in Australia and India, write thousands of lines of code, and launch a crowdfunded campaign on Indiegogo and Thunderclap.

It’s a startup success story in the making and they are making their own luck, writing their destiny and leaving the rest in the hands of fate. Which is all you can really ask when you embark on something bold and bigger than yourself. 

 

It’s a big milestone YET still only the beginning. Which is why we need your help.  It’s where you can come in and really make a difference to help write the fairy tale ending that this startup success story deserves:

You can support NextPaper and the Fellowship of Paper Tablet Disrupters by:

1) Sharing this on your social media using a service called Thunderclap which is basically an organising tool to allow friends to share a cause or business idea at the same time by setting it up for a certain date ahead of time. It makes a social media BOOM! which gets us noticed and hence funded ! Here is the link: https://goo.gl/1DuKKG

2) BUY NextPaper and FUND the team or SHARE the link with people that you believe will love our story, the product and Aussies going out and getting it! You will receive a NextPaper when you make a pledge as part of the project! Here is the link – http://thndr.me/GtHBXR

The Fellowship of the Paper Tablet Disruptors!

Key moments and fun times:

Shooting the Video Productions at Green Key Studios with Mark Paisley.
Bertolini slacking off as usual. With the many many versions of prototypes produced
Finally shooting the video in beautiful North Sydney with our models. (Yes, they were the best looking friends we had – and they graciously accepted to help us for free 🙂
The North Sydney office location at NTT DATA where I work who allowed us to film at the office fostering and nurturing the startup spirit of these troopers.

 

 

 

 

Research and development in Shenzhen labs
More R&D teams

 

 

More R&D and Chinese interest and support in NextPaper. 

 

 

 

 

 

Startups are hard work and the burden of the ring can take its toll on our young Frodo here. You see Tim here in catching some much needed rest in Shenzhen after visiting 4 factories in different parts of the city in one day!

 

 

One thought on “The Aussie Tech Startup Taking on Amazon’s Kindle – What I Learned Coaching The Team And How It Will Inspire YOU !

  1. LOL This is amazing Kresant! You are a very talented writer 😀

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