Daniel Batten’s history

17 Jan 2006 I was CEOing a tech company I founded, who’s product was about to hit #1 on Apple’s Ap store – the third of three tech-teams I’d been in who’d taken products global.

And then in one illuminating moment I realised I was no longer living my dharma (proper purpose).

So unequivocal was this realisation that I hired a new CEO to run the company, liquidated my shares and set down a whole new path.

I knew I wanted to “give back” – like most entrepreneurs do after an exit. So that same year I started mentoring and directing other tech-CEOs (like most entrepreneurs do after an exit)

And then a second realisation struck me. It was an insight I had because I came from a whakapapa of teachers.

I realised that I had no qualification to mentor anyone.

For one thing – I, like other mentors, could not answer two very important questions:

“Of what I did – What  worked (at all)? And “What worked for me, but would need to be done differently for a different company?”

There were no books on this.

So I had to answer it the hard way: through intense introspection. Otherwise I would be mentoring other CEOs in things which didn’t work, and which wouldn’t work for them. 

Over this time I spent a lot of time in India. I spent time with a master. I learnt about how to introspect and sharpen my intuition through meditation and other yogic practices. Through these practices, I was able to put my ego to one side, and realise that while superficially I’d been in multiple successful tech-teams, I still knew very little. Much of what I’d done hadn’t worked. And there were only 7 pieces of wisdom from that whole experience that I should be sharing with others.

Three years later, I asked a second question “How do I close the gaps are there in my knowledge?”

Again that question took very little time to ask … but took another three years to answer.

During this time I became an associate at three organisations that trained in sales, mindset, pitching and leadership. Over four years, I learnt the whole body of knowledge on each subject, and I honed my skills as a facilitator and trainer. At the end of every day I asked “Of what I’m learning, what applies to tech companies, and how would I apply it so it would work for tech CEOs?”

Another four years later I thought – so now I’m ready to work with tech-founders right?

I was wrong a third time. “Man” – I was starting to think “I could have started another two tech companies in this time!”

But as any entrepreneur knows – when you’re on a mission to fix something that’s broken, you do whatever it takes.

So I kept going.

The third question I had to answer was the hardest yet “How do I pass on this knowledge to other tech-entrepreneurs?

Unless I answered this question, I knew that I could still only tell other tech-entrepreneurs what to do and hope they listened. That wasn’t good enough.

So I conducted a global search for the best coach I could for the very specific need I had: to become a. great coach, but b. a leader of a movement to raise the standard in the whole industry. It is said “when the student is ready the master appears.” And so I was guided to Shannon, who had just spent the last 12 years of his life answering the question I now wanted to answer. I knew that with his help – I could feel qualified to call myself a coach in less time.

Finally, I was right.

Three years later I finally felt ready to tell more people about what I was doing. In that time I’d helped one tech-entrepreneur change the transport-direction of India, another clean up a massive Texas oil&gas company. 14 companies had gone through the training and all 14 were experiencing exponential growth – (337% revenue growth, 619% profit growth, 9 from 9 investment rounds won). Unlike a stable of angel or VC investee companies: the results were consistent. Critically, every founder was working regular hours, they were not sacrificing relationships, or other important aspects of their identity to achieve their success. They were happy. They were living our mantra “Change the world each day. Dinner with family each night.”

Then one day earlier this year, I wondered if anyone else had been crazy enough to do what I’d done: had anyone else obsessed about combining three uncommon bed-fellows: coaching, teaching and tech-entrepreneurship.

I found there had been one other: the late, great Bill Campbell – coach to Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos and the Google founders (ie: the founders of the three largest companies on earth).

The more I read about Bill, the more I realised that he was part of the reason they became the biggest companies on earth.

There will never be another Bill Campbell. And equally his legacy beyond the grave inspired me to have an even greater impact. This intention is not about recognition. This intention arises simply because I care deeply about tech-entrepreneurs. I believe they change all of our lives for the better. I know that the biggest impact they have is through their leadership – not through their technology. And I stand for giving these people the best quality of care, teaching and coaching imaginable so that their chances of getting “there” in-tact, happy, and ready to do it all again, are as to certain as possible.

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