My next job is to see that the amazingly talented Pollenizer team land new challenges that are BETTER than Pollenizer. Sorry for the clickbait, but I knew you would be curious about what I did next so I exploited how Facebook has re-wired your brain to love this stuff.
We are stopping the consulting, education and incubation operations at Pollenizer partially because the vehicle was not allowing us all to have the impact that we want from our lives. It is important to me that the people who have spent the last years transforming organisations such as CSIRO, Horizon Power, Telstra, Fonterra, AGL, Singtel and Blackmores get to use their super powers for even greater good. Pollenizer is a very difficult place to work because everyone we help is running Mission Impossible and they are scared of the road ahead. Pollenizer people are the constant, the Sherpa on the other side of the crevasse who shouts “Jump… it will be OK” and is always there at the end of the rope. They understand startups. They understand big companies. They have an un-naturally ability to morph into the different environments and bring out the best in both. The Pollenizer team, just to do their job, need to learn at a phenomenal rate and cope with extremely challenging environments… and yet… every day… they get it done.
Mick and I have been blown away with the warm wishes that have come to us after the announcement. But we did not do this alone. I simply can’t write about them all here. But I can write about some. Time to pay testimony to the permanent Sydney and Melbourne teams.
I want to talk about Clare Hallam very much. She’s often called “The Mother of Startups” because she is the one people go to when they are uncertain or worried. She has, frankly, been the third co-founder that most people don’t see but if she wasn’t there, the ship would have crashed into the rocks. She has extracted the magic sauce from the intuitive activity of Pollenizer. She has transformed talent into a system and brought out the very best of everybody. She has been with us for almost our entire history and has refused defeat with unbelievable passion. She has led our culture and invented whole new systems for turning teams into immortal squads of awesomeness. I can’t wait to see what she does next, but if it is with you, let her lead… stand back and watch the magic.
Nicola Farrell is unstoppable. She has been running our massive programs, including one last year for 1,500 Fonterra employees in 3 countries. She’s been with us for 5 years and I would place a bet that she knows everyone in the Sydney startup ecosystem by name, as well as their immediate family names. She is a force of nature that I have been proud to work with as a Partner in Pollenizer. She does not settle for good-enough and learns new skills faster than I can keep up. I am proud to have worked with Nicola while she has taken the road to mastery. I can’t wait to see what she does net, but if it is with you, surround her with people and say “This is yours” and she will do you proud.
Allen Haroutonian and Tim Parsons have been running our incubator in Sydney. They are total ‘rocket scientists’ (actually Tim IS one) who geek out on the incredible velocity of deep-tech innovation. They both came to us with incredible experience founding startups and mentoring entrepreneurs. At Pollenizer they have coached startup teams every day for their entire time with us and have acquired pattern recognition and unblocking skills that are just not possible in any other job. They love it so much they are going to continue doing what they do without Pollenizer. And they will only make the process better. If you need to incubate new ideas, you should speak to these guys.
Fernando Parra joined us from Argentina a few years ago and brought with him the pointy end of the lean startup discipline. He’s led our coaching sessions all over the world and has spent the past year scooping up the coaching insights and applying them to our Startup Science toolkit and software. He is a talented growth hacker with a fanatical attention to detail. He is addicted to any new software tool that is released – a tragic early adopter in fact. This sickness, and the fact that he has an encyclopaedic memory of every blog post ever written, makes him a very talented product manager. He goes at a challenge with passionate glee and I suspect he will make his next mission to make a massive new software platform for someone.
As a services business we lived or died by the customer experience. That’s why we needed Angie Antzoulatos. She has been the responsible custodian of our most valuable asset – our reputation. She has cared for it like a precious jewel. She looks at it from different angles and, if she find a blemish, she shows us in a kind but deliberate way so there is no way we can deliver anything other than awesome. She has helped us to measure the experience and tweak it for systematic delivery across the world.
When pixels pass through Ryan Stripling and Damien Metcalf they come out beautiful. This team takes the horrible brain dumps and ideas from the rest of us and turns them into gorgeous materials that anyone wants to explore. Our amazing new brand is Damien and Ry powered and they have changed how we think about our interface with your eyes. Damien is spinning out into a new Pollenizer portfolio company but Ry is looking for the next big thing.
I’ve been working closely with our Melbourne Partner Tristonne Forbes this past year. We’ve been Lennon and McCartney (or Laurel and Hardy) developing and delivering kick-ass content all over the country for people like the CSIRO. I love watching Tristonne work because she has lived our belief that anyone can be an entrepreneur, not just noisy blokes in Threadless t-shirts. She has been an activating force of female entrepreneurship, but what I admire the most is how she hones in on introverts like a laser guided missile, then gently and passionately unlocks their entrepreneurial force. She has helped us to map our methodology to emotional journeys in our teams and brought new possibilities to life. I don’t know what she will do next, but I doubt she will stop mentoring the community that love her and I hope that she gets to take it for a run to make her own thing.
Amee Miranda has been managing our marketing program. Even though I mostly experience Amee in Slack, she’s no bot. Our whole team feels her infectious enthusiasm whether she in in the room or far away. She is always there for each and every one of us. She is a talented growth hacker who runs more experiments on a daily basis than any of us. She has segmented our world into tiny explosions of insight and knows more about you lot out there
One and all – I hope I get to work with them again. A lot.