MEGA and Odd Games Story: Ben Marsh

Before we get to Ben's story you may have noticed that their game Monstor truck Destruction has been going quite well - over 2.2 million downloads we believe. Brothers David and Terry met Ben through the MEGA program and he became Managing Director of Odd Games.

Here is what Ben has to say.

"Collectively ODD Games found its partners and investors through the MEGA program. If we hadn't attended MEGA I strongly doubt we would have achieved what we have today. During MEGA we were tasked to write a business plan for ODD Games, which we have recently updated to enable us to apply for a Games Grant with Screen Australia. If we hadn't gone through the MEGA program we would have really struggled to pull a business plan together and hence would have missed out on applying. MEGA gave us the courage to present our ideas and face rejection, something which is required in the business world. MEGA mentors gave us confidence and direction to fine tune our weak points as a business before we actually launched. It was a great starting point to network with other like-minded individuals as well as businesses. It gave us opportunities to bounce/test different strategies and seek feedback on theoretical and real world applications. Ultimately it gave us a safe environment to play in, test and bed down core philosophies that are the backbone of our operation today. Without MEGA we could have quite easily failed as a start-up.

For anyone contemplating about participating in the digital economy, whether that be as a founder or investor or any role in between we strongly advise you undertake the MEGA course. No matter what your expectations of the course is this will be exceeded."

Guest Post: Why MEGA - Vanessa Picker, CEO, Fit Us In

Being part of the MEGA program was a fantastic opportunity for FitUsIn. We have a mobile app and website which allows consumers to book hassle free gym deals- anywhere, anytime…at the best possible rate!

Before joining MEGA, we had an idea and a very basic website. However, we had not fully tested the concept and we weren’t too sure about how to quickly scale the idea. Through MEGA, we were connected with several mentors who could provide invaluable advice on an ongoing basis. Our lead mentor Gavin Artz was particularly helpful in terms of helping us to set and reach important milestones. We also learned a lot from the other participants in the program who all had incredibly diverse backgrounds.

The pitch event was a great opportunity for FitUsIn. We were able to pitch in front of Jana Matthews, the Program Director of the ANZ Innovyz Start Program. She gave great feedback, and then accepted us into the accelerator program which began a couple of months after completing MEGA. We are now about to close our seed round of funding, so that we can fully cement the concept in Australia and quickly begin international expansion.

Without MEGA, we would not have had the opportunity to pitch in front of people like Jana Matthews. We may not have validated the idea as quickly as we did. As a result, I would encourage anybody with an early stage idea (or even those without an idea who are keen to join a team), to get involved in MEGA. It will certainly help you to progress your ideas quicker than you could outside of the supportive environment. Also, you are bound to meet interesting, supportive entrepreneurs and mentors along the way!

Guest Post: Shane Bevin, Monkeystack

Most of us are pretty comfortable with what we know and understand, but how often do we stand back and think about what we don't know? How can we know what we don't know, and why would this be pivotal to our future success?

I'm an artist and technical director and the software I use on a daily basis is sometimes ridiculously complex. It is complex because it needs to be, not just because it is trying to be confusing just to mess with our already overburdened minds. The 3D animation software I use has thousands of options buried in hundreds of menus. I could read the manual from cover to cover and I'd still be missing information that has snuck in via updates, patches and third party additions. More importantly the conceptual side of using the software is even more complex. The problem is that if I attempted to know everything there is to know about every piece of software I use I'd spend all of my time learning and none of my time doing. This is a trap that I have seen people fall into on many occasions...they figure they need to know everything before they start anything and they are continually on the starting line waiting for the gun to go off.

So how do I deal with this? I skim...I graze...I scratch the surface just a little bit. I spend time knowing what options are available to me, rather than drilling down into how exactly to implement them. I try to find out what I don't know...just so I know what I don't know...if you know what I mean.

In essence I try to prioritize the level of information I need to take in per project. I try to gain an overview of the information I need and then I really go into the detail when the project demands it.

So how does a course like MEGA help with this? There are two major ways...firstly, you will gain an overview of the complex ecosystem facing an entrepreneur and also you will network with people who know some of that stuff that you don't even know you don't know. You will mix with tutors, mentors and other participants who are experts in their chosen fields and you will soon start to see that combined knowledge brings a powerful edge to every team...or in simple terms 'two heads are better than one'.

I used to think that quantity of knowledge was the most important thing but I have slowly realised that quality knowledge from quality sources means that much of the filtering has already been done for me.

Guest Post: Call to Action from Mentor Gavin Artz

Take Action in the Middle of the Zombie Apocalypse

In developed economies, there is a growing sense of unease with the economic direction we have chosen. The financialization of our economies has left us feeling as though we live in a fantasy, where nothing real underpins wealth or economic sustainability.  In this fantasy, massive numbers are created through facilitating transactions, or shifting foreign currency about, but it is almost impossible to get funding for new ideas. It is no coincidence that through the era of financialization we have seen the increase in zombie myths and metaphors. In Adelaide, we do a fantastic Zombie Walk, and there are enough zombie films and memes to keep the undead happy for an exceedingly long time. We have been looking for a metaphor that will allow us to come to terms with work devoid of meaning, where your economic action if allowed at all, cannot create change. Once bitten you trudge along content, but limited and empty. This metaphor feels right for industries that don’t actually create anything, for industries where innovation is a rule change that creates ways of accumulating more numbers, but doesn’t create new meaning.

Entrepreneurship is different.  Entrepreneurship picks up the baseball bat and cuts a swathe through the pointless masses of the undead.  Entrepreneurship is old school business we can all understand and appreciate. This is where someone has an idea, they take the risk, they raise capital and build a team to create something new. The process is archetypal innovation, where a person, or a team, brings a new idea to market – a real and tangible thing we can use to make our lives better. We often think that this is just a commercial activity, but there is also social and cultural benefits. So yes, a company like Google does make a lot of money, but it also made researching articles much easier and put broadcasting into the hands of individuals. Today, a good business has to generate revenue and create a social good. Having a good idea and sharing it with as many people as possible is what built our civilisation, being an entrepreneur puts you at the heart of history, it makes you a builder of civilisations.

MEGA gives people with good ideas the entrepreneurial skills and the living network of mentors and colleagues that can take that good idea to the market - to build a business from your idea. MEGA can also give you the skills and connections to have an impact on the world you live in, to make change happen.

If the zombie apocalypse has got you down and you need to do more, MEGA can give you the baseball bat and the mission – it is up to you to come out swinging.

Guest Comment: Mentor Teresa Crea

The emergence of creative incubator spaces, such as MEGA, are making for the most unexpected collisions between creativity and entrepreneurship bringing individuals and teams together  - at times with quite disparate ideas – to thrash out, discuss and develop exciting new business and technology ventures. 

There is a riveting friction and intensity in these spaces. I have had the privilege of watching how teams move from raw ideas and enthusiasm to compelling, credible business propositions at MEGASA.  And witnessing how they push through to unexpected solutions drawing on the advice and wisdom of experienced business mentors.  For me, these spaces are forging a different relationship between creativity, entrepreneurship and business innovation that has real potential to transform how we think about work in the future. The skills that are learnt in these spaces remain without doubt life long skills.

Guest Post: Fee Plumley shares her MEGA experience

Back when it started out MEGA was an acronym for ‘mobile enterprise growth alliance’ – swanky biz-speak for ‘a training program to help mobile service/content/application startups to develop their ideas, learn about market research, how to write business plans and develop fundraising pitches’. You could bring your initial startup idea (perhaps even prototyped but needing extra team members, skills or cash) or you could just rock up with enthusiasm and find a team to build an idea with. At the end of the program you would present your (now perfected) pitch to a panel of potential investors (including some from the mobile industry) and get some actual cash to develop your concept.
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Business Skills for the Arts

Shhhhh .... don’t tell anyone, but I used to be an artist. Well, I was a musician and a composer and, after six years of working in the arts, I am not sure how much credibility that gives you as an artist. When I was an artist musician all I wanted to do was play music and the dream, as for many of my colleagues, was not to have to work a crappy dead-end job to pay the bills. The dream was to get payed for what I wanted to do. Well, in the end that didn’t work out too well for me and I spent way more time having my soul destroyed manning market research phones or sitting behind the desk at WEA Sydney as the night attendant, than on what I wanted to do. The irony was that I had to spend so much time working at business administration, that I became much better at that than at being musician. Ultimately, managing a business was less complex than composition - it paid better too, but more importantly, I had a greater impact on people and society than I ever did as a musician.
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3nd Release Tickets now open

2nd release tickets ($770) have now closed. 3rd and final release tickets are now open for $880. If you apply from todays date, this price will be recorded against your application. If you are elegible for a student discount or scholarship, please note it in your application.

From Tinkering to Entrepreneurship: how the ‘Maker movement’ is driving innovation

The following post is by Karen Marsh of ANAT. You can find out more about Karen here. “If we can streamline the path from hacker to entrepreneur, the world can unlock immense innovation and prosperity.” TechCruch The link between entrepreneurship and the burgeoning ‘Maker movement’ is a theme that ANAT (Australian Network for Art and Technology) is currently exploring in its 3D printing program. As an organisation that supports artists and creative practitioners engaging with science and technology, ANAT takes especial delight in this flowering of technologically-driven creativity that is being ignited by ‘Makers’ around the world.
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MEGA Rewards

MEGA has introduced a rewards program for the 2012 Adelaide Masterclass. We are currently offering 3 rewards: $110, $220 and $330 fee discount. Here is how you can earn rewards: 1) The first time you visit the MEGA website you will see the following prompt:
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Adelaide MEGA is open for 2012!

Adelaide MEGA is now open for applications.

Early bird tickets are $660. Register now to reserve this price, before they go up. If you apply from todays date, this price will be recorded against your application. If you are elegible for a student discount or scholarship, please note it in your application.