As a member of the Telstra Graduate Association, I helped organise our inter-grad event after asking our new cohort what they wanted to get out of the program the most. Their answer? To better network with grads at other businesses.

We got in touch with our friends in other businesses who were interested in being part of the event and before long we had over 80 grads from five companies join us in our Sydney office for a night hosted by muru-D, our startup accelerator which also recently opened in Melbourne.

We were joined by guest speaker Ben Sand, an entrepreneur and founder of many different businesses, including a foray into augmented reality technologies. Ben also happens to be the Sydney Entrepreneur-in-Residence for muru-D.

He spoke about his vast experience and how he brought his business ideas to life. I think a big takeaway for all of us from his speech was not to take other people’s success at face value. There’s a lot of hard work that goes on behind the scenes before any successful venture takes off.

I also learnt that if you’re working toward something, you’ve got to want it, you’ve got to make it a success and be willing to do as much as you can to make it happen.

Ben demonstrated this when he and his co-founder prototyped their augmented reality device in the car while driving to a meeting to pitch it and get funding. They used the time to quickly write some code and then test it, as the tools were readily available to him.

“If you want to do something and you know you’re the right person to do it, stick to it and in time you can succeed.”

Afterward, we all got involved in a group activity where we were mixed into teams and given three words, generated at random by all of us grads. We then used the words to form a company, talk about its service and think about how we would test our idea in the next 24 hours.

This activity taught us that if you come up with a good idea, don’t spend all your time planning and start testing it out as soon as you can.

To round out the evening, Telstra’s current muru-D participants joined us having recently returned from Silicon Valley, where they honed their three minute pitch.

I’m already looking forward to our next event.

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