Chris Atkinson

I time box all activities with myself and the team. This means we don’t have unreasonable expectations, and it means we can schedule work effectively.


Chris Atkinson is Finygo co-founder and CEO, has a background in big data architecture, 20 years multi-discipline fishing experience and an immense passion for the sport.

Where did the idea for Finygo come from?

Finygo was born when the Founder managed to catch more salmon in 1 weekend than he had managed in 7 years. His frustration was that he had no idea why. Thinking about it more, he realised that all anglers experience this frustration, often spending many hours travelling to venues, and using expensive baits and lures, only to discover that they are fishing in the wrong place, or with the wrong tactics.
He looked for a solution in the market which would help him analyse his own catches but found nothing suitable. As a keen biker and runner, he was familiar with another sporting app ‘Strava’, and realised that they could build something for the fishing world which would take the leg work out of recording catches, and also provide the insight anglers craved for when fishing.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

The whole team work in an ‘agile’ process. So, first thing for me is to review the Kanban board, I pick the items I will work on that day, and write them on to a whiteboard in the office. This helps me focus on what ‘must’ be done that day. Anything else is a bonus!

How do you bring ideas to life?

Typically, we mock things up in PowerPoint, its not perfect but everyone can interact with it, regardless of their technical expertise, we often socialise our ideas with our field based Finygo Team. The key here is we just load up a screen showing the idea, if they get it and love it we know were on to something, if we get crickets, or confusion, we know it won’t float.

What’s one trend that excites you?

We have seen a big move in the last 20 years to people staying behind their phones and interacting through apps more than the real world. We’re now seeing apps being used to improve face to face interactions and connect like minded people in the real world, that’s very cool.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

I time box all activities with myself and the team. This means we don’t have unreasonable expectations, and it means we can schedule work effectively.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Honestly, I don’t think I would give myself any advice, wins and failures are a part of life. So maybe ‘just roll with it’ would be my only advice.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

Wow, that’s a toughie! If everyone disagrees with me then I will generally consider that my facts are wrong.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Look for advice from people who have been there before you. Business has been around for centuries, all your problems have been solved, so look to smart people who have already solved them and learn from them.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

Setting realistic targets then monitoring those on an operational dashboard. All our team know what they are individually accountable for, and this means we all have a clear vision of what we contribute, and where focus needs to be to hit our targets.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

My inexperience in dealing with vendors. This was tough as I had always been on the selling side, not the customer side. I lacked negotiation skills, or the deft touch required to manage these relationships. I deferred and learned from my CTO who was fabulous at this and learned from her approach.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

I carry massive amounts of bait to lakes at weekends. The numerous bags get opened, split, and spilt. The result is a jumbled mess, which the mice in my garage love! Someone please create a compartmentalised air tight unit which keeps all my baits separate and is sealed with just one lid.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

I bought my wife a new fishing rod and reel, so she can fish herself. Its great seeing her progress and enjoy the sport!

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it? is amazing for us assigning and handling work across the business. Super customisable and easy to use. My team regularly create jobs for me on the board, and I can monitor the state of the current project items. Very agile, and very powerful!

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

How to build a billion dollar app’ George Berkowski. Great practical advice if you are heading into the app world for the first time.

What is your favourite quote?

‘If you are the smartest person in the room, find another room’

Key learnings:

  • Set up a very lightweight operations dashboard that has genuine meaning and accountability with your team as early as possible, review them every week as a team
  • Find and use online tools instead of excel, word, and email wherever possible to communicate and manage. Email sucks people down, and is not transparent. Tools like Slack and Kanbantool are essential!
  • Find smart people with experience who are willing to help you and meet them regularly. Present your dashboard, focus on the challenges, they will steer you away from the rocks
  • Manage your own time effectively by writing down what you must do that day. Keep the list in front of you to avoid distractions!
  • Never forget your customer, always do what is right by them, even if sometimes that seems contrary to your business goals. It will pay dividends eventually!


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