My experience and key learnings from EO Ignite

From November 14 to 16, over 200 Entrepreneurs’ Organisation members from the South Pacific region attended EO Ignite in Sydney, which is a bi-annual event for EO-ers.


We had members from around Australia, NZ and abroad to get together including China and Canada. The event was sold out six months prior, which is a tribute to the amazing agenda and two years of planning that was put together by Danny Kordahi and his team. I was part of the organising committee in 2011, and I’m proud to see the event gain so much strength and support from all the chapters and members.


I’m still on a high and truly inspired, and thought I would outline the gems and key takeaways gained from the keynote speakers:


Warren Rustand


Former White House scholar, NBA player, entrepreneur and CEO of billion dollar businesses, Warren was probably the most inspirational and practical leadership speaker I’ve ever heard. His key messages:

  • To accelerate and be explosive, you must change who YOU are. The impediment is you. You must continue to grow yourself!
  • Be open, honest and candid with yourself in order to learn.
  • Never do anything alone. Push yourself beyond your limits.
  • What you do today is what’s important. Live in a present state.
  • We control our mind, energy and time – we control these choices
  • Greatness comes from adversity. We discover who we are through chaos, crisis and challenges. This is where individual greatness emerges.
  • Get rid of the rocks in your backpack!
  • Live with purpose. Act with intent.


Tim Ferriss


The author of The 4-Hour Work Week’, entrepreneur, angel investor, Tim Ferriss had these words of wisdom for entrepreneurs:


  • Love learning and teaching. He was a student and teacher before becoming an author.
  • Push through the barriers of pain.
  • Be curious!
  • Pick an exclusive niche to start. It’s easier to target initially and then watch the cascade effect.
  • Achieve the expert status which is more powerful than capability.
  • Take a look at what people spend on which is price insensitive.
  • Time and mobility are the new currency.
  • Schedule a 4-8 week vacation every year!
  • Value what you have, otherwise you never will.
  • Ask absurd questions – how can we increase revenue 10x?
  • Tim is an early investor in a number of tech start-ups and I gathered that his deal flow is huge given that he can add tremendous value through his expertise but also by his huge following and public profile. I would recommend trying to piggy back Tim’s investments.


Simon Mordant


Simon Mordant AM is a successful entrepreneur and philanthropist to the arts:


  • Simon wanted to have meaningful discussions rather than talk about boats, planes and cars achieved through wealth.
  • How can you make a difference?
  • Make your kids understand the meaning of hard work and appreciation. One way to do that is to not put them in your will where they simply wait for you to die!


John Anderson


John Anderson is the founder of Contiki, a leading tour operator company. He shared his story of success and failure with humour, emotion and clarity. He wanted to find a way to travel through Europe cheaply while having fun, so he organised a group tour to share the costs on a limited budget back in the ‘60s. His first tour had 11 women and one bloke! The next tour had 10 women and two blokes. Well done, John:

  • Give things a go.
  • Be aware but don’t fear ever fear failure or risk.
  • Engage the best quality in everything you do. No substitute for quality.
  • Constantly innovate to stay ahead.
  • Hold strong to your beliefs if you believe in something enough.
  • To achieve exceptional results you can’t do it on your own.
  • If you are on a roll, never get complacent.
  • Give staff challenges bigger than they think they can achieve which will help take your company to a new level. Reward and recognise accordingly.
  • Keep in touch with the cold face.
  • Be the best in the market at fewer things.
  • Brand is forever, people move on.
  • Protect your name, which you carry for life.


Paul Cave


Paul Cave is the founder of the Bridge Climb:

  • Persist! Don’t give up. It took 10 years to get the idea across the line through massive amounts of beauracracy and red tape.


Jack Cowan and Marcus Blackmore


Jack Cowan, is the owner of Hungry Jack’s, KFC and Domino’s Pizza and Marcus Blackmore is the founder of Blackmore’s:


  • Value friendships as these outlast everything else
  • Don’t bet the farm – if you are going hard in the quest for wealth, don’t go all in. Far too people lose it all. Have a back-up plan
  • Be passionate about your business.
  • Innovate and conform if need be and adapt to market trends and demands


AMEX presentation: Superior customer service


  • Treat every customer interaction as a relationship, not as a cost.
  • Hire customer support people who want to talk, rather than call centre people who follow scripts
  • The judge of good service is in the eye of the customer

We also had Lauren Fried, EO Sydney member from Pulse Marketing deliver on strategic marketing, and PWC host an event on preparing for exits which facilitated great content.


On a social level, we had dine around’s at the homes of EO-ers in Sydney on the first night. My group were lucky enough to experience the Sydney Sky tower walk followed by dinner at the revolving restaurant, care of our sponsors PWC Private Clients who are tremendous supporters of EO.




Sky Tower dinner after walking around the Westfield Sign, with spectacular views.


The following day we had a sailing regatta on the harbour in 40 foot yachts.




My team, on the water taxi to our yacht. Go team purple!




The race is on! Mainly newbies on board, but great team work.


On the second evening EO hosted a black-tie gala dinner at the Museum of Contemporary Art at The Rocks, which was a spectacular evening with views over the harbour.




Note: it was a black tie affair yet I chose hot pink – and heard all about it of course! (Some rules are meant to be broken, hey?) Unfortunately I had to behave on the last night as I had a 6am flight the next day so I could make it back to Melbourne to spend the day with my kids!


So all in all we had fun, adventure, once in a lifetime experiences accompanied with inspiring speakers and learning. There is nothing better than connecting with like-minded EO-ers with unbelievable stories, businesses and experiences all who share similar values and life journeys. The energy, enthusiasm and camaraderie were phenomenal and we can’t ask for much more. I will proudly look back and say that some of my greatest life experiences were care of EO.


So what now? It’s action time and I am excited to bring back the learnings to my business and life and share my learnings with others.


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