Wednesday, 26 February 2014

10 Start-up Quotes to Get Your Ass in Gear

“It’s not that we need new ideas, but we need to stop having old ideas.” – Edwin Land, Polaroid co-founder

“The last 10% it takes to launch something takes as much energy as the first 90%.” – Rob Kalin, Etsy founder

“Ideas are easy. Implementation is hard.” – Guy Kawasaki, Alltop co-founder and entrepreneur

"The only thing worse than starting something and failing… is not starting something.” – Seth Godin, Squidoo founder, author and blogger

“No more romanticizing about how cool it is to be an entrepreneur. It’s a struggle to save your company’s life – and your own skin – every day of the week.” – Spencer Fry, CarbonMade co-founde

“If you are not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late.” – Reid Hoffman, LinkedIn

“High expectations are the key to everything.” – Sam Walton, Walmart founder

“You jump off a cliff and you assemble an airplane on the way down.” – Reid Hoffman, LinkedIn co-founder

“If you can’t feed a team with two pizzas, it’s too large.” – Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and CEO

“Fail often so you can succeed sooner.” – Tom Kelley, Ideo partner

Tell us your best Make It Happen quote on our Twitter.  #JustDoIt

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Six concepts. YOU choose.

You’ve got a big decision to make in FIVE DAYS.

Yes, you. 

Our Top Six concept teams are hungry to hold the keys to 78 Stanley St for the Season One residency of IconPark.

And YOU decide who gets them.

On Monday March 3rd at 9:00am head to IconParkstart banging on our door (metaphorically, of course) & tell us which drinking and dining concept you want to see brought to life in Sydney.  

By pre-purchasing experiences from the concept you love, you'll lock in kickass privileges that the great unwashed are not privy too and you won't be left out on the street; remember it's only a 12-week season and these badboys will sell faster than a reopening of elBulli.  

Five White Trash Celebrity Restaurants Chain

Hold the Cristal – these celebrities are targeting Middle America, serving up wings by the bucketload and raking in millions.  Here are five superstar-owned restaurant chains that (perhaps unintentionally) put the rash in trash.

Toby Keith's I Love This Bar & Grill
The design of this bar is proof that Toby Keith really loves Toby Keith.  With memorabilia from his boot-scootin’ career adorning every inch of the walls, it’s like dining in a fucking shrine.  It’s where hicks celebrate their anniversaries with fried bologna served by 18-year-olds in booty shorts.  They’re pretty proud of their Miracle Whip-based dressings.  With nine stores (we’re promised that there’s at least 100 pieces of Toby Keith mementos at every location), the country crooner is roping in the coin.  Oh, and the bar was named after his hit “I Love This Bar”.  Yep.

Jimmy Buffett’s Cheeseburger in Paradise
If you gave a four-year-old the license to a bar, they’d call it ‘Cheeseburger in Paradise’.  The burgers are apparently awesome (and the 100oz Beer Tubes can’t suck) but it doesn’t dilute the fact that the place is downright scary; it’s where multi-coloured holiday umbrellas went to die.  If you can’t make it over to the U.S.A in the near future – don’t fear, because Jimmy Buffett has a Margaritaville in Sydney's Harbourside Shopping Centre.  It puts the ass in classy.

Donnie and Mark Wahlberg's Wahlburgers

Boston’s baddest brothers fought hard for Wahlburgers name, striking a deal (read: beat down) to use it for their Massachusetts burger joint, when it was already in operation.  I’m hoping they pay their staff properly because serving hundreds of drunk Bostonians booming “Gimme mah fahking burgahs” after a Red Sox loss would be hell.  Everything is Wahl-themed, even if it’s painfully awkward – wahlcoction anyone?  To triple to tack factor, A&E are making a reality show about the place, because that’s exactly what you want in your face mid-burger; a giant TV camera.  

Ludacris' Chicken N Beer
Since 2008 the Grammy winner and quasi-actor opened Straits Atlanta, a Singaporean restaurant because, you know, Ludacris is synonymous with Asian cuisine.  The venue had a decent run before closing its doors in 2012, making way for his new venture: Chicken N Beer (also the name of his third studio album, duh).  The restaurant hasn’t opened yet but has already received the white trash stamp of approval: it will be inside Hartsfield-Jackson Airport where you can tuck in to fried chicken while enjoying the docile beat of Ludacris’ “Move bitch”.

Pete Wentz, Angels & Kings

The style of this bar co-owned by several musicians isn’t so white trash but it’s definitely a grubby operation.  In 2012, the Chicago venue was temporarily closed down for serving alcohol to minors three times (suspected guests of gentleman Wentz), and in 2013 health inspectors found food improperly stored  and a “discoloration and a slimy substance” in the ice machine.  Paris Hilton is also an investor, so that wouldn’t be helping the reputation.  It is part-Goth, part-teen angst, 100% skanky. 

Would you sink your teeth in to a Jolly Wahly Burger?  Or slug back a Garnimal is a hot pink tubbler at one of Buffet's bars?  What's you favourite white trash haunt?  Confess on Twitter!

Saturday, 22 February 2014

We F@#king Did It: Top Five Risky (and Successful) Celebrity Start-ups

After two rounds of presentations, the IconPark panel has heard some crazy ideas.  With the announcement of the top six looming, we’re taking a look at the celebrity start-ups that were born as far-fetched concepts that grew in to award-winning, money printing enterprises.

Adrian Grenier, Churchkey Can Co.

Adrian Grenier co-founded Churchkey Can Co. with buddy and former Nike Designer Justin Hawkins.  The brewery start-up has attracted the financial support from big executives from Facebook, Zynga and CrunchFund, probably because the concept takes them back to the good ‘ole days.  The fully recyclable steel can (satisfying Grenier’s ginormous green thumb) has seldom been seen since the 60’s.  Armed with a ‘churchkey’ (that superfluous triangle thingy found on some bottle openers), you’ve got to puncture this bad boy twice to get it going.  Considering the volume of labour involved, this product might not test well in Australia.

Gwyneth Paltrow GOOP.

It’s the home of the $495 canvas flats who bear romantic pseudo-Sicilian names like ‘Magenta and beige garda’, perhaps to distract the buyer from the outlandish price tag.  Welcome to Goop: the world of Gwyneth Paltrow, actress-come-rockstar’s wife and Mommy.  And it’s pretty good to be her.  This start-up is based on Paltrow ‘sharing’ her lifestyle from parenting tips to her passion for pasta (with a few cheeky advertisements thrown in) and for thousands of women “Goop has become their most trusted girlfriend on the web”.  Yes, that’s what it says on the site. The polarising star has been accused by the media for being out of touch, but the success GOOP proves that there really is a market for $99 yoga pants. 

Zooey Deschanel, Hello Giggles.

The pupped-eyed musician/actress/comedienne does more than sit around in sundresses drinking tea.  She is actually savvy, like super business savvy.  Following the success of Will Ferrell’s Funny or Die website, the 32-year-old adorkable TV star has invested in her own project – a female-orientated online comedy community.  It was deemed a gamble because Deschanel wasn’t interested in brand-entertainment campaigns (think Tom Brady’s thinly veiled Under Armour ad “Buy My Shit LOL”).  According to Forbes, in 2012 the site hauled in $9 mill over 12 months, with over 300 (UNPAID) contributors, and the Fempire continues to grow.

Edward Norton, Crowdrise.

Norton has business in his blood; his grandfather is credited for the invention of the modern shopping mall.  Born with a silver spoon in his mouth didn’t make Norton a dick, in fact, he is one of Hollywood’s most philanthropic stars (he dated Courtney Love for four years; the dude is utterly selfless).  Founded in 2010, Crowdrise is one of the fast-growing fundraising platforms in the world which enables it’s users to gain support for their charitable vocations.  It was risky because these lesser-known causes where fighting against big globally-recognisable charities.  The start-up was named in Barron’s “Top 25 Best Global Philanthropist” beating Oprah, which is always nice.

Jessica Alba, The Honest Company.

Building a company based on a Size zero multimillionaire actress giving parenting advice is a helluva risky move, but to her credit, Alba’s offering is the Target to Paltrow’s Berdorfs.  For most of us, Jessica Alba conjures up images of leather chaps but she wants the world to know that she is a Serious Mommy and someone who gives a shit about the earth.  The Honest Company is a hybrid of practical parenting advice and product sales that specialising in delivering baby-safe products to your door.  Non-toxic conditioning mist anyone?  Alba will reward you with 35% off when you buddle a set of diapers and wipes, so there’s that.

What celebrity start-ups success stories most surprised you?  Let us know on Twitter

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Sweet Spaces: Melbourne Edition

Sweet Spaces: Melbourne Edition

At IconPark we’re all about taking a space and making it your own.  Every three months Stanley St will be transformed in to a new venue, which will require the adaptability and balls that will make or break the restaurant or bar.  For the first edition of Sweet Spaces, we journeyed to south of the boarder to see how Melbournites are reconceptualising spaces (some which are just a few metres wide; one a former left-wing political party office.  Yikes.) to create unique dining experiences.

Chuckle Park
322 Little Collins St, Melbourne.

A fresh angle on Melbourne’s saturated one-way laneway bar scene is Chuckle Park.  Basically it’s an endearing trailer park that flogs delightful $35 jugs of Sangria.  Underneath New Guernica (the interior of which would require a whole separate article), the snug space is lined with synthetic grass and a bald eagle emblazoned caravan which serves as the bar.  The design is cheeky; staff refer to the ‘lawn’ (AstroTurf), beverages (tinnies), and if you ask nicely, they’ll lay down a picnic rug. 

252 Swanston St, Melbourne.

If you’re asking around for a cool place to drink in Melbourne, chances are you’ll be told Cookie.  Formerly the headquarters of the Labour and Communist party, the space has been transformed in to a relaxed multi-leveled venue that’s part hipster, part regal.  There’s the hygienically-challenged Kiss Wall adorned with lipstick marks, a marble entrance, and a bookcase, perhaps a nod to the previous tenants.  And of course, there’s Melbourne Carpet – synthetic grass – that lines the rooftop.  The best thing about this space is the sky scraping ceilings which allows light to gush through the bottom level, and encourages the haunting Commy vibe upstairs in the night.

Cabinet Bar
11 Rainbow Alley, Melbourne.

When you’re done at Cookie, scoot around to Cabinet Bar.  It won’t make any hot lists but this venue, which was established in 2007, boasts a constant stream of regulars, and in measuring a bar’s success, that’s a good place to start.  It’s possible to enjoy a session in this space in any configuration; a couple can cuddle on a sofa and on weekends they hang the wooden chairs ON THE WALL to make room for the D-floor for the masses.  Bonus tip: $3 draft all day Tuesday.  You’re welcome.

Grubs Food Van
87-89 Moor St, Fitzroy.

Serving a solid list of Victorian wine out of a refurbished silver 1965 Airstream makes this adorable space more Taylor Swift than Anna Nicole-Smith.  Perched in the front yard of an industrial building, this venue keeps civilised hours and attracts the more discerning drinker.  Explained on the website, the space was engineered “alfresco and slightly exotic greenhouse environment to encourage a combination of earing and conversation”. 

Bar Economico
438 Church St, Richmond.

Like Cookie, this Cuban-themed bar is cashing in on the dive factor; Mojitos are advertised on ripped cardboard, the front windows are boarded up with newspaper, their street sign is stuck to a tree with tape.  It’s fucking awesome.  The ‘Rum Bordello’ is the opposite Max Bax’s Der Raum - which relocated to Munich in 2013.  The bartenders work behind a cage indicating that the rum-soaked patronage regularly turn feral.  It’s a robust space designed for a bit of rough and tumble; a sweaty Havana pool hall complete with drink tickets.

What are your favourite spaces in Melbourne?  Have you been to any of these sweet spaces?  Does Bar Economico really shit all over Der Raum? We want to know.  Hit us up on Twitter.   

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Round Two: Tasting Session Top 8

It’s a tough gig, but somebody has to do it.

Yesterday, IconPark’s finalist teams entered the tasting round, presenting the dishes that they believed encapsulated their concept.

Whittling down from over 100 applicants, there stood just eight.  Eight concepts driven by groups of two to seven hungry entrepreneurs; the future of Australia’s hospitality industry. 

Judging the second round of IconPark’s presentations were six panellists which included wine whisperer Chris Morrison, guerrilla diner Darren Robertson, brand man Sudeep Gohil, Claire ‘Martha Stewart’ Bradley, and of course, IconPark’s founders Paul Schell and Dean McEvoy who reluctantly pulled themselves away from their desks to gorge on rich produce all day.

The Sydney Seafood School which played host to this elimination round made My Kitchen Rules look like the set of playschool.  With just an hour to flesh out their dreams in food form, the teams felt the pressure.  Fortunately, the outcome garnered a collective "F#$king Amazing" by the panel.

No continent nor condiment were left unexplored as the feisty concepts served up sample-sized breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Hip hop-infused entrĂ©es and trips on the Mayflower were on the menu, as this challenging final test was engineered to whittle the eight concepts down to just six.

The shortlist of first season of IconPark will be announced on March 3rd via this website, Facebook and Twitter.  The six finalists will have just 21 days to raise the support for their concept to be in the running for the customised Stanley Street venue. 

Round One: Pitch Workshop Top 15

IconPark is a game changer; according to Chris Morrison, one of Australia’s leading Sommeliers and one of the six panellists who will decide what concept resides in the first IconPark location in East Sydney

On Tuesday February 11th fifteen finalists met face-to-face with the IconPark panel to decide which had a concept to the level of awesomeness that warranted a second round look.  IconPark is the world’s first crowdfunding start-up to focus on food and beverage enterprises.  The prize?  Keys to the winner’s dream restaurant and bar; theirs to operate for three months.

The panel gave the hopefuls just ten minutes to illustrate their concept.  And the panellists, all leaders in their respective fields didn’t have time for any bullshit. 

IconPark has attracted some wild ideas and even wilder personalities, and this is exactly what the start-up called for during the application process.  The first panel session defined what made those 15 concepts stand out from the pile of over 100 applications.

The day-long deliberation process separated the dreamers from the doers, the fighters and the fringe dwellers.  It also unearthed hospitality gold. 

“It’s a great way to identify young hospitality entrepreneurs who may not get a chance based on the cost of entry in to this business,” explained Morrison. 

From that initial group, ten were selected to go to the next round where they must present the judges with their signature dishes with complimenting beverages to further their campaign.
Social media engagement is a big component of nabbing an IconPark residency and the final six who will be announced on March 3rd are encouraged to direct their friends to the website where they’ll be able to pre-purchase items from the menu and voice their support.

“It’s up to the punters who will be voting with their actual dollars to see who gets to occupy the space” explains Joel Meares, Editor of Time Out Magazine and panellist.

“It gives people who have a great idea for food and beverage concept the opportunity to launch their concept because of the crowd, their concept gets a reality” said co-founder Dean McEvoy. 

Who will be the final 6 teams to enter IconPark season 1

The deliberations continue as the mentors decide on which teams should make the final 6

Mentors grilling Jamie from Minjoo Social Yesterday