Home Anty-Climax Ant Bytes — AA25

Ant Bytes — AA25

By Stephen Sammartino

Click to image enlarge


Scouta hits the tube

Richard Giles, CEO, Scouta

Remember Scouta, the Perth-based intuitive online video and podcast recommendation service we covered in back in Issue 21 (“Scout’s Honour”)? Well founders Richard Giles and Graeme Sutherland and the team have been pushing along nicely in 2007. In September they launched an iTunes plugin client, which automatically feeds users’ media consumption habits to their Scouta accounts, increasing the volume and specifi city of the recommendations they receive. Now Scouta is ramping up the viral marketing with the launch of Scouta TV, a video presentation of some of the most interesting and serendipitous multimedia discoveries via Scouta. Richard Giles told me: “I’m thinking we’re going head to head with The Friday Download show on Channel 10…. A little more educated mind you. I’m calling it ‘BigMedia vs Garage Media’.”
Report: “Presenteeism” the real scourge
In the land where the “sickie” is an employee institution, the detrimental effect of absenteeism on productivity is thoroughly documented. However, a recently released whitepaper reveals the ravages of “presenteeism” – sick employees coming to work and underperforming – on productivity. The paper, produced by workplace health and safety consultancy Health by Design, reveals that employees with poor health are only productive for approximately 85 percent of total working hours. The remaining 15 percent block of unproductive hours is fi ve times greater than the average annual loss of productivity as a result of absenteeism. Entrepreneurs who regularly burn the midnight oil take note. Go home!
Next-gen shopping cart
Australian Markitcart has developed an award-winning alternative to the traditional steel shopping cart, aimed at improving the concept not just for consumers but also for retailers and advertisers. Made of UV-stable and fully recyclable plastic, Markitcarts are available in 12 colours that can be matched to a retailer’s brand palette. The carts weigh less yet hold more than traditional carts. They also feature greater stability and larger, easier-to- control wheels. For advertisers, Markitcarts feature large, easily interchangeable side panels that function as mobile billboards with exposure right at the point of sale. (Source: www.springwise.com)

Anthill’s David Kearney
modelling a custom designed
RedBubble T-shirt
I don’t like musicals. They’re just too earnest for my taste. When someone on stage or screen cuts from the drama and bursts forth into song, consider me lost.
I don’t begrudge the existence of musicals. They serve a purpose, like religion and reality TV. I just don’t seek a front row seat. So why do musical lovers feel the need to convert musical haters?
The most common angle is the, “Oh, I don’t like musicals either, but this one was amazing!” You fall for that one just once, or maybe twice if you become the unfortunate target of an organised intervention.
After recently interviewing Martin Hosking, co-founder and CEO of RedBubble, the Australian-based social network for artists, it struck me that custom-designing my own T-shirt on RedBubble would be the perfect vehicle to convey my trenchant cynicism to random musical evangelicals as I move through the world.
The creation process was simple and before I knew it, the T had been delivered. That’s Anthill’s Special Project Co-ordinator, David Kearney, modelling it. (He actually likes musicals, but took one for the team on this occasion).
RedBubble received 13 million page views in October. The site has 23,000 users and currently hosts over 320,000 art works, many of which are available for purchase in the form of T-shirts, prints and gift cards.
Feel similarly inspired?
Arcmchair command centre for aging boomers

Click image enlarge

In keeping with the focus this issue on paradigm shifts, here’s a product that we might all be using one day (sooner or later). In the not too distant future, the biggest population demographic in society – the baby boomers – will ease into retirement, creating all sorts of new societal challenges and market opportunities.
For instance, once easy-to-use household objects, such as the traditional TV remote, is likely to become a source of endless frustration, as aging boomers with fading eyesight fossick around for elusive channel and volume buttons. Getting up to answer the telephone will also become a task too arduous for some.
Australian inventor Catherine Crichton and Sydney-based industrial design company Tiller + Tiller have spent three years (concept to prototype) refining the TeleMax® III, a hand-held universal TV remote control with built-in hands-free phone.
Shaped like a small tray with handles on either side, the TeleMax is hardy, spillage-proof and conforms to the latest ergonomic principles for comfort and function.
Button controls are large and deliberately limited in number (normal keypad layout 1-9, a mute button, a large power button and sliding arrows for channels and volume control).
With patents for the product registered in Australia, Europe and the US, the TeleMax will soon reach a potential global market of several hundred million people, especially the aged, vision impaired and disabled.
Macquarie Business Technology Incubator (MTBI)

In this ‘Year of the Idea’, we’re asking a series of successful Australian entrepreneurs and innovators about their big ideas – their best, their worst and the idea they wished was their own. This issue the spotlight falls on Stephen Belfer. Entrepreneur-turned-lecturer in Entrepreneurship, Stephen currently manages Macquarie Technology Business Incubator’s Mentoring and Coaching programme.
What was your best idea?
Incorporating my first company at 20 – “Anyware Consulting” – our motto: “hardware, software, anywhere…” Everything seemed possible in the computer industry
back in the 80s.
What was your worst idea?
Going into business with a recently ex-girlfriend: a recipe
for disaster with a side order of regret.
What idea do you wish was yours?
Dark chocolate – so much easier to sell that start-up technology ventures
For more about the Macquarie Technology Business Incubator, visit: www.mtbi.com.au or call (02) 9850 8715
Get ethical…
Ethical funds manager (and Cool Company sponsor) Australian Ethical Investments recently asked the team at Anthill a pertinent question: “Are you giving your employees the opportunity to invest their superannuation entitlements ethically?” Embarrassingly, it hadn’t even crossed our minds.
So, here’s what we did…
1. We visited their website (http://austethical.com.au/ contact_us/onlin_enquiry_form2)
2. We filled out an online form.
3. We were sent a prospectus for employees to consider.
What happened next? Management was congratulated on its forward thinking approach to superannuation and three employees opted for the ethical alternative (Never underestimate what motivates Generation X and Y. It wasn’t the financial return, which incidentally was equally compelling).
If this sounds like a worthy exercise, visit http://austethical.com.au/contact_us/onlin_enquiry_form2 (and then bask in the glow of your corporate citizenship).
Get clicking…
It’s no secret that the online advertising is booming – from Flash fi les to interactive media. But it’s not all outside the realm (and budget) of SME business owners. In fact, search marketing makes it possible for businesses to only pay when their ads are clicked. That’s why we were thrilled when Yahoo! agreed to offer our readers $100 worth of free search marketing.
Here’s how to get started…
1. Call 1800 007 577 or visit http://searchmarketing.yahoo.com.
2. Make sure you mention the promo code: AU0539.
3. Set up an account by following the prompts.
What happens next? Search engine advertising lists your site in search results across the web. So you connect with customers who are already searching for what you sell. With search Marketing, your ad will also appear in search results on sites, including ninemsn, Yahoo!7, Myshopping.com and many more.
To find out what the fuss is about, call 1800 007 577 or visit www.searchmarketing.yahoo.com.au/aadec. Be sure to mention the promo code: AU0539
IP Australia, the Federal Government agency responsible for administering intellectual property (IP) rights, including patents, trade marks, designs and plant breeder’s rights, in conjunction with the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) and the State and Territory Chambers is presenting a seminar series across Australia in February 2008, “IP Passport – Helping your business take off overseas.”
The seminar series, aimed at small to medium sized business, will focus on IP protection and how it is vital to your business success, but also the importance of protecting your IP when doing business overseas.
As most businesses have a website, many are already global but are not aware of the risks to their IP or what steps to take to protect it. The IP Passport seminars will help you understand your IP as a business owner/ operator and what to be aware of when considering exporting. The seminars will help you to understand the necessary steps in protecting your IP, your products and your brand to successfully take your business overseas.
By attending the seminars you will have the opportunity to listen to experts including a local case study discussing their exporting experiences first hand, question and networking time with speakers and others in the industry, useful tips for IP protection and exporting, information on the top six exporting hot spots for Australian SMEs, plus a host of information in your free gift bag.
For more information or to register for your nearest seminar, visit www.ipaustralia.gov.au/ippassport
Get unlimited access to our FREE business tools…

Need to raise capital? Want to become a more persuasive presenter? Want to master social media? Is it time to overhaul your website? Unlock the library to get free access to free cheat sheets and business tools. Click here for free business tools.