QUESTION: Is successful inventing about who you know, not what you know?

ANSWER: Very good question. Thank you. Let me tell you a little story. It is certainly partly about who you know. But with Better Blocks there was a pivotal point when Better Blocks became successful. I’d written a business plan, spent two years going around Australia looking for venture capital in all traditional channels of raising finance, but I was unsuccessful. And I realised that a part of the problem was the way I approached it and part was just that I didn’t have success. I was talking to my sister’s boyfriend at that time, he was a carpenter. He built and installed beautiful kitchen cupboards, probably not the kind of guy you’d expect financial expertise from, right? So, I was talking to John Wilkie and John said “why don’t you ring up my mate in America?”. He was a New Zealander but he was living in the US at that time. He was doing very well in the direct marketing field. So I rang up Kelvin and the end result of that call was a $45 million business. Now, you can’t write that into a business plan. . So, certainly it is who you know and what you know but it’s also speaking to people and being very aware and listening. People will offer you advice or opportunities just follow them and see where they go because my great success and opportunities have come out of doing just that. You know, you need your business plans and approach to kind of go down the track but be aware of what’s in left field because, like I said, who would have ever thought, a carpenter would be the key to Better Blocks becoming a successful business. So I thank John Wilkie from the bottom of my heart for that comment.

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