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Ant Bytes — AA06

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BACK-ISSUE BULL-ANTS

Glass of steel

If you’ve been with Australian Anthill since issue #1 (Sep/Oct 2003), you might remember one of the first herd of bull-ants we featured. Australian company Stop Shot International (SSI) had developed an astonishingly effective form of bullet-proof glass that was attracting great interest from defence and security organisations around the world. You might also remember that Australian entrepreneur and founder of SSI, Peter Stephinson, put his product on the line before a curious Middle Eastern audience, standing behind a panel of his company’s bullet-proof glass while someone fired over twenty bullets at him. He emerged unscathed and the orders began flooding in. Other than its unparalleled hardiness, the great advantage of SSI’s product is that it is much lighter than existing bullet-proof glass (therefore not requiring additional structural reinforcement) and can be cut onsite. Since it featured as a bull-ant, SSI has refined the product to include a newly patented shock-absorbing frame. After all, what good is bullet-proof glass if the impact can knock the glass from its casing? The improved package can now withstand a 1600kg truck bomb from a distance of just 5 metres. In a dangerous world, it’s good to know that Australian innovations are helping to save lives.

50 CENTS

Googlehack:
Someone whose knowledge of any given subject is based entirely on the first hit of a Google search (often following failed attempts at a Google whack).

Mezzanine Financing:
Financing for a company expecting to go public usually within 6 –12 months; usually structured to be repaid from proceeds of a public offerings, or to establish a floor price.

QUOTE

“The internet is like adding an ‘s’ in Scrabble. It pays off but everybody knows you’re cheating.”

— Rod Quantock, comedian.

FINANCIAL LUBRICANT

Three local beer loving entrepreneurs have made inroads into Australia’s lucrative alcoholic beverage industry by introducing a marketing innovation that redefines the term ‘case study’. Brewtopia is putting smiles on the dials of Australian drinkers by giving consumers a share allocation for every slab purchased.

In 2002, Brewtopia founding director Liam Mulhall and mates Greg Bunt and Anthony Moran set about marketing a beer that did not yet exist. They pitched their “viral equity” concept to 140 targeted friends and associates, and within weeks had 10,000 names on their database. The lure of free beer and a share allocation motivated these “brand evangelists” to vote on the Blowfly website, influencing everything from alcohol content to bottle design.

According to its producers, Blowfly is now doing a roaring trade and its sale price has actually decreased (from $49 to $39 per case) as demand and production has expanded. Brewtopia has also managed to capture a sizable chunk of the corporate market by offering customised bottle logos and other such intimacies that the major brewers don’t currently bother with. This now accounts for 50 percent of the company’s revenue.

Brewtopia is a non-listed public company with a long-term plan to float. For more information, visit www.blowfly.com.au.

WIRELESS LOVIN’

It’s only a matter of time before any new technology becomes deployed in the service of more primal human urges. The emergence of ‘Bluetoothing’ is a case in point.

Bluetooth technology (www.bluetooth.org) was designed to allow the efficient wireless synchronisation of mobile devices within close proximity (i.e. mobile phones, PDAs and laptop computers). However, it hasn’t taken long for aficionados of the wireless technology to really put the blue in Bluetooth.

According to English press reports, some users have begun to send flirtatious message-probes to other unknown Bluetooth users on London underground rail carriages, in workplace corridors and other confined spaces usually conducive to anonymity.

Some rightly consider it sexual harassment, but if the Bluetoothing web boards are anything to go by, a lot of people are into it! The flirting escalates until the toothers meet and consummate their relationship in a station bathroom, an empty office or somewhere equally apt.

“A lot of my day is taken up with a soul-aching commute into the city, and that just feels like dead time,” says Jon, author of the Beginner’s Guide to Toothing. “Flirting is fun, sex is fun. We’re just employing expensive, complex toys to find the most basic form of entertainment.”

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