HARD LESSONS: Steve Marsten MC's Gladstone first Fvck Up event
HARD LESSONS: Steve Marsten MC's Gladstone first Fvck Up event Greg Bray

Worst mistakes by Gladstone businesses revealed

ACCORDING to Sotherton's Steve Marsten, "Nobody likes to admit they've made a huge mistake, but anyone who says they haven't is a liar.

This was the statement that set the stage for the four guest speakers at the Startup Gladstone and Gladstone Chamber of Commerce and Industry's Fvck Up night held at CQUniversity on Wednesday night.

Anton Guinea, businessman and entrepreneur was the first to address the crowd of 60 people.

"Like a lot of Gladstone businesses we were going gangbusters during the boom," he said.

Ignoring the advice of friends, family and his business mentor Anton invested heavily in Gladstone real estate during the boom.

"We hadn't diversified, so when my single client dropped us we were left with no income and a lot of repayments," he said.

Anton admitted that it was cringe worthy to publicly admit his mistakes, but added that he had learned some important lessons.

"Remember to diversify, diversify and diversify," he said.

The next speaker was Gladstone LAN Groups' Andrew Horton who

hosted Gladstone's first online e-sports event with Saiki City in Japan.

"We set up a room full of computers to live link Gladstone with Saiki," he said.

But he was honest enough to admit his own personal shortcomings included a lack of business knowledge and communication, but he had a bigger problem.

What sort of an idiot runs a show without knowing if he has enough attendees needed to break even?"

"I learned in future I would need a better business model, a product that makes a profit and is sustainable in the long term."


Alicia Williams who owns Locations Real Estate said it was her lack of due diligence that bit her on the backside.

"In the past five years I probably picked the worst time to start an agency, but if you can make it work now you'll make it work in any market," she said.

"On my 31st birthday I found out I hadn't paid a rather large sum in superannuation to the business."

I gathered my tribe, the people I trust who keep me lean, mean and accountable, focussed on solutions and drank a lot of coffee."

It was the start of 'a really crap time' but Alicia managed to pull through.

Her advice is to listen to your tribe's advice and keep pushing boundaries.

"Don't let your ego stop you from admitting you really stuffed up."

Adrian Robertson from Dreamtilt recalled his 2004 disaster.

"Back when you had to illegally download music between phone calls," he said.

"We had the technology to make dial-up slightly faster and we were riding high."

Adrian signed up with an American tech company and locked into a long term contract.

"When ADSL arrived nobody wanted dial-up and our subscribers dropped off," he said.

"We were in IT and knew exactly how disruptive technology can be, so we should have offloaded it earlier."

"It cost us quite a lot to get out of the deal."

The take out points for the audience were: Read the small print, have an exit plan, listen to advice and team up with strategic partners.

The next Fvck Up night will be held later this year.