David Anstee, entrepreneurThis week I had the pleasure of interviewing David Anstee co-founder of rapporr. David is a seasoned founder with CEO experience across start-ups, media and technology sectors. He founded and sold two media and communications businesses to establish Australia’s 2nd largest direct advertising agency.

He’s an active advisor, mentor and consultant focusing on business innovation, creativity and acceleration.

Social entrepreneurism is a bit of a buzz phrase in some circles, but David walks the talk in that department, as is evidenced in the fascinating story of the genesis and development of his current startup, rapporr, which he explains in the podcast.

Very early in his professional career David worked with American Express, then founded what was to become a leading Direct Response Advertising and Communications Group, with prestigious clients including American Express, British Airways, ANZ Bank, and Citibank. He then sold that to the McCann Erickson organisation and took leading roles with them. He later founded a new agency, MMI, which he built to become a leading provider of customer loyalty and membership marketing and network development services.

In short, he’s “been there, done that” in the leadership department and is still making good waves with his startup.

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 Key Lessons in Leadership

David shared the key lessons he has gleaned about leadership:

  • Form a strong vision of what you want to build
  • Focus on that vision
  • Set a very high bar
  • Continually reset that bar, with the people around you
  • Attract the right team to achieve that

“I think that’s key, having the right people around you, not doing it all yourself. And inspiring people constantly, to jump over that bar. And constantly focus on that vision.”

“Always surround yourself with the right people, from the early days, not later on, (not) waiting for those people. Try and get the best people you possibly can get hold of when you are starting off the business.”

rapporr – the Story

When I met David for the first time, in Sydney a couple of weeks ago, I was fascinated by the genesis of his rapporr startup and asked him to tell that story again for the benefit of listeners to the podcast. The story involves David’s experience as a volunteer with a wonderful Australian organisation whose whole raison d’etre is literally saving lives, Surf Life Saving Australia.

In the podcast David explains how as a volunteer lifesaver (“lifeguard”) on Sydney’s famed Bondi Beach, and with his friend Peter Tippett, also a lifesaver there, they identified a problem patrol captains had in getting replacements when some members of their scheduled patrol indicated at the last minute that they would not be available – with 40,000 people expected on the beach the next day, getting replacements at such short notice had to be a big worry for the patrol captain. That was the inspiration for the rapporr application and platform, which David explains in the podcast.

The application is also being used by other organisations, including the inspirational Salvation Army volunteer Street Teams. and by small and large businesses. Having 100 languages available on the app is a bit help in a multicultural workforce typical of contemporary Sydney.

“(Rapporr) is all about a quick, more effective way to have access to information and to talk to the peole that matter about critical things and solve them in an expedient way.”

The New Australian Zeitgeist

The new Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has been busy talking up his vision for the nation, with a more innovative, agile economy, recently chided a leader in the academic community for not picking up on the new zeitgeist. I asked David whether he thought that innovation  message was getting any resonance in the business community. David was unequivocally sure it was. There was a “massive shift” happening in the corporate/investor attitude to innovation, a change in mindset. It’s an exciting time and we need more investment.

David spoke eloquently and from his personal and business experience of Australia as a “wonderful place to start a business”.

How Corporates can Address the Challenge of Disruption

Listen also to what he has to say when I ask how he would advise corporate leaders who are worried about disruption but hesitant to take action.

More about Rapporr

You can find out more about Rapporr and download the app free from the Apple Store or from the Google Play Store. And for questions, get in touch with the Rapporr people via the website.

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Des Walsh is an executive coach. He helps business owners and entrepreneurs worldwide deal effectively with the feeling of being left behind or overwhelmed, or both, about social media – especially LinkedIn - and how to engage safely and effectively with social media to help grow their business. Connect with Des on LinkedIn, Google+ and Twitter. And to stay in the loop, get Des’s weekly Social Business Bites (select snippets of his "best of the week" online finds).