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Dave Cupples, 2011 Anthill 30under30 Honourable Mention


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What is 30under30?

30under30 is an Anthill initiative launched in early 2008 to encourage and promote entrepreneurship among young Australians. This year saw more outstanding entries than ever before. So, we thought we would highlight some of the bright and innovative nominees who just missed Top 30 by a wink. Behold, our 2011 30under30 Honourable Mentions! More.

Dave Cupples, NSW (b. 1983)

Name: Dave Cupples
Age: 28 (Born: July 1983)
Gender: Male
State: NSW

Whenever Dave Cupples wins an award (which is not infrequent), he takes the stage with his trusted ape mascot in hand and tells jokes.

Say what you will about monkeys-as-advertising-gags; they work. For Cupples, founder of Apeshop and all-around marketing wiz, it’s about being memorable.

“I’ve leveraged each buzz-building exploit to set up the next,” he says. And what a tall staircase he has ascended in 28 years.

A Dickensian narrative might begin at age 4, when “Dave’s Bookshop” opened and the greenhorn Cupples was making and selling his own miniature books. (We presume his “payment” was in milk and cookies.)

The story picks up in high school, when he found the perfect time to get involved in the Internet marketing spree of pop-up and banner ads. The work brought in “thousands of dollars in checks from the USA” and convinced his parents that a fast-food job was unneeded.

At uni, the seeds for Apeshop were sown. Begun as a “hypothetical eMarketing experiment with zero capital,” Apeshop developed into a profitable business selling mobile phones and electronics online.

One initial hurdle: the Apeshop domain name was already registered by a New York company. When Cupples wrote to politely request if he could have it, the domain owner agreed to trade the name for “one authentic operational boomerang.”

Says Cupples, “Always have a shot!” You never know until you go for it.

Cupples has won at the City of Sydney and NSW Business Awards, he’s won the NSW Young Entrepreneur of the Year, and he’s been profiled on Sydney and national television for his exploits. The Ape is ubiquitous.

He also won Search Market Expo Sydney’s “SMX Idol”, a competition strung together to highlight up-and-coming speakers on the conference circuit.

That gave him buzz to leverage: he later spoke at the leading Affiliate Marketing Conference in Australia (Affili@Syd, 500 delegates), and then the largest in Europe (A4uExpo Munich, 1,000) and then the world (Affiliate Summit New York City, 5,000).

Cupples’ speaking tours have now given him enough incentive to dispense practical marketing advice to everyone, which he offers at FatCowBusiness.com (which is its own affiliate marketing machine).

“I focus on the doors that open, not the ones that close,” says Cupples, who has faced a lot of closing doors already.

“As the costs of buying shopping comparison clicks skyrocketed, I saw an opportunity to sell traffic instead. When Adwords prices increased, I focused on new opportunities that emerged like Facebook and Twitter. I can adapt and don’t give up.”

A few fat cow appearances can’t be far off.

Anthill asks: Dave Cupples, what motivates you as an entrepreneur?

“I love achieving dreams that others say are impossible. Doing things where the odds are against you is where life is lived. I’m glad I was born David and not Goliath!”

Dave Cupples – Vodafone Business Sense


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To check out the full list of Anthill’s 30under30 winners, click here.