Learn, grow and give back

Over the last six months or so, I’ve had the pleasure of working with one of the most awesome teams ever. I’ve grown as a person, learnt a whole bunch and met some amazing people. But as with all good things, it must come to an end.

For those that don’t know, muru-D is a startup accelerator backed by Telstra. It has grown over the last four years to five locations across the Asia Pacific- Sydney, Singapore and Melbourne, with partner programs in Brisbane and Perth. They’ve accelerated more than 100 companies and have a massive mentor, advisor and investor network stretching across the globe.

Although my time with muru-D was short, it has been a place of huge personal growth and learning. My key takeaways following my adventure:

1. Growing a community is really hard. Whilst in the past, I’ve slowly grown communities around hackathons and student groups, this is a much bigger scale, and working from less. This is the first time muru-D has had a presence in Melbourne and we were entering an already crowded ecosystem. This meant working from our personal networks. The Melbourne ecosystem is big and welcoming and there are so many awesome people. It will continue to take time to grow our network of mentors and experts.

2. Speak your mind. This is one that from the outside, most people would feel I don’t have a problem with. But generally, I like to avoid conflict and sometimes don’t speak my mind, particularly if it goes against the status quo or popular opinion in a business environment. But a learning that I keep seeing is that generally your opinion isn’t alone, and others feel the same way. The team in muru-D always ask for everyone’s opinion, even if you aren’t the expert in the given field. This is crucial to solving problems in new ways.

3. Having the right team is critical. The muru-D team really does feel like a big family. Everyone is open and honest and we all have a lot of fun. Having the right mix of skills and experience is important, but having the right culture fit is sometimes more crucial.

If you have a high performing team member who everyone hates & doesn’t match your culture, fire them today. It’s not worth it. ~ Mick Liubinskas, via Twitter

4. Know why you’re meeting. This one might sound obvious, but it’s something I’ve come to know better. In a corporate environment, it becomes ingrained that we have meetings to talk about meetings (literally) and sometimes the key outcomes take a back seat. The muru-D environment and particularly the community building side of things, has shown that we must all enter a meeting with clear goals and expectations and ensure it is all covered.

5. Don’t assume, be succinct. This one I’ve picked up on from my many years in retail and IT support. Never assume people know things, no matter how obvious. This has been very prevalent when discussing muru-D within even the startup community. Being a startup accelerator backed by Australia’s most well-known brand, you’d be forgiven for thinking everyone had heard of it. This isn’t the case. Have a succinct way to get your message to those people is critical for building our community.

6. Give first. This is prevalent across the startup ecosystem, and I've been a huge believer in it for years. You should give first, without expecting something in return. This keeps everyone growing and learning and the ecosystem will always return the favour ten fold.

Our focus is to help founders become better entrepreneurs and increase the number of Australian tech companies going global. These entrepreneurs are building tech companies to solve challenging global problems. ~ Julie Trell

As I move to my next adventure within Telstra, I’ll always have fond memories of my time at muru-D. Don’t forget me, family!