Sydney — Australia
Why should someone build a startup?
Building a startup is the best example of human capability: ideas can become reality, problems can be solved with technology and ultimately, one person can effect widespread change. Technology is catalysing growth in the industrial world – making, building, and investing in startups not only exciting but rewarding.
Is culture important?
Culture is to companies what the soul is to individuals. It’s the culture of an organisation that dictates how people feel at work, which hopefully is a sense of espirt de corps. It’s the people within an organisation that determine its success.
What tech do you avoid in your personal life?
I’ve resisted the Apple watch trend. Admittedly, I have a Garmin watch for exercise, but I value being present and I’ve found that despite the benefits, connected smart watches detract from that.
Most insightful book this year:
I fell in love with reading as a kid. More recently, I couldn’t put down The Next Factory of the World – it is so well researched and written – reading this book made me realise how interested I am in economic development, and how little I know!
Where’s the joy in your work?
I’m lucky to have joy at work every day – it’s cliché but I’m conscious of being grateful for that. I find joy in hearing entrepreneurs’ stories, understanding their businesses and industries, and providing support and assistance where I can. Every day is different, every entrepreneur and business is unique but it’s consistently invigorating and means there is no 3pm slump.
What advice do you live by?
Bezos’ regret minimisation framework (as he says “only a nerd would call it that”) is one that I love – “no regrets” is pretty useless advice by itself, but project out to age 80 and ponder what you’d regret at that time. I think it’s particularly powerful because things always appear bigger up close – step back, think bigger picture and get perspective.
What was the greatest lesson an early job taught you?
Apart from my first paid job as a child model age 3 for a toy company, my first job was at an event venue in Melbourne; it taught me the value of delighting customers and the need to be customer-centric in everything you do, no matter who your customers are.
Where did you learn the most in your career?
My mind feels like a blank canvas – the more I learn, the more I think I’m a total novice. The flip side of this I guess is the more I look back, the more I see I’ve learnt. In my head, learning can be divided into form (the way of doing) and substance (content). I’ve been learning form and substance in law, in banking and now in venture. The “substance” curve is most exciting (and by far the steepest) in venture, and it has the best form too – we have the pleasure of learning from so many people, including entrepreneurs who are experts in their fields.
What does the future hold?
We’re a bunch of optimists who all hold the belief that the future is exciting and that technology holds great promise. We’re excited to watch what people build and be part of shaping that.