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September 2006 Issue
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The business of producing a best seller


The notion that the fate of a business may rest with one word - credibility - is both a scary and an exciting prospect.

For father and son team, Zbigniew and Matthew Michalewicz, it's pure common sense.

The fact that their book Winning Credibility topped the best sellers' list at Dymocks' Adelaide store in its second week of release provides solid proof of that belief system.

Winning Credibility is the result of a successful formula: mixing the magic ingredients of business nous with technological expertise and adding a dash of pure marketing genius.

Professor Zbiegniew Michalewicz is Chair of Artificial Intelligence at the University of Adelaide's School of Computer Sciences. His son Matthew is a Visiting Fellow at the same School, teaching a Masters course in Commercialising IT Research.

The pair have pooled their talents to produce "a guide for building a business from rags to riches", as the book's subtitle claims.

Winning Credibility is a practical, "how-to" guide for turning a start-up business into a successful company, based on the premise that the real difference between failure and success is perception.

"Many companies have a wonderful product or idea, but they can't sell it. The reason? They don't have credibility," Matthew said. "This book shows how you achieve that."

Matthew, described in the book's introductory notes as a "serial entrepreneur," comes from a business background - and proudly claims he has the scars to show for it.

The former Ernst & Young management consultant has more than a decade of experience in starting, running and selling high-growth companies. In 2005 he co-founded his fourth company, SolveIT Software, with his father and several other well-known computer scientists, including Dr Martin Schmidt and Constantin Chiriac.

Based in part on their joint experiences in the United States, the book follows the fortunes of two fictional entrepreneurs.

"We used the fictional characters - Diane and John - to create a common glue between the chapters.
They put into practice the tactics, strategies and principles that are necessary to achieve credibility."

Winning Credibility was released on July 26 and within a fortnight was No.1 on Dymocks' Adelaide book sales.

Matthew attributed its success to the fact that credibility is a subject that other business books have not addressed. "Lots of books explain the art of selling or raising capital, but none of them address the credibility factor."

The pair's profile and reputation in the United States - where they both enjoyed successful careers before moving to Adelaide in 2004 - has also helped drive sales.

In his University teaching role - the first business course offered by the Computer Science Faculty - Matthew says he is filling a basic need. "You can get a degree but if you don't know anything about business, you will find it difficult to succeed. The Masters course shows you how to combine your technical expertise with business nous."

Professor Michalewicz is regarded as one of the world's leading authorities in the field of evolutionary computation. His appointment to the University in 2004 was described by the Head of Computer Science, Professor Mike Brooks, as "a major coup for the IT industry in South Australia".

Winning Credibility is available at all leading bookstores.

Story by Candy Gibson

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Matthew (left) and Zbigniew Michalewicz
Photo by Candy Gibson

Matthew (left) and Zbigniew Michalewicz
Photo by Candy Gibson

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