Saturday, March 10, 2018

IZero - Cryptos and capital

The Bob Pritchard Column 

tZero is  raising $250 million, finishing up some acquisitions, and building an ecosystem to challenge Wall Street. tZero is the application of blockchain to capital markets or Wall Street and eliminate a lot of opportunities for fraud and manipulation. The platform integrates cryptographically secure distributed ledgers with existing market processes to reduce settlement time and costs, increase transparency, efficiency and auditability.
A year ago, they issued the world's first public blockchain security - common stock. A prominent Wall Street entity has said that 100% of the stocks and bonds being issued on Wall Street could be 100% tokenized in five years. That means the current architecture and systems of Wall Street will become obsolete over five years.
There have been a lot of suspect types of elements involved in bitcoin. But there are some criminals who used US dollars, too. But that shouldn't get people to overlook the fact that the underlying technology -blockchain - is going to remake civilization as we know it.
What people get wrong is the stories about silk road and people selling drugs on the internet and stuff, speculation,  and market manipulation etc. But, the main event is the technology underlying it, this new type of technology called blockchain, which you can think of as like a ledger. That is a magic ledger. People can have copies of the ledger and when you change one place, it changes everywhere. And it's cryptographically protected and immutable. So we can finally have a version of the truth that is the truth. And we don't have to rely on third parties manipulating the reality to color our viewpoint. We know that the laws of mathematics have cryptographically protected it.
So we can totally protect credit cards, capital markets, land titling, birth and death records. There's all kinds of aspects of government that can be made foolproof and in a way so there's no corruption.  So governments have started joining blockchain. Blockchain also gives society complete surveillance of government.
Blockchain is in its infancy and there are sure to be some learning curves, there always is with any technology, but there is no doubt it will have a profound effect on society, governing and business.

Bitcoin is a remarkable cryptographic achievement and the ability to create something that is not duplicable in the digital world has enormous value.             Eric Schmidt, Former CEO of Google

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Tim Draper believes in Bitcoin

Tim Draper, one of the workd’s leadind VCs and early investor  in the internet expects that bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies will be the primary means of payment in five years.

"In five years you're going to walk in and try to pay fiat [a government-backed currency like the U.S. dollar] for a Starbucks coffee, and the barista is going to laugh at you, because they're going to say, 'What is this? Are you counting out pennies? Give me shells?' venture capitalist Tim Draper said Tuesday on CNBC's "Fast Money."

"They're not going to use fiat. Five years from now, none of us will be," Draper said. "Because all of this engineering effort, all that excitement, this focus is really on bitcoin and all of the cryptos around it. And I think that's what we're all going to be using and paying with."

Starbucks' Executive Chairman Howard Schultz has hinted in the last two months about how the company may use the blockchain technology behind cryptocurrencies for a consumer payments application. 

"I think blockchain technology is probably the rails in which an integrated app at Starbucks will be sitting on top of," Schultz said last week on Fox Business, echoing remarks from a January conference call.

Draper has invested in Skype and Tesla, and is a founding partner of leading venture capital firms Draper Associates and DFJ. He bought nearly 30,000 bitcoins in a 2014 U.S. Marshals Service auction. He told CNBC in December he was still holding all those coins. If that is still the case, Draper's holding is worth $322.5 million at Tuesday's bitcoin prices.

"This is the most excited I've ever been as an investor, and I was right there at the beginning of the internet," Draper said Tuesday.

Sunday, March 04, 2018

Where Silicon Valley and AUSTRALIAN Innovation Connect

360 Silicon Valley Venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, and executives have chartered a 747 to collaborate with and potentially invest in AUSTRALIAN Innovative companies .

They are coming for a three-day conference billed as “A celebration of the human beings who find themselves at the uncertain intersections of culture and industry and choose to make a difference”

“A long flight is pretty boring, and you have to take a whole day off to travel,” said Martin Talvari, founder of Myriad and Myriad Air, which will be transporting these passengers. “So [I thought,] why not make it an experience on its own?” 

What a great way to get to know like and tryst one another!!!

 You get to  spend a couple of riotous days attending sessions and parties, and fly back with the same crew. “It’s a unique experience,” said Talvari, adding that people from the debut flight last year still arrange meetups and catch ups.

 And, like much of Silicon Valley, it’s what you make of it.

 The plane will be full of awesome crazy Australian founders and US investors,” he said. “We want to have a good mix of people.”

The Australian Innovation Ecosystem

In the last couple of years, the startup ecosystem in Australia has grown significantly, helped in part, by large government investments, similar to the startup boom in Israel. Here, Myriad is supported by the Queensland Government’s $513 million Advance Queensland initiative.

 “The flight experience will provide those on board, including some of Queensland’s own entrepreneurial talent, with 14 hours to network, collaborate, inspire and showcase our rapidly growing entrepreneurial ecosystem,” former innovation minister Leeanne Enoch told the Brisbane Times. 

Australia ranks 8th out of 38 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development recognized countries, when it comes to starting a new business, with the majority of employment growth related to startups. In particular, the Australian fintech industry has had a median 200% revenue growth, with 25% of companies surveyed reporting a 700% growth.

 However, apart from a few unicornoutliers such as Canva and Atlassian, most people aren’t too aware of the latest in Australia entrepreneurship.....

How to get there and who will be there?

A number of free seats are being given away by lottery every month to encourage students and low-income people to attend, and the remainder will be filled with a mixture of people, many related to the different governance bodies. 

For example, the plane is provided by Qantas who also has a venture arm now, and have made clear who they’d like to see on board. The same goes for The Queensland Government and their investment in Myriad “They want the people who come to have strategic value,” said Talvari.

Currently a number of high profile flyers (and speakers!) have been confirmed, including Jodie Fox, founder of Shoes of Prey (raised $25.9 million), Yael Eisenstat, International Security Advisor, Former FBI, NSA , Marvin Liao, Investor 500 Startups, Ian Thorpe Australian swimmer  and Naveen Jain, Founder, Investor Moon Express, Viome and Tony Conrad, partner at True Ventures and co-founder of

It’s definitely extreme to send VCs halfway across the world, but there’s no doubt that those who participate will have a unique experience that will help them get Australian entrepreneurs firmly on their radar. “There’s a wealth of talent and entrepreneurial spirit here, and Myriad Air will play a key role in fixing the collaboration vehicle by creating an unprecedented direct link to Silicon Valley, “ said Talvari. “The country has an early adopter mindset that makes it ideally suited for innovation.” He could be right about that.

The Myriad Conference 

Inagine attending the conference, going to in coworking spaces, bars, and offices. There will be  hundreds of mini-events, and the community really will connect - 

While the jet plane full of VC’s is the hook to this event, there’s far more to this than the aerial part. The 3-day conference is a fusion of continents and cultures and an opportunity of collaboration and learning. 

The promotional material called it “more Burning man than CES” 

Think SXSW scene, with a mix of music, design, and art alongside the technology part of it all. “The best way to design an experience is good food and good music — that [equals] good business,” says Talvari

The current goal: 5000 attendees, $17 billion of VC funds represented and 200 top speakers.

When? May 16-18, 2018.

Festival tickets are available for purchase here.

Zara Stone reports on the intersection of technology and culture. You can find more of her work Follow her on Twitter and on Facebook.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

A Year of Learning and Leading UX at Google

Christine  Courage talks about her first year of leading UX at Google and her 5 gems she used at building a great UX culture 

I’m a big believer in timing.

I joined Google as a Vice President of User Experience (UX) a little over a year ago. To be frank, Google wasn’t at the forefront of my mind for a next career step. I even passed on a job offer in 2004 because the approach felt too tactical.

However, now more than ever, UX, engineering, and product management are seen as equal partners in product and strategy development. Today’s tech company leaders are still clamoring for great design talent, but they’re also seeking design leadership. Google is no exception.

Lots of big name companies are out there telling the story of how they approach design. (Facebook, Salesforce, and Airbnb come to mind.) But at Google, the UX culture perhaps isn’t as widely known. My initial hesitation was in part because I didn’t think of Google as a hub for design, and knew very little about how the company cultivated UX professionals.

Ultimately, I was curious and the proposed role piqued my interest, so I decided to explore the opportunity. Also, why was I holding on to my impression from 12 years ago? Thanks to a few promising discussions with UX, product management, and engineering leadership — and the recommendation of a trusted friend who already worked at Google — I decided to take a chance and this time accept the offer. A year with my team has dispelled misconceptions, and added dimension to my understanding of what it’s really like to work at Google.

Here are the top 5 insights I’ve learned about building and maintaining a healthy UX culture.

1. Smart should be the default, but engagement is what counts.

Everyone says “People at Google are so smart.” True, but I’ve had the pleasure of working with a lot of smart people over the course of my career. When I joined I learned that many of my colleagues have worked here for 10 years or more. Not only have they stayed on and built careers, they’re still incredibly passionate about their work. They really care! So while smarts are great, smarts and passion are the really powerful combination.

2. Embrace speed (without intending to break things).

Google embraces speed, but with the maturity of a grown-up company — an approach made possible by the trust we place in our employees.

For example, as machine learning has improved and grown in importance, the UX team has taken advantage of the benefits of this technology to design smarter solutions for our business customers. AdSense (Google’s product that lets website owners earn money by running ads) uses machine learning to learn about a publisher’s site, and then suggest new places to show ads that optimize both revenue and a better user experience. While the technology may do the heavy lifting, the design of what constitutes a good suggestion, delivered respectfully and empathetically to our users, is the domain of UX.

It’s amazing to me that after almost 20 years, Google has managed to retain a culture of trust and empowerment. The opportunities are plentiful — it’s on you to be bold and take them.

3. Grow a peer network that’s authentic and supportive.

The peer network is one of the greatest benefits of joining Google. I’ve found past experiences as a UX leader lonely, and often looked outside of the company for counsel and camaraderie. However UX at Google is over 2700 people strong. Because the team is broken into different product areas, rather than everyone reporting to centralized leadership, there are peers at all levels, instead of fewer senior people as you advance through your career.

A satisfying work life is due in large part to the connections you forge with your teammates. In my first year they’ve been invaluable by offering support, advice, and partnership that has helped me navigate the company.

4. “Googleyness”* still wins out

(*Replace with your company’s code for ethical conduct.)

When I was new to my role, I was impressed by the level of support and selfless help my colleagues offered. I didn’t have to earn trust and credibility, it was granted to me on day one. My job was to keep that trust.

Tech’s social role, responsibility, and inherent trustworthiness has been a topic of ongoing conversation and concern. For that reason I was encouraged to find that a strong moral compass guides both how we treat our colleagues and how we advocate for users.

As a UX leader, my job is to advocate for users. I’ve found my non-UX peers to be very receptive to that perspective. They’re also direct and communicate with respect. I appreciate this form of candor and dialogue, especially when it comes to discussions about what’s best for our users.

5. Be humble. But don’t be afraid to share your story.

Everyone is busy, so it’s easy to focus just on day-to-day work, and forget about what’s outside of Google. Also, I didn’t realize that the internal environment is rich with learning opportunities (design speaker series, leadership classes, our own internal UX conference, and UX managers conference). With all that’s going on, it’s easy to be internally-focused.

Thankfully, many Googlers are humble. My colleagues have said to me “I don’t have a story to tell. Why would people want to hear from me?” But they do have great stories to tell! From cutting-edge work in virtual reality and hardware design, to voice-user interfaces and great enterprise experience design, the process of bringing new technologies to life is often as compelling as the final products.

The consequence of leaders not engaging with the wider community to tell these stories is that other companies write our story for us. Misconceptions like “They’re too arrogant” or “UX doesn’t matter there” become the perceived truth.

As we kick off the new year, I’ve personally resolved to get out to more events, as a speaker, and attendee. And to write more. My hope is to provide people interested in learning about Google UX another perspective, and eventually, more ways to connect with our community.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Microsoft targets Australian tech start-ups with ScaleUp accelerator

US tech giant Microsoft has launched its accelerator program in Sydney called ScaleUp – looking to invest in start-ups that have typically received initial funding and are looking to expand.

 It promises to help fast-track their growth by linking them with potential customers, Microsoft partners and technical guidance.

Sydney is the eighth Microsoft ScaleUp program globally, with other operating  in Seattle, Beijing, Berlin, and London. 

It will be based in the new Sydney Startup Hub, which was opened as part of a $35 million NSW government plan last year.

It takes in selected start-ups, which don't pay anything for it, and typically works with them for about four months. In the five years it has been running globally, close to 730 companies have graduated from the program and raised almost $US3 billion in venture capital with 48 exits among them.

The ScaleUp program will come under the control of former Fishburners CEO and Muru-D co-founder Annie Parker, who was  ...
The ScaleUp program will be run by Annie Parker - former Fishburners CEO and Muru-D , who was appointed to lead Microsoft's start-up programs globally. Photo: Daniel Munoz.

"The quality of talent plus support from government set the scene for a thriving local start-up ecosystem that we can't wait to be part of."

The ideal companies will be business-to-business and enterprise-software-as-a-service firms, where a future partnership with Microsoft could be a valuable outcome for both parties. ..

The key opportunity....... is the ability to connect with Microsoft sales teams and its networks to help your business grow

We are looking forward to many success stories to emanate from this opportunity !

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

How Emotionally Intelligent Are You?

We are honoured to have Ush Dhanak talk to us about "Why we will need Emotional Intelligence in the Future Of Work" on Friday 28 July in Sydney.  
Emotional intelligence has helped businesses explain why some of their best performing staff and leaders don’t necessarily have the best academic qualification or professional skills.
But many leaders are still confused by emotional intelligence and its importance to the workplace. They are asking:
“How do I know if I am emotionally intelligent?”
“How can I measure it in myself and what do I look for in others?”
In order to answer these questions, it helps to first understand the main traits of emotional intelligence. Once you know these, you can start looking for them in yourself and others and assess how you measure up. You can then take steps to improve those that you are weakest on, if you want to raise your EQ.

Below, Ush Dhanak identifies 15 initial questions you can ask yourself to self-assess your level of emotional intelligence:

  1. Do you have the ability to listen to others?
Blindly ploughing your own course with no regard for others is no sign of EQ! Instead, emotionally intelligent people are able to listen and take in the thoughts, feelings, and opinions of others. They actively seek these out and are able to process them without judgement.
  1. Can you identify and express emotions?
We all experience a multitude of emotions – but people with EQ recognise what these emotions are and are able to label them and express what they are. Labelling emotions has the effect of diminishing their intensity and creating clarity – which can lead to better decision-making in the workplace.
  1. Are you curious about others?
Because you have the ability to empathise with others, you are also curious about them, if you have high emotional intelligence. This connects with the first above: you listen and care about the responses of others – which makes you curious about what they’re going through.
  1. How self-aware are you?
People with EQ are comfortable in their skin. They know what they’re good at and what they’re not so good at. They certainly don’t think or act like they are the best at everything. They are also better able to handle situations when their weaknesses may be exposed – because they are prepared for them.
  1. Do you display confidence?
Because of high self-awareness, emotionally intelligent people have a confidence about them – but not excessive or misplaced confidence. It comes across as an air of authority and balance. 
  1. Do you view change as threat or opportunity?
Emotionally intelligent people don’t feel threatened by change; because they are comfortable, aware, prepared, and confident in their abilities, they are flexible enough to approach change as an opportunity. They can help others to see it positively too: partly for this reason, high EQ points to strong leadership qualities.
  1. Are you easily upset – or unruffable?
People with EQ are thick-skinned and can take a joke; that of course doesn’t mean that they are immune to emotion – they are just not offended easily or over-sensitive to criticism and can control their emotions. The balance and confidence that they exhibit makes them seem more ‘unruffable’ than most.
  1. Do you build strong relationships?
Another trait is the ability to build strong, lasting relationships. Emotionally intelligent people don’t waste time with partnerships that won’t bear fruit; instead, they focus on working on the relationships that do matter.
  1. Are you good at finding compromises?
Every social situation has people we don’t get along with. The difference with emotionally intelligent people is that they don’t get angry, irritated, or frustrated by them. Instead, they are able to recognise emotions brewing up and to then rise above them. This makes them better able to see the other person’s point of view and more likely to find a compromise.
  1. Are you a good judge of character?
Being aware of your own traits and emotions also helps you see qualities in others. This can make you a better judge of character. You are able to scratch the surface and to see what really lies beneath with other people: a very useful skill when you’re a leader hiring employees, for instance.
  1. Do you find the positives in all situations?
Emotionally intelligent people are able to get over mistakes, negative experiences, and setbacks more easily than others. They see things positively and realise that most events in life are learning experiences; so they pick themselves up and get on with it. This also makes them more likely to take calculated risks – because they are less fearful of making mistakes.
  1. Can you say NO?
People with EQ know where to draw the line and realise that saying ‘yes’ to things actually means saying ‘no’ to other things (which may be more important). They are clear about priorities and so are not scared to say ‘no’ when necessary. This avoids the stress associated with agreeing to things just to please others.
  1. Do you know when to disconnect?
Emotionally intelligent people may often be hard-working leaders – but they also know when to switch off and disconnect from the working world. They know that family time, rest, and ME time is important to their wellbeing and they will make time for it. They have work-life balance.
  1. Are you usually in a good mood?
You’ll usually find emotionally intelligent people in a good mood and pleasant to be around; they don’t get too stressed and seem generally content with life. This is because deep-down they are in a ‘good place’ and the day-to-day stresses don’t get to them too much.
  1. Do you trash talk?
Finally, you won’t find people with a high EQ talking people down; they avoid negative conversations about others and don’t indulge in gossip. They implicitly know that focusing on the negative actions of other also brings your own energy down – so they prefer to focus on the positives.
Hopefully the above questions help you get clearer on the attributes of emotional intelligence. Apart from these observational measurements, there are validated tests you can take that will provide an indication of your level of emotional intelligence.
Want to assess emotional intelligence in your workplace? Or measure your own EQ?


The Leibovich boys make another catch of the day with Matt Berriman’s Unlockd

The next Aussie Unicorn? 

Matt BERRIMAN and Unlockd  - now $20m annuity revenue  - high growth company - can it build to an annual annuity revenue of $200m? 

Sophisticated investors, Lachlan Murdoch backed , Peter Gemmell , Margaret Jackson and catch of the day boys 

Hazi and Gabby Leibovich think so.

Unlockd is an advertising play - members release their phone in exchange for advertising. Every time they unlock phone - they get an ad every 3rd time and get points

Surveys,  watching videos etc , complete surveys and tasks is another feature that is gaining traction .

Priya Dobra - ex m and a guy at time Warner joined the board - adding governance and opportunity for acquisition growth to the board.

Exciting times for this startup!