fastBREAK - Are you ready? A review

“fastBREAK is like a 5-cornered ’soap-boxing ring’ where the contestants compete, not with each other but with convention.” – Carmen Bowker

“fastBREAK is an extraordinary event that brings together bright young innovators and tomorrow’s leaders for a morning of fresh ideas, electric connections and inspired community. If you are interested in the future, and the next generation of talent, then you should be interested in fastBREAK.” - Vibewire’s Co-Director Mary Nguyen

The second installment of the 2010 fastBREAK innovation series last Friday brought together a keen and curious ensemble of young (and young at heart) peoples, all primed to mingle and be inspired. The Museum threw open its doors at 7:45am and the Mezzanine filled with sprightly fastBREAKers who had come to hear 5 young go-getters answer the question “Are you ready?” and to devour the fantastic breakfast spread turned on by Black Star Pastry. The Vibewire crew and their friends at the Powerhouse Museum had clearly done their homework in putting the event together. The vibe was laced with coffee-fuelled anticipation – we were all ready to fastBREAK!

To re-cap, the first ever fastBREAK was held in 2008 at the Vibewire Enterprise Hub in conjunction with the Australian Innovation Festival. That first meeting of minds was such a hit that Vibewire decided to team up with the Powerhouse Museum in 2010 to recreate fastBREAK as a monthly event giving young creatives and entepreneurs an opportunity to swap insights and make connections.

If you are one of those unfortunate ones who missed the fastBREAK session on 26th March, read on for the highlights. But first, ask yourself, are you ready?

1. Raul Alberto Caceres

Are you ready? to achieve your dreams.

Caceres is a social entrepreneur making a difference in the world. He has travelled the world as a Volunteer and by the power of a keyboard and mouse he has created projects with real-world results for some of the globe’s poorest communities. His advice:

1. The regular path isn’t always the one to follow

2. New challenges – find new ways to connect people and ask yourself, “how can I make my work sustainable?”

3. Take the leap

4. Burnt out? Apply what you have learned and know what you really want to do.

Caceres learnt to explore his options, challenge himself, focus on his talents and do the things that made him tick. Afterall, Caceres asks, “How much time is worth wasting, wondering if you are ready? How long would you take to follow your dreams and do what you love most?” and “How much do you listen to those who might think your ideas are crazy?”

2. Zac Zavos

Are you ready? to run your own business.

Based on his experiences, Zavos pointed out the challenges of running an online business. As Managing Director and co-founder of online company Conversant Media, Zavos duly noted that the US business model does not necessarily work in Australia. He recommends that it is not enough to start with just a good idea. You need a strong business focus. Today there is no capital cost but you need online traffic to your website, at all costs. This should be your focus. To get this, you need a savvy business person, a ‘tech’ person and a designer. Zavos stresses the importance of investing in great design. His advice for building a successful online business? Stick it out!

3. Monique Shafter

Are you ready? to challenge yourself.

Shafter is a presenter/reporter on ‘Hungry Beast’, the ABC’s current affairs TV show that deals with topical issues from various perspectives. Before joining the ‘Hungry Beast’ team, Shafter worked for FremantleMedia in programme development but did not feel completely challenged and so she searched elsewhere. In the end, Shafter had to ask herself if she was ready to sacrifice her life as she knew it in order to find the challenge she was craving. She had to leave Melbourne, her home town, to come to Sydney and journey down an alternate path. Are you ready to do the same?

4. Ruchir Punjabi

Are you ready? to trust yourself.

Ruchir is the Managing Director of Langoor Pty Ltd. Ruchir is doing what he does because he wants to and because he thinks he can do it better than others have. It’s important to ask yourself what is best for you. If everyone is going to be afraid of failure, nobody would do anything in this world? In the end, every time you fail, you learn and improve upon yourself, and it’s up to you to get up and start again.

5. Scott Drummond

Are You Ready? to become part of a community.

Scott explained that before joining a community, we need to be sure that we are ready and that we really understand what that entails. For one, do you know what you want from community and are you ready to sacrifice the time and energy that community demands. Technology can enable a community but it cannot create a community. Community is not something you can control. Scott described the emotional support that he received from the local cycling community, after he was hit by a bus whilst riding his bike, to demonstrate the give/take mentality of community.

Thanks to all of the speakers for sharing their ideas and experiences. We look forward to hearing the inspiring stories of another 5 young bright sparks as they take on the question “Are you alone?” at the next fastBREAK in April.

Set your alarm clock and BOOK NOW because fastBREAK sells out fast!


fastBREAK was an amazing success. Not only was it a sell-out event, but the speakers were marvelous and the crowd were very receptive to their views. Each speaker engaged the audience and demonstrated the knowledge and experience they had gained through their own personal journeys.

Then came networking time. Mingling with some of the people there was an eye-opening experience, I never knew so many people thought the way I do, and they were quite friendly too (it may have been the very delicious pastries and tea and coffee being served).

Overall fastBREAK was a great success and very generative and thought provoking. I look forward to the next one and hope you will join me there too.