160 – It takes 20 years to make an overnight success

  • August 01, 2018
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160 - It takes 20 years to make an overnight success

How long does it take to create an overnight success?  I attended a networking event hosted by Business Chicks here in Australia. Carolyn Creswell from Carman’s was the key note speaker shared her story.  For those of you who may not know or have not tasted Carman’s products.  She is famous for her Muesli & NUT Bars.  During her speech she said, After, 20 years in business they finally won the Telstra Australian Business Woman of the year award.  Someone to her congratulations you are an overnight success.  Carolyn replied actually, I have been rejected for this award every year for over a decade.”  Reality is they were chipping away at this labour of love since Carolyn was 18 yrs old while she was working part-time for Carman’s and attending her first year in University. That’s when the owners told her she was going to lose her part time job so she bought the business for $1000.00.  I recall Carolyn on stage explaining the challenges of making deliveries before her morning lectures and balancing the books in the library during lunch breaks.  Now 25 years later Carmen’s gourmet range is available in all major supermarkets across Australia as well as being exported to many countries around the world.


I ask you….How many people do you know that actually achieved overnight success besides someone winning the lottery?  Not too many people have overnight success in business. In fact, Vern Harnish from Gazelles Internationals states out of 25M firms only 4% of business make it over $1M $ in Revenue.  Reality is it take a lot of hard work and perseverance.

In today’s episode I would like to share another story about John Hanke journey to create Pokémon.  Did you know the Pokémon Go app has broken all records, with 10 million+ downloads in the first week, exceeding Twitter in daily active users and with higher average user time than Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram & WhatsApp.   How di John Hanke create such a massive overnight craze?  Here’s the 10 times he levelled up in his lifetime to reach Pokémon Go:

  • 1st Level  up:  In  1996,  while  still  a  student,  John  co-created  the  very  first  MMO(massively  multiplayer  online  game)  called  ‘Meridian  59’.  He sold the  game to 3DO to  move  on  to  a  bigger  passion:  mapping  the
  • 2nd Level up:  In  2000,  John  launched  ‘Keyhole’  to  come  up  with  a  way  to  link  maps with aerial photography, and create the first online, GPS-linked 3D aerial map of the world.
  • 3rd Level  up:  In  2004,  Google  bought  Keyhole  and  with  John’s  help,  turned  Keyhole into  what  is  now  ‘Google  Earth’.  That’s  when  John  decided  to  focus  at creating  GPS-based
  • 4th Level  up:  John  ran  the  Google  Geo  team  from  2004  to  2010,  creating  Google Maps  and  Google  Street    During this time, he collected the team  that would later  create  Pokémon Go.
  • 5th Level  up:  In  2010,  John  launched  Niantic  Labs  as  a  start-up  funded  by  Google  to  create  a  game  layer  on    John  explains  why  he  called  it  Niantic:  “The  Niantic  is  the  name  of  a  whaling  ship  that came  up  during  the  gold  rush  and  through  a  variety  of  circumstances  got  dragged  on  shore.  This happened  with  other  ships,  too.  Over  the  years,  San  Francisco  was  basically  just  built  over  these  ships.  You  could  stand  on  top  of  them  now,  and  you  wouldn't  know  it.  So  it's  this  idea  that  there's  stuff  about  the  world  that's  really  cool  but  even  though  it's  on  the  Internet,  it's  hard  to  know  when  you're  actually  there.”
  • 6th Level  up:  In  2012,  John  then  created  Niantic’s  first  geo-based  MMO,  “ingress”:  John  explains:  “In  the  case  of  Ingress  the  activity  is  layered  on  top  of  the  real  world  and  on  your    The  inspiration  was  that  it  was  something  that  I  always  used  to  daydream  about  while  I  was  commuting  back  and  forth  from  home  to  Google."  "I  always  thought  you  could  make  an  awesome  game  using  all  the  Geo  data  that  we  have.  I  watched  phones  become  more  and  more  powerful  and  I  thought  the  time  would  come  that  you  could  do  a  really  awesome  real-world  adventure-based  game.”
  • 7th Level  up:  In  2014,  Google  and  the  Pokémon Company  teamed  up  for  an  April  Fools’  Day  joke,  which  allowed  viewers  to  find  Pokémon creatures  on  Google    It  was  a  viral  hit,  and  got  John  thinking  the  idea  could  be  turned  into  a  real  game.
  • 8th Level  up:  John  decided  to  build  Pokémon Go  on  the  user-generated

meeting  points  created  by  players  of  Ingress,  and  the  most  popular  became  the  Pokéstops and  gyms  in  Pokémon Go:  As  John  says,  ”The  Pokéstops are  submitted  by  users,  so  obviously  they're  based  on  places  people  go.  We  had  essentially  two  and  a  half  years  of  people  going  to  all  the  places  where  they  thought  they  should  be  able  to  play  Ingress,  so  it's  some  pretty  remote  places.  There  are  portals  in  Antartica  and  the  North  Pole,  and  most  points  in  between.”

  • 9th Level  up:  John  raised  $25  million  from  Google,  Nintendo,  the  Pokémon Company  and  other  investors  from  Dec  2015  to  Feb  2016  to  grow  a  team  of  40+  to  launch  Pokémon Go  this
  • 10th Level:  John  and  his  team  launched  Pokémon Go  on  July  6th  in  USA,  Australia  and  New    Since  its  launch,  Nintendo’s  share  price  has  risen  $12  billion,  and  the  app  is  already  generating  over  $2  million  daily  in  in-app  purchases,  making  it  an  overnight  phenomenon.

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The  overnight  success  of  Pokémo Go  has  taken  John  Hanke  20  years  to create.  Throughout  these  20  years,  while  he  had  a  big  vision  of  a  game  layer  over  the  world,  he  didn’t  know  what  form  it  would  take.  At every  step,  he  just  focused at his  next  level  up.  At each new  level,  he  had  new  powers,  new  team  members,  and  new  items  in  his  inventory...  Are  you,  like  John,  treating  your  own  entrepreneurial  journey  like  one  big  MMO?

Keep  the  end  in  mind,  but  focus  today  on  simply  levelling  up.

At  every  level,  grow  your  powers,  your  team,  and  your  luck.

And  know  it  takes  many  levels  to  win  the  game.

“It  takes  20  years  to  make  an  overnight  success.”  ~  Eddie  Cantor

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