[Video] Aussie-created Ideapod set to rival Twitter
The new Aussie-created social media platform that is expected to rival Twitter has received public support from well-known entrepreneur and Virgin Group founder Richard Branson.
Ideapod, an app that encourages users to engage in conversation while also sharing and generating ideas, is coming soon to Australia and is seeking $9.75 million in funding. Although it was founded in the U.S., Ideapod is the creation of former Melbourne High School students Justin Brown and Mark Bakacs.
The co-founders decided to set up headquarters in the U.S. due to its access to venture capital and a higher number of aggressive investors.
Users of the app will be limited to 1000 characters or 40-second videos. With already approximately 150,000 users, it has grown 35 per cent over the past five months according to Brown.
The company initially received funding of about US$500,000 in 2013, and is now on a mission to secure its next line of monetary support. It has also got financial backing from some high-profile Aussies such as property developer David Devine and Lowy Institute professor Alan Dupont.
But it’s the public support from Branson that has put Ideapod on the radar of several other executives.
“I love Ideapod and I loved reading about all the ideas you came up with,” said Branson in a response to an Ideapod post asking users what the Virgin Group should do next.
The company currently has just one employee based in Australia, a user interface designer, but if the app continues to increase in popularity, they could begin adding to the staff. The enterprise version will be the main revenue driver of the platform, with businesses able to pay to crowd-source ideas.
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While some people find social media as an overwhelming experience, Ideapod attempts to counter that by allowing you to select topics that interest you. Once you select your own personal interests, you can read and comment on posts, link your ideas to theirs and create your own. In addition, you can invite friends to view ideas you’ve previously shared or written.
If the app’s growing support continues, it may become the next prominent marketing platform for businesses.
Q&A: Professor Loredana Padurean, Asia School of Business
As someone who is creating Asia Pacific’s business leaders of the future, what do you believe are the essential skills leaders require?
In many ways, we need leaders who are Renaissance women/men or polymaths, as opposed to specialists of an industry or a field. A polymath is a person with profound knowledge, proficiency and expertise in multiple fields and today’s leaders have to be able to combine various ideas, look at problems in novel and useful ways, and develop a broad and yet still deep set of skills, talents, and knowledge.
You’ve coined ‘smart’ and ‘sharp’ as skills of the future. What are these?
They are replacements for ‘soft’ and ‘hard’ skills, a concept coined by a US Army doctor in 1972 who observed that his pupils had different skills: dealing with machinery required ‘hard’ skills, while dealing with people and paper were ‘soft’ skills. This concept has served us well since, but I find it too binary, not to mention the semantic implications of the words themselves.
Soft implies gentle, delicate, mild, quiet, tender, weak. However, there is nothing soft in navigating competing perspectives and cultures, handling and delivering critical feedback or dealing with office politics. Instead, I prefer to call these skills ‘smart’. Hard implies rigid, difficult, heavy, static. But how can we think of engineering or software development as static or rigid? I believe ‘sharp’ is more apt as such skills need constant updating or sharpening.
I think it’s time to reflect on these classifications, because we can drastically change someone’s perspective by how we choose to talk about and frame something.
How important are smart skills in leadership today?
Smart skills are more important than ever because we live in a world of extreme diversity: generational, ethical, value-based, gender, etc. Gone are the days when giving an order was an effective act of leadership. I personally work with people from five different continents and across five different generations, therefore as leaders, we need to know how to adapt, motivate, inspire and connect. We need to increase our investment in learning about them in action, especially as smart skills are more difficult to develop.
I believe that a successful leader today has to be both smart and sharp. Take cognitive readiness, one of my top 10 smart skills. In order to be cognitive ready, one has to master system dynamics, one of my top 10 sharp skills. Also, did you know that one of the primary reasons why digital transformation fails is not the absence of digital literacy, a sharp skill, but the need for more validation and adaptability, both smart skills. So, instead of thinking of these skills as binary, I prefer to think of them as the yin and yang; co-existing and complementing each other.
So, you can teach leaders smart skills then?
Yes, you can, via a combination of the classroom experience, plus an action component supported by deeply embedded reflection. At ASB we call this Action Learning, and we teach it both in the MBA and in the executive programs. For example, in teaching a leader emotional maturity as a smart skill, first they need to learn what it is, and then act on it, before reflecting on what we did and how we did it. And then to repeat it, but this time with more expertise and awareness. It’s not easy, but that’s why my favourite mantra is ‘the job is easy, the people are not’.
Discover Professor Padurean's successful skills for a digital transformation here