Sydney — Australia
What is the most insightful book you've read this year?
I couldn’t put down Kickstarter co-founder Yancey Strickler’s book, ‘This Could Be Our Future’. I loved the optimism that pervaded throughout, and felt that it really built on the themes of books like ‘Utopia for Realists’ and ‘Australia Reimagined’. Questions about the specific suggestions in those books aside, I really enjoyed the exercise in re-framing old problems with new solutions. Other than that, I re-read The Lord of the Rings (again) recently, and it holds up as one of the best works of fiction out there.
How did your last job equip you for this one?
Before Square Peg, I was a lawyer in the financial services and FinTech team at Piper Alderman, primarily working in the blockchain group. Working as a private practice lawyer in any field is excellent training, with the relentless focus on attention to detail, time-pressure, and high stakes almost inevitably leading to an appreciation for hard work. Working in the blockchain group at Pipers was particularly amazing, as it gave me the opportunity to be a part of an incredibly dynamic global industry, working to resolve difficult regulatory questions in a highly uncertain environment. I think this led to a real appreciation for the value of commercial advice over the conservative, protective advice that some lawyers are known for.
The other key benefit was direct exposure to a whole range of different startups, founders and techies from all over the world. Their passion and drive to just get stuff done was a constant source of inspiration.
What are you interested in that most people haven’t heard of?
Space law, especially the regulation of commercial activity in space. Cliché or not, space really is the final frontier, and humans are going to spend a lot more time in it from now on. When we take the next steps, whether it be asteroid mining, human settlement, or (hopefully not) warfare, legal frameworks for space are going to become a lot more important.
What advice do you live by?
If you can’t control it, don’t worry about it.
What was the greatest lesson an early job taught you?
Own your mistakes and learn from them. My first proper job was working between the kitchen and front of house of the Pheasant Farm function centre in the Barossa Valley, for the amazing Elli Beer. While I definitely made a bunch of mistakes during my six or so years at the farm, the worst one was the time I accidentally reversed Elli’s car into a tree, smashing the rear windscreen. Despite that, Elli immediately made it clear that it wasn’t a big deal because I was honest about what had gone wrong, and worked to fix the problem as soon as possible.
What tech do you avoid in your personal life?
Social media. A while ago now I found myself absent-mindedly scrolling through a feed, completely disengaged, for a few hours. I deleted all the apps from my phone, and haven’t looked back.