2 Questions with Damon Oudejans of Puntaa (River City Labs Accelerator Class #1)
1. What is one thing you have learned from the River City Labs Accelerator that you could share with the rest of the#startupQLD ecosystem?
I have learnt a great deal while being in the Accelerator program thus far so trying to pick one thing to discuss is very difficult. What I think would be most beneficial to share with the #startupQLD ecosystem, is a realisation I began to discover not too long ago, which has now really cemented itself during the Accelerator.
It is this: When you commit to a startup you are choosing to embark on a long journey. It’s a journey that will test you at every point, it consumes a massive part of your time and energy and essentially becomes your life.
To be successful in the startup game you need to realise and accept that it takes time, a long time. It’s about lasting the distance, committing, having patience and hell of a lot of perseverance. If you can’t hack the journey, forget it. You don’t just build an app and win. This is a very common misconception, held particularly amongst people looking from the outside in.
The truth is you fail. You fail a whole lot. You have to use failure, harness it and learn from it. During the accelerator this is something that has been drilled into us. By failing you learn what doesn’t work and then you try something else, and that doesn’t work but soon enough you find out what does. It’s a repeated process cycle that takes time, it can be arduous and will test your resolve and grind away at your gumption but it is how you progress towards perfection and succeed. This the non-glamorous side of startups, but it’s the reality.
So why do we do it? Well the allure of a startup can be hard to resist. You create something that once was not there. You personally change and influence the world around you, instead of just existing amongst it, you become the master of your own destiny and that is one addictive feeling. It is this that gets you started, but it’s the loving the process and enjoying the journey that will keep you going and get you through. If you only want to get to the destination, you won’t make it, because the journey will eventually wear you down.
The River City Labs Accelerator is an early chapter in the Puntaa story and it will be a very important one. It is providing great guidance, networks, perspective and information which the Puntaa team will draw back on, as we continue down the road. When the accelerator finishes up we will still have a huge mountain to climb, but mentally I feel I’m ready because I have realised and come to terms with what it’s going to take. It will be a very hard grind, full of twists, turns and plenty of obstacles, but I’m amped because I’m doing it with two sensational mates and it’s going to be one a cracking trip!
2. Tell us about the biggest bet you’ve won (or lost)?
This is probably more of fall from grace story. I was playing Texas-Hold’em Poker with a few mates one evening, Jordan (my brother and Puntaa co-founder) was also playing. I ended up taking out the Poker win and was comfortably up. Two up then followed. Jordan who had a shocker run was literally down to his last $2 coin but proceeded to claw back his loss, doubling up each time. It came down to a last $100 head or tales flip, Jordan v Myself. Jordan got the chocolates and I went home empty handed. A classic example of how the punt goes, fun, excitement and a period of despair all in one ;) Also a nice example of exponential growth. The startup holy grail!