Co-founder of WiReD Magazine, Ian Charles Stewart, says that entrepreneurship should be encouraged from primary school! Although he's still making up his mind on what he will share with us Down Under at X Media Lab "Global Media Ideas".
1. When should you start a business?
As soon as you have an idea you believe in and are sure you have the energy and focus to follow it through. It doesn't really matter how old you are as long as you are out of high school! Working in large organisations used to be considered a pre-requisite for learning about an industry. The truth is that large companies teach you very little about running a startup. And it is easy to get comfortable with a salary and not want to leave until it is too late. And when you have a spouse, a mortgage and kids, it is harder to make the leap.
2. How do you turn a creative idea into a business?
Learn some practical skills (accounting, management, marketing, company structure, etc) or find someone else who has these skills to work with you, build a team around you, test your product or service on people, refine, and then leap.
3. Where do you find your inspiration for ideas?
4. What feedback do you take and what do you disregard?
Take everything. Disregard nothing. Your instincts, and experience, will tell you to listen to some things or some people more closely than others. But everything is useful in some way.
5. Who was the first person to believe in you?
My Parents, Certain Teachers.
6. What has been your biggest creative or business challenge to date?
I have a social venture we are just starting which I may talk about in Sydney. It is more complicated and more challenging than I would like. But the goal is worthwhile.
7. What excites you most about digital media or technology right now?
The same thing that was true at the dawn of this current stage of digital media in 1993, when we launched WiReD magazine: the fact that absolutely anyone can now build a business online and reach customers without needing to deal with any gatekeepers. My 83 year old father has just self-published his latest novel (his 6th) as an e-Book online. it is available on the Kindle and on iPads, in paper in stores, and via Amazon as a physical or electronic book. He has two blogs, a Facebook account and a Facebook page promoting the book. And I think he is working on Twitter and Tumblr. And he didn't need to deal with an agent or a publisher or even leave the comfort of his living room. And it is selling. The Internet allows one to connect with other people. Software and publishing platforms allow one to create and distribute a work. And long-tail search allows people to find it. Very cool.
8. How do we encourage a culture of creativity and innovation?
Start young. Very young. Encourage kids to create in primary school and praise good results. Tell stories about how it is done. Applaud successes. But also highlight interesting failures from which people can learn. And then do it all over again. And make sure the kids find the whole process fun. Because it is. And these days, get kids connected with technology early. I sit on the Board of a great international school in Beijing (WAB) where kids have MacBooks early in primary school and produce amazing things (physical and virtual) every week.
9. What do you believe is possible that many don't?
I think it is possible that global education structures and processes might radically change within the next twenty years. Too much of it is out of date and serves the system more than the students.
10. What will you be talking about at X Media Lab in Sydney?
Wait and see... %-) Seriously I want to know more about what others are saying before I make up my mind. I have no intereset in repeating what has already been said and I would like to hear from more about what the intended audience would like to hear before I decide what to offer them. Listening is a good discipline for a public speaker.
Meet Ian at the Sydney Opera House on Friday 8 June. Get your tix now!