Rebekah Campbell a kiwi business woman based in Australia and successful tech entrepreneur, for me was the main attraction at the recent #KeaInspire event Inspire Wellington. I discovered Rebekah’s blog about a year ago when researching a trip, stumbled across Posse and as my curiosity always leads to – investigated who was behind the Posse software service. Now I follow her NY Times column and on twitter so was awesome to have an opportunity to hear her speak.

In simple terms Posse is a review and recommendations site for places – Discover the best places on earth is their tagline. It has a cute UI which constructs virtual representations of your favourite places as a street. During her Inspire Wellington talk Rebekah told us the story of her original Posse startup, it’s growth, struggles and her exit – before regrouping and relaunching in it’s new (and current) format providing great insight into how to re-coalesce and re-invigorate an existing team around a new business idea.

As a speaker Rebekah was very on brand, and very focused on her story and how she overcame barriers to success, quite a contrast with Neville Jordan using slides to reinforce her messaging.  I was surprised to see a tweet from her  describing her level of nervousness immediately prior to speaking, and her description of how she had to overcome this fear to enable the long road of pitching to new investors day-in-day-out. None of this came across on the stage, what I heard was a confident business woman who knows what her personal brand is all about and how to sell her story to an audience.

5 key lessons from Rebekah Campbell‘s stories:

  1. Learn how to speak in public – to enable her to undertake over 1000 funding pitches (raising over $4M) she had to be a great public speaker. Rebekah enrolled in ToastMasters to assist with this.
  2. Just Start – plan and refine as you go, the key to success is getting started so just start working on your business.
  3. Never give up – there is always a way forward, she talked about re-inventing and re-invigorating, refining the team and finding new options. Never give up.
  4. Live your brand – rock your personal brand, live and breathe your company brand (she was very on brand) everyone you meet could be a potential customer or investor or advocate.
  5. Seize every opportunity to learn – when you are starting up everything is new, everything that goes well is a learning opportunity, everything that goes badly is a learning opportunity, seize them all to build on your experience.

You can read Rebekah’s stories on her blog, and in the NY Times column, some of the ones she told at Inspire Wellington were:

  • Barriers are Imaginary – a brilliant example of not limiting your thinking or curtailing to the boundaries others impose, leading to her interviewing our Prime Minister of the day David Lange for a school assignment
  • What two years of pitching for investment has taught me – a great blog for anyone pitching to potential investors, describes the lessons she has learned through thousands of pitches for investment rounds

I would have loved an opportunity to meet Rebekah so was disappointed at the lack of a networking opportunity. To read about the other Inspire Wellington speakers you can find a list in the series overview blog. Happy sharing Vic.

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