On todays Vlog Kristen Holden visited and we discussed:

– All things startup ecosystem,
– Large companies wishing they were startup-esk &
– Behind every successful man is an equally (or in both our cases a more successful female) which is a great segway into female founders month

Get behind it: www.Instagram.com/FemaleFoundersAUS


Tobi Skovron: What’s up everybody? Welcome back to the vlog. I know what you’re thinking, the guests here just get better and better and better every week. In today from MYOB, we have Kristen Holden. Kristen is actually a good mate of mine, and a huge, huge supporter of not only, I don’t even think just the Melbourne ecosystem, but actually now you’re penetrating some of the states as well, right?

Kristen Holden: It’s been a deliberate decision to start in Victoria, obviously based in Victoria, strong connections here.

But yeah, we’re definitely looking to expand into Sydney and other states certainly next year. So dipping our toes at the moment, dipping our toes in New South Wales at the moment. And yeah, going from there.

Tobi Skovron: I love it.

So, MYOB is a huge partner here in Victoria, have amazing relationship with southern Victoria …Launch Vic? Huge relationship here at CreativeCubes and other coworking spaces which is really good because we’re about community and not everyone in the community can fit into this building.

So I’m actually, you know, I don’t look at other coworking spaces as competitors actually, I think that they’re serving their community equally to what we’re doing here. And so MYOB have a … they’ll put you in to take care of fostering and growing community?

Kristen Holden: Yeah, I mean, my main idea is just do stuff that matters to the ecosystem really. It’s not like what’s ROI, it’s not what can we get out of it, it’s to do things that matter, change the perception of MYOB.

I mean, we’ve been here for a long time, we sort of bring to that transition of being a startup, going back to being a corporate, and starting to actively be more like a startup again over the last four or five years.

Tobi Skovron: So, that’s an amazing segway into a topic for today, or one of many topics that we’ve been over today. We were just shooting some shit at the wall with Georgia, the CEO of Startup Victoria, and we talked very loosely about how the startup landscape is very turbulent, and one has to be able to react and pivot very rapidly.

Kristen Holden: Absolutely.

Tobi Skovron:  You guys have gone from a startup to a large corporate and now back into startup world, how has leadership at MYOB adapted themselves from being a very strong – not that they haven’t been, or aren’t very strong, but – gone from a very mandate power, like … I’m saying about MYOB, I’m really talking about large companies-

Kristen Holden: Yeah.

Tobi Skovron:   I think you know where I’m going with this.

Kristen Holden: Yeah. They have more structures thank you could think about.

Tobi Skovron: Yeah, so how do you guys become more ‘jelly-esque’, and what I mean by ‘jelly-esque’ … I tried to explain myself to Georgia outside-

Kristen Holden: Use the hand actions again.

Tobi Skovron: Yeah, like … So here at CreativeCubes, we have a path and a structure, and we’re not shooting from the hip.

We have a very clear roadmap … But opportunities often come in from left field, from right field, to … They’re just opportunities, whatever they may be.

And so I try and drill the team here with, “Hey, guys. Be jelly.” And what I mean by that is, absorb the impact. Don’t be so brittle that you’re either … can’t absorb-

Kristen Holden: Differences.

Tobi Skovron: Yeah, or, alternatively, you act as a shield and no independent way to penetrate the wall. We just act jelly. And so, my question to you is, you guys have gone from zero to hero, and now you’re sorta like turning back to core-

Kristen Holden: Back to the roots, yeah.

Tobi Skovron: How do you as a company stay jelly to opportunities?

Kristen Holden: It’s taken a bit structural transformation of the business, like there was that period about five, six years ago where it wasn’t big corporate, from what I understand. I wasn’t there.

It’s about hiring really good shit-hot talent in the right places and letting them do their job.

Once again – unlike a corporate – you know like in a startup, you need to scream and just do whatever you need to do, respond to things, sort of like what I’m doing.

Tobi Skovron:  Yep.

Kristen Holden:  I’m out here just doing stuff and taking opportunities and like, “This thing’s in 3 days, let’s do it.”

Tobi Skovron: Yep.

Kristen Holden: If you talk to people on the team, they’re like, “Oh, shit. We can’t do that. Our timelines are blocked.” We’re just out there doing shit at the moment. from my perspective. But from a business perspective, all the talent we’re hiring at the moment…there’s always people from … I mean, our CTO’s come from Net-A-Porter. He was the CTO of Net-A-Porter.

Tobi Skovron: Fantastic.

Kristen Holden: We’ve got … Luke from Sportsbet who’d just come in. Theres all these people coming from really successful startups … with that mentality.

So, to bring in the talent from the top down … we’re talking execs that have that talent, and then it flows down – down to people like myself who are just out there used to getting shit done.

It takes change from the top down, and the team’s always been great in terms of that, but the people belonging now are very much startup people.

Tobi Skovron: That’s how you win, guys. That’s how you win.

No, that’s how you w … I mean, that formula is a successful formula. It’s a unique formula. I’ve been around larger companies where the board, and people within the organisation, wanna act and be like startup, yet, at core, they’re not.

Kristen Holden: Of course – they’re very risk adverse and…slow turning and…

Tobi Skovron: Yeah, it doesn’t work. I look at it like … if you’re a basketball fan out there, I look at it like Kobe and Shaq. Kobe can turn on a dime-

Kristen Holden: Shaq’s a power man and-

Tobi Skovron: Shaq’s a power man and he’s great at what he did, but it takes him a long time to turn corners and run back on defence. And, by the way, the ball’s already back on offence. So-

Kristen Holden: Don’t get in his way, ’cause he’s gonna run you over!

Tobi Skovron: Yeah. So, I love that. That’s actually a lesson. I didn’t know that. That’s super attractive.

Kristen Holden: Absolutely. Just in the last six months, there’s probably ten senior hires that all come from very cool tech startup backgrounds and the business is still just, every day, transforming … into being that business.

Tobi Skovron:   So, given your mandates is ‘get shit done’, and … be a part and

Kristen Holden: Make a difference here.

Tobi Skovron:  Yeah, be a part and be the part, or make the difference in the ecosystem. What’s some really cool stuff that you can talk about, because there’s 5,000 people watching, believe it or not … What can you talk about? Tell us what’s going on in startup world …

Kristen Holden:  So, we’re making a big effort at the moment to the ‘Women in Tech’  space. There’s a whole bunch of programs we’re doing with people like [inaudible 00:06:43] you know, who’s another partner-

Tobi Skovron:  Superstar.

Kristen Holden:  Our startup, I think we’re doing a female founders pitch night with them … next Tuesday which is … I think the biggest female founders pitch night that’s ever happened for us ’cause 800 people have RSVP-ed already.

It’s huge.

Tobi Skovron: I’ve seen some of the prizes. I gotta tell you guys if you’re involved … or if you have an opportunity to pitch your pants off … get down there.

Because it’s hundred of thousands of dollars worth of stuff to help power your business.

Kristen Holden: And I think we’ll probably do similar to what we did at the pitch night we had here, where you do some 60-second pitches, if people wanna come down, have crack.

If there’s anybody out there that’s gonna pitch but didn’t get time to submit … Women only, hopefully, or you know … female founder, if there’s a man and a woman, whatever, it’s fine, but the female element is gonna be there for that night.

Tobi Skovron: Well you know, I grew up with two sisters, and a mom, my dad passed when I was young … I married a beautiful woman who’s got two sisters, a mom, and a dad … and I’ve got two girls myself … So, all the power to the women-

Kristen Holden: Absolutely.

Tobi Skovron: And, actually, I … got caught in traffic this morning, I was supposed to be here for a 10 o’clock appointment. I got caught, so I Slacked Sim who works here as part of concierge, but is actually … my wife … And I apologised to the person I was late to see, and in reality, I would’ve had to have gone and get permission from her to do a deal, anyway … so you’re right in front with…

Kristen Holden: It sounds like she’s been behind most of your big successes in life, right?

Tobi Skovron: One-hundred percent.

Kristen Holden: You going to talk about those stories today? From America, you know the PetLoo stuff yeah?

Tobi Skovron:  Yeah, so … Simmy keeps it real with me.

Kristen Holden:  Absolutely, so does my wife.

Tobi Skovron: I get … Yeah, I mean we’ve talked about this. I get worked up, and she’s like… bury it. Just get on with it, or … She’ll bring a real-

Kristen Holden:  Yin and yang, you need different perspectives with someone you truly trust.

Tobi Skovron:  Hundred percent. And I gotta tell you, honestly, I don’t think I would’ve been … maybe even 10 percent as successful as I’ve had … And, by the way, I don’t really view myself as “successful.” I feel like I’m on first base … But I don’t think I would have gotten to first base if it wasn’t for her tweaking me behind the scenes and just having real, raw conversations and doing some really cool things together, so … Female founders … Is it Female Founders Month or week?

Kristen Holden:  We’ve made it month. Georgia has just gone to town. Every day, there’s a new woman being featured.

Tobi Skovron:  Yup. If you’re not following Startup Victoria-

Kristen Holden:  On Instagram … @femalefoundersaus … on Instagram … There’s a series of videos every day just being pumped out about different female founders and stories and things like that.

Tobi Skovron: I love it. So, get behind it. If you’re a male founder-

Kristen Holden: Get behind it as well.

Tobi Skovron: Get behind it as well. I really don’t think that it’s up to the ladies to –

Kristen Holden:  No. Everyone needs to be involved in the conversation.

Tobi Skovron:  Support it, guys. I love that. So, Startup … What’s the handle on Instagram … I’ll link it, anyway, in the description, but-

Kristen Holden:  @femalefoundersaus

Tobi Skovron:  On Instagram. Get around it … When is the night?

Kristen Holden:  Tuesday night. Next Tuesday … At KPMG.

Tobi Skovron: So, today week at KPMG … Love KPMG, love myself Amanda Price.

Kristen Holden: So, funnily enough my wife has looped in … with this story, and that’s how it all started, and … she’s the Telstra  Business Woman of the Year and all this kind of stuff, and …

Tobi Skovron: Hey Girl, see what I’m saying?!

Kristen Holden:  This is what I’m saying. Everything comes together. It’s all sort of, like…

Tobi Skovron:  Behind every successful man …

Kristen Holden: Oh, you’ve no idea.

Tobi Skovron: Is an equally, if not more successful, woman.

Kristen Holden: Absolutely.

Tobi Skovron: I love it … So, power to the women. KPMG, I love Amanda Price.

Kristen Holden: Yep.

Tobi Skovron:  I love what she’s doing. Amanda and I spent a couple years in LA together, so get around her, get around Georgia, get around StartupVic, get around female founders, female entrepreneurs … I love it … Kristen Holden was my guest today. Mate, thanks so much for coming on.

Kristen Holden: No worries, mate.

Tobi Skovron: And thanks for all the support that … not only even us, but really, the ecosystem …

Kristen Holden: It’s my pleasure.

Tobi Skovron:  I think you and I have had a couple of chats over a couple of drinks … Both of us, our heart is where it should be.

Kristen Holden: Mm-hmm

Tobi Skovron: And that is to just make a difference … You’ve got some incredible talent, and people behind you … that are helping push … I’m just trying to run up from my own pockets … But we’re very much aligned.

Kristen Holden:  That’s why people like me exist, right?

Tobi Skovron:  I love it, man … So … I’m not sure who’s actually … Tomorrow, we have our weekly vlog with Josh. ‘This week is startups’ ,  so tune in for that … and then towards later in the week, we’ve got some awesome guests … Not as awesome as this guy … But some awesome guests coming on Thursday and Friday … Kristen thank you so much.

Kristen Holden:  No worries, mate.

Tobi Skovron: Awkward part of the segment-

Kristen Holden: Yeah, ’cause I-

Tobi Skovron: Yeah, he knows …

Kristen Holden:  I’ll just look at the Hustle sign…

Tobi Skovron: Yeah, there you go … Thanks, guys!

Kristen Holden:  Pretty exciting … See you, guys.

Author Tobi Skovron

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