I just wish more people studied military decision making, where it is ingrained in you that the first available (and possibly the best) course of action in any situation is actually no action — i.e. to do nothing. Or as devs understand, it’s knowing when the use of a null response will give the best results for the system.
What it means to put founders first
Aaron Birkby
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Even if more people understood the benefit of doing nothing in a situation, enacting this decision would require system level thinking on the part of the grant applicants. I suspect a lot of applications are ‘actually’ motivated by things other than improving the Australian startup ecosystem. Given the pool of potential applicants is anyone who can fill out a form and sound good on paper, maybe expecting the entire applicant pool to self moderate is too much to ask?

For me, the difficult questions for grant programs are: Can a grant system be designed to limit the number of bad actors and increase the potential for shared system level thinking? Assuming there is a way to do this (pre-qualification, ongoing performance metrics, measurement of ecosystem indicators, tranching of grants, community voting, enforced competitive selection?), is it possible for a government entity to actually implement this kind of scheme successfully given they are beholden to mostly non-founder stakeholders? Perhaps, if they have excellent engagement with founders.

I don’t see this happening very much in Australia. But is it the government’s fault? Yes, and no…and it doesn’t really matter. As founders we can do a lot to take ownership over the engagement process. Why should we be passive actors. Founder ‘communities’ are in a unique position to do outbound engagement with gov’t and other organisations, regardless of whether those organisations are seeking engagement or not. As a community, we can make engagement happen. This is why healthy founder communities are so important — they are the rudder which can steer the ecosystem regardless of what else is happening.

P.S. I didn’t start out to write this much and it is kind of a raw brain dump — sorry. I also haven’t finished reading the rest of the article. Perhaps you address a lot of this later. Comments welcome.

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