Feb 28, 2021
In this episode, I interview
Frances Valintine, the Founder, and CEO of The Mind
Lab and Tech Futures Lab. The Mind Lab is a platform that empowers
students, schools, teachers, and principals to develop contemporary
knowledge and practical skills for today's rapidly evolving world
and the future of work. Frances was named one of the top 50 movers
and shakers in technology education and awarded a Companion of the
New Zealand Order of Merit for her services to education and the
She started Mind Lab in
September 2013 in her early 40s, The Mind Lab being the 5th
organization she has started. From being a small incubator
with five full-time team members, they had a very steep growth and
now have around 100 people who work with them on a constant basis
with at least 80 working full time. The Mind Lab operates as a
social enterprise and has been sustainably profitably all
Before The Mind Lab, Frances had
a consultancy business around marketing, got involved with an
organization that was geared towards developing talent for the film
and creative industries, and also started an Italian food store
that she sold eleven months later. She says the hardest thing in
growing a small business is knowing when to accelerate and when to
put the foot on the brake, and that the one thing she would tell
herself on day one of starting out in business is, “Go fast and
don’t let any naysayers get in your ear” Stay tuned to learn some
really valuable small business growth tips from Frances.
This Cast Covers:
- Running the only private graduate school in New
Zealand with students who are typically between 35 and
- Their two brands under one organization and
what each is all about.
- Generating revenue from tuition fees,
scholarships (Government funding), short courses/one-day workshops,
programs that are paid for by corporate clients, and government
- Being a technologist from a young age and
discovering the appetite for education centered around technology
for the older population.
- Starting out with 5 people and having a steep
growth to achieve profitability and the current 80 full-time
- Frances’ amazing serial entrepreneurship
journey and how she loves being involved with impactful businesses
- Her legitimate desire to do good in the world
through her work.
- Working towards the adoption of continual
professional development as a culture in New Zealand.
- Fragmenting their marketing across multiple
channels and why small businesses should ensure their marketing is
mobile-first, web-based, and highly responsive.
- Being comfortable with self-funding her
businesses using her own assets.
- Dealing with the different stress levels that
come with being a small business owner.
- Doing well during the pandemic due to their
being largely digital and remote-oriented.
- The challenges they have in finding great
talent in artificial intelligence, machine learning, and other
- Starting her first business in her early 20s
and never working for anybody.
- The beauty of being able to watch an idea come
to life to become a successful business.
- Developing habits around more of what makes you
happy as a small business owner.
- Hiring for attitude and aptitude instead of
putting so much focus on paper qualifications.
- Why every small business owner should make sure
they hire people personally.
- Building a culture where employees feel that
- Continuously learning and getting to university
- The importance of having a rapport going with
board members outside the office.
- Her experience with exiting a
- Getting out amongst interesting people and
learning from others.
- The value of digitizing as many processes in
your small business as possible.
Music from https://filmmusic.io
"Cold Funk" by Kevin MacLeod (https://incompetech.com). License: CC