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Rising to the Top – What Does It Take?

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Is there a definitive roadmap to success? Or is it a case of right time, right place?

We sponsored Platform Exo’s Exponential Leadership Conference in Manchester to find out.

Here’s what we learnt from the trailblazing business innovators who shared their thoughts on successful leadership and the experiences that got them there.

Surfing the Waves of Generational Booms

Siam Kidd is an investor who founded The Realistic Trader, a business community for cryptocurrencies that has already generated £4 million in profits.

He is also a renowned speaker and has led talks for TEDx, BBC, HuffPost and TradersExpo.

During the conference, Siam focused on the subject of smart investments

He cautioned that investing or changing your business based on one media source, such as a news article, is a recipe for disaster (as he learnt from his own mistakes in the past).

Instead, we must look at everything from a “35 thousand foot view” so we can make better-informed financial decisions.

Part of this strategy is understanding how global demographics impact the business climate.

For example, when the silent generation returned from the war they were unsure of how to make a living. So they latched onto gold knowing it was a safe source of income based on its performance in the past. As a result, the gold industry boomed and became a highly-lucrative investment:

“Gold prices rose from a low of $278 to $1,200 in the ensuing time period.” – Alternative Investment Coach, Gold History – World War I and World War II

Siam then explained how today’s business leaders are imitating the silent generation’s mindset to latch onto profit-boosting trends.

To illustrate, Virgin Media’s Richard Branson “surfed the baby boomer wave” and achieved exponential success. As the generation grew older they invested more in healthcare and easy-going holidays like cruises.

The business tycoon now owns 18% of the NHS, says Siam. He also built Virgin Holiday Cruises to cater for the baby boomers’ needs, masterfully capitalising on a burgeoning market.

Today, tech is to millennials what gold was to the silent generation. They favour accessibility over ownership (taxi firm Uber’s success demonstrates this) and technology helps them achieve this.

Siam’s main point here is to go where the booms are. Right now, the smartest investment is in technology. Which is why he has built his business on cryptocurrency – it has been projected to reach as high as $1-2 trillion in 2018.


Why Avoidance is Deadly

Martin Murphy, an ELITE leadership coach and former special forces soldier, related his experiences in the military to the entrepreneurial journey.

Akin to the battlefield, decision making can be the life or death of a business. The problem is that many business leaders find making the right choices a major challenge.

Martin emphasised how, in an ambush scenario, the best course of action is laying low, taking stock of the situation and then running headfirst at the enemy.

When the stakes are high in business, we should follow suit. If we run away from our problems instead of fighting, we’re likely to be cut down in the crossfire. We must face hard decisions head-on to overcome them and thrive.

His second point focused on the ecology of an organisation and how decisions affect everyone. He advised how getting insights from every department affected by a decision helps you move forward in the best way for the entire workforce.

More Innovative Insights on Leadership

Here are other key learnings from the conference’s illustrious speakers.

Dena Marshall, CEO of Manchester Children’s Hospital, spoke of how we can fulfil our leadership potential:

  • Respond quickly and intelligently when things go wrong
  • Give teams’ a voice so they can shape your organisation’s future

Jane Valente, medical director at the hospital, also offered her two cents on the matter:

  • Get a handle on what’s important by spending time listening to your team
  • Keep hold of your intellectual property to stay in control of what you build and maintain influence
  • Allow staff to take risks but in a staged way to help them turn brilliant ideas into reality

Sandy Lindsay, MD at Tangerine Communications, advised how, ultimately, success rests on the way you treat your team:

To be successful, you need to do brilliant work and treat people properly. Then the money will follow.”


Daniel Priestley, a respected serial entrepreneur who co-founded Dent Global, an internationally-renowned business accelerator, gave guidance on global trends and growth:

  • Major trends of uncertainty, such as baby boomers turning 70 and tech causing unemployment, are creating a more challenging political, economic and social landscape
  • To overcome this, adopt an entrepreneurial mindset
  • Rely less on technology to gather customer insights, meet them face-to-face instead
  • To get past growth roadblocks, use tech and improve your culture for easier communication
  • Enterprises should focus on funding, intellectual property, branding, systems and culture to flourish

A Learning Curve

The ultimate lesson from Platform Exo’s conference? Success isn’t down to luck.

It’s about learning from your mistakes, paying attention to global market trends and acting now, not later.

What has experience taught you? We’d love to hear about your trials and successes as an entrepreneur. Send us your story on Twitter, if you fancy!