SPP#63 Michael Haddad

SPP#63 Michael Haddad

Meet this week’s awesome studentpreneur guest: Michael Haddad, 25, studying his Master of International Business at Adelaide University and co-founder of BikeBus.

Transcript (Please note, this is an automated transcript so it is not accurate):

Julien: All right today with us we’ve got Michael Haddad. Michael is 25, is currently studying for a master of international business at the University of Adelaide. Michael, how are you doing?

Michael: I’m good Julien. How are you?

Julien: Not too bad. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your current business?

Michael: Yeah, as you just said, I’m 25 studying my master of international business at the University of Adelaide. I finished my bachelor’s in 2014 in marketing, and I’m currently working on a product called Bikebus.Now BikeBus is a social venture connecting people to ride together, whether it be made up of pre-scheduled rides but it’s completely in real time. It’s targeting a non-profit approach because, you know, there are so many issues with riding on our roads and human being. So disenchanted by riding but it’s just a way for us to really get there soon. There is like 52% of Australians who don’t ride because of safety and congestion and writing this application bypasses trying to really get people to ride together. So, you know, whether it’s just to be healthy. Yeah, it’s just a way to get together and to ride together for like for their commute to work like so. So, this morning to come to the office.

Julien: I rode my bike right and but I was on my own. And I wrote next to the river on the riverbank because it’s just crazy to ride on the road hearing in Adelaide.

Michael: So what would I do if I get on to your app, essentially, so there’s a myriad of things you can do. The first of which is you can pre-plan or right so if you wanted to commute to work at eight o’clock in the morning from your house to work. You can get that going. And then find someone who’s close but actually during the ride with it. Yeah. Otherwise, you can get in the Unreal time and then you can As Japan when it’s closed, close to you right now that

Okay, yeah, yeah.

Yeah, yeah. Um, yes, tons of options. It’s whether it’s it’s for commuting or leisure or, you know, just to interact socially can even think is a bit of a tender thing, not for dating.

But, you know,  you know meeting people in real time just careful right.

Julien: How did you get there? I mean you are 25 years studying your, your master and you’re running a business. How did you did you start like this in when you were doing your bachelor or what happened.

So I did everything that you could think of to the right way, so I am you know I finished high school when strength to Uni did my bachelor’s I in turn out of the company. And then I worked in marketing for two years. And then I realised I wasn’t doing what I love.

Under simulating assimilated. I was working at like 60% of my capacity and for everywhere. I was working. I was more than enough so I’m

Like I was like making find money and I was creating great networks, but I just wasn’t fulfilling my potential


How come because you did everything right. You’re good to good grades you went to the University. When you went to get in and you good words as well. There you go.

Good internship. You should be happy. I mean, that’s what we’ve been told. If you do that, you should be happy. We should be but

I don’t think that’s the reality percent so many people. Um, you know, I think the realisation came to me, you know, after I quit my last job, and then before I did this whole monsters thing.

And I ended up travelling quite a bit. So I came back from Sri Lanka and 2016 and then I think that’s when I realised what I was really missing in my life. And that’s, and I was living a self-directed life.

I was getting way he can play some I was been delegated tasks, but I was thinking how do I translate that feeling of happiness and

You know the freedom that I was getting from travelling. How do I get that into a profession and then it was simply with startups and small businesses because there are no rules. You know, there’s just

Says, like is vague guidelines and how to get somewhere.

And you know you have goals to achieve, whether it’s, you know, making a multimillion dollar business or, you know, just

You know lettering congestion on the roads, it’s, it’s something you’re working towards, um, you know, you’re

Learning about yourself, you’re being your own boss. It’s incredibly flexible lifestyle, and I get to study as well. So I get to have mine for my education as well just informal learning about thing.

Did you have an example like did you have, did someone showed you how to do it. I mean, like, you know, because that’s the one thing we don’t need. We don’t learn a school is to start a business.

I bought that if anything, it’s I guess my dad. He owns a small takeaway pizza shop.

And is always been very entrepreneurial but I’m a very small sense. Yep, I’m

Picking up what he wants and people around me and just doing that. I don’t really think too much over I just


And so you so you did you, undergrads, you did the internship. So you develop some skills. Did you use any of those skills early on when you started your business.

Yeah. Yeah. So I think most of the skills I learned from what are the ones that I can transfer into yet, but some of the projects I was doing

So the facts of this you know it’s it’s definitely communication. If you don’t, if you aren’t open if you aren’t open aren’t able to open the realms of communication with your peers or your team members or anyone that you’re working with. You’re looking at that time.

And yeah, so I before I start a bypass. I was working in a start off in Malaysia. Okay. And it was, you know, to mold to us at the best of times, but, um, you learn communication skills and you learn about this team environment and

I think the other big thing is thing you have to have incredible team members around getting out that people that you can work with and talk to so it

Doesn’t matter how much money you have or how much funding you have Robert or how or how grandma D. Actually, do you have, you don’t have a solid sound team next to you and work with you, you’re not gonna get anywhere.

So you know team and that communication that’s that’s the children.

And what do you think you didn’t learn this during your undergrad, because I’m sure you had group assignments.

Everyone in my undergrad, was that just to either they wanted a piece of paper. I wanted that degree they everyone associated with with this like yeah we finish high school we go straight into uni and then

I did a very generic business costs. I think it will just very

complacent and I didn’t really care that just wanted to get the grades and get your nuts. That’s why I felt my entire degree um yeah mom to my last semester that people actually we’re trying to put some effort of window looking for jobs and all that.

When the pressure was coming in. Yeah. Yeah. So, um,

Yeah, I never liked these like these key skills during my undergrad or even high school is more so in the workforce or working in different startups or and yeah and so

What skills you feel you’ve been developing now that you’ve been running the business for for for a while now. What, what do you have developed while doing it.

You can go on and on with these

Everything from, you know, negotiating with people and communicating, you know, really getting those this tech the intangible, you know, there’s intangible results like

You’re able to think critically and you can, you know, look at something and you can analyze where it needs to be. And

So it. He does not want to tell them you want to do, how to do it. And that’s, that’s, you know, those just being able to run on your feet and being adaptable and you know all of them, it’s everything. It’s everything that you learn it’s

But so it’s, it seems like it’s it’s quite it’s quite a lot to do. But at the same time, you still a full time students. So how do you manage to, you know,

Go and see your clients when you need them to see, and then at the same time attend down you’re caught you’re your classes. How do you do it because that’s also people that are listening. That’s, that’s a problem is you know you Pew painful. So studies. So if you don’t go to class.

Yeah, I am somewhat lucky in that my degree is very flexible.

I, you know, I’ve got subjects that a weekend courses and, you know, some of them not buried, but some of them are online but

For the most part, it’s a lot about scheduling and it’s a lot about honestly finding the time you didn’t really exist and not wasting time not you know there are so many forms of entertainment that you can do it.

You know you can. Whatever you if you if you take those out and you replace them with things that you want to do to find time for everything.

You know, I’ve got a business meetings during my lunch breaks and I told my lectures, I can tell them, tell me. Half an hour later than our need to but that is a reason for it. So, um, it’s, it’s all about scheduling. It’s all about knowing your capabilities. Your time limits and really preparing

And so a lot of the people have been on this podcast if told us the same thing. And they’ve said

You can have have to sacrifice your social life in order to be able to fit that much time. So how hard. Has it been to sacrifice a bit of the social life.

It’s challenging

It does get you don’t, you know, are those friendship groups in their social circles. He had when you’re growing up that don’t exist anymore.

But the same time it’s, you know, when he brought up with these people. When you grow up for people and then the same wavelength as you are.

Um, you use those people as a network. So he, you know, for instance, a lot of the people I wasn’t friends and my undergraduate

Um, they work in different industries now and I can really talk to them and network with them. So, I’m sorry. Someone catching up with them but

It’s. Those are the people that you associate yourself with the right people during undergrad studies. Those are the people that you can continue a social life with and then do business with them the future so on so you would not that

Not the complacent students that you

Know not be complacent students have a hard time, to be honest, but

All right, so you’ve told us that you’ve learned most of your skill through were working either in for you internship or for startup. How else do you learn it read books podcast blows. Where do you get your learning, have you

You’ve had a medium, right. Yep. Yeah.

I am on medium religiously. It’s my bad. It is my light up in the morning, will the coffee. It’s

It’s it’s excellent. It’s there’s so many different blogs and posts and incredible people that are right on that, that you learn so much

And it’s or

Is it anyone in particular that you follow on medium.

Not really, I just followed

Scrolling through the I’ll spend hours and hours on that.

In terms of bookstore and personalities Tim Ferriss four Hour Workweek is incredible. Otherwise, in tons of podcasts Sam Harris.

It. Excellent, excellent podcast that I’m extremely young i think it’s it’s on Spotify, it’s expanding liking Apple Sam Harrison.

It just took some took a different issues in the world. And, you know, helps you to practice mindfulness meditation and it’s just an incredible book up you know personally. Yes.

seven nights and

It’s funny you mentioned mindfulness and meditation, because that’s like that’s a hot topic.

Across a 60 interview that I’ve done so far is that something that you you you started doing before running a business. So that’s something that you found you had to do while doing your business.

I didn’t realize that to do before or after um I it was funny because you know you’ll formal part of my master’s degree, I’m

One of the first is one of my lectures said was, you know, mindfulness meditation with so imperative and then I didn’t know how to really, I can say something about how to

How to put a good practice.


So I, I just, you know, I once I started practicing it through meditation, more so than anything else and guided meditation. Um, it really just it’s it’s

If you change your perspective and you know you’re talking before about balance that mindfulness meditation that that that really helps imbalance that um

You know, you know, you can have as much structure in your life or something scheduled plays, but you don’t take some time out of your day just being yourself and think and, you know, then he didn’t have much gone but

But it’s, it’s hard. I mean, it’s tough for people because you say you know you’re busy, busy, busy. You say, Okay, have to take 10 mins it’s have to do myself got in meditation. But really, if I can skip them and then I can finish earlier, you know, like, how do you push this well.

So you can finish an earlier show, but, um, what’s the love, the quality of your work. What’s he going to be burnt at the in the day, you just think about what you actually one of the benefits of actually doing this so

You know it’s you can cut a crop. You can talk corners and software, you know,

The yeah it’s just you don’t produce the quality of the content that you need to that.


Yeah, that’s, that’s

It that meditation helps you goes through

Pays of failure.

I honestly if I knew meditation as I do. Now before I don’t think I’d be talking too much about failure and I

Mean that every wrench respect and regard

Yeah, no, I, I’m not gonna test meditation to my failed not meditating to failures but

No, but

I think it would have, you know, circumvent a lot of the issues there. But, um,

So do you want to share one with us.

Yeah, for sure. So, um,

So I was working as mentioned before I was lucky in the startup in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and I was working with American guy and Malaysian woman and

I was there for three months I was having the marketing department marketing team and you have one business development and one, you know, director, Reverend

We all get along. None of us knew anything about each other. Those no cohesion of team. There was no communication, there was a huge cultural difference in cultural barriers that will

So again, it was a merry out of actual issues, but, um, it got to the point where we all had one common goal and objective, but we couldn’t get that we couldn’t achieve what we needed to achieve and

Whether the stresses of everything else. It was you know that lack of

Honesty that like a communication and the lack of a team that was really work with each other on

These three things though so like, you know, in retrospect, is so important, but you don’t think about that at the time.

And you will always butting heads and not me person they were to always butting heads and instead of doing my job. I was more of a mediator between the two of them.

And that was so it just wasn’t helping wasn’t working. So I think that’s probably the biggest failure in that the lack of communication, like if the price if team like

That role in this entire beautiful prospects in Malaysia.

So what do you think it was your fault, like the career, could you have done, you’ve done something about it or

I mean,

It’s not etc exclusively your focus it it’s it’s just one person’s issue um you know of one party, especially at startup or, you know, business one person’s fairly should reflect on and the entire team site.


I did as much as I can, but the same time, I could have done so much more. And I realized that I realized that I could have you tried the whole team building exercises or trying to break down the issues.

And stuff like that but

It’s, it’s all a learning process, you know, and taking what I learned from that into everything I’ve done. Subsequently, and that you know i’ve excelled and what I’ve done.

You said that some Susan one, the two key skill that you got you learned from working was communications and team. So that’s you really saw the value when it was not working. And then we was working somewhere else. I mean that, and that’s why you realize you’ve learned

Yeah, absolutely. And that’s, that’s the most important thing

I’d like to move on to do special competition that you did through university. Do you want to talk about each challenge what it is, how you got into it and and the impact that it has on you like after us. So

I’m Israeli and a challenge. It’s a competition based learning experience that develop strategic business thinking for early stage entrepreneurial ventures.

So essentially participants pitch their venture concepts to investors and the local community and businesses and it’s just a really incredible way to earn and work on an idea that you have with

incredible array of people around you so

The challenge was how I got started with bypass um you know bypass itself.

Was impart the idea of my business partner. Yeah.

There’s an active cyclists and installing gradient. This I can community and he really wanted a team. Again, this is this issue of TV comes up to

Chain so on to really get it going. Um, and I was

That’s a concept of bypass right

Yeah, exactly. It’s all social ventures connected with people to learn and you know experience.

So, um, yeah. So it’s a 12 week program where you get to, you know, develop your concept statement and your idea and your processes and and

You get to meet some incredible people I’ve met in gustus like short slider and, you know, and you see startups that started off in the challenge and it really becomes something else like life whisper, which is an artificial intelligence based

I feel it is all the time, but an AI. Um, yeah, so like the hell the embryos for IBM and, you know, improving outcomes.

Yeah, so it’s just, it’s an incredible forum and opportunity for people to get together get their skills going and, you know, develop an idea.

How did you hear about it.

It’s a, it’s a, it’s a university based program. So, the University of Adelaide. Um, I started doing this since 2001 and

It’s just, it’s part of the entrepreneurial it’s fun, the CS or the faculty your entrepreneurship, essentially.

Yeah. And, and, yeah, just one day someone said, Did you do the challenge. I might know what is it, and then I found out what it was.

And then I want to give this a shot. You know, I’ve got this experience them during masters and I’m like, why not try it. So, um, yeah. The university really

Continues to foster innovation and ideas and strategic thinking. And another thing is a challenge isn’t just open the students. It’s open to everyone.

Undergrad pleasure anyone that wants to get into it. I’ve expanded into

France and Singapore.

And you know, you can win prizes from it. So it’s a bit of fun, um,

And so did you start with your, with your co founder or did you find it to each other. There we found each other that okay this is like this kind of a week where you get to know everyone and you kind of pitch ideas at the beginning and see you again. Cool. Now, you didn’t know you

Know, I had no idea who he was and my other partner at the time, Claudia. She didn’t know where either so um yeah we got this one week and we became bypass, which is

And so, so at the

End of the 12 weeks ago there was a pitch in front of the investors. So what was the difference between week one and week 12 i mean that’s that’s a long time. It’s a

Huge amount of time. Um, we had an idea that was consolidated we have no idea that was

It was it was

That’s directory that we had with them. We just kept going and going and going. So initially, it was just an idea, but by the end of it when

You know, we had the full board committee support of the bicycle Institute of South Australia we had Apple had grant funded and applied for with, you know, sort of base. So we had


Economic Development Board of it’s, it’s, sorry, was the open state in the form of aging grown development. So we pitch to a focus group of 20 people in that demographic

Would be we will, we were included in the inaugural launch of the same bike economy.

Yeah we subsequently became I came, we were finalists in the social enterprise field for the challenge.

Like the tractor in momentum that we had from that, you know, going to a class and just figuring out what we wanted to play.

What is bypass once this idea that we’re doing. So actually becoming song brain, the advertising community. And yeah, it’s just instead of just like having an idea like

You know, I, I’ve met people who did the challenge, and many of them had the idea, and I just kept going with their idea, but we really use that as a platform to to project, but


We tested it with a huge amount of people. We got some credible market validation spoke to everyone from the head of Microsoft in South Australia, you know, it was great. So wow

I can’t talk.

Anything that University of Illinois sun in terms of that and that feel the you know the innovation filled or yeah yeah

If you’ve been to a hackathon before like a two-day competition.

No, I haven’t.

Because I’m because that 12 weeks.

That’s seems like a weekend competition stretch or the 12 weeks or you get more out of it because you could more time to contact all your potential customers and getting grants, as you said, that sounds like a really, really good experience. Do you think there’s

Some anything else at the University of elite could do to support students like you

Honestly, um,

I think what they’re doing at the moment is phenomenal. They’ve beginning of this year that the end of last yesterday in the thing class. So what’s an incubator within you know the university itself.


Credible you know this a challenge is fantastic, me and I’m lost. I’m a professional student and I’ve been drawn into the the entrepreneurship filled Adelaide. So I’m, you know, I’m sure the stuff that can work them, of course, but you know you get

Some nights. It’s incredible.

And again, didn’t

Do you think he will have you should have done it while you were doing your bachelor.

I, yeah, I think if I did this for my bachelor’s or to the men.

A different story for me right now but

It’s it’s okay it’s I’m happy with it. And I’m wondering how by bus. If that was the case. And I would have

Made the need of the few years off to you any

Working Jevons, actually.

Where we are now so you know

If you’re in your bachelor’s Adelaide definitely give it a shot. So I’ve been to every one in every department and every factory. So it’s very open course.

Yeah. Excellent. All right. Well, we’ve come to the end of the interview. What you want to tell the audience doing them to fully follow you on Medium.


We have our Facebook page that we’re getting going. We have an Instagram account. And I think at this stage, we’re looking for a tech developers if anyone wants to get the app.

Reach out actually. I’m on that.

One of the most instrumental things we found was

The network of people that we met during the challenge. I’m one of them was a professor of Computer Science. And we’re actually getting an

Internship going for post-production to actually create the app for us. So that was that you do may is pretty phenomenal. So, um,

But if there’s someone that I want seem to jump on board. We are looking probably for another co-founder or if this is something that you’re interested in, like, you know, cycling the or, you know, supporting me, you know,

Yeah, for sure. And where’s, where can they reach you.

You put the link up a professional coach.

Yeah, but the link to the Facebook and you inertia email address or I’ll put it in the show notes. Yeah.

I’ll send you the. Yep.

I’ll put in the show notes. All right. Thank you very much, Michael. It sounds like you are in an exciting spot at the moment and hope. Hopefully, you keep the momentum.

Yeah. Thank you. All right. Thank you. Bye-bye.

April 23, 2018