The Digital Village Show

The Digital Village Show: Unlock Your Creativity

Season 2: Episode 4 With Tim Duggan

KILLER… perhaps not the most obvious acronym for a constructive process, but Tim Duggan believes the best ideas are exactly that: Kind, Impactful, Loved, Lasting, East and Repeatable.

Having penned the much-heralded & highly awarded ‘Cult Status’, Tim’s follow-up title provides a simple 8-step methodology for turning good ideas into great ones by harnessing the power of creativity.

During his second appearance on That Digital Village Show!, he sits down with Luke and Paul to give invaluable insight into his latest book, why he prefers hippos over gorillas and the need to schedule boredom. It’s an unmissable episode for anybody looking to harness their creativity – a quality he believes all have engrained – to provide fresh thinking for seemingly complex problems. I think we all agree it’s something we could use right now…

Tim Duggan is an author, advisor and optimist who firmly believes in the power of business to do good.

He has co-founded several digital media ventures, most notably Junkee Media, the leading digital publisher for young Australians, which was acquired by ASX-listed oOh!media.

His first book, ‘Cult Status: How To Build A Business People Adore’, was named the Best Entrepreneurship and Small Business Book at the 2021 Australian Business Book Awards. His second book on creativity in the workplace, Killer Thinking, is out now. 

He’s also currently the Chairman of the Digital Publishers Alliance, a group representing over 100 titles from the leading independent publishers in the country, as well as working with a range of businesses that he’s passionate about.


Tim Duggan

Post Grid #4

How To Choose The Right Technology For Your Business.

Steven GreenSep 20, 20225 min read

Technology is a key driver of success and provides a solution to many of the challenges faced by businesses today,…

Podcast Transcription

Speaker 1 (00:02):

Welcome back to another episode of the digital village podcast, the podcast, all about the latest tech trends, impacting business people and planet. In this episode, we’re touching on the topic I work closely in, in my day to day life, specifically, customer experience switching things up this week, Luke and Paul from digital village will be hosting and they will be joined by Tim Duggan, author of two books. Now, cult status, and the newly released killer thinking. They’ll be discussing the practical and mindset of creativity, how we’re all creative and the processes you can use to maximize this in everything you do for yourself. And in business today’s episode is also sponsored by Macari financial derivatives market exchange. They’ve helped with a new, incredible space and tech for this podcast. So thank you guys. We appreciate the help. So sit back and enjoy the episode.

Speaker 2 (00:51):

So welcome back to the digital village podcast. Episode nine on, uh, a subject that both of us are absolutely passionate about, which is a new book, Luke

Speaker 3 (01:02):

Indeed called killer thinking by Tim Duggan.

Speaker 2 (01:08):

So Jason has had enough both of us, apparently. Yeah. So he’s disappeared off to Europe. I got off three months. I can’t blame him. The weather he’s been shocking. 70% of the day, since the beginning of the year have had rain. Interest rates are climbing. The federal election happens next week. So by the time you hear this, the country will be run by a Motley crew of either labor or liberals with a smattering of till colored independence. Um, the stock market’s crumbling crypto is in bits after the lunar crash, Elon Musk is having doubts about whether or not he should get wet to, to Twitter. And Mike Cannon Brooks has parked his tanks on the lawn in front of AGL. It’s all kicking off in Australia. I can tell you, and against this maelstrom of technology driven catastrophes, our next guest has chosen to launch his second book to teach us all well, how to unleash the creative beast within, uh, waiting to create perhaps the next Netflix or keep up or canvas. So welcome Tim Duggan. Lovely to have you back on the show.

Speaker 4 (02:07):

Thank you very much. It is wonderful to be back here.

Speaker 2 (02:10):

We’ve got a lot to talk about in a relatively short period of time. So we are not gonna talk an awful lot, but we hope you will. Um, both Luke and I have have read killer thinking. It’s an really, really exciting book and a fantastic follow up to Colt stasis, which was an award-winning book. You wrote two or three years ago now, and we interviewed you on that one. Um, so we’re looking forward to hearing more about it. I’d like to start really by just asking you what was the motivation behind starting to write that book, having written col status.

Speaker 4 (02:41):

It’s funny that Colt status was my first book and writing. The first book is unusual because you don’t know if anyone’s going to read it <laugh> I kind of wrote it for myself and yeah, in my wildest dreams, if one person read it and thought it was good, that to me was success. Um, luckily enough, lots of people read it and enjoyed it. And it really started me thinking about, okay, what would a follow up look like? And I wanted to explore the same world as cult status. If that makes sense. I, I live in a world. I’m an optimist and I’d live in a world where I believe business can be used as a force for good. I believe creativity can solve problems. Um, and I wanted to write a bit of a companion book, if that makes sense, going deep into one area of running a business, which is creativity and ideas. And either coming up with the idea for a business at the start of a journey, or once you have an established business, how do you use creativity, creativity to problem solve and to sure, kind of get some solutions to things that are pretty hard there, a new way. Yeah.

Speaker 2 (03:51):

So the thing that really struck me when I started reading it was your belief that everyone is creative. So, you know, I, I’m an engineer by heart by trade that’s where I sort of learned my, uh, sort of went through university and into, into business. I never thought of myself as being a creative person, but why do you think everyone is creative?

Speaker 4 (04:10):

I wholeheartedly believe not just believe no everyone is creative. All of us as kids are encouraged to be creative. We get crayons, we get paint. Yeah. We get, you know, told to make things and break things. Then teenage years come on. And maybe it’s a bit cool uncool to kind of be creative or you, you know, you might get distracted by boys or girls or other things gonna going on. Um, and what happens then is that we become adults and some people have creativity in their titles. So for some people you might be a creative at work. You might be a copywriter, a creative director did. Yeah. And I, what I realized and I came up through advertising agencies in my early twenties before co-founding junky media in my mid to late twenties. And I realized that when you get people around a table to talk about creativity or to come up with ideas, yes, the people who have creative in their title are pretty good at things, but there’s such amazing. Creativity comes from unexpected places. So anytime we would get to a creative ideation session and would get someone from finance to come in, we would get the receptionist to come and sit in the table. And the way that they think was always extraordinary, they would always would start off in the same place with briefs. And this is what we’re trying to solve. And everyone would then go off in their own way. And that just really made me realize that everyone, including you, Paul are extremely creative who knew <laugh> well,

Speaker 3 (05:40):

Yeah. Was there a lot of pushback or was it challenging for people who wouldn’t normally do that to come in and participate in that kind of process?

Speaker 4 (05:47):

It, it is. Yeah. Cuz cuz creativity is a self-belief thing. Yeah. Some people believe that they are not creative. Yeah.

Speaker 3 (05:54):

Well I think it’s kind of like trained out of people a little bit. Isn’t it? As you

Speaker 4 (05:57):

Very much. So go

Speaker 3 (05:58):

Through a, a non-creative career path. People would maybe like you not to be so creative if you’re in like accounting or finance

Speaker 4 (06:06):

<laugh> so, I mean, I’ve got, I bet some wonderfully creative accountants. Yes they do. You sure do great things with my tax bills <laugh> um, so yeah, I think, I think creativity is a belief. And what I wanted to do with this book was to empower people, to read it for anyone to pick it up. Even if you don’t think you are creative yeah. And read it and get some kind of inspiration around, you know, what, maybe I can think up an amazing idea.

Speaker 2 (06:32):

So, so one of the themes that come through very strongly in the book is the way that you set up a creative environment to allow everybody to contribute. Um, and this idea that, um, it’s a mix of being creative on your own and then creative in a group of people. Um, and making sure that when that group come together, you don’t have what you describe as hippos.

Speaker 3 (06:56):

I love that. <laugh>

Speaker 2 (06:58):

Do you wanna tell us

Speaker 4 (06:59):

About that? Yeah. So hippos hippos is this great term that I came across. I don’t know where I originally discovered it, so it’s not my original concept, but it stands for the highest paid person’s opinion. H I P P O. And it means when you come together to creatively ideate to come up with ideas, often the highest paid person’s opinion is what will dictate. Whether someone will talk about an idea, whether someone will think something’s good or not. Yeah.

Speaker 3 (07:24):

Even just their presence, like sitting in the corner, people will, they radiate this kind of influence,

Speaker 4 (07:29):

Even when they’re not in the room often, it’s like, what will the boss think of this idea? And I therefore have, you know, I, I spent a lot of time in creative brainstorm over the years and I talk a lot in the book around how much I dislike brainstorm. We’ll gotta

Speaker 2 (07:46):

Come onto that.

Speaker 4 (07:46):

<laugh> yeah. Okay. We’ll, we’ll get to, that’s a, that can be a whole podcast in itself. Um, so yeah, I think psychological safety and people being, uh, comfortable in sharing ideas that are generally fragile when you come up with something that’s really important to the whole process.

Speaker 2 (08:07):

Yes. Yes. And, and in the book you do the same thing that you do in cult status, which is to give people these IRLs yes. Which are basically simple instructions or little work exercises to do, to extract some of these things.

Speaker 4 (08:21):

Yeah. The, the wonderful thing about writing a book is that you can write it for people like yourself. And the way that I love to read books is I love to get inspired. So like show me this big vision of something. And then once I understand the vision, tell me how I can actually do it myself.

Speaker 2 (08:39):

Yes. So ILS stands for

Speaker 4 (08:41):

Stands for in real life, in real

Speaker 2 (08:43):


Speaker 4 (08:43):


Speaker 3 (08:43):

I was actually thinking about that as I was going through each chapter, it starts off with like quite a lot of like context setting. And like, as you say, broad vision and I, I was thinking, I was really interested by this, by the title of this chapter. And we are talking about this in a way and I’m thinking, oh my gosh, <laugh> and this there’s, you know, this is a lot of, you know, awesome experience. And this is a great story, but then it comes down to the end, to the end of the chapter. And like, this is what it is. This is how you do it. Yeah. These are the exercises that you can go through. It’s like, oh, this is great.

Speaker 4 (09:17):

Yeah. Then that’s actually how I try to write each chapter. Yeah. So I try to start big and start with what’s the vision, what’s an example. That’s gonna illustrate this. What’s a company that people might know or may have never heard of that you can introduce them to, and then just narrow it down, narrow it down. By the time you get to the end of the chapter, hopefully people should be like, yep. I agree with you. That’s how I wanna do it. Yeah. And then it’s okay. Here’s how to actually do it. Get out a piece of paper, write down this, heading, answer these questions and that’s how I like to work. Yeah. And that’s why I think I get to indulge a little bit in how I like to learn, which is inspire me and then show me how to do it. Yeah. And that’s what I try to do with other people.

Speaker 2 (09:58):

So that’s great. Let’s, let’s go back to the beginning. Killer. Not something you would normally associate with something that’s either loved or adored or impactful, but killer thinking. So what came first? The acronym or the, the word or the combination of those two words.

Speaker 4 (10:12):

Great question. <laugh> um, the word came first. So, so killer thinking I had as an idea and the way that I thought about killer thinking was I didn’t want to write a book of about creativity. That was just about killer ideas. The concept of a killer idea is kind of pretty well known. That’s a concept that exists long before I put pen to paper. But the way that I thought about it was killer thinking was that unique combination of killer ideas and killer execution together. Right. Put those two things together, that

Speaker 3 (10:41):


Speaker 4 (10:41):

Right? Yes. And you have a process of killer thinking. So that came first, the name of the book. And then when I started to speak to people all around the world who had what I thought were examples of killer thinking. So it was, I went down to Melbourne and spent some time with Travis Garone who was a co-founder one of the co-founders of November. Yeah. I think that’s a really killer idea. Yeah. And then I spent some time on the phone with Hemi Ortiz, Marino who started LA Lala, which is where they shut down the streets, a Bogata to cars every Sunday. Yeah. And so I started speaking to all these different people about these ideas, Abigail ForSight, who co-founded keep cup. And as I was speaking to them, after I do every interview, I write down little summaries to myself of like, okay, what’s the crux of what they’re trying to say.

Speaker 4 (11:32):

And then I try and figure out once I’ve done 10 20 of these interviews, I try and connect the dots. Yeah. What do these people have in common that I can pull out to help other people do the same thing. As I started doing that, a bunch of these things started jumping out. So things like, uh, killer in the book stands for kind impactful, loved lasting, easy and repeatable. And as I started looking at these ideas, I realized they had things in common and then it started all fall into place. And there was this light bulb moment that was, could this work, if it spelled out the word I needed to look up at the SOS

Speaker 2 (12:06):


Speaker 4 (12:07):

There was the SOS and some of the words to make sure that they really fit into there, but the bulk of it was there. And it was a really nice kind of light bulb moment.

Speaker 2 (12:15):

It’s, it’s an incredibly powerful metaphor. And, and I, and very easy to understand the thing that strikes me about it as well is how that relates back to what you do with cult status in talking about creating adored organization. So you start with love. Yes. Cult status starts with adoration or, you know, creating organizations that people want to be part of.

Speaker 4 (12:37):

Yeah. That, that inter labor, it’s

Speaker 2 (12:38):

A, it’s very powerful, uh, way of looking at how we generate think or how we generate great ideas and turn them into killer ideas. Ah

Speaker 3 (12:46):

Yeah. Or even make places where great ideas happen. Yes. I think if you have an adored organization and you were talking about this in like the last podcast, like, you know, having, you know, kindness as a center of a business, this brings in people who are going to be very interested, you know, in creating things that, that are, you know, really killer and that’s and moving those ideas, as you say, from good to great to killer. There’s a lot of investment in there already.

Speaker 4 (13:12):

Yeah. Yeah. The interplay between the two concepts was important to me. Yeah. I didn’t want to do a complete U-turn on that world of cult status that I really believe in, which is how you build a business that has, is really loved and adored. And so the interplay, the fact that in killer, one of the LS in killer stands for loved loved. Yeah. And really, if you wanna go deep into that read cult status. Yep. So it’s, there’s, there’s a really lovely interplay between the two and I wasn’t intentional just came out that way and then once it started coming out, um, it’s funny when you write a book, you have a, a thesis at the start on what a topic could be, and then you just chase it down, whichever path it goes down. It’s not until the end, you can stand back and look at it and realize that it, where it has gone.

Speaker 2 (14:01):

So at what point did, did the, the eight steps emerge from that process?

Speaker 4 (14:07):

Yeah. So not until the second draft.

Speaker 3 (14:09):

Wow. Oh, wow. Okay.

Speaker 4 (14:10):


Speaker 2 (14:10):


Speaker 4 (14:11):

So interestingly, the first draft of the book, I had most of the content there. Yeah. But I didn’t, I was trying to not put myself into a box. So the first book col status has seven steps to achieving Colt status. And step one, do this step two, do this. And I tried to write my second book thinking, I don’t want to just do the exact same step to, I L let’s think, think about a whole different way of thinking about this. So i’vee it. And it wasn’t quite there. It was, it was a bit jumbled. Um, it didn’t quite make sense. And I, I sent it off to my publisher and they read it and said to me, have you considered putting it into steps the same as go status <laugh> but I said, I had, and I dunno if I wanna do steps again.

Speaker 4 (15:00):

And he said, just try it. Yeah, I tried it. And the whole thing just clicked into this. It was just, just made sense. I had the steps inside my head. Yeah. Yes. I’d been playing around with different language around it. And as soon as I did that and did steps, chapter big picture thinking IRL, step two, chapter big picture thinking IRL, it just made sense. And it made me realize that when a reader reads a book, there’s something that I’ve been thinking about this for years and going over it and a reader picks it up. And it’s the first time they probably thought about this in this way. Yeah. You really need to sign post and make it easy for someone to understand, to take them on a journey. Mm. And for me doing, explaining what it is explaining the killer framework and then saying, these are the eight steps, step one, step two, step three. And then the end you say, and these were the eight steps that you just, you just learned that makes it easy for someone to understand. Yes. And that’s really important when it comes to non-fiction books.

Speaker 2 (16:00):

It is. So let’s just dive into some of those steps because there are some incredibly examples of them, uh, in, in each of the steps. Um, and the first one is be your own

Speaker 4 (16:10):

Therapist, be your problems. Therapist’s right. Your

Speaker 2 (16:12):

Problem. Therapist’s problem therapist. And you give this example of seven 11. Do you want just talk us through that example? I love, I love

Speaker 4 (16:19):

Classic. I love this story. Um, and it’s so fun again, to research and think about all of these things and they’re things that you just discover when you’re thinking about a book that might be in the back of your head, or when you do research and broad reading, you might discover it somewhere. So it was talking about seven elevens and it started off in, um, Canada in the 1980s. And there was lots of young people would turn up to seven 11 car parks, um, particularly after hours. So when I got to 7, 8, 9 o’clock, they would just hang out in the car, parks, listening to music, doing what young people do. Good, good on. They needed somewhere to go. Yeah. And I needed to make sure in when I wrote this story, that this is not an young person thing, this is more just an example of killer thinking.

Speaker 2 (17:02):


Speaker 4 (17:03):

Age, pre-internet age. Absolutely. Totally. What else were they going to do? Yeah. Needed some,

Speaker 2 (17:07):

No social media.

Speaker 4 (17:08):

Exactly. So the, so the 1980s kids in teenagers in Canada would go and sit in Seven-Eleven car parks. So seven 11 were trying to figure out how do we creatively solve this problem? And the way that they did it, first of all, was to think through some of the obvious ideas. So obvious ideas would be let’s hire security, guards, security guards can stand there and move the kids on. Let’s go out and tell the kids, Hey kids, maybe you should, you know, go away. Let’s turn the lights off. You know, maybe if they turn the lights off, they’re not gonna hang around. All of these things were kind of obvious ideas. And in this, in the scheme of the book, that’s probably a good idea, a good idea. It might be just be turning the lights off. It’s pretty easy to do. It’s got some drawbacks, most ideas.

Speaker 4 (17:52):

I, I, um, hypothesize are pretty good ideas, but they had a, um, a brainstorming session and they got everyone together. And the way that they tried to think about this was we need to put ourselves in the minds of these young people. So if I’m a young person and I’m going to a seven 11 car park, why am I doing that? It’s because I want to seem cool to my friends. I wanna go there might wanna pick someone up, might wanna chat, chat to someone I’d been calling up on their home phone and then this the 1980s. Yeah. Um, so the whole idea of trying to look cool was the main motivator of why young people were there. So someone in the meeting suggested this really simple idea, and this is, uh, where, uh, the solution came from. They said, why don’t we make it uncool for the kids to hang out in the car park and the way of making it uncool was playing really daggy music.

Speaker 4 (18:46):

Yeah. So either classical music or Barry Manalow Barry man was used, the Manalow effect was used a lot in Australia. Yeah. Um, and so they decided they turned on their speakers and they started playing classical music through the speakers. And all of the kids, all of a sudden were like, this makes me look uncool. I don’t wanna do this. And they left the car park. So really simple solution that now has been used, used all over the world. Um, we won’t go into the effects of displacing young people just where you don’t want ’em to be by playing music, but more the idea of, if you really wanna understand how to solve a problem, you need to understand the problem better than anyone else

Speaker 2 (19:24):

Quite. And it’s a great example. And there are, there are lots of others. I dunno if you wanna pick out any Luke from, um, the other seven or eight steps, one of the ones I was really keen to talk about was this, uh, one about plus each other’s ideas. And did you coin the phrase celebration? Is that your, um, you trademarked that one?

Speaker 4 (19:44):

Uh, so Isaac, Isaac, Isaac Asimov, who’s a science fiction writer. He originally came up with the, with the, with this term celebration when he wrote a letter, the us, um, uh, the us government were trying to creatively problem solve how to, um, have a MIS a ballistic missile defense system in the us. This was kind of in the sixties, I think. Um, and they thought let’s get a science fiction writer along, which is an amazing idea because science fiction writers can come up who was a, a scientist as well. Yes. Who scientist an amazing scientist and would, would certainly add a lot to a session. Absolutely. Um, and he didn’t end up going to the brainstorming session, but he wrote a letter to them which talked about creativity. And in the letter, he talks about that. Firstly, the most important thing to do is to come up with your own ideas first, which is where this came from.

Speaker 4 (20:34):

And he just had this offhanded term in there where he just said in this celebration session, something, something, something. And I just stopped when I read that and I was like celebration session. And I’d been trying to think of a really good name for me, that combined cerebral. So coming up thinking and a celebration. Yeah. And as soon as I saw celebration, I was like, Isaac, as OVV you’ve done it again. <laugh> <laugh> so I can’t take credit for the word, but I can take credit for the process. It is a beautiful word. Isn’t it? It is a beautiful, it’s a wonderful word.

Speaker 2 (21:05):

So we need, so, so talk us through the process. What is it we’re talking here about the balloons.

Speaker 4 (21:09):

Are we? Yes. Yeah, yeah. I’ve been the party and the <inaudible>. Yeah. So, so in order to come up with ideas collectively, the moment, one of the tools that we have is brainstorming. Yep. Brainstorming invented the 1940s by a guy called Alex Osborn. Um, a very smart, amazing creative guy who started at agency called B, B, D O, which still exists to this day. And you know, sure. There’s some slightly sexist parts to what he, what he says. He says that brainstorm should be mostly men coming together, but this was the 1940s when he wrote this. So it needs, you could say

Speaker 2 (21:41):

That in those

Speaker 4 (21:42):

Days taken with a, it was like a synonym per person then wasn’t it <laugh> yeah. Yeah. It was, it was, you know, you have to read these things with the, the lens, through which they were written. Sure. But brainstorming therefore for 80 years has been the main way that we’ve come up with ideas as, as a group, particularly in work environments, there’s six main problems with it. I won’t go into all the problems hippos or one of them introverts is a big problem. When you do that group think is a problem focusing on the wrong problem, focus. There’s lots of things wrong with it, but probably the most important thing wrong with it is that we are living in a hybrid world now where, when Alex Osborn came up with this, everyone went into an office. Now we live in a

Speaker 2 (22:21):

World. No, no

Speaker 4 (22:21):

Preparation, no, no preparation needed. You can, yeah. You can walk into a room and you can turn off and do it think of ideas, but we’re now living in a world where some people are on zoom. Some people are at home, some people are in an office. There’s this kind of new way of thinking about, um, creativity. So I came up with a very simple, um, amalgamation of all different sorts of brainstorming techniques and it’s called celebration. And the very simple way of doing a celebration is there’s three parts. And I’ve tried to make this as memorable as possible. I tested this out on my husband as I was writing the book. So I wrote most of his book while he was in a camper van. And we’ll talk about it. We’ll talk about that later. We will, should have been fun times. It was, it was a very fun time.

Speaker 4 (23:02):

And as I came up with little, um, parts, I try to make things as mnemonic as possible because I think going into your heads, that’s why killer acronym is a mnemonic. Um, and the celebration system has three parts to it and they all relate to a party, a celebration. The first part is blowing up balloons. The second part is writing out cards and the third part is sharing the presence. And that’s the three parts you need to remember. Um, I go into more detail in the book, but blowing up balloons is investigating the problem that you’re trying to solve. And putting that into a balloon shape, writing out cards is spending time individually coming up with ideas yourself. So ride them onto post-it notes or pieces of paper. And then sharing presence is where you come together as a group and you start sharing the ideas and figuring out what they have in common. Um, and to really,

Speaker 3 (23:51):

That’s great. Yeah.

Speaker 4 (23:52):

It’s a really simple process. And, and it’s the end of brainstorming as we know it. Yeah.

Speaker 3 (23:56):

Well, I was, we’re very excited to that. The big part of what we do is move people beyond brainstorming to actually yeah. Help them understand what they’re trying to solve. Amazing. What’s an effective way to come up with ideas. So what’s an effective way to come up with solutions. Again, going, as you say, diverge, divergent, convergent, and I was too far away from the microphone. Um, and uh, actually the, the person who is most involved with delivering that services over there telling me off about the microphone. <laugh> <laugh>. Yes. But yeah. And so I was, I thought it was wonderful to that. Cuz you can see the difference in people can’t you when they they’re going through that process. And it’s so different to cuz like an hour long brainstorming session can seem like such a Drudge of an activity <laugh> ah, it really can, and you’ve caught it ation. It should be something that people look forward to. It should be fun.

Speaker 4 (24:49):

Yeah. Yeah. I mean, and exciting actually blow up actual balloons and put me in

Speaker 3 (24:53):

A room, let’s

Speaker 4 (24:54):

Make this fun. I have done, I did countless experiments in the lead up to this with businesses of all different size, trying to figure out what’s the best way of doing this. Mm. And then since the book has come out a couple of weeks ago, I’ve done a bunch of workshops with companies of different sizes. Yeah. Just teaching them the method. Yeah. Yeah. And there is nothing better than seeing a group of people all equally contributing to ID generation. Mm. So you get five to eight people together and the way that you, we share the presence, which is sharing the ideas is that you go around the room whoever’s birthday is coming up next. Yeah. Is the next person share the idea? Yeah. Keeping the celebration theme going. Yeah. And it’s amazing because you do this and all of a sudden you have, as I said, you’ve got someone in finance sitting there who normally would not participate. Who is there going, I’ve got this kind of crazy idea cuz their mind has gone off into this other place and then they have this idea. And then what we talk about in the book is the idea of plusing it, which is something that I stole from, um, Walt Disney. Hold on. Um, with the credit, with the credit Frank you off. Yes. Yes. Um, and it’s all about building on other people’s ideas to make, to make them better.

Speaker 3 (26:03):

Yeah. That’s really great. And you can, you’re getting so much more value out of all the people in the room that way. Right. Rather than just like a few people. Um, and you know, then leaving the other people who might not say much or contribute much is just, I think it makes so much sense for any organization to think about doing that. So, you know, taking that on because suddenly you look at all the people who are there and you think, oh my gosh, everyone, everyone has so much to contribute.

Speaker 4 (26:30):

So, and that’s how you build creative confidence. So to go back to one of the very first questions you asked Paul around, how do you know the belief that everyone is creative? You give them the confidence and tools to be able to come up with ideas. And Jenny from accounts comes to a celebration session. She’s listened to, she’s heard she has great ideas. They get built upon. Yeah. The next time she sits down for creative ideation session, she’s got the back of her head. Wow. I, I have space and ability to be able to come up with great ideas. Yes. That’s really important.

Speaker 2 (27:01):

So, so that’s again, I think how you kind of, um, dissect the amount of time that is spent on each of these stages is fascinating because you say, you know, you should be spending a third of your time understanding the problem just on your own, work it out. Yeah. What, what is the real problem here rather than what might be the superficial problem? The way that people explain it might not be the way it actually is. Yes. And then moving into individual ideas and then, then groups.

Speaker 4 (27:29):

Yeah. I’ve spent hundreds of hours, thousands of hours. I tried to calculate at one stage for the book about how, how long I’d spent in creative ideation sessions, big ones, small ones. And almost every single time you sit down and, and someone who’s running the meeting goes, okay, so we’re trying to solve world hunger. Who’s got some ideas. <laugh> John, what do you think over there? Jenny, you got some ideas and you just dive straight into it. So I did a pie chart. Yeah. Um, in the book, which was 95% of time group ideation. Yeah. 5% of time thinking about the problem. 5% of time coming out with individual ideas.

Speaker 3 (28:05):

Well, another thing I loved about the, the idea around the balloons and the celebration was breaking those big problems down into smaller ones. And, and, but then once people have contributed those eyes, bringing them back together around the large problem. Yeah. And yeah, that seems, it goes from, oh, here’s a small problem. Here’s some ideas. Those ideas seem good. And now we bring them back to the bigger problem. Now we’ve got like a ton of insight. Yeah. And, and it seems like a really powerful and exciting thing again, to be able to see.

Speaker 4 (28:36):

Yeah, it really is. And so, you know, I, I lay the gauntlet down to both, to both of you to run some celebration sessions and see how they go see, see the difference it makes. Definitely we’re

Speaker 2 (28:49):

We are

Speaker 3 (28:49):

Definitely gonna

Speaker 4 (28:50):

Do that. I will, I will hit you up for your feedback afterwards.

Speaker 2 (28:54):

Yes. Um, so next question is really around boredom, right? So again, I just love all of these individual ideas. I was think, God, it’s such a simple idea, but it’s so powerful. Tell us why boredom is such a positive thing.

Speaker 4 (29:09):

Boredom has a really bad rep. <laugh> people try and avoid it. People do go out of their way. Our entire media ecosystem is designed to avoid boredom. Yep. The entire content complex is all about, have you got five minute spare as you walking the dog? Listen to this podcast. Yeah. Have you got some time in the car? Listen to this radio show. Have you got time on a plane? Listen, watch this TV show. We are never allowed to get bored. Mm no. So boredom is almost an act of defiance <laugh> is how I

Speaker 3 (29:44):

Look at things. It takes a lot of discipline to be bored.

Speaker 4 (29:46):

It does

Speaker 3 (29:47):

Cause it’s so unusual to have quiet time where you have no input <laugh> yeah.

Speaker 4 (29:53):

You have to act, you act to. I think when we grow and I I’m 41, the world’s oldest live in millennial as I call myself many times probably on the last podcast. Um, and the last generation without screens to have a childhood. So I remember childhood was about being bored. It’s kind of what our parents did. We had Lego to do that and now not just children, but all of us, we feel our time whenever we can with content, with listening to things so that we can avoid our own thoughts. Yeah.

Speaker 3 (30:24):

It’s a constant distraction.

Speaker 4 (30:26):

Yeah. So, so being actively pursuing boredom is something that I think is really important and there’s really simple ways of doing it as well. The simplest way that I do it and try and incorporate it into my everyday life is whenever I walk my dog, I put my headphones in, turn my noise counts in on, and I don’t put anything in them. So I don’t know music, no podcast. I’ll go for a half hour walk. People think I’ve got things in. So they don’t stop me. If I’m at the dog park, then never have a

Speaker 3 (30:51):

Chance interruptions.

Speaker 4 (30:52):

And I’ll just sit there and be in my own thoughts for half an hour. And it’s hard. Like it’s, it’s, it’s a thing you have to consciously try and do. Yes. Yeah.

Speaker 2 (31:00):

So what, what happens when you do that? What do, what do you see as being the, the benefit and the outcome of just being bored?

Speaker 4 (31:07):

It’s amazing. The connections that your mind starts to make. So I talk in the book around the best ideas, need time to sit and sit stands for space inputs and time. Yeah. That’s and that’s a simple one. Yep. Um, and so by being bored, you’re giving your mind the space that it needs to start making some neurological connections between whatever’s going on. And it’s amazing how much, how much creativity can come and kind of fill the void when you consciously take it away.

Speaker 3 (31:40):

Yeah. You gave yourself a huge span of boredom at one point. Didn’t you going away to an island? Camping. Yeah. And you had nothing but an a pen and a notebook.

Speaker 4 (31:51):

Yeah, yeah. For a couple of weeks it was notebooks, no music. Yeah. Just me by myself on a deserted island. Um, and a pen and a notebook. And I got so fricking bored <laugh> I cannot tell you, I had one book to read when I say I had no books. I had a medical book, like a oh first aid book. Oh, okay. And so I gave myself like 10 pages of to read each day just to something to freaking do. It was in case I like fell over and broke my leg or like yeah. A snake bit me or something like that. Um, and I was really, really fricking bored and it was hell the first week was hell, I kind of hated it. It was cold and wet and windy. And I was really bored. And I only had myself to blame <laugh> and thought, this is the worst thing in the world.

Speaker 4 (32:41):

You’re such an idiot. And then something flipped about halfway through. Um, I went around to one side of the island that was really protected from the wind. And in particular, the wind was like really loud, everywhere else, except on this one side of the island. And as soon as that noise stopped, like the whole thing just like flipped for me and just, it became this like beautiful experience. And I then started writing in my book. It was kinda like a bit like Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Mm-hmm <affirmative> I never quite got off the bottom ones. I didn’t get to self actualization <laugh> I was kind of like cold and hungry and tired and scared. But once I did get a bit, you know, solved some of those basic things, um, I wrote so much in my book and just like just explored my own mind for a couple.

Speaker 4 (33:25):

Yeah. It was pretty amazing. And you mentioned something happened to that book. Oh yeah. Did I mention that in the book? I didn’t say that’s a story all the time. Yeah. So that’s another time. Yeah. The, um, the, both, I had a camera, which I, in order to pass time on the island, I would do photo shoots, very mm-hmm <affirmative> early influencer. This was, you know, 15 years ago. Fantastic. But I would set up like a digital camera and do it, you know, 10, ten second. And I’d go one side of the island and jump in. They’ll do something like that. Yeah. So I took all these digital photos and I wrote in, I think I end up having about two books, like two huge, um, you know, notepads and I just wrote thoughts and doodles and all this kind of stuff. And I then went off the island and I went to a hotel, um, for about three or four days.

Speaker 4 (34:12):

And I spent that three or four days. I didn’t even tell anyone. I think I was off the island at the time. Cause I kind of wanted to stay in the bubble. Yeah. And I transcribed almost everything that was in the book into my computer. So just not everything, not like, so it wasn’t exhaust. It was like all these doodles, all these amazing things. And then I caught a flight home. It was from Queensland to Sydney, to the Wales and somewhere on that plane or on that journey home, I lost the digital camera and I lost the notebook and I have never, I’m not a, I’ve never lost my wallets. I’ve never lost a phone. Never lost keys. Wow. There was something, I don’t know my way of thinking about it instead of getting angry or annoyed or upset is that it was a universe’s way of telling me that my way of telling other people about this is writing about it and talking about it rather than showing them a photo of what it looked like.

Speaker 4 (35:02):

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah. So it’s a very strange thing. And I also, every about six months, um, you guys might know this being technical and of the, of the internet, every digital photo has a, like a, you can trace a digital photo by putting up on the internet to see if other digital photos from the same camera also on the internet. And about every six months, I will upload an old, like a photo that taken on the digital camera to a site that looks at every photo on the internet to see if another photo. Cause I’m hoping that maybe someone picked up the camera, maybe it turned has used it or done something like that. Yeah. Yeah. And nothing, nothing, nothing. It’s just gone completely into the how

Speaker 2 (35:42):

Extraordinary. Mm. Yeah.

Speaker 3 (35:45):

Well that, no, that’s amazing. But even that you lost the camera and the notebook, unfortunately it sounds like an amazing process as well to have gone through it was. Yeah. And, and do you think that kind of like changed your outlook? Was it like a, before the island, after the island?

Speaker 4 (36:00):

Um, it made

Speaker 2 (36:01):


Speaker 4 (36:02):

Realize it was one of those things that I’d always had a fantasy as a kid of wanting to go deliver it under Z island. And I think I’d watch too much like cast away and Robinson family cruso and read all these books about it. And I kind of just got to an age that I thought that I needed to start putting some of my dreams into action. So it kind of just inspired me to constantly not just think of things up here, figure out how can I actually do them, like write a book that was one of the things that I’d always wanted to do. Yeah. Beautiful,

Speaker 2 (36:31):

Great story. Um, so killer thinking is about thinking, but you mention, uh, how important it is to have killer execution as well. Tell us about why that is so important and what are the aspects of killer execution that you think are really important?

Speaker 4 (36:48):

I thought having a book that was only about killer ideas will be a bit of a waste, right? Because ideas are one part of it, but ideas can be worthless if they just stay in your mind. Mm-hmm <affirmative>. Yeah. So I then originally had grand plans for it to be kind of half, half, half ideas, half execution. As I started writing the book, I realized that a book on execution could be 10,000 books. How do you bring something to life? Um, so I started to think that it was best to concentrate just on some key parts of that and the two key parts. And this is not the sole ways of executing idea, but two of the really important things that I I talk about in the book are to one launch something into a rising tide, which is thinking, what is the bigger moment or movement that you can launch an idea onto the back of? Mm. And the second one is about feedback and active listening to what people are saying to iterate the idea, to make it better. And that’s called listen with open ears, right? So they’re the two kind of like nods to execution then obviously not the only thing involved in bringing an idea to life. No, but the two of the really important ones,

Speaker 2 (37:50):

I think what, the other thing that struck me was this kind of iterative approach. Yeah. You talking a lot of the examples, how people started out doing one thing, which turned into this, which turned into that, I mean to Tinder, to Bumble, I think was one. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Which is, you know, you wouldn’t have imagined that to begin with, but, but it, through getting feedback from customers on what, what it is and understanding, oh, there’s a bigger opportunity here. I need to tweak this and tweak that. And eventually I’ll end up with a proposition that is a killer.

Speaker 4 (38:20):

Yeah. Yeah. And that’s, that was, that was kind of part of the whole premise of the book is if you distill it down to a couple of words is how do you take a good idea? Turn it into a great idea, then massage it into a killer idea. Yeah. Yeah. And the iterations are one way of doing that. Yeah.

Speaker 3 (38:33):

I love that journey. Like you’re saying with, or with, um, the app, like going from starting off with the first version with match and then going to the next version and then to the next version. So like the idea and execution were kind of like, you know, being developed at the same time.

Speaker 4 (38:47):

Yeah. And what I love about that is that it’s kind of never ending. So if I wrote this book again in 10 years time, there’s probably gonna be the next iteration of what’s better than Bumble. Yeah. How do you take that and make it better? How do you do this in the metaverse? How do you do it? There’s, there’s probably ways of that, that idea of massaging and making an idea better is never ending. Sure. And that’s what I love about

Speaker 2 (39:11):

It. So, so, so what’s your dream for killer thinking from now onwards? Are you gonna be, you know, doing podcasts, doing workshops for customers, is there a community gonna be built around this thing? How development exactly Your own natural development,

Speaker 4 (39:29):

How am I gonna tell killer

Speaker 2 (39:30):

Killer thinking gonna become a killer

Speaker 4 (39:32):

<laugh> yes. And there’s no, there’s no pressure in this. Cause I wrote a book called status about how to build a, a strong community around a business. Yes. So no pressure, but to make a bus, a real strong community and now killer thinking, it needs to be some great ideas. So my aim with killer thinking is how do I get this into as many people’s heads as possible. Right. That that’s how I want great impact is by how do I get as many people as possible doing celebration sessions? Yes. Throwing out brainstorm. Yeah. And doing celebrations. Yes. How do I get as many people as possible using some of the frameworks to think about, are my ideas kind impactful, loved last and easy and repeatable. So that’s, that’s my aim. And so I do that through wonderful podcasts like this. Yes. I’ll do it through speaking gigs engagements. Um, that, that is the, the short to medium term goal of killer thinking.

Speaker 2 (40:20):

Great. And, and look, I mean, I think it’s gonna be a hugely successful book. No, I think as col status was as well. And I think, look, we can see ways that we could be applying this in our day to day

Speaker 3 (40:31):

Business. Yeah, absolutely. It’s such a clear and important message I think. And the thing is I think that a lot of these things are what people are reaching for or they’re looking for in, you know, the way that they run their businesses. Um, having such a clear expression of it with steps, um, is, is like, I think really helpful and beneficial. And of course we’ve got the audio book coming out.

Speaker 4 (40:54):

Yes. The audiobook is now out. Just came out last week. Oh yeah. Yeah. So the audiobook is available from audiobooks and audible and wherever you get your audiobook from, and it has my Dolce tones narrating it for six and a half hours in your ear. <laugh> <laugh>

Speaker 2 (41:09):

Who could refuse that?

Speaker 3 (41:10):

I mean, I know

Speaker 2 (41:11):

No. Um, Tim, thank you so much for coming in and seeing us. It’s great talking to you again. I really enjoy very best of luck with the, with the book. It’s gonna be a massive success. Um, definitely recommend it to anybody listening to this, this podcast and in the notes, we’ll put links to the various places it can be acquired. So thank you very much, indeed.

Speaker 4 (41:32):

Thank you

Speaker 1 (41:32):

For having me love day. Thank you. It’s been mine. Hope you enjoyed today’s episode. Please feel free to check us out on our website, digital for our past episodes. We’ll be back next month, but on the last Wednesday of every month, as we are with more great stories and guests see you then.

The Digital Village Show

The Digital Village Show: Are you concerned about data monetisation?

Season 2: Episode 3 with the legendary Katryna Dow.

If you’re in the slightest bit concerned about who controls and monetises your data – you need to listen to the next 45 minutes!

In Episode 3 of season 2, The Digital Village team, Jason and Paul, are thrilled to be joined by Katryna Dow.

Katryna founded Meeco in 2012, which is building a personal data marketplace of equals.

Prior to this Katryna Dow had an extensive career travelling the world as a strategy consultant and after a stint exploring commercialisation models for personal data.  She then seed-funded Meeco, which launched its first public platform in July 2014.

Splitting her time between Australia and Europe where Katryna is actively involved in the IEEE Standards community, Co-Chair for the Personal Data and Privacy Committee, and Chair for the new P7006 – Standard for Personal Data Artificial Intelligence (AI) Agent.

Katryna, Jason and Paul will be diving into the depths of data, the concerns and risks surrounding its use in business and how the future technologies of blockchain are helping to improve the use, security and privatisation of your data.

Apologies for the audio in advance, as we update our equipment, we had to use a different room which as you can hear, was a bit of an echo chamber…but we promise it doesn’t detract from the incredible guest speaker.


Katryna Dow

Post Grid #4

How To Choose The Right Technology For Your Business.

Steven GreenSep 20, 20225 min read

Technology is a key driver of success and provides a solution to many of the challenges faced by businesses today,…

Podcast Transcription

Speaker 1 (00:00):

Welcome to the next episode of the digital village podcast to show that tackles the tech trends impacting business economy and the planet. In today’s episode, we welcome Katrina Dow, CEO, and founder of Miko. As we explore the issues surrounding data monetization. So sit back and enjoy it.

Speaker 2 (00:17):

Well, hello and welcome back to the digital village show, a podcast that stalks interesting people in the tech sector, and then holds some hostage until they’ve explained to us what they’re doing to save the planet. Hi, Ja. How you doing?

Speaker 3 (00:31):

Hey, Paul. Good to see you again.

Speaker 2 (00:32):

Nice to be back in the room with you mate. Already

Speaker 3 (00:34):

Been, uh, sooner than expected actually, but I’m excited by that.

Speaker 2 (00:38):

I’m glad to hear you. Yeah. Good. Good. Anyway, our guest today has willingly agreed to come and talk to us. <laugh> before she returns to Europe at the weekend, she’s here for Australia’s, um, blockchain week, which has been, uh, an event over six cities, over 200 speakers, um, covering the topic of blockchain and everything. Uh, good and bad about it. If you are the slightest bit interested or concerned about the controls, um, that that are in place and the monetization that there is of data going on, you’ll need to listen to the next 40 minutes. Our guest is one of the world’s leading advocates for giving people and the organizations, the tools to S and control and create mutual value from personal data. The company she founded in 2012 is building a personal data marketplace of equals. Prior to this, she had an extensive career traveling the world as a strategy consultant and after a, a stint, uh, exploring commercialized models for personal data sets, she seed funded Miko, which was launched, um, in July, 2014 or launched its first public platform in July, 2014. So she’s, spliting her time between Australia and Europe, where she’s got a development team. She’s also actively involved in data sovereign. He now as a founding member and my data global, which I know she’s gonna go on to talk about later. Welcome Katrina Dow. Lovely to have you here. Very excited to have you as our guest today.

Speaker 4 (02:15):

Thank you. What an introduction. I feel very honored.

Speaker 2 (02:18):

Well, you’re an extraordinary person. And, um, how’s your week been? How’s this, um, blockchain we’ve been for you.

Speaker 4 (02:24):

It’s been fantastic. It’s been wonderful to, first of all, be seeing people how nice that we’re all having these three dimensional human experiences. That’s pretty good. Uh, it’s been wonderful to see some of the people that are here from different parts of the world, um, from H bar foundation and Dera. So we’ll talk a little bit about that. We will. Um, but mostly it’s been wonderful to see our team here in Australia. So having been away for a while, that’s been a big highlight

Speaker 2 (02:58):

The highlight of the week, or has there been anything else that you’d like to share with us?

Speaker 4 (03:03):

Uh, I think the, I mean, there are many highlights over, but we’ve got, uh, a couple of announcements that we will make this week. So is now the time to do that.

Speaker 3 (03:15):

It was a loaded question.

Speaker 4 (03:16):

I say, I feel like that was early and often. Yes.

Speaker 2 (03:20):

<laugh> I think to, to keep, to keep our audience online, honestly, very much like it’s old back on

Speaker 4 (03:26):

Announcement. That’s, that’s exactly what I was

Speaker 2 (03:27):

Thinking until we get, uh, somewhere

Speaker 4 (03:29):

Towards, but one highlight was, uh, a dinner earlier this week. That was a big highlight. Yeah. The, the dinner, uh, hosted by, um, H bar found and the ability to sit with like-minded people. I mean, it was at cafe Sydney. It was a beautiful evening. Was the opera house, the Harbor bridge, beautiful food, beautiful company. Um, great community. Yes. Everyone talking about the possibilities for the future. So I would have to say that was absolutely a highlight

Speaker 2 (04:00):

This week. It was, and we were very privileged, Jason and I to be there as well. And, and I took away the same thing, the energy in the room, the excitement about what’s happening in the blockchain community right now, it really genuinely felt like we’re getting some momentum going.

Speaker 4 (04:14):

And I think a big shout out to Rob Allen from pulling us all together and making that happen so quickly. Yeah. Was a really wonderful evening. Absolutely.

Speaker 3 (04:21):

And it was some significant change that people are bringing in this. The people at that dinner was very interesting to, um, to hear what everyone was doing and how they’re applying this technology. And there’s some, some really serious change going on quite quickly. So it’s really interesting to see, to speak to everyone like that.

Speaker 4 (04:36):

And I think maybe that’s the highlight overall of this week is to see the acceleration, but also the diversity of different drivers. Yeah. Um, and everything from startup sustainability world right through to enterprise. Yeah. And everything in between and

Speaker 2 (04:55):

Everything between

Speaker 4 (04:56):

Yeah, yeah. Yeah.

Speaker 2 (04:57):

So, so I wanna take you back to 27 to team when you wrote an article that was, had the extraordinary title of Shakespeare’s blockchain that got my attention straight away. And at the front of the article, you actually put a quote from Hamlet and I’ll just read this out, this above all to the ownself be true. And it must follow as the night, the day thou can be thou, sorry, I got it wrong there. Thou can not then be forced to any man. So why Shakespeare and why that quote,

Speaker 4 (05:36):

Well, why Shakespeare? Um, how many episodes in this, uh, series <laugh>, um, I mean, it’s all there and if, and if you read that post and first of all, thank you for reminding me about that because, uh, I I’d completely well not forgotten about it, but I reread it today thinking about, um, our discussion. And I realized at the time, um, you know, it was the end of 2016, early 2017, which in blockchain years, which I guess are more like dog years, you know, that’s a long time ago. Yes. And there was so much happening. And the point of Shakespeare, I think for me is everything is in Shakespeare, you know, love war tax, accounting, murder, you know, everything is there, the human condition. Yes. And

Speaker 2 (06:28):

I hope you’re not gonna tell us that there’s murder in block <laugh> okay. All right.

Speaker 4 (06:33):

And I think at the time, uh, it, the combination of being really, really excited about what was happening, um, but also some concerns that if we think that we will fix the human condition with technology, then, then it’s really naive. And so were we thinking enough around the things that block chain distributed led to were, were uniquely designed for bringing transparency, breaking down barriers? Um, I think it is really a, a, a tectonic kind of social shift. And I, and I personally think it’s the precursor to an evolution of our monetary system and, and our demo and the way that our society is evolving, but it was still relatively early days. And, and there were things that weren’t going according to plan. And so the whole idea of writing that blog post was to say, this is great, but if we aren’t learning either from history or Shakespeare or, or if we’re not looking at some of the pitfalls, um, if we don’t design those corrections in, then we’re gonna inherit some problems down the road.

Speaker 2 (07:49):

And what do you think has happened in the last five years of, of any of the things that you were concerned about then happened?

Speaker 4 (07:58):

Uh, I think, I mean, look, when I wrote that post, it was off the back of the, the first big public, um, Dow the, the, the, um, uh, the offering that I think was, I don’t know, maybe at the end of 20, was at the end of 2016. And again, what prompted writing that was, there was a code of ethics for all the developers that were working on that. Right. And, and that, that raised 150 million U S D you know, and it happened kind of almost overnight. And there was a really clear code of ethics. Um, there was a clear set of principles for developers working together collaboratively. There was some rules around security. Um, but as in any structure that requires governance, those ethics and those codes of ways of working were not coded into the code. Right. Yeah. So the human condition says you come along, you spot a vulnerability and what happened, 50 million U S D drained out of the fund overnight. Wow. And, and so I guess that was the first, really big reckoning, um, where you had Ethereum, you know, stepping back and originally there was a recommendation for a soft fork. Let’s, let’s work out what we will do to resolve this, which ended up being the, the hard fork. Um, but it was, it was a reminder that we had training reels on with real money and real lives. Yeah. So

Speaker 2 (09:29):

Learning is, they went

Speaker 4 (09:31):


Speaker 2 (09:32):

Anything, nobody had a rule book.

Speaker 4 (09:33):

Exactly. And, and the other thing too, is, you know, a lot of very young people without, um, you know, the, a lot of life experience. Exactly. And I, I mean, with, with no disrespect, but again, back to the Shakespeare idea, you know, you’re around for, for, for time and, and you experience a lot of things in life that you learn from, but if you are in your early twenties and everything just looks like it’s code, um, yeah. It’s a, it’s a completely different way of understanding the consequences. Yeah. And I think the thing we learned out of that was governance. And if you want something to be coded, if you want rules and you want things to operate in a certain way, then you have to, you have to lay them down as code, but you have to understand what those things are in order to lay them down. Sure.

Speaker 2 (10:22):

So before that, um, you got, uh, Miko off the ground in 2012. Yeah. Um, and launched the platform in 2014. So, so what were your goals? You started that, and I’m asking this question in the context of the, the title of our podcast here, which is my data, my rules. Yeah. So did you, at that time have a desire to see some kind of change in the, in the sort of power struggle between personal and corporate data?

Speaker 4 (10:56):

Absolutely. But I think more than that, it, it was, it was that it was becoming more and more obvious that we were becoming fi and, and that, that’s a word that I borrow from Martin Letz. Who’s the founder of a, of, um, uh, trend wolves in Belgium who focuses on sort of youth trends and what is happening sort of on the edge for young people. And how does that sort of make its way into mainstream? And, and, and what was really obvious was that we weren’t physical. We weren’t just physical, you know, and we were not completely digital. And as we were moving into this world where we have a digital twin and we were developing this kind of, um, new asset base, all this data, we didn’t actually have a way to equitably sort of, um, participate. And so it wasn’t like, Ooh, big enterprise, bad, you know, evil.

Speaker 4 (11:53):

Um, you know, we, the people are going to overthrow everything. It was more like, well, actually as an evolution, what we need now and new structures to access control and exchange data in a more equitable way. Why, because if data flows, you’re able to make better decisions, what happens if you make better? Well, you have better outcomes in life. You have better financial outcomes, you have better health outcomes, you have better relationship outcomes. And it just seemed crazy that that decisioning would just be with enterprise and institution and government and you, and I wouldn’t have the power to make those better decisions.

Speaker 3 (12:33):

So, so how do you see that evolutionary process take place, especially with those big organizations who are their whole business model is driven around our data. And so how do you kind of see them stepping away from that? What does that mean for them into the future?

Speaker 4 (12:49):

So I think the, the good news now, and sort of 20, 22 is that we, we are starting to see organizations want to be on sort of the right side of digital history. Yeah. And, and without getting into, you know, who’s good, who’s bad. Um, you know, if you wanted to, to draw sort of a line in the middle of, of some big tech, you know, you have kind of Facebook and Google on one side that, that stumbled across the possibilities of exploiting the code. Yeah. Which is no different to kind of what happened early days, blockchain. It’s like, wow, here is a way where you can show cat pictures and then make billions of dollars because people just love to share cat pictures. So, Hey, let’s do that. Um, and that model has kind of perpetuated, and I think one of the big challenges right now for a company like Facebook is that let’s flip that and look at what’s happened recently and let’s put apple and Microsoft in another camp, and that’s not to say, um, you know, everything they do is good, but I think they have a different moral compass.

Speaker 4 (13:54):

When you look at, at, um, their leadership. I I’m sure that they they’re sitting in rooms saying, well, what side of digital history do we wanna be on? And do we want to make great products for people, or do we wanna make people into products? And so you have that privacy move by Tim cook recently that impacts Facebook with having the largest, um, drop in terms of shareholder value in a single day, you know, and, and massive impact, I think, is it 10 billion to revenue? And so I think where fast forward to where we are today compared to when I started, uh, Miko, the difference is we can start to, to measure now like real shareholder value in terms of, if you say to a customer, you, you can choose between privacy and convenience or user experience and being surveilled, or you can have a great experience and you can choose whether or not someone tracks, you guess, what people choose not to be tracked like hello. Um, and the fact that that has been, uh, I guess, commercially advantageous for apple and had this impact on Facebook says that things are changing of

Speaker 3 (15:10):

Telling of the times, isn’t it? Yeah, yeah.

Speaker 4 (15:12):


Speaker 2 (15:12):

So going back to, when you actually formed Miko, how much of, of that thinking was already established and how much of it have you learned since then?

Speaker 4 (15:20):

So combination. So, so the, the inspiration for the company, I’m a mad sci-fi fan was the film minority report, which I’d seen 10 year as before. And it just seemed like there, it was such a dystopian view that if we, if, if everything was driven by data and, and, and we were sort of, um, at the, at the whim of the data Lords, it seemed like it wasn’t a really great human an experience. So, so there was that there was that I guess, philosophical, emotional driver to, Hey, someone should do something about that never ever occurred to me that it would be me. It was just in the back of my mind. Like that’s not a great future. When I thought that I wanted to do something different, the end of 2011, I started looking at what the world economic forum was saying around digital identity, the value of data early 2012, I wrote our Manifesta, which was really around this idea of making better decisions.

Speaker 4 (16:21):

What if we, what if we had the ability to do that, but to validate sort of the next step, Facebook was about to do their IPO. And so I’d come from a strategy background. And it was like, okay, what are the threats? What are the opportunities? So I read their IPO document and there were three or four things that jumped out in their risks. Not that they were saying, Hey, market beware. But to me, it was clear that they were concerned that people could become aware of the value of their data. There could be privacy concerns, there could be regulation. And at that time, their business model was moving from desktop to mobile. So becoming quite opaque. And that was kind of the beginning of a whole host of issues, particularly with, with young people that are, that have now played out sort of 2012 for forward 2013 forward to be creating, um, a whole range of challenges around the health and wellbeing of, of young people.

Speaker 4 (17:25):

Um, because of some of those decisions, those design decisions that were made by, by, by Facebook, back in 2012. So at the time it was like what RF, there was a privacy security by design platform that didn’t access and monetize your data that worked within a regulatory framework and provided the infrastructure and the tools for that, a more equitable way. Um, I was really too early at that point, because it seemed like this whole thing, like the Cambridge Analytica moment or the, or the whatever was gonna happen sooner. So I think, I think we always, you know, is it, we, we overestimate underestimate, you know, how fast things happen. Um, and it was the right direction, but a lot of learning along the way.

Speaker 2 (18:13):

Yes. And I’m, and I’m sure at that time, there wasn’t the awareness that there is now about the impact of some of this. Yeah. And I’m, I’m going to refer to age of surveillance capitalism, which I know you’ve read as well. Um, where the author, uh, uh, Han oo, is it, um, opened our minds to this narrative, um, with a, with a fantastic allege, um, which I’ll just read here is I think this is actually just opposed from the, uh, from the internet, not actually in the book, but it, it really does kind of highlight the issue beautifully. Imagine you have a hammer that’s machine learning. It helps you climb a grueling mountain to reach the summit that’s machine learning’s dominance of online data on the mountain top, you find a vast pile of nails cheaper than any, anything previously imaginable. That’s the new smart sensor tech, an unbroken vis that a Virgin board stretches before you, as far as you can see, that’s the whole dumb world.

Speaker 2 (19:17):

Then you learn that at any time you plant a nail in the board with your machine learning hammer, you can extract value from that formally dumb plank, that’s data monetization. What do you do? You start hammering like crazy, and you never stop unless somebody makes you stop, but there’s nobody up here to make you stop. And that was really the Ze guys to what was happening when those big tech companies, and I don’t wanna single anybody out, but we all know who they are started to realize the power they had by monetizing data. So that would’ve happened during the time you were setting up Miko and obviously beyond. So, so what, tell us what, how your view of, of your potential began to change as you saw the impact these big tech companies were having. So, so

Speaker 4 (20:11):

I think first of all, a lot of those decisions were made with volition just as we talked about, you know, Tim cook, sitting down and saying, okay, we’re going to gonna let iPhone users decide whether they wanna be tracked or not. We’re gonna give them the power to make that decision, the opposite conversations we’re having as in, Hey, we can do this and no one’s gonna stop us. Yeah. And look, the money is just pouring in. So I hope I’m alive long enough to be able to understand how that period of history is reported through the eyes of, you know, generations, you know, two or three generations ahead. Yeah. Because I think it, it reminds me of, um, of another piece that I wrote some years ago called, um, I think seatbelt cigarettes and data. And, and that was, you know, I’m dating myself here, but, you know, child of the sixties grew up in the seventies in Australia, um, cigarette advertising on television, cigarette advertising everywhere in every sporting game.

Speaker 4 (21:18):

Yeah. Um, uh, I went into after school care, the, the woman that was looking after me sent me down to the local shop to buy a packet of Fs, you know, and I’m like, I was too small to even see over the counter, you know, could you imagine that now? And yeah. And the other thing is the first car we had as, as a child had, you know, we had a car accident, which I thought at six was the most amazing thing, you know, the car spinning around and we stop in front of a pub and someone comes out and gives us lemonade. And it’s like, Hey, when can we do that again? It was great, but we didn’t have seat belts. And, and just because you could do that with cigarettes and you didn’t have seat belts, I think what people think is the way things are at a certain time, is the way they will be mm-hmm <affirmative>.

Speaker 4 (22:05):

And it gave me, I guess, maybe some premature confidence that everything that you’ve just described was a moment of time. Like everyone was going, Hey, we can do this and get away with it. But what we’ve seen in the automotive industry is that all of a sudden, uh, the welfare of everybody meant regulation, um, from a health perspective, you know, from an age perspective, from an advertising perspective. So it occurred to me if we’ve seen these things where the kind of public good, there’s some sort of intervention for public good that it would probably happen with data. And I think, I think when you look to the EU, it’s happening faster, I mean, here in Australia, we now have the consumer data, right. In California, you have CCPA, you have, you have probably more emphasis in the us around financial data and, and credit rating and people feeling that they’re disadvantaged, you know, maybe by machine learning and things, Europe has taken a more citizen centric. So we are seeing things change for the public. Good. Yeah.

Speaker 3 (23:12):

So, um, GDPR was a massive step in the right direction in terms of privacy and human rights. How do you see, um, I guess regulation or those regulatory bodies, what kind of say and control will they have in a more decentralized world?

Speaker 4 (23:29):

I, I think one of the big challenges for regulators full stop is that technology is moving so quickly. Yeah, yeah. That the regulators can’t keep up and the, and good regulation is reached by consensus and the trouble with that is that takes time. Yeah. And it, and it, and it’s this, it’s constantly sort of trying to find this middle position. And so that’s both, um, the linear aspect of time unfolding, and it’s also people being prepared to negotiate. Meanwhile, back to what’s happening in big tech, they just kind of like, wow, we’re on the mountain and no one is stopping us. So let’s just keep going. So, so I think that’s, that’s a problem. I think the other thing is when you look at things like blockchain distributed ledger, it comes back to that the whole purpose of, of talking about Shakespeare, just because a new technology is emerged doesn’t mean those things that are inherent in our behavior have gone away.

Speaker 4 (24:28):

Yeah. Yeah. And I think, I think the big shift and maybe where regulation is starting to help, you know, we, we’re starting to see, uh, countries around the world saying that they will look at a centrally backed digital currency or, or that there needs to be a more mature conversation about cryptocurrency, um, or digital currency, or actually you can settle, um, across a border, a payment in seconds without it costing a gazillion dollars. Yeah. And, and that we have these layers and layers and layers of inefficiency. Um, and then who ends up paying, you know, it’s the, the, it’s you and I at the end of that. So I think when we’re starting to have more mature conversations with regulation, it creates clarity. So I think that really helps. Um, and I think going back to that 2016 post where we are today is where we’re starting to see the importance of governance. Yeah. And so regulation can either be carrot or stick, um, in the EU, GDPR is a good start, um, that will be followed by the data governance act and a number of other, um, pieces of regulation that are designed to try and build a more equitable digital market in Europe. But the reality is, is they’re competing against China, which has a completely different approach and the us, which is really, really, um, commercially driven. So you’ve got citizen centric, you’ve got state driven. Yeah. And you’ve got C driven. Yeah, exactly. And who’s gonna win.

Speaker 3 (26:04):

Yeah. And is there a need for standardization across all of that? You know, I mean, I guess with new technologies, there comes a lot of new ideas, new ways of doing things and, um, standardizing, like coming to an agreement on how everything is going to talk to one another and, and work. Um, I guess I see that as being a massive challenge.

Speaker 2 (26:26):

Well, particularly with, with you a way that web 3.0 has been described as being set up, it, it, it doesn’t, it wouldn’t recognize these borders between state and public and government, I guess.

Speaker 4 (26:41):

I think the, the exciting and frightening thing about web three is it is going to be the most immersive and connected experience that we’ve ever known from a technological point of view ever in the history of humankind. Yeah. I think

Speaker 3 (26:56):

It’s really hard for people to start getting their heads around. You know, if you’re thinking about how, um, old everything can be tokenized, it’s a really, it’s a kind of a concept that is quite mind blowing when you think about it changes our whole interaction, the way that we engage with people in the world our whole day to day. Yeah. Um, how far away do you actually think that that world is?

Speaker 4 (27:18):

It depends on how old you are and who you’re talking to, because if you are a young person that’s living in side Minecraft or Roblox, it’s here today, right. It’s there now, you know, and, and I think this is one of the, the, the challenges, um, you know, and I include myself and my sort of stage of life is that, you know, you get to a certain place where you have the means or, or the experience or the, the power to be, you know, designing and shaping things. Um, and, and that’s why I think the work that Martin does at trend wolves is so important because you have to remember, okay, that’s the world that you are in now that you’ve evolved towards, but there’s a whole other world that is shaping where, how, um, people collaborate work to get other solve problems, uh, exchange value, you know, that is happening for a digital generation.

Speaker 4 (28:11):

That is really, really, really different. And so it’s also part of the reason why I really think we’re going to have a, a big shift in our, um, monetary policy and the way we create an extra range value, um, because we’ve got generations now who have grown up or are growing up in an immersive game driven digital world. And you can’t basically say to somebody who’s 13 today in three years time, okay. Now you are an adult give up those ways and come into the physical world and go back to decades. Yeah. It’s, it’s the user experience, the, the collaboration, the immersive experience, the user experience, the connectedness that will all be expected, but it’ll be expected in think banking, ride share, seeing a doctor booking an airline ticket. And so I think if we wanna kind of understand what would that look like spend a day inside Minecraft, and then imagine how you build a bank. Yeah,

Speaker 3 (29:21):

Yeah. So, so what does that mean between, you know, the lines of geography and country and society that we put up between cultures and everything in between, you know, um, where the whole world is, you know, if it’s, you know, using gaming as an example, um, Chris is sitting here he’s like super engaged and he loves his games. <laugh> um, and you know, so Chris can be playing with, um, someone in all different parts of the world and having a really common understanding around trade and, um, working together and all and, and, um, commerce and everything. And so if that gets lied to the real world, um, what does that mean for the kind of government structures and everything that tries to tell us who we are?

Speaker 4 (30:10):

Look, while we are recording this, we have this impossible to imagine horrific situation in the Ukraine happening mm-hmm <affirmative> yeah. In, in our time and <affirmative>, and we don’t seem to be able to stop it, or, or, or the diplomacy of stopping. It could be the trigger to something even worse. And, and again, this is my personal perspective. I think everything that you’ve just described now is that the world is getting smaller. We’re becoming more connected, but in that Shakespearean way, are we ready for it yet? And what it’s doing is it’s kind of pushing the old way of thinking. Let’s put up walls, let’s put up borders. Let’s, let’s exert that control, which is also sort of part of this evolutionary, you know, shift. And, and that is not to minimize just the heart wrenching horror of what’s happening right now, but it is indication that things are evolving and not everyone is comfortable with that.

Speaker 4 (31:21):

And a natural way when things are moving quickly is, is to exert control. And, you know, we see that in, we, we see that, um, right now from a military perspective, but we see it, you know, sometimes with regulations, with trade, we see it with the fact that there’s a lot of 10, you know, within society, these ideas of left and right. And I think it’s an indication and technology can help solve that in some ways, but not if you don’t work out some, what some of those underlying factors are, which, which comes back to this idea of how do we get the right data to make better decisions and

Speaker 3 (32:06):

Agree and agree on. Yeah,

Speaker 4 (32:07):

Exactly. Exactly.

Speaker 2 (32:09):

So that’s really interesting. I think, um, we all feel, you know, sadness for what is happening in, in the Ukraine. It’s a, it is a terrible situation. It’s hope that by the time this goes out, um, there’s been some, some kind of resolution of that, um, situation, just bringing you back to, um, to yourself, uh, Katrina and the relationship that you’ve got with Hadera. I know that that you’ve, um, just recently, uh, announced that you are getting even closer to them, um, and that you’ve chosen, Hadera your underlying distributed ledger tech platform. Can you describe the rationale you went through for making that decision, um, and what you expect to emerge as a result of the relationship?

Speaker 4 (32:57):

So, so that was, was a very, um, it was a very considered and deliberate path for us. Um, we, we had been doing a lot of work, you know, going right back to sort of 20 14, 20 15 with Bitcoin Hyperledger, Ethereum R three quarter, um, we’d built some proof of concepts. We’d done some work around zero knowledge proof. So we’d, we we’d looked at pros and cons. Um, and we started doing some really interesting work with FPOS here in Australia, uh, in 2020, um, around what became, um, connect ID. So digital identity. Yeah. And at the time we, we did our first sort of proof of con set proof of technology with them, uh, using Ethereum and at the time F O started to talk to, um, Hadera hash graph about joining the governing council. And so Rob Allen at the time was the entrepreneur in residence at, uh, at F OS.

Speaker 4 (33:55):

And he approached us after the first proof of concept and said, would we sit up, um, working with them on sort of a world first, a micropayments, um, proof of technology. Um, but would we consider using hash graph, um, uh, the move to Hadera? And so, as soon as I started to dig in with the team, it was really obvious that there were a number of things about had that were really compelling governance, the consensus, the cost, the security, the scalability. Um, at that time we didn’t have the proof point on, on carbon neutral mm-hmm <affirmative> and the big, uh, incentive from a sustainability point of view. Um, and that came later, there were, there were lots of reasons. And I think for us, the most compelling reason is we were doing a lot of work, uh, around digital identity verified credentials. And it was becoming increasingly obvious that when people wake up in the morning, they, they don’t necessarily go, Hey, I wanna use my identity today, or I wanna prove I have a university degree.

Speaker 4 (35:01):

They’re doing that in the context of something that’s meaningful to them, um, you know, booking a flight enroll in university, whatever it is. And so what we loved about Hadera was the possibility that that stack could be extended into both payments and really exciting, um, of the tokenized world. Yeah. Tokens. And so that was a big part of it. And, um, that leads me to, uh, kind of, uh, the announcement, uh, and that is that with the support of the H bar foundation, we are working on a new open source, uh, capability, which we’re calling trusty, um, which is a way to explore visually it’s a, a way to visually explore the trust and Providence of an NFT of a token of a, of a, of a carbon offset, um, to be able to look at that whole chain of Providence, the policies that are involved, um, and then also, uh, support that with decentralized identity wallet. And, um, we’re also doing some really interesting things around zero knowledge proof. So we’re very, very excited that

Speaker 2 (36:16):

Is also them.

Speaker 4 (36:18):


Speaker 2 (36:18):

We’ll definitely put some something in the notes with the podcast to link people to that information that really does sound interesting. So, uh, so what can we expect that to result in, in the next year or so we gonna see any outcome from this?

Speaker 4 (36:33):

Yeah, I, I think first of all, it’s open source, so we wanna see more community growth. Um, I think back to the highlights of this week, that sense of people around a table with different ideas and, and how that community grows. I think one of the challenges that we have as we go from the old world to the new world is this idea of, of trust. And, um, it comes back to this issue of governance. And so what we are hoping, um, uh, we will achieve with, um, trusty is a way of helping people understand what the tokenized world is about this web three world, um, how you can trace things with some confidence, how you can understand the policies that, that govern, um, this tokenized world. And so I, I think one thing is helping to educate, build confidence, build trust, and if you have those things as foundations, then it’s another way of helping to, to scale out that change.

Speaker 2 (37:37):

And it’s, it’s definitely what the industry needs right now. I think one of the challenges that, that you’ve got is, uh, it’s quite hard for private individuals, even companies to really engage with a lot of these things, conceptually, but if you’ve got tools like trustfully that are gonna help you visualize the, the things that you’re getting involved in, you know, it suddenly becomes very, very real,

Speaker 4 (37:59):

You know, it’s just gonna say, I mean, if, if you look at the design, it’s, it’s a little bit like discovering an album cover yeah. Right. For, and then, and then sort of, you know, flipping it open and seeing the yeah, exactly. And I mean, I, that’s probably, that’s probably a very old school, seventies vinyl explanation of the digital world, but

Speaker 2 (38:20):

The only thing you need to do is to add the smell. Yeah. <laugh> yeah. If you can add the smell of that first record that you opened <laugh>,

Speaker 4 (38:27):

But you know what I mean? It’s that, it’s that, I mean, I I’m, I’m hacking back to those days of, you know, buying a vinyl record, taking it out of the sleeve. Yeah. You know, having the lyrics and, and sort of being part of that whole creator experience. And I think that’s, what’s so exciting about what’s happening in the NFT space what’s happening in the token space is, you know, and back to this idea of this immersive experience that, that young people have every day is, is how you closer to creators, how you understand when something was created, how it was created, how it moves from, from creator to, um, you know, to the next and, and or, or how you are offsetting something like carbon or, or what you are doing, how it’s contributing to, you know, sustain or some of the big challenges on the planet. And we talk about these things, um, and we want to know these things are effective. And the whole point of trusty is to try and to provide that way of exploring, discovering, validating, um, as a means of, of laying a foundation for that trust.

Speaker 3 (39:35):

Yeah. Cause it’s, it’s, it’s the big thing with, um, with, with blockchain and, and NFTs and things like that, because the, the average person they’d be like, well, that’s great that, you know, you can say that’s completely traceable and that it’s, um, auditable and everything like that, but, you know, show me, show me yeah,

Speaker 4 (39:54):

Exactly. And with a money. Yeah, exactly. So many. Yeah.

Speaker 3 (39:57):

So it sounds like a, um, some kind of way for an individual to actually see, um, you know, the different points along the way where the, the activity that has happened, which I think is providing information that actually proves its value. Um, so that’s a really exciting,

Speaker 4 (40:17):

So I will use that. It’s the show me tool, but look in the physical world, you know, if, if you want to understand who owns a building, or who are the directors of a company, or when was a company incorporated, or, or what is the, who’s the author of this book, or when was this book published? You know, we have all these, um, ways of tracing Providence or, or being able to trust something within a legal context in the physical world. And I think what we are seeing now is how does that move to the digital world? And then what we add to that is some cryptographic proofs of being able to show that information, um, sources of data is not tampered with even that, that, that chain of trust has not been broken to build that confidence. So again, it’s, it’s us physical beings moving more and more into that.

Speaker 2 (41:09):

Yeah. And I think that’s becoming ever evident with, you know, what people experience when they start searching for everything and anything yeah. Stuff comes up and in a list, but there’s no understanding of the Providence of that information. Yeah. Yeah. The history of, and it’s really just got a lot to do with the kind of, uh, the skill of the SEO and the S SCM world in getting something to the top of the list as to whether or not it becomes the first thing you see.

Speaker 4 (41:35):

But also we have this massive shift now with the possibility of deep fakes and, and, you know, you’re seeing things that are, that just you’re looking at it. And you’re thinking, okay, I’m looking at Barack Obama right now. And he is wrapping. And it’s like, is it

Speaker 5 (41:50):

Really him doing

Speaker 4 (41:51):

This? And it’s like, I know it’s not, my brain is saying it’s not, but it is, but it’s not. And so I think absolutely to your point, it’s that it’s so easy also in the digital world to alter the experience and in an immersive digital world, knowing who to trust or what to trust or how to, or, or that old adage, you know, to trust, but verify, it’ll be okay, I’m getting this video from this source. And I know I can trust this source, or this is really in entertaining what I’m seeing right now, but it’s highly unlikely that it’s, it’s not real.

Speaker 2 (42:29):

Yes. Being able to make a, a, a value judgment on it, it’s becoming harder and harder. Um, we’ve, we’ve gotta draw things to a conclusion. Um, Katrina, thank you so much for coming to see us. It’s been a real pleasure having you and, uh, hearing the story of Miko, the work you’re doing with the Hadera group and H bar foundation. Um, I know you’re heading back to Europe, um, tomorrow, is it

Speaker 4 (42:53):


Speaker 2 (42:54):

Tomorrow? Tomorrow? Yeah. And, uh, so, so good luck with our journey and safe travels. Um, is there anything that we need to know about you from your past that you wanna

Speaker 5 (43:03):

Share with us? <laugh> what a question. No, like the answer to that is no, there is nothing you need that you, I intrigued me. No. Do I really want to

Speaker 4 (43:13):

Share? I know trying to make the end of this podcast interesting to listeners, but

Speaker 5 (43:19):


Speaker 2 (43:20):

I heard a rumor. I dunno whether it’s true or not, that, that you’re quite clean on keen on cleaning

Speaker 5 (43:26):


Speaker 4 (43:26):

Is that true? Okay. Okay. So first of all, to everyone listening, I was very young, right. Okay. First up early to early twenties, really early twenties.

Speaker 2 (43:37):

He’s 26 now.

Speaker 5 (43:37):


Speaker 4 (43:38):

Exactly. Traveling through Europe, no money. <laugh> uh, met some guys in Vienna Christmas time. I was about to go back to the UK. They convinced me to stay. We had nowhere to stay. Um, what do you do? It was with an English guy and a Russian guy. The Russian guy said, why don’t we borrow, somebody’s borrow apartment over Christmas, um, which I was horrified at the concept of such a thing. Anyway, it’s got a very long story short. That requires a lot more context. The place was filthy. Yes. Horror afterwards. Sorry. So I spent most of Christmas cleaning it as well as exploring their record collection. Um, van Morrison. Fantastic. They had some great final, uh, fabulous night for a moon dance again, which absolutely dates me. But I, to this day would love to have seen that family when they got back from holidays and walked in and saw their apartment, absolutely squeaky clean with everything, tidied up everything, the kids’ rooms, tidied up the bathroom, the kitchen and everything. So, yeah.

Speaker 2 (44:49):

And, and explaining to the police, you know, place has been broken into <laugh>. How do you know that it’s been broken into? Well, we came back and it was incredibly tidy. Excuse me.

Speaker 4 (45:01):

So, so I guess the moral of stories, if you do something you’re not supposed to do good, do good. Do good. That’s a

Speaker 2 (45:08):

Very, very good way of wrapping it up. Thank you.

Speaker 4 (45:11):

Love to see you. Thank you so much. Come

Speaker 2 (45:13):

Back and see us next time.

Speaker 4 (45:14):

You’re in Sydney. I would absolutely love to. Thank you.

Speaker 1 (45:20):

Hope you enjoyed today’s episode. Please feel free to check us out on our website, digital feeling truck network for our past episodes. We’ll be back next month on the last Wednesday of every month, as we are with more great stories. See that.

The Digital Village Show

The Digital Village Show: How Impact Investing is Influencing Blockchain and Web3.0 with Lisa Wade

Season 2: Episode 2

In this episode,  Jason & Paul sit down with Lisa to discuss the environmental implications of blockchain tech, her incredible work in inclusion – having recently won a Blockie Award for Gender & Diversity Leader of the Year – and NFT rhinos!

Lisa is a leading advocate and activist in the impact investing space,  having led NAB’s Digital Innovation & Sustainability and now as CEO of DigitalX.

Everything has two prices: the price you pay and the price it costs the environment, says Lisa Wade, but how can we effectively measure impact? In what she calls the ‘Race to Authentic Investment’, Lisa believes blockchain technology can bring granularity, stop the greenwashing and propel impact investing into the mainstream through tokenisation.


Lisa Wade

CEO – DigitalX – Finance for Impact – Web3.X – Blockchain for Impact – Transition to a Low Carbon Economy – Equality – Accelerating Climate Finance – *de-Fi*

Post Grid #4

How To Choose The Right Technology For Your Business.

Steven GreenSep 20, 20225 min read

Technology is a key driver of success and provides a solution to many of the challenges faced by businesses today,…

Podcast Transcription

Speaker 1 (00:03):

Welcome back to season two, episode two of that digital village podcast. The show all about the latest tech trends influencing business today’s episode is all about the impact of investing, influencing blockchain and web 3.0, Jason and Paul are gonna be joined by Lisa Wade. Who’s the CEO of digital X, which is a technology investment company focused on the communication of blockchain in digital asset funds. Lisa has also done some incredible work in the L G B QT I plus community, including gender and inclusion in the workspace for which she recently was recognized by winning for earning her block award. So sit back and enjoy today’s episode.

Speaker 2 (00:43):

Hi Jason. We’re back in the room doing a podcast. It’s been too long.

Speaker 3 (00:46):

Yeah. In person

Speaker 2 (00:48):

In person as well.

Speaker 3 (00:49):

It’s good to be here. You’ve done a few online, which have, um, good to keep the ball rolling, but it’s actually nice to be back in

Speaker 2 (00:54):

Like keep a hand in,

Speaker 3 (00:55):

You know, and it’s nice to have, um, an actual guest in person as well. Makes a

Speaker 2 (00:59):

Difference. Welcome, Lisa.

Speaker 4 (01:00):

Hello. And you we’ve brought out the sunshine.

Speaker 3 (01:03):


Speaker 2 (01:03):

Have. Yes. For our listeners. We’ve been in rain actually drenched in rain for the last two weeks. Um, but it looks like it’s finally stopped. So look, today’s, um, subject is, uh, this is episode seven of our podcast series. Um, we’ve been focusing on a lot, lot of different areas to do with, um, the environment, climate change, blockchain security,

Speaker 3 (01:26):

The use of technology in, in, in, um, in society. Right. And people and it’s application to business. So

Speaker 2 (01:33):

Yeah. Yeah. And now we’ve got somebody in the room who knows about all of that. Yeah. So we can cover all those subjects in one go. Um, so episode seven, how green is your block chain? So how impact investing is influencing blockchain and web 3.0. So just as a better context here, Jace, um, hardly a day goes by without papers referencing another green initiative or blockchain business venture. For many, there is an era of obscurity and ambiguity about these stories. Um, when will it make a difference? What will they cost? What happens if jobs are lost? And if power stations are replaced by wind farms, is there a killer application out there which will catapult blockchain into the mainstream while many have formed investors think so, Larry Fiker BlackRock famously told invest in 2020, the fund would not invest in any business that didn’t have a conscious and action DSG policy in his own words.

Speaker 2 (02:33):

What are you doing to disrupt your business? How are you preparing for and participating in the net zero transition as your industry gets transformed by the energy transition, will you go the way of the Dodo or will you be the Phoenix in simple terms? He’s saying, I guess every business needs to consider the impact it’s making. So we’re joined today, but one of the countries leading advocates and activists in the impact, investing in sustainability space, Lisa Wade. Lisa, lovely to have you here. Thank you. You’ve built your own impact investment, uh, fund you’ve led NAB’s digital innovation, sustainability arm. And now your head of digital X, which we’re looking forward to hearing about here in Australia. Uh, you’ve been recognized for your tireless in the G BT, Q I community. And you continue to play an active role in promoting gender equality in society, in the workplace. And you’ve just won a blocky award.

Speaker 4 (03:29):

I did,

Speaker 2 (03:30):

Yes. What was that

Speaker 4 (03:31):

For? Uh, for in gender and inclusion leader of the year.

Speaker 2 (03:35):

Congratulations. That’s fantastic. Do want

Speaker 3 (03:37):

To, for people that don’t know what a blockie award is, do you wanna,

Speaker 4 (03:41):

Yeah, it’s a, it’s an award, um, voted by the blockchain industry, um, by, out by my peers. So, um, it’s a little trophy, very heavy trophy. And, um, it’s, um, you know, I basically, out of all of my peers in the blockchain industry did more work in the L G B T and inclusion bay.

Speaker 2 (04:00):


Speaker 4 (04:00):

Somehow I want it against some very good company. So all a lot of my work at national Australia bank yes. And some external work that we do with rainbow women. And, um, I do a fair bit as well. Um, inclusion work in mentoring, younger women, especially L G BT plus women and bringing them through, into finance and technology.

Speaker 2 (04:20):

Fantastic. That’s great. Well, when really Jason and I were putting together the, uh, the list of questions of today, we kind of stopped when we got to 30, how we gonna 45 minutes. So we we’ve had to be fairly ruthless in how we’ve cut this down. Um, but I do hope that we’ll be covering subjects, which I know that you are have.

Speaker 4 (04:41):

I’m very

Speaker 2 (04:43):

Good. Great. So let’s get started. Um, so let’s talk with the basics. I mean, there are gonna be people listening to this who don’t understand what impact investing really is. Can you give us a definition?

Speaker 4 (04:52):

Well, broadly speaking impact investing is investing with more than financial returns in the crosshairs. So what we look for is the social impact of the investments that we make, as well as the financial returns. There’s different types, there’s social first, which means you investors don’t care so much about returns. They just wanna get the social return. And then there’s finance first, which is still caring about returns more, um, but also wanting to have the positive social impact. There’s very many, uh, definition. And my passion at the moment is what I’m calling the race to authentic investments and really using technology to bring granularity into impact investing and stop the greenwash and stop all of this talk. And I, um, you know, probably about five years ago realized that blockchain technology was perfect for that. And the moment I could see it and unsee it. So we’ve been doing a lot of work in that space to, um, to, to build and create, um, tools and systems that can measure impact. And tokenization is one of the tools that we’ve been using so that we can start to get some granularity in impact returns, which I believe will actually make impact investing mainstream. And I’m really excited to be doing this work in the space, um, right inside of NAB. We started with project carbon, which was tokenizing carbon. Yep. And I also have a little passion project called Naomi where we’ve worked out how to tokenize impact and you’ll see some exciting things happen through that over the next couple of years.

Speaker 2 (06:20):

Great. And just for the uninitiated tokens, how, how can you explain how tokens fit into

Speaker 4 (06:26):

This? Well, I can explain how about I simplify tokens?

Speaker 4 (06:31):

Uh, so tokens are basically, uh, in the way that we use them taking the rigor, that side of financial instruments and programming them into computer programs that then, um, create, um, a digital version of the financial security or a digital twin. If you like at its simplest level at its most complex level, say in renewable energy plants, we can digitally originate, um, securities tokens by using the data on site from great projects. However, the world is not ready for that. So we just keep it simple. We do digital twins, we take the financial contract, could be your home loan, could be the title to a building. Uh, we take all the, the details inside of that. Like all of the maths inside of that, we do a little computer program and that computer program represents the loan or the security or the investment.

Speaker 2 (07:22):

Right, right. Okay. So, so you are now see digital X. I am. Yes. Um, and I was just reading their latest interim and financial statement. Um, and they’re saying they’re putting a big emphasis on sustainability and ESG. It’s no coincidence then they you’ve just become the CEO. That is not

Speaker 4 (07:40):

A coincidence. No. Um, as I said, my campaign at the moment is the race to authentic investments. Yeah. And digital X is an incredible company, uh, and very active in blockchain. And I think it would be fair to say, um, that there are concerns about the E the environmental impact of blockchain. I am. One of those people is concerned about the environmental impact, not only of everything, but also blockchain. And so, um, part of the reason why I’ve come on board at digital X is for digital X to actually become a good company, as well as a great company. So the first thing that we’ve done, um, is we have signed up to the world economic forum, sustainability framework, which is a, a, a framework for reporting for corporations so that we can actually all, um, report the same data points. I don’t know how deep you go into sustainable finance, but there are so many surveys, so many different things we could do. Um, what, what we are doing is we’re saying the first step towards sustainability is to measure. Yes. And then obviously me being me, there’ll be lots of initiatives where, um, you know, where the digital X will, uh, transform into a sustainable company. And, um, I’m really excited about that journey we’re going to take yes. And, um, you know, very committed to being, um, you know, we’re throwing around words like green crypto and, um, you know, really leading in that space.

Speaker 2 (09:02):

So Jason, you, you and I have spent some time with people in the ag tech area, uh, doing carbon sequestration projects and, and looking at, uh, carbon capture. Yeah. And one of the problems they faced in that area was how do we measure this stuff? That’s right. Yeah. Because, you know, the end of the day, they’re not gonna get carbon credits. Yeah. If they can’t measure it accurately.

Speaker 3 (09:23):

That’s right. I mean, if there’s, I mean, following any, any kind of framework, it’s as good as the information that it starts with. So, um, you know, how can you validate or verify the effectiveness us of a project if you can’t effectively measure the actual impact itself or the, where you’re starting from, which is a, a huge challenge. And I was, it was actually, I was keen to see, understand, um, in, you know, what your experience had been with that of actually being able to have like, measuring impact in, um, yeah. In some of the projects that you’ve been involved in.

Speaker 4 (09:56):

Yeah. Yeah. Look, I mean, you may have tapped into one of my favorite topics of all time. So, um, we’ve been doing a lot of work in that space. And one of the things that excited me about going to digital X is digital X has a little, um, governance business called Drawbridge, which has been built across the ASX chess system. Another piece of work that we’d been doing was with KPMG, um, in a project called origins, which, um, they’re, they’ve got that they were the first ever pilot onto the ASX blockchain. And, um, in that project, um, what we brought it to the table at NAB was, um, the digital origination of the carbon and experimenting with that for per carbon. So, um, I passionately believe that if we start originating data at source in ag projects, then it’s cheaper, faster, and smarter to verify the carbon and verify the activity.

Speaker 4 (10:50):

And so we can measure it and also record it. And if we create the data inside of that as an asset that is saleable, whether it’s impact or carbon or whatever that may be, um, then that can create the financial framework that we need to monetize carbon to create the value that we need to, to have the impact. Because what we have right now is, um, and, you know, we were talking about Microsoft earlier. Microsoft are a great example. If I measure the total impact of their company over the generation and the impact that they they’ve had, it’s enormous. But what they’re saying is they, they wanna neutralize that for the history of the company. Yeah. And how do they yeah. How do they do that? You have to measure, and then it has to be paid for. So if I’ve got a price of carbon, that’s a dollar a ton, then that doesn’t really mean anything because they, I can pay, you know, a few hundred thousand dollars of all of the hundreds of billions.

Speaker 4 (11:43):

I mean, they might, might have even made a trillion dollars. I don’t know. Um, but they wanna pay that bill, but if there’s not a great price on carbon, then, um, that bill isn’t very big. And right now, once you start to think about the world like this, everything I look at, I see two prices. I see the price I pay and the price that’s cost the environment. Yeah. And once we start thinking like that, you can’t, unthink it. And you start to realize that we really need a price for carbon to be able to start to pay the world back. I mean, there are companies which I want at name that technically speaking, if I looked, if, if I had to, if I charged them, if I sent them a bill, uh, for the carbon emissions that they’ve created on this planet and destroying, uh, you know, rainforest, Palm oil, all of those things, then they would, it would actually bankrupt those companies. And they’ve been making money from doing that. Yeah. And

Speaker 3 (12:31):

I mean, the cost has gotta come from

Speaker 4 (12:33):

Somewhere around, well, we’re paying the price. Yeah. I mean, and, um, you know, I don’t wanna be one of those table thumping climate changes here, but look at what we were talking about before two years ago, we were sitting in the middle of bushfires. Then we had a global pandemic, which if you read all of the research pandemics, a part of the impact of climate change, and now we’re sitting here, there are fly in new south Wales. It has rained continuously in Sydney for two weeks. And there were people surfing at Bemo beach. Yes.

Speaker 2 (13:00):

Yeah, yeah. So there’s, there’s definitely a consequence to these things, but from, from where you sit in digital X, how much of an impact can you have to bring about change?

Speaker 4 (13:12):

Oh, so much. I mean, this change, I really think needs to be driven from technology technology is the game changer. Um, you know, there’s so many cliches about, you know, if you wanna be crazy, do the same thing over and over definition of insanity, do the same thing over and over again. And I believe that’s attributed to Einstein. Um, literally technology is the, the stick in all for that. And, um, digital X is a technology company and we will invest in, we also have a ventures, um, and we will invest in those technologies and we will be part of the conversation in transforming what we’re calling web 3.0. Um, I call it finance 3.0, but literally money is the oxygen that funds all of the good and all of the bad. And, um, you know, I’m excited to be part of a listed company, a great little company located in Perth. Yes. And, um, and you know, with a really good focus and we will make a difference

Speaker 2 (14:06):

And now you can go there

Speaker 4 (14:07):

And now I can go

Speaker 2 (14:10):

The Republic of Perth. Yeah. So just coming back to the blockchain thing. Yeah. Um, Lisa blockchain’s being described as the kind of backbone for web 3.0, but the climate change lobby draws attention to the energy consumption, demands of creating blockchain. So what’s your response to that? What do you think can be done? Well,

Speaker 4 (14:33):

I often get asked that question, uh, obviously given what I do and, um, you know, the truly geeky answer is that, um, the energy that Bitcoin uses is half a percent of world energy and us house households are 11 and a half percent of world energy. So you do the maths. You know, I think the average mat in the street is, has more impact than blockchain. And I really think it’s important for technology to own their environmental impact. And that is a lot of the work that we’ll be doing as a business, um, to be transparent about our energy emissions. And, you know, all of the leading corporates in the world are talking about nets. It’s too early for me to talk about that with digital X, however, there’s this huge opportunity in, in, you know, like tokenizing, carbon tokenizing impact, um, really owning the, um, emissions for blockchain, um, to have more renewable energy.

Speaker 4 (15:26):

Like we know the maths, if we can fund solar and wind, we can reduce our emissions. If we use renewable energy to mine, Bitcoin, then, um, effectively that it’s carbon neutral Bitcoin. And there’s lots of projects starting to do that. Um, you know, off the record, I may or may not know the CEO of a renewable energy company based in Melbourne that their largest client is a bit Bitcoin minor. Like there’s many, many things we can do as technologists to create. Um, you know, we play around with grain crypto and, you know, we joke around about it, but, but why not? I mean, web 3.0 has this amazing opportunity to rebuild finance from the good up and, um, and to, you know, really focus on know carbon emissions, our impact on the world, not solve one problem whilst creating another. Mm. Um, but to actually, you know, embrace this new world that we need to move into and, um, do it in an, in a way that’s profitable for everybody, including not destroying a planet anymore because we’ve done a good job of that so far.

Speaker 2 (16:30):

So we had Rob Allen in a few months back,

Speaker 4 (16:34):

One of my favorite people

Speaker 2 (16:35):

And Rob obviously works with Hadera hash graph. Yeah. Now they have a different approach to creating the distributed ledger, which uses a fraction of the energy required in blockchain. Do you think that’s gonna become a, sort of a competitive advantage that all organizations will start looking for distributed ledger suppliers who are kind of low energy consumption sources?

Speaker 4 (17:02):

Oh, absolutely. I’m a huge fan of Hadera and a huge fan of any green, um, blockchain. So even in Naomi, um, it was originally built on a theorum I say it like that, cause that’s a Joe Luin says it. Um, he knows, but Ethereum, as some people would call it, um, but we built that on a theorum and then we pivoted onto polygon, um, because it had a lower environmental footprint. And, um, and I’m in deep talks with Hadera to also build on, on that chain. And I think we all need to be conscious of, of the impact of the chains. And I do think it will be a competitive, competitive advantage, um, and people really need to look at what they need from a chain when they’re developing, because every chain has, you know, pros and cons and different impacts and, um, you know, Hadera is great.

Speaker 3 (17:52):

Yeah. And I, I, I was just gonna say, I mean, I suppose it’s, you know, in terms of the impact of technology and blockchain technology, that’s evolving quite rapidly and, you know, whereas Bitcoin, um, it probably might have a bigger impact than, um, many others. Um, you know, there’s a, of progression towards and being more sustainable and more efficient anyway. So it’ll probably become less of an, an issue as time goes on.

Speaker 4 (18:15):

Yeah, absolutely. And even a theorum is moving to, um, proof of state versus proof of work and, and that, that reduces the carbon impact and the environmental impact dramatically. So there’s lots of evolution happen and I mean, let’s face it. Blockchain is just a whole lot of servers and I can guarantee you, I haven’t done the maps and maybe I will. The, all of the banks in the world with all of their servers would have equal impact to, um, what we are doing and what people are doing in blockchain.

Speaker 3 (18:44):


Speaker 2 (18:44):

Yeah, true. Yeah. I think it’s a lot, a lot of it is to do with the optics because, you know, for, for quite a while now, when people have, have, um, referred to where the mining is taking place and the kind of power consumption required, you know, you see, you see these, um, these, these server farms being set up in remote valleys in, in, in the sort of, um, the way, way back in the hem layers somewhere, you know, nobody’s ever heard of it, but there’s a place there where they do mining because it’s, they’re right next to a power plant and there’s a lot of energy required. So, and it’s cheap, you know,

Speaker 4 (19:20):

So I wrote something I’m, I’m also on the board of blockchain, Australia, and we were marking up a paper. And, um, I, I wrote something the other day that I just said, unfortunately, every time you have a human being involved, um, there is a chance that they will be a criminal and they’ll commit fraud or they’ll damage the environment because, and, and that’s not gonna stop happening until there are no more people. Yeah. Because there, you know, there’s always bad actors, there’s bad actors in everything. We’ve got people counterfeiting money. Yeah. We have people that banks, um, I could, I have, I have people, you know, doing what I do for so long. You know, I, I have been bailed up at events by chief executive offices of coal mining companies telling me how bad solar is. Yes. Um, because we have to mine the rare earth to, um, create solar panels. Yes. And, you know, there’s no perfect answer. Humans have impact were extremely evolved creatures, you know, look at this building we’re sitting and it’s beautiful. However, it, you know, it takes

Speaker 3 (20:19):

From the ground, I mean, takes from something. Yep. Exactly.

Speaker 4 (20:21):

Everything we do except surfing. Maybe

Speaker 3 (20:25):

There’s, there’s a, um, one of my favorite sayings actually by, um, saddle goodo, which you may be familiar with. I know you’re a, you OGI. And, um, and he says that the world is at a point now where we have the technology and the capability and intelligence to, to solve many of the, the world’s problems. Um, and I probably don’t wanna get into the question of why that hasn’t happened, but I suppose, you know, it’s interesting to, um, um, you know, I guess there’s more of an immediate need now than there ever, ever has been as well. But, um, you know, I guess as interested what the commercial opportunity of impact investing is, um, and also what the role of technology, um, has in that

Speaker 4 (21:11):

Look, I think it’s, um, if you add up the whole opportunity, it is the greatest economic opportunity of our generation. And I include in that transition to a low carbon economy and also equality across all metrics. And I, I genuinely agree with that quote, um, and what we don’t have and what is missing is the resources and the belief because, um, the change could be happening now. However, we have these legacy systems and ecosystems that don’t want to be torn down. Mm. So right now, why am I so passionate about finance 3.0 web 3.0, because I can remove layers, layers of cost, layers of admin, mountains of paper systems, uh, systems. Yeah. And those systems don’t wanna be removed. And then those creating the new systems need resources. Yes. And, um, that’s why I’m so excited about joining a company like digital X, because what do I have that I’ve never had before?

Speaker 4 (22:07):

I have this amazing team of developers and, you know, fellow people who want to change the world. And, um, you know, what we need where we need to start first is unfortunately some of the most boring bits, which is RegTech and making sure that we have really sound financial systems that we’re building. Cause there will always be bad actors and see bad behavior in all financial markets. Yes. And crypto is no exception. And the art and mastery for all of us is going to be avoiding the bad actors and really building the good financial ecosystems and having the right people come on board. And, you know, one of the things we’ve never been able to do in impact investing is measure to prove that you can make superior financial returns through impact investing. Now, when we said that 16 years ago, we like I’ve been called crazy. And, um, let me tell you, I don’t sound so crazy now. Well,

Speaker 3 (23:01):

Exactly. And so there’s a, there’s a massive shift in, um, I guess humanities recognition of the need to change. And, and I guess where I was leading to that question is, um, that people are more aware and more interested and you can see that by the amount of investment in that area, which I, you know, I don’t know if, I think it’s like 70 trillion market or something like that, whereas 10 years ago that was, is definitely not the case.

Speaker 4 (23:31):

Yeah. And, and, um, absolutely. And then if you sort of a little bit, um, of you are like a little bit of a zealot like me, then you drill down into the numbers and a lot of that is not actually authentic. Yeah. And um, only about 10% of all capital attributed to sustainable finance right now is genuinely and authentically invested for impact. Um, and you know, one of the reasons why I’m, where I am today is because as a global equities portfolio manager, um, you know, I was so passionate about, about sustainable finance. I had this portfolio that I’d handcrafted, you know, I created the investment universe, I handpicked all of the stocks and it just didn’t feel authentic because it was only over like 51% of earnings or, you know, there were other unintended consequences of the actions of the company. And I came to realize that we need to invest more in real assets and direct investment.

Speaker 4 (24:25):

And that has sent me on a very strange path in my career, but I am sitting here today. I’m still standing. And obviously that was with Bendigo bank when we were building community super. And, you know, we did the RA ETF as, as a cornerstone for that. And you know, all of the work at nav with all of the renewable energy investment and the low carbon shared portfolio. And now we, we need to deploy more capital and, and faster and more authentically, cuz it’s not okay for large funds to, um, talk about sustainability unless they’re direct investing. Yeah. Uh, because a global equities portfolio, there aren’t enough companies genuinely doing the good to have a portfolio. It’s like to me, it’s like shooting fish in a barrel.

Speaker 2 (25:05):

So, so is, is there likely to be a body that will provide that kind of, um, measurement and all disability behind this? Do you think behind the investments, you know, like where to, so you’re saying in your report and accounts yeah. That you’re doing this amount of investment in becoming green, prove it.

Speaker 4 (25:25):

Well, that’s why, um, that, where I think the world of the work of the world economic forum can really come into the forum because, you know, if you think about my role at digital X, I’ve got two things I have to solve for, I’ve got a fund that invests in this new economy. Um, so I need to understand what I’m investing in there and what the impact that is. Yes. Um, there’s a huge number of crypto funds that are emerging. Um, and then, um, to understand the impact of the business and, you know, our balance sheet and the investments that we’re making and you know, our staff and, you know, everyone, you know, loves to do the J scope 1, 2, 3, but it’s really important for all businesses to understand that. And it’s not okay to say my, that my, my head office is carbon neutral because I paid for a renewable energy.

Speaker 4 (26:08):

Yeah. Everybody needs to understand the ripple effect of what we are doing so that collectively, um, we can all be green. Um, and you know, in terms of investing, even activist shareholding to me is sort of half a step. It’s a good step. And I don’t wanna be critical of anybody. I think it’s really important that we are where we are, because if 90% of funds are attributing to sustainable finance, guess what? That’s the easy part. That’s the hard part is, was to get people to actually agree that sustainable finance had longevity. Yes. And now we can move them into what, what, you know, we call it the continuum of, um, light green to dark green and gray is terrible. Um, and we can move once people are light green, which is the 90% we can move them all the way down to the dark green because you’re preaching to the choir then. Yes.

Speaker 2 (27:00):

Cause people they’re on that journey. Yeah.

Speaker 4 (27:01):

They’re on the journey. Yeah. Once people are on the journey, the hardest part was getting people on the journey. Sure.

Speaker 3 (27:06):

How, how far do you think we are from that, you know, jump or that over that threshold into, from gray to, to light green?

Speaker 4 (27:14):

Um, I think so from, well, from gray to light green, 90% to the right number, but then light green to dark green. Um, we are 10 years away and we need to be there yesterday. Oh, okay. Yeah, yeah, yeah. In my opinion. And like, I wish we were there now. Um, but there’s, um, just walk into any pub in Sydney and say that you’re an impact investor and, um, and hear the commentary and one out of 10 people will, um, be all for it. And nine of town will be like, oh yeah, yeah, yeah. But you know, like you can’t make any money and you know, so yeah.

Speaker 2 (27:48):

So just from a kind of a, a reputational standpoint, obviously, you know, we’re watching things unfold in the Ukraine, um, which is, you know, absolutely dreadful to watch. And we, we will hope that that will resolve itself. But one of the consequences of what’s happened in Ukraine has been the people’s confidence in crypto because there’ve been a number well, it daily reports about, uh, NFT rug pools and cryptocurrency tanking again. And I mean, if you are an active investor and you are trying to back things up with cryptocurrency, doesn’t that present a, a huge amount of risk

Speaker 4 (28:26):

Look, one of the great lessons I’ve learned in life is it’s equal, good, equal, bad, and some may use the metaphor of a coin that there’s two sides to a coin. Um, there are actually three sides to the coin. The third side is the edge. And we’ll speak to that in a second. So on the dark side of the coin of this, obviously people are saying that are, you know, the Russian government and, and, you know, high net worth are using, um, crypto to avoid all of the sanctions and having

Speaker 2 (28:54):

Their assets frozen,

Speaker 4 (28:55):

Something, having the assets frozen and, you know, and that, that may be the case on the other side of the coin we’re having, um, you know, impact, um, you know, philanthropists raising money equal in Ukraine, through the crypto markets, um, so equal, good, equal, bad. Um, and then at the edge is, you know, this world that we can create, um, with the new transparency that there is, um, and that, you know, we really can create one world and it’s much easier to support people, uh, from Australia with these new financial markets. Cause let me tell you, I would not know how to convert into the Ukrainian, whatever it is or the Russian rub for that matter, if it still exists, don’t even know. Um, but if I can send a few Bitcoin, um, and to, to help somebody, then why not? And I think that this new way of doing things in this new way of working that we have in these new financial systems is worth it.

Speaker 4 (29:49):

And I think it’s worth doing the work and, and we can all be at our edge and really push ourselves to see past, um, you know, any rhetoric around things like Bitcoin, not having an intrinsic value being used for fraud. Um, you know, it’s extraordinarily traceable. Um, it’s very, it’s kind of old fashioned to think that, um, you know, you, that, um, criminals can only criminals use Bitcoin. Um, it really can be used for good. And one of the examples leading by example, um, on Monday is my first ever paid a at digital X. And, um, I’m going to get paid part of my salary in Bitcoin. Oh wow. And I can, once I start paying for my coffees in Bitcoin, um, then people start to see that there’s an intrinsic value. I hope it’s not the million dollar pizza, But I I’m gonna give it a go. And, um, and, and being the environmentalist that I am, I do a lot of work with carbon startups. So beta carbon in Australia and meta Carn in New York, which is carbon NFTs. And I’ll be buying a little rhino every time, every payday too, just to balance off my, any carbon footprint of the Bitcoin that I earn.

Speaker 2 (30:55):

So talking a little more about that. Tell us, what’s your experience been with NFTs? Have you, have you sort of broadly you invested or have you very sort of cherry picked very carefully?

Speaker 4 (31:07):

Look, I am a finance geek and, and what doesn’t come across with me. I’m a portfolio manager, so I am risk first. So I only invest in things I understand, and I do a lot of work. Um, NFTs can, can be great. Like I, I did a panel last night for, um, international women’s day, next week for consensus. And there was an art NFT girl on there and I was like, wow, I wanna go and buy art NFTs. Yeah. Because it’s helping the artist community so much. The only NFTs that I own, um, are, um, my meta carbo carbon, I call ’em carbon critters, but they actually call carbon creatures. So I own a rhino and I own a turtle. Right. Uh, we’re doing some work making, um, turtle NFTs for a carbon project in Kaun too, which is really cool. Right. Um, to restore some man groups. Yeah. Um, and also as part of my interview for digital X, I made a commemorative NFT. Um, if the board gave me the role, so there are four of those.

Speaker 2 (32:04):

And, um, not that you were trying to sway them at all.

Speaker 4 (32:05):

Well, I, the board still haven’t had them dropped into their wallet yet. There’s no bribery. It was just, I, I, I figured if I wanted to, um, go for, you know, such a great role as a CEO of a technology company, I had to pull something out of my hat. Yeah. Cool. So I, I did, um, follow, did tear a little page out of Ross McEwen and NAS book and wrote a handwritten letter as well. Yes. And then I was like, well, that’s not really gonna cut it for a tech business. So

Speaker 2 (32:30):

To end the spectrum.

Speaker 4 (32:30):

Exactly. So I made a little NFT. Um, my, I did that myself, actually, I bootstrap, I was quite, quite proud of my effort and I did on the avalanche

Speaker 3 (32:39):

Network. I was gonna say, what did you use? Yeah,

Speaker 4 (32:41):

Yeah. I used the avalanche network cause that’s also a, a quite low emissions network. And, um, and I wanted to play around with that network to get a little bit more inside knowledge on it and

Speaker 3 (32:51):


Speaker 2 (32:52):

For fun. Fascinating. So look, um, new role at digital X CEO. Can you tell us a little bit of about what you’re hoping to achieve in the first 12 months?

Speaker 4 (33:01):

Well, hard with a listed company. Uh, what I can say yes. Uh, what I can say

Speaker 2 (33:08):

Is no numbers, no

Speaker 4 (33:09):

Numbers, no, just expect much greener focus. Um, you know, we, I really, really hand on my heart, want to lead Australia into this really sustainable wor world authentic. Um, my dream would come true if I can have my listed stock in the portfolio of funds that I admire, like Australian ethical, because I’ve done a good job. Um, you know, I’m going to be refreshing the strategy. Um, you’ll see a lot of green on the pay age there too. And not maybe talking about money, maybe just talking about environment who knows, can’t really say it’s a listed company. Yeah. And, um, the piece of work that I’m really excited about as well as we’re doing a lot of work on our purpose and, um, right. Will be a purpose led organization. And when we’ve developed the purpose statement, that will be something that, um, you know, comes from my team. And, you know, one, one thing that really resonated when I interviewed was when I met the team, everybody was very aligned to my background and, you know, it’s a young team of great people, great developers, great finance team, great fund managers. And, um, they all really wanna have a positive impact. So we’re gonna all work together a purpose statement and you’ll see that come through.

Speaker 3 (34:22):

That sounds like

Speaker 4 (34:23):

And made money for shareholders.

Speaker 3 (34:25):

Yeah. Cause it, yeah.

Speaker 2 (34:27):

Oh yes. Shareholders as well. Yeah.

Speaker 3 (34:29):

Well, I mean, I guess it’s interesting. I mean that they’re kind of, um, interrelated, um, purpose and, and, and value and profit and there’s um, I guess it’s, again, going back to the progression or evolution of business over time where much of the more conventional and traditional corporations were built on taking to, um, to, and then making profits from a cost, um, as opposed to now, with which with more purpose, um, driven businesses, creating impact and the rise of impact in investing and coming from, um, society, having more of a value on impact because it’s becoming more evident that it’s more important right now. I mean, floods and everything that’s been happening. So my question is, um, what is the purpose of business?

Speaker 4 (35:22):

I think purpose of business is to create a better world because you need commerce. Um, and every business should have the thing that they’re doing to help people and to help make the world better. And when that comes to shareholder value, when we can quantify that and we can attribute returns to that, that’s when the rubber will really hit the road at the moment in large corporates, people are measured by the bottom line and nobody cares. Well, nobody has really cared how that money gets made. If you start identifying, hang on, you may have made a million dollars, but it costs the world. 1.8 million. You’ve lost me. You’ve lost the world 1.8 million, our shareholders don’t like that, cuz that is attributed to shareholder value. Yes, that is when we’re gonna start to see change. And at digital X that’s one thing that I aim to do is to really like have attribution around our returns and be able to say, you know, we can quantify that we made this money cuz we did this good. Um, and whatever that good is how we invest, um, you know, things like Drawbridge with the RegTech and helping people, not inside a trade, you know? Yes. We’ll be able to quantify that.

Speaker 2 (36:27):

So there’s, there’s a, I, I may be reading something into this that isn’t there, but there’s a certain paradox behind the fact you are based in Perth, which is the side of the con, which is having the biggest impact on the environment.

Speaker 4 (36:40):


Speaker 2 (36:41):

Yeah. I mean, how do you kind of,

Speaker 4 (36:43):

Oh my gosh. Well, so we’re part of a, a research, a CRC, um, which is backed by quite a number of large organizations. We’re probably the little minnow in the research co C it’s a digital CRC. So it’s a research consortium. Okay. Okay. Um, backed by these Australian government, it’s like a matching and oh yeah. Um, and most of the projects, um, so it’s about tokenization and digital assets and most of the projects are, um, that are being proposed, are environmental. And one of them, interestingly, something I’m very passionate about is, um, resources that are still in the ground, um, contributing value to either keeping them there. Or there are some, you know, rare earths that we really, really need, but then why are we selling the rare earth? Um, ex carbon? Yeah. It should be packaged and bundled up, bundled up. And between all of us, guess what we can already do.

Speaker 4 (37:35):

We can already tokenize carbon. We can already, already tokenize a commodity. Yeah. So, you know, with the market, we’ll be, you know, contributing to conversations like that. And um, you know, look at what, I can’t even believe I’m saying this, but, um, look at what Fortu and Andrew for is doing. I know, you know, when we were Ecofin in 2011. Yeah. Um, he, he had a young guy working for him that called me up and he said, I wanna put renewable energy next to the mine. And I’m like, you’re a legend. Yeah. And we worked on that project. Like they, they, they were genuinely thinking about impact now. Yes. And, and I I’ve been on the record as being quite cynical about hydrogen. Obviously if it’s, you know, powered by oil than it’s no different or coal than it’s no different to, to, to, um, you know, using a coal five house station, but you know, blue, hydrogen and green hydrogen green hydrogen, I should say, um, will have a hugely POS huge, positive impact on the world. And, you know, we need more green sources of energy. And, um, you know, obviously the elephant in the room there is nuclear, but, um, you know, back in the day when we had Tony Coleman, who was the, um, chief, you know, head of risk, IAG insurance as our chairman, he used to, I used to love him because someone would say nuclear and he’d say, do you know how many carbon emissions are in the concrete that it takes to build a nuclear power station? It’s a lot.

Speaker 2 (38:57):

Yeah. Yeah. Fascinating.

Speaker 4 (38:58):


Speaker 2 (38:59):

Um, so look just, just to close, um, can you give us any suggestions of any specific ways you feel distributed ledger technology will be delivering significant climate change benefits in the next few years?

Speaker 4 (39:13):

Yep. Um, all of the supply chain work we’re doing in ag that we were talking about before and separating out the carbon emissions. Yeah. Uh, the world wildlife fund for nature has a similar project called open SC that will have huge, positive impact and all the work that is happening in tokenizing carbon and, um, you know, expanding carbon markets, bringing more transparent and see all of that will have a huge positive impact. And then, um, there’s a few things we’re working on, which, because we’re a listed company I can’t talk about. Um, but there’ll be a lot of innovation in that space and a lot of positive movement. And I’m, you know, I don’t like to be over confident, but I’m very confident that there’s enough people like this digital village, um, enough people who wanna do good that we’re getting some traction. And I think you’ll see a lot of positive movement out of technology.

Speaker 2 (40:03):

Great. Well, we’re gonna stick your, um, your URL up on our website and with the, uh, the notes to the podcast. So people can keep up to date with what’s going on in the digital X world, but, uh, just finally to close Lisa it’s, it’s been a total honor to time with you, um, all the best in the new role and, uh, looking forward to seeing the changes that you’re gonna bring about, uh, not just in digital expert in Australia and the industry as a whole finally it’s Mardi GRA yes. Coming up. Yes. Um, so Jason and I will be there in Paddington. Yeah. The weekend watching the, the floats and the parade go by. What are your plans? Don’t

Speaker 4 (40:37):

See my rainbow rainbow sneakers here. No.

Speaker 2 (40:39):

Yeah. I did see that. They’re very cool wearing

Speaker 4 (40:41):

My, um, my, my rainbow sneakers and um, well think I’d be watching it on television. I hate to admit this year. Yeah.

Speaker 2 (40:48):


Speaker 3 (40:48):

You’ll see Paul on a flight. I’ll

Speaker 2 (40:50):


Speaker 5 (40:51):


Speaker 4 (40:52):

Well, because I was technically unemployed for two months while I was on gardening leave and not running the NAB pride at work. I didn’t get a bait this year. Oh. So, um, but I, I just have a little, yeah. Go into a fringe festival event tonight. Okay. Um, but you’ll, you’ll see me on my couch watching and cheering from home. I did, um, put some rainbow flags up in the office T was looking bit bare up there

Speaker 2 (41:13):

And there, there was a rainbow this morning across the Harbor. I dunno if you saw that, what time I, I ill show you picture later. I took a picture from our balcony and I posted it on Twitter. I said, you’re a day early.

Speaker 4 (41:24):

Oh, I hope there’s one tomorrow. I think we, I think we deserve that rainbow, but across many fronts, many

Speaker 2 (41:29):

Fronts. Anyway, thank you very much in indeed. A real pleasure talking to you and, uh, we hope to see you again soon.

Speaker 4 (41:34):

Yes. Thank you so much for having me. And I really love what this podcast is doing. And, um, I’m excited to learn about digital village and hear more about what, what you get up to. Thank

Speaker 6 (41:44):

You. Cheers now. Bye. Bye.

Speaker 1 (41:51):

Hope you enjoyed today. Episode, please feel free to check us out on our website, digital for our past episodes. We’ll be back next month, but on the last Wednesday of every month, as we are with more great stories and guests see you then.

The Digital Village Show

The Digital Village Show: Why you should be thinking about automation in your business’s customer experience strategies

Season 2: Episode 1

Why you should be thinking about automation in your business’s customer experience strategies!

Welcome back listeners, to another episode of the Digital Village Podcast.

In this episode, our resident host Paul Scott is joined by Robert Allman, Global SVP Customer Experience at NTT.

Today, we explore the depths of customer experience and automation. With NTT’s latest CX Benchmarking report for 2021 at hand, they’ll uncover how customer experience is evolving – driven by digital technology. For every business, a focus on CX is becoming a primary driver for customer retention and growth. So without further delay, let’s dive in and see what insights Rob and Paul can share with us.

So sit back and enjoy our kick-off episode for 2022!


Rober Allman

Global SVP Customer Experience at NTT

Post Grid #4

How To Choose The Right Technology For Your Business.

Steven GreenSep 20, 20225 min read

Technology is a key driver of success and provides a solution to many of the challenges faced by businesses today,…

Show Transcription

Speaker 1 (00:04):

Welcome back to the new year and a new season of the digital village show. We’ve got some exciting stories in store for 2022, as we focus on digital trends, impacting business and culture from the influence of blockchain right down to processes and artificial intelligence today’s episode is something special for me personally, as an area I focus heavily on in my own business customer experience, but with a bit of a DV show, topical twist, Paul Scott, our resident host is joined by Robert Alman NTTS global senior vice president for customer experience together. They’re tackling the topic around automation and where it fits into the customer experience using data from the later CX benchmark king reports from 2021, Paul and Robert will explore the levels of the customer from your own teams down to the buyer, from the benefits of CX and the value that, um, that automation will bring to it and how businesses can stay customer focus and the benefits of doing so. So sit back and enjoy as we kick off 2022 together.

Speaker 2 (01:14):

Well, hello, How are you?

Speaker 3 (01:17):

I’m very well, thank you. Good morning. Good evening, Paul.

Speaker 2 (01:20):

Great to see you again. And, and, um, goodness me, we go back a bit of a, a long way. You and I, I think it’s, um, it must be 16, 17 years. Um, and then merchants dimension data and now NTT.

Speaker 4 (01:35):

Absolutely. Yeah, yeah. Couple of decades, I think in my

Speaker 2 (01:39):

Indeed. And, um, we, we, I think we’ve share a passion, Rob, um, besides sport obviously, cuz we both share a passion for that. Um, uh, for customer experience and benchmarking. I mean the, the topic of our discussion today is really where will automation benefit customer experience and um, like you, I mean working in a, in a te company, um, but having a very strong sense of the purpose of great customer experience and customer service, it’s always been a challenge to get technology, to align with what we actually want to deliver as an experience. Um, and it would be fair to say, I think that, um, the CX benchmark and report, which I believe is now in its 24th year, um, that’s right, has provided an extraordinary wealth of insight and knowledge, um, for the people who participate in report. And there must be, you know, several thousand companies who participated in over the last two, only four years. Um, and also of course for yourselves within, within dimension data and NTT now, um, the kind of insights that presumably are helping you to design and deliver great solutions for your clients as well.

Speaker 4 (03:03):

Absolutely. And the, the benchmarking report origins were very much our clients at the outset of the call center industry saying, what does good look like? Um, what, how do, what, what does good look like in terms of performance for top performers? Um, what are people prioritizing? What’s the trends we should be cognizant of? Um, and how should we use this to prioritize our planning. Um, and it’s never been more relevant as it was then as it is now.

Speaker 2 (03:40):

Absolutely. And, and, uh, the thing that really struck me about this year’s report was the, um, the focus on, on this sort of human automation interface. Um, you know, I think there’s, there’s a long history and we’re gonna go into it in some detail, perhaps a little later on, um, uh, of there’s been evidence of, of the, the customer services domain being in, in a little bit of conflict, really with the technology side of organizations, because it’s never quite worked out how to combine the two in a way, which is gonna deliver a great experience, but as you’re going to, hopefully to the second, the, the report is now talking about the fact there is evidence that this automation human interface thing is beginning to, to actually work.

Speaker 4 (04:32):

Yeah, absolutely. And I think, I think it’s really simple when, when we look at the, the, the customer experience global benchmarking report, it, it really is a stake in the ground for organizations to try and understand where they are, where their competitors are, where people that they might aspire to, or whether they just want a sound check in terms of how they’re doing. And when we think about customer, it’s something that’s quite easy for us to understand because we’re all consumers in one way or another. But what the report does is it creates a moments in time that witnesses the industry globally. And it’s look, this is, this is what’s happening. This is what’s looking like. And one of the things that I think we’ve always, um, tr tried to do, and I think I’ve been applauded before has been taking a view on where we are and what’s happening within the industry.

Speaker 4 (05:32):

And so, so to put it, I suppose, very simply the benchmarking report creates a view of what is happening in customer experience and making sure all that we don’t lose the wood for the trees. And I think with the, the benchmarking report and the growth of automation, it it’s simply that at its simplest form customer experience is purpose should not be lost. And that’s to make sure that people, um, consumers have a greater experience than they get what they want from, from their engagement, with an organization. And really all, all we’re saying at the simplest level is, is do not forget the customer. If you get things right with the customer, many, many good things happen easier said than done. Um, but, but actually organizations that absolutely have that in their, in their essence and their core. Um, this year’s benchmarking re report shows that their three sums more likely to demonstrate growth and they’re getting kind of higher performance.

Speaker 4 (06:42):

And that’s why this year’s report is saying crossing the divide that I think many organizations have operated in silos in terms of their channels, um, in terms of their, the way that they see sales, marketing, different lines of businesses. And this year’s report really says successful organizations, a new baseline for leadership, which is the other core theme of this year’s report is showing that there’s there’s for many years, we’ve chartered the progress of, um, disruptive innovators. Now we’re saying that that that group has widened leaders. Those leaders are, are showing the tenants of what good customer experience is. And they’ve scaled to a point that, that now represents what good customer experience is that other organizations need to aspire to. The

Speaker 2 (07:34):

Last point is very, very interesting. I wanted just dive into, that’s already interrupt you. The, the report mentions the fact that there’s CX representation now at board level at higher levels than they’ve ever been before. Do you think that’s a factor that has driven improvements in this domain?

Speaker 4 (07:52):

Absolutely. I, when I, when I look, I think three years ago were charted slight dip in, in the boardroom, um, representation, which was deeply concerning because it was a point that we really saw a massive growth and job titles and LinkedIn of customer experience, et cetera. And so it seemed like the, there was almost platitudes of a, of an area that was being re, but then we’re seeing the strategic, um, senior seniority actually decline. And last year we saw a, a good increase, which we felt as though was more representative about 35% this year it’s risen to over 70%. Wow. That feels right. That, that feels a reflection of the times, because is this year’s report isn’t meant to be, uh, another commentary on the pandemic or a survival guide to the pandemic. We wanted to try and give organizations a view of what they should start, stop, continue.

Speaker 4 (08:55):

And what are the traits that organizations are going to kind of stick with post the pandemic? And the pandemic is really, you know, through government policy and health concerns has created more change or point in change. That’s accelerated mega trends that have been in the post, like automation, the use of technology, um, the impact on operating models that we’ve never seen in terms of the, the increased acceleration as, as catalyst. And, and what that has done is that when things had to shut down or people were sent home, it held a huge mirror and up to executives all around the world in terms of how good, bad, awful brilliant, you know, their customer experience was. Um, and, and that, that examined every facet. Um, you, you know, the, have you used your own website? Have you used your mobile app? Have you used your IVR? Do you know what it feels like when you get stuck on a web chat and then you just give up and you want to find a number, but some like spark has hidden that number somewhere. All, all of those things yeah. Came immediately obvious because stuff either worked.

Speaker 2 (10:13):


Speaker 4 (10:14):

And, um, and all of us son that also what this year, what we started chatting a couple of years ago was organizations because we saw lots of the tenants and capabilities, whether it was technology, you know, the, the increased maturity of management techniques and experience in this, this area have all grown, but we haven’t seen the see change that would expect over the last few years. So, and, and we started asking, we’re saying, look, you need to change this. You need to change that. We highly recommend that you should prioritize this. Um, and, and it’s difficult to be a profit in your own land. It was one of the things that we found for, for are our clients and participants, but what’s what this has created is people have said, we have to take this seriously because it’s not good enough and we’re losing customers or where all we’ve got to, um, change our cost model.

Speaker 4 (11:13):

All of those things come into bearing and people have recognized the coal was too static. It, it was too incremental. And one of the biggest, um, emphasis particularly on leaders, um, within this year’s report, cuz we, we, we very much focus on how we segment what leaders are doing and what followers or lag guards are doing and, and contrast those things. And this year’s report really says you, you’ve got to be able to change quickly. You’ve got to have a more agile mindset, not just in terms of technology development, but in terms of your entire management. And I think that’s one of the really, really interesting things because people have had to change their operating model. They have had to put much greater focus on self-service the ambition of automation and self-service is almost doubled in terms of the volumes and numbers of organizations that want to move things to those areas are big message in is, do not sacrifice the purpose and do not sacrifice the quality double down on the purpose and the quality.

Speaker 4 (12:21):

And there’s a simple, you know, there there’s huge focus on customer journeys and the maturity of work. The way people are beginning to look at those as, as grown in terms of this science, the, the, the purpose is quite simple is make it easier and stay relevant. So people are desperately trying to keep up with these, um, the, these new evangelists of the, the new customer experience, but, but simply put the, the best way to do these things. Under half of organizations are actually trying to understand what their customers want and, or, or actively trying to consult with customers to think about design, et cetera. Um, so that one big recommendation, the, the big one is really the mindset though. Um, if we think about technology, um, being used for good, then that’s a really great place to start if we think about and empathize, which is a, a huge word that can really resonated out of, of the report of what it is like, because people, many people have lost connection with, with communities, with family, um, with, with the organizations.

Speaker 4 (13:36):

But, but they’ve been particularly, it, it, it really exaggerates how good or bad, um, you are when you’re isolated. Um, sure. Um, and, um, really what, what we’re saying here is that if you really think about that person and you think about the cons, the context of why they’re calling and you give them choice of how they want to do things and make sure that you’re trying to understand what it is like for them within, within their customer journey, within their engagement. Yeah. Um, what, what are the frustration points, um, how do you make it seamless? How can you do you more to practically understand how you can reach out rather than try and avoid, um, how you can be proactive if you see, um, challenges, should you be reaching out to engage? But I think the big thing that we encourage is that the mindset of leaders, um, and the clear recommendations we make, look at engagement as a positive thing to, um, retain, grow, um, create, um, positive repeat business and, and have a growth mindset as opposed to cost minimization one, because do those things well, um, you, you will be more efficient.

Speaker 4 (14:56):

You will empower employees. If we look at there was a, the other huge shift that we saw was that there was a ma the, the biggest prioritization in terms of the next five years. Um, sorry, in terms of the next 12 months, is the enablement and focus on employees to be more effective in their engagements around CX

Speaker 4 (15:20):

Employees. Who’ve got that line of sight to a strategy. You need to have a strategy to create line of site strategy, um, are far more engaged and far more effective and, and engaging and, and working and doing their job effectively with customers. So really emphasizing that connection between the customer experience and the employee experience and giving both the customer and, and your people, the tools of the trade, whether that’s automation at the correct point that’s appropriate, um, whether we’re managing things like automation, anxiety with, with our employees and making sure that they understand that automation can help take away the mundane and, and create, um, give them the right information at the right time to really add value and, and complete things, or create opportunity with things. That’s a far more positive mindset for the customer and employee to have where data use of intelligence to help enrich things, um, in that real time is used. And that can be seamless across whether it’s self-service assisted service or, or employees using information at the right points and at the right times in a designed way, rather than conky way. So I think that that’s probably the essence of have just touched

Speaker 2 (16:43):

One of the, one of the things that, uh, I find strange here though, Rob, is that, um, NPS schools generally are not improving significantly with all the, the insight that we’re getting from the data that’s being gathered now, and the ability to apply, uh, digital to the customer experience, you would expect that organizations would get better at actually understanding what their customers want and the way that they want it provided. But the, the evidence from Nebo schools does not back that up. It actually suggests that organizations are, are either not getting any better or in some cases actually getting worse at delivering really outstanding customer experiences. I mean, to what extent do you think, um, that’s because of this kind of, uh, disconnect between strategy and execution, cuz I know that, um, that there is something in the report as well, that talks about this, that you’ve got, um, people are getting better at doing the strategic thing, but then there isn’t the same improvement in how they then execute.

Speaker 4 (17:57):

Yeah. I, there’s a few points in there. So around the net promoter school, um, one of the things that we introduced in this year’s report, there is 1,300 hundred and 59 participants, roughly. Exactly,

Speaker 2 (18:14):


Speaker 4 (18:15):

Which is our biggest, um, participation ever, which we’re really, really pleased around the seniority of participation from CEOs to directors was really high, much higher than previous years. So that’s great. And I think that in itself as an indicator that people are taking customer experience more seriously. Yeah. The, the other, um, vector that we added into the data this year was 1400 consumer surveys in, um, 13 countries. And, and really what we wanted to do was, um, you know, drink our own champagne, um, and, and make sure we were getting that balance of what the organization was saying. Looks like good, versus what consumers or customers were saying, looks like good. And only 17% of consumers actually said that they saw, um, uh, customer experience from, at a, at a net promoter level at an advocacy level.

Speaker 2 (19:14):


Speaker 4 (19:15):

So, so your point’s absolutely spot on. Um, and it was interesting when you compare that to things like the, the experience of digital channels, et cetera, it’s a very similar story, slightly worse. So, um, one of things I think is we shouldn’t lose heart because there’s definitely organizations and leaders who created a new normal, sorry, I Bann myself from saying that word,

Speaker 2 (19:43):

Sorry, we’ll edit it out.

Speaker 4 (19:51):

The, the, the key thing is though that there, there is lighthouse for people to see what good looks like. That’s also risen. Um, you know, that’s given light to, um, an increased expectation. We, we expect things to be delivered the next day. We might actually select, um, a thing where we don’t consider any other products. So yeah, the, the expectation has risen, but sadly, there’s also some absolutely terrible experience that’s still out there. Um, and I think key things that we see one is we, we see that organizations who have a strategy in that’s commonly understood there’s line of sight through the organization. And they’re executing on that, um, show far higher customer experience, satisfaction results, and that they have far more engaged. And boys, as a result of that, the employees are the people who mobilize your strategy without, without execution strategies to solution.

Speaker 4 (20:55):

So, so I think there’s key things that we’re seeing that’s in place there. The, the other piece that we’re seeing in terms of the customers, it it’s when we look at some of the key decision points that the consumers were stating, they want quality of products and services. Um, they want trusted brands. They want to see things like customer reviews, customer reviews, and open and honest communication, um, with number three or four, in terms of the, the buying choices, the, that they make. Mm. So, so there’s clear, you know, there’s, there’s not just a wisdom of crowd, but there’s, there’s actually a, a dead set judgment on those things can add all the complexity we want, but if people aren’t really aligned and able to have open and honest communication, because they’ve got the right culture, um, they’ve got the right information and data in front of them, then, you know, those key things that actually shape consumer behavior will be portrayed.

Speaker 2 (21:59):

Yeah. Um, I wanted to, to just go back to a quote that’s in the report from, um, a very good friend of yours and mine, Shannon McGee Smith, who’s a, a senior analyst in the sector. Um, and she says, the lessons described from top customer experience. Performers are a roadmap for creating the seamless, automated, digital, and live assistance journeys. Customers now expect customer experience is being treated like the value creator. It is, and companies are ramping up automation efforts and enabling employees with digital tools. So there’s a lot in there, but the thing that really struck me with this was this focus around automation, um, and enabling people with tools. If you touched on it earlier by saying, you know, that, that one of the problems perhaps employees have, who are in the front line, delivering customer service is appreciating how these tools can actually help them deliver a better experience. Do you wanna talk to that?

Speaker 4 (23:03):

Yeah, definitely. So I think Sheila sums up really well. Um, as I think when you move into a period of change, it, it it’s that whole mirror thing. Again, it gives a dark reality of things that may have been issues, but because they’ve become the norm, you come to accept them and, and they, that becomes kind of Aero. What, what we’ve seen is this, this sea change where people have been sent home. So that sounds a bit, bit like they’ve been sent home from school. Um, they, the operations,

Speaker 2 (23:36):

They were encouraged. Yes.

Speaker 4 (23:38):

Yeah. The work from home. Yeah. Which has created lots of opportunities, but it’s called, it’s also created issues that have to be addressed. They have to be addressed in the here and now. And there’s there’s data security concerns. Um, there’s um, 50% of employees saying that they do not have the tools that they require to, to ex execute on their job com correctly to completion

Speaker 2 (24:09):

50% that,

Speaker 4 (24:10):

Yeah. Yeah. Just under 50%. So that does not sound, sound or look like success. And, and what are the kind of things that they need. They, they need all of the information on the customer. They need access this to the correct systems. Um, they need the right coaching tools, et cetera. When we look at all of the different things that support both the customer and the employee in terms of real time, enriched data, knowledge, et cetera, um, that can have artificial tech applied to it that can radically, um, enrich the customer experience in terms of their digital experience. Um, it can help with personalization. It can help it being far more specific to them. Um, in terms of the, the employee supporting the consumer of the consumers, able to, um, get the kind of resolution that they need within those self-service channels that enrichment can radically accelerate a, a time to competent in terms of understanding, um, things, it can remove the requirement for, for the focus of the employee to be on systems, because we can automate a lot of the dependency on 5, 10, 20, we’ve seen some clients with 30 systems, they, that we expect people to traverse that’s that’s verging on inhumane.

Speaker 4 (25:40):

Um, so what, what we were saying is we can take through things like, you know, mature technologies like RPA, et cetera. We can take the focus away from the systems. We can enrich the experience by actually providing real time insights to that customer for the employee. Um, and, and we can combine the journey and the, the, the history of the journey that the consumer or the customer has been on, um, when, when, when they engage, that that’s a far better basis for success than, than waiting for someone to come through, who who’s effectively been pulled through a hedge backwards, through a self-service thing that that’s frustrated them an experience of trying to find the right contact points, et cetera. They may have to spoken to another colleague in the organization if we’re kind of actually reaching out, um, because we’re seeing that someone may be struggling.

Speaker 4 (26:38):

And this is where we talk about the concept of augmentation, that we’re actually designing an understanding of things and designing to support both the customer and the employee, um, and making sure that we’re focused on the, the, the outcome, um, and the intent, um, rather than the, the process, um, and the failure point, we’re thinking more about success than failure. So I think those are the key essences of how we, um, the, the data, the artificial intelligence, the insights, but we bring that to life in real time. And I think bringing those things together, thinking about how the customer and the employee positioned to, to, to be effective, making it easy for them, giving the customer choice, bringing those elements together, that, that that’s the, you know, they’re the ingredients and the recipe, um, is, is really the, the culture and the, the design and the competency that organizations share around that.

Speaker 2 (27:43):

So do you, do you think that, um, if organizations are able to bring those things together, the way you’ve just described, is it still the case that there are a large proportion of customers who actually don’t want any of that digital experience? They just wanna speak to somebody when they contact customer service. It’s because they’ve got a problem, something hasn’t arrived on time, there’s an error on their booking form, or, you know, they’ve made a mistake when they were doing an online check or whatever, and they want to speak to somebody and, and just looking at, you know, the websites for a lot of these eCommerce companies, trying to find the telephone number to speak to a human being is virtually impossible. I mean, the only thing you can, in fact, the most effective thing to do as I’ve discovered is to Google it. Because if you, if you actually ask Google, where can I find customer service for X, Y, Z company, they will direct you specifically to the page where that happens. But it does look to me as though there are two things happening. And number one, customers are getting frustrated because they can’t contact their organizations when they want to, to speak to somebody. And then the, you know, paradoxically companies are hiding telephone numbers still to prevent them having contact with their customers. Is that ever gonna change?

Speaker 4 (29:02):

Yeah, hun one, 100%. It’s a, I think the it’s a modern perversion, isn’t it? The, and it’s a modern perversion that’s been in the making for 15 years plus, um, the, the, the key thing here is that if we think we’re, we get thousands and thousands of different messages from organizations trying to market to us through throughout the day, it’s probably far greater than that. And people are trying to find relevance, whether it’s through SEO, different ways of engaging with, with customers, however, when a customer wants to engage with them, they they’re, there’s people finding methods of avoiding

Speaker 2 (29:47):


Speaker 4 (29:48):

Yeah. So, um, so first thing is embrace the opportunity to engage with a customer. Um, second, second piece in there is that it it’s two thirds of customers, the, the consumers that we survey conveyed so that they absolutely still relish the opportunity and want the ability, um, to talk, to, uh, talk to someone within the organization. And when they talk to someone they want to open and honest communication and the someone who’s equipped to resolve their, their issue. So these are, these are traits that consumers want. Um, they also want things to be effective and effortless digitally, and, and to have the right level of competence that keeps up, um, with, with the leaders. Um, but, but once again, this isn’t massively complex. It’s common sense and common sense. Isn’t always that common. Um, but, but, but really the things that people are asking for or want, uh, uh, are quite, um, pragmatic.

Speaker 2 (30:59):

Yeah. Yeah. Um, okay. Rob, look, we’re gonna have to wrap out quite soon, but I, I wanted to ask you if, if there were sort of three bits of advice that you would give to CX executives who are seeking to get ahead here, um, what would it be? What do they need to be focused on in order to generate a better customer experience?

Speaker 4 (31:20):

The, the first thing is really, and it’s about the applying the gravity that they need to, to, to customer experience people who view CX as, as a value creation element, that’s fundamental to the strategy of their organization and the success of their organization will be successful, um, with their customers, um, in terms of growth retention, um, repeat business. So that that’s clear. And that’s, that’s some of the things that people should look at on evidence on the report and organizations who are leading are doing that. So get a strategy that’s effective and, and commonly understood and execute on and well rounded. So that’s, that’s kinda number one, um, connect, think about the, the connection between the customer and the employee and what you need to do, what that looks like and what you need to do to enable that effectively. Um, and that, I think that’s fundamental operate have now changed forever there’s organizations like national Australia, buying HSBC here in the UK.

Speaker 4 (32:31):

Many others in around the world have said, we are not returning to our previous operating model. We’re not going back on mass to, to, to, to the, to the office. So that operating model has changed. And there’s many benefits to that. It’ll probably be more hybrid, um, but make it work and, and, but, but make it work on a value basis rather than a, a logistics facilitation. And the third other thing, which is cool, um, is we, we talk about hyper automation. Um, and our, when we think about that really, really simply put, we’re saying that automation I is absolutely here. It’s been here for many, many years. It’s not a new thing in terms of, um, self-service and all automating things. But what we are saying is, is do it well, the, the, the alter is the customer experience in terms of the, the level and in terms of how it’s done things like RPA and things on, on their own pass se.

Speaker 4 (33:39):

Um, but if we can combine different technologies, um, you know, we’re seeing big evidence throughout the report that AI is applied as a, as a, and people have a mindset around growth around that. So let’s, let’s, let’s gather the information that is out there around the customer, whether it’s in their interaction or the, the history and all of those, their intent let’s mobilize that use that apply artificial intelligence, make that, make that, um, available to help resolve personalize, but bring together the organization, the might of the organization on behalf of the customer, um, using automation in an, a great intelligent fashion. Um, and I think that that’s the key thing is, is making sure that we automate intelligently, um, on behalf of the customer, as opposed to on behalf of the organization. So strategy CX as a value creator, create that to link between the, the customer and the employee and automate, um, effectively on behalf of the customer, not the organization. And, and you’ll get the results that the organization wants.

Speaker 2 (34:55):

You make it sound so simple.

Speaker 4 (34:59):


Speaker 2 (35:00):

Rob, that was, that was fascinating. Um, so, so look, before we wrap up, um, how can people, well, I will, by the way, put in the, uh, the podcast notes links to the report, but for those who are listed, just want to go straight to, um, to a search engine and find it, where can they, um, get hold of copies of the report?

Speaker 4 (35:24):

So the, the report is free. It’s, it’s a gift to the industry. It’s the first time we’ve, we’ve done that it’s available. Um, and, um, it’s, it is available on the, the NTT website under CX benchmarking. Um, and we we’ll create all the links that people can get it directly from, from this, um, podcast as well.

Speaker 2 (35:48):

Great, Rob, thank you so much for your time, mate. Really appreciate it. Great to see you looking fit and well, I hope the, uh, the English winter doesn’t treat you to too badly.

Speaker 4 (35:57):

Well, certainly on the way it’s here.

Speaker 2 (36:00):

Good stuff. Okay. We’ll uh, hopefully catch up again. I’d like to catch up with you again next year and do the same thing. See how things have moved on.

Speaker 4 (36:08):

Absolutely. And, and lovely. See, thank you for the opportunity. Thanks, Paul.

Speaker 2 (36:12):

Cheer. Not at all. Thank you very much, indeed. Well, cheers.

Speaker 1 (36:19):

Hope you enjoyed today’s episode. Please feel free to check us out on our website, digital for our past episodes. We’ll be back next month, but on the last Wednesday of every month, as we are with more great stories and guests see you, then.

The Digital Village Show

The Digital Village Show: I get knocked down, but I get up again!” With Fred Schebesta.

Season 2: Episode 5

It may be cliché to say “it’s ok to make mistakes”, but for those willing to understand the logic behind them and not immediately dismiss them as irrelevant, clichés can hold valuable lessons.

Fred Schebesta has faced his fair share of failure but as one of Australia’s most recognisable entrepreneurs can assert that it is in fact ok to make mistakes…

As a co-founder of a half-billion dollar organisation, Finder, and a multitude of other ventures, Fred is a self-proclaimed lover of growing businesses from nothing to make them ‘Go Live’ – the title of his latest book.

In S02EP05 of That Digital Village Show, we sat down with Fred to discuss dealing with failure, building a sustainable business in increments, using the idea of narratives to innovate and whatever else popped into his brilliant mind.


Fred Schebesta

Show transcription

Speaker 1 (00:02):
Welcome back to another episode of that digital village show the show about the latest tech trends news impacting business people and planet. In today’s episode, we have an exciting guest joining us, launching a book recently titled Go Live 10 principles to building a global empire, a founder of the company finder, our familiar host, Luke and pole welcome Fred Shasta, Fred and the digital village team will be diving deep into the topics of success, unlocking the secrets to building and growing a successful digital business and related principles to reach that empirical status. Why you should never give up and even deep dive into the existential realities of doing business in our current environment. So sit back and enjoy.

Speaker 2 (00:48):
Well, welcome back to the DV show or the digital village shows. We now call it of course, cuz we don’t want any confusion about that. Um, Luke is back and our special guest, Fred Shasta, the founder of one of the founders because there were two of finder. Um, great to have you with us, Fred, uh, really looking forward to hearing your story and what you are up to right now.
Speaker 3 (01:10):
Um, thank for having me.
Speaker 2 (01:26):
Now the, the risk of sounding ages. Do you remember a band called tub thumping,
Speaker 3 (01:32):
Tub thumping.
Speaker 2 (01:32):
They had a single back in 1997.
Speaker 2 (01:37):
Song was called. It was Chumba Womba
Speaker 3 (01:40):
I know Chumba Womba that’s right
Speaker 2 (01:40):
And the, and the song was called tub thumping and the first two lines of it, I get, do I get knocked down, but get up again. You’re never gonna knock me down. Yeah. And I only put that in cuz I having read the book go live, which we’ll talk about in a minute, that really resonated with me the fact that you’ve, you’ve had to persevere and you’ve gone through, God knows how many startups and you know, um, experiments that didn’t turn into anything before you actually became successful. Yeah. Is a great Agram we should really try and dig into that a bit later. Yeah,
Speaker 3 (02:14):
Yeah. Um,
Speaker 2 (02:14):
Yeah, that was fascinating. Nice.
Speaker 3 (02:16):
Sum up.
Speaker 2 (02:17):
Thank you. That was
Speaker 3 (02:17):
Really good. Thank you. And you summed it up with a song,
Speaker 2 (02:20):
A song. What?
Speaker 3 (02:22):
It’s a crazy, he’s a man of culture,
Speaker 2 (02:24):
Speaker 3 (02:25):
Speaker 2 (02:26):
Speaker 3 (02:26):
We do, by the way through everyone who’s listening right now. I know this is not a visual, uh, as much visual, you might be watching this, but just so everyone knows, Luke has incredible handwriting. Now somehow he’s an engineer as well. Yes. So that means he must be able to use his left and right brain together. That’s a fairly unique individual. Thank you very much,
Speaker 2 (02:46):
Fred. He is an you’re shame. Talented really? I mean, you know, well,
Speaker 3 (02:50):
You know, we all love to annoy character Paul. Anyway, we can. So you guys are in, if you’re listening right now, very creative. Okay.
Speaker 2 (03:00):
So moving on, we wanna learn a little bit about your life experience, Fred, and also try and give some advice to our listeners around what it is that they need to have to be successful. Now you’ve written a book about it. I’m sure there’s a lot more that you wanna share with us as well. Um, but why didn’t we start with that? What, what inspired you to write the book in the first place?
Speaker 3 (03:20):
Well, um, you know, it was, I guess the middle of COVID. I tried to write a book a few times. Yeah. Um, but I, I sort of started and then wrote like headings and then didn’t really, it didn’t nothing came like, you know, like it didn’t arrive. The university was saying, this is not the right time, similar direction or different ideas. I guess I got knocked down. Then I got back up again and then I, Hey yeah. Um, I would say at least three to four failed attempts solidly, fully, you know, wrote the chapters names, titles. Yeah. Um, one was on like, you know, emotional growth one was on, um, you know, how to build a business, just, you know, I just didn’t feel it. Yeah. But you, you, you end up covering like all of those things really don’t you in, in go live. Yeah. I think, I think it was a, an attempt to try and share the varied and yet, you know, pretty personally personal stories of challenge and in some way, hopefully people got inspired from that. And then also another way I was hoping that there was someone out there who wanted to start something and they just did a little nudge. Yeah. Yeah.
Speaker 2 (04:54):
So did you have that kind of picture in your head when you’re writing it of one person that you were kind of directing this story too, say,
Speaker 3 (05:01):
Hey, I’m gonna, my, my current partner, um, Brenda, who might be listening may probably not listening, but we’ll see. Hopefully she does listen. I do, I have to, I publish a lot of content, so it’s hard to read everything and listen to everything. But, um, I, I actually remember this story when she was starting out and you know, she, she started up her own law firm. It’s called black gold legal mm-hmm and she used to work at, you know, some very, fairly big law firms. And I, I, I remember this experience of like going, Hey, you could just start your own law firm. You’re extremely capable. You can do this. Yeah. And the sort of conversations would actually be, I would just start regaling stories of things I did and say, oh, well, you know, I’m not sure if this is gonna work. It’s like, well, I can tell you about things that don’t work and I’ve done a lot of them.
Speaker 3 (05:45):
Mm-hmm and it’s okay. Yeah. And you just go again. Yeah. Uh, and, and I just, you know, kept on telling stories and stories and stories and I realized those stories are highly constructive and instructive as well. Yes. Yep. Um, and so, and I noticed myself, I I’ve over time, I I’ve I’ve said these stories a lot. And so I thought, okay, maybe we should put these down somewhere. Mm. And the first thing we did was we press record on zoom. And I, I had an interview, um, with, with an editor and he just interviewed me for like four hours, um, three, three times in a row re recorded the whole entire thing. And unfortunately the end of it, he said, look, Fred, I don’t actually know you you’ve covered so many things. I have no idea what to write this book about. so we, we were kind of back at the start again, unfortunately.
Speaker 3 (06:32):
Yes. Um, so I got back up again and, um, that should be a name of the book actually get back up, get back up again. Yeah. Um, in, or a song someone should make a song about that. Yeah. Yeah. And then someone who should write a, make a really cool podcast and introduce a guest with that song, with that song. Um, perfect. That’s like, that feels like the metaverse. Um, metaverse, what’s that, what, what I was thinking, um, is, you know, the written word, if, you know, one of the things, a big shifting finder, what I, I sort of brought and really influenced recently, or not recently, I say in the last three years, particularly at the start of 2020 was to, um, really shift towards narratives. So when people create projects, we write narratives. Yeah. So instead of PowerPoints, you know, PowerPoints are still good, but we, we, we write out, you know, narratives and Amazon really led this.
Speaker 3 (07:30):
And then, you know, there other companies have obviously adopted the similar process. Um, in, in that one of the things I was trying to figure out, why is this process so powerful? And I, one of the things that was, um, I discovered in researching this Amazon, I think Jeff wrote, or, or someone in Amazon said, well, the written word is one of the highest bandwidth tools of humanity. Yeah. Yeah. Like the sh if, if you write something and then you give it out and distribute it, the amount of bandwidth that is packed into that, you know, into a series of words, which are read over and over and over and over again is extraordinarily high. Yep. And so I thought, well, this is, you know, I just forgot that idea, like that idea. And I noticed this as we started writing more and more things down at finder, the amount of context that was shared, the, the level of shared understanding of, you know, why we’re doing things where we’ve come from and you could just go back in time and literally read documents. Yeah. Um, that sort of partially inspired me as well. And so, you know, that’s what sort of kickstarted us in 2020 to, to, to start to write it. Cause I thought, Hey, there’s probably some valuable things that I could share. Why don’t we try and, you know, start to write these down.
Speaker 2 (08:55):
So how much do you think that narrative thing actually influences culture in finder?
Speaker 3 (09:05):
I think now it’s assumed if you haven’t written it down now and you just propose an idea without, you know, you can propose an idea and then back it up as a potential pitch to then write a narrative, to give the full context of your thinking. But if you are just talking about an idea now that’s nowhere has nowhere near as much weight as like, okay, I’ve written this narrative. It’s like, oh, okay. Now you’ve, you can read it. And then, then people can start, start to debate and discuss. And you know, doesn’t necessarily mean the idea is gonna live by the way. No, can, there are many narratives that don’t, um, make a pass, but at least you’ve clarified and purified your thinking. It’s like, what did you actually mean about this? Write it down. Yes. And that, that process, so the, so the process of taking something from your mind and the picture you have yes. To actually translating it into words is, is it actually, well for Luke, it’s a beautiful process for myself. It’s not as beautiful, but it’s certainly a clarifying process.
Speaker 2 (10:01):
Yeah. But for a lot of people, writing is quite a challenge. Being able to do that kind of narrative process without any experience or new structure or guidance. Yeah. Um, is doesn’t come naturally to everybody. Do you provide them with any guidance on how to construct a narrative? Not,
Speaker 3 (10:18):
Not, not really. And, and I, I think what’s interesting about that is, um, there are templates and there are ones you can read. And so you, you get the general idea. Um, the other day, one of our designers and his first language is in English. Mm-hmm , um, his name’s kosha and he wrote a narrative, um, about, actually about a data science problem. Right. wow. So let’s just, just keep context here. Right. So he’s on a data scientist and, um, but he had, he’s trying solve a, you know, a creative problem, Uhhuh and I said, why don’t you write down this problem? He was like, oh, okay. And what I noticed in him writing is the level of inquiry is it’s actually a bit shorter, but it’s more concentrated and higher bandwidth again, mm-hmm because he didn’t have all the waffle. Yeah.
Speaker 3 (11:12):
You know, he, he he’s literally like from a design perspective, he’s just gonna write what is needed and exactly no more. Right. And it was like, wow. Like, like, and it was shorter. It was probably, you know, two pages. Yeah. But just that clarifying document, even from, you know, and again, you know, an engineer the other day wrote a, uh, narrative about an NFT. Yeah. And like an NFT is quite an ethereal concept. It’s not just a technical thing to create and build. It’s got a lot of dimensions to it. And so he really covered that entire space. He’s obviously very passionate about it. Mm-hmm but I, I just think it is possible. Um, and, and, and purely just the process is actually what the, the actual really the goal is. Yes. Also then the, the eque of the document.
Speaker 2 (12:00):
So just,
Speaker 4 (12:01):
Sorry, sorry. I was gonna say, yeah. Getting people to you can’t do it without thinking hard about what you’re writing about. Right. And thinking it through.
Speaker 3 (12:07):
Yeah. Agreed.
Speaker 4 (12:08):
And so, yeah, so that, that really brings a more complete and transferable, I guess, as you say, narrative, everybody, and you can pick it up with some confidence and say, okay, somebody’s put a lot of thought and work into this. Yeah. Yeah.
Speaker 3 (12:21):
Speaker 2 (12:21):
Do you think that process actually, um, speeds up the process of innovation? Does it make it easier to kind of filter out things which clearly not gonna make it? I mean, you are kind of man seems to be, you know, fail fast, fail early, um, expect failure because it’s gonna have to happen for you to get to the point where you’ve got something that’s actually practical and needed.
Speaker 3 (12:48):
So maybe I’ll just separate two things there. I just wanted to try. And if I can, this is how I think of that, but maybe it, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s the right way. Um, so when I think about innovation, I think about two different things. So there’s, I just wanted to unpack that slightly and just clarify, cuz I think your, your question is quite, um, concentrated and I just wanna try and lay out a few, the dimensions to it. So the first way I think of that is you’ve got incremental innovation. So, you know, mm-hmm, an improvement. And in that CA that sense, I think a lot of context is needed because what happens is if you, in that, when you, when you do an incremental improvement, one of the challenging parts is, is to understand why things the were way they were before.
Speaker 3 (13:38):
And what are the considerations of other people in making a change? Yeah. Because something’s working, you know, it’s, or it may not be working the best, but at least something, or there was some reason or thinking that has come before you. And I think it’s really important to stand on the shoulders of giants from, from before you, right. And honor that, that a thinking that works. So, so I do think that’s really important. I think it speeds it up mm-hmm cause then everyone’s on the shared understanding and then you’re not like, you know, um, you know, sacrificing things which are actually working because not everyone understood why mm-hmm and, and, and then again, you, then you get to the project and at the end of the project and you’re like, oh, why are we doing this in the first place? It’s like, oh, well, let’s go back to the narrative. Oh, that’s the goal. Oh, that’s why we were here. Understand. Okay, cool. And if someone new comes into the project again, Hey, here’s the narrative for this project again, you’ve got succession planning, these kinds of things. I think so. Yes. I think that speeds up incremental improve innovation. Right. I think in innovation, which are giant leaps forward, so where you are doing something, which is not been done before. Yeah. Where you like
Speaker 4 (14:40):
Starting from scratch, starting
Speaker 3 (14:42):
From yeah. A blank piece of paper where you are, I’d say you have 3% of the data that you are, you need to make this decision. You have a intuition, a piece of data or a customer conversation or something you’re exploring essentially that narrative, I think, um, is a good place to start. Does it, does it solve everything? Is it, is it okay? Let’s talk about what does it actually solve there? Well, one is to clarify the, kind of the, why, why we’re doing this. And, and I think that works in the same way. The part, which I think is the most important part, but about the narrative in the, in the creative sense of that kind of innovation, I don’t think happens on the paper. I think it actually happens outside the paper. So it’s, it’s it’s um, people come together and one idea or one piece of energy is shared and it starts a, another reaction in someone else which opens up their mind serendipitously to another idea, which shares with someone else. And together you get to a place where you didn’t think you were gonna be, and no one’s ever been before. Mm-hmm , that is now your place where you need to be. And I don’t think that happens on the paper unfortunately. Right. So it’s more of a catalyst
Speaker 5 (15:56):
In that situation.
Speaker 3 (15:57):
It’s not, it’s not defining. Yeah. It’s an go where yeah, it has to the, that creation and that creativity. And sometimes that happens actually made the work. Um, so you’re like, wow, we made this error. Hey, actually, that’s pretty good. Yeah. What is that? Let’s go with that. And that, that is where I think that happens. So, so I think in this case, the narrative is more, a more like defining an area of initial exploration. Gotcha. Okay. Interesting.
Speaker 4 (16:31):
Yeah, no, it is. And do you think it has to, and that, that communication that happens outside of the writing, like talking to somebody else and then working through those I ideas, do you think that’s something that’s really critical to that process when we talk about catalyzing? The idea?
Speaker 3 (16:48):
Yeah. I think that, so I, I, I think that maybe I’m old school, but I just think of it like two, two triangles. So it could, I think it’s supposed to be a double diamond, or I don’t know,
Speaker 4 (16:59):
I’ve heard of this,
Speaker 3 (16:59):
But all I can think of is two triangles. So in the beginning, you know, really expanding your thinking. Yeah. Throwing out ideas and then with a, with almost a meeting and a purpose where there is no, there’s no place you’re necessarily going, you’re wandering, curious, able to explore, um, you seek horizons, you walk towards places not to get to the horizon, but merely to unlock maybe what are the possibilities that are down there? Yeah. Like when you’re looking at idea, let’s say we were all right now gonna, you know, we’re gonna make, you know, a rocket and this rocket, his intention was to, um, you know, see if we can quickly transport dogs, you know, into space. Well, firstly, we, neither of us probably know that much about rocketry. I don’t know if, well, maybe, maybe, maybe I shouldn’t. I shouldn’t Paul
Speaker 2 (17:51):
Looks no, you’re right. You’re right. Wouldn’t know we don’t. No,
Speaker 3 (17:54):
Speaker 2 (17:55):
I’m an engineer, but I know nothing about rocket
Speaker 3 (17:56):
Speaker 4 (17:57):
Engineer. Yeah.
Speaker 3 (17:58):
But I mean, you know, we would then need to go learn about rocketry, um, uh, you know, um, escape, velocities, the effects of gravity, um, all sorts of things that we don’t really know that much about. And so normally when you are creating something brand new, you’re going normally into a space where you may not have the domain knowledge, um, to be able to effectively debate and discuss. So you tend to talk in generics and or yeah. And then once you go down that place or that horizon and you start to learn this new field or this new, you know, let’s learn about solidity programming, learn about Ethereum and how does it work? And you’re going down to the basement of cryptocurrency. What you start to learn there is, okay. These are maybe actually more spaces we should potentially go and explore again. So it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s almost a, and I think honor that honoring that process is hard in companies.
Speaker 4 (18:57):
I was gonna say, yeah, cuz it needs a lot of time undirected activity and something where I think people who are overseeing that activity as well in the organization, they say, what are we gonna get at the end of it? We don’t know
Speaker 3 (19:13):
and why are you doing it?
Speaker 4 (19:15):
It’s hard to do supply in many organizations. Yeah.
Speaker 3 (19:18):
Where, where, what is our goal here? Our goal is to find a goal. Yeah, yeah, yeah. It’s like, wow, what did that, what is that? You know, I, I was what the other night I was watching and, and, and just learning initially how unity works, like the, the 3d programming language for games and how it interacts with blockchains. And I literally, you know, did an hour tutorial on how that worked. I, I don’t think I’m necessarily the best coder or anything like that, but I just wanted to understand what exactly is this thing, you know, what is, how does the blockchain actually work with, um, games? Like how do they connect together? I just wanted to understand, okay. I wanted to go actually look at the fundamentals. And so then I can talk more competently and we can start to innovate.
Speaker 4 (19:58):
Yeah. Okay. So that’s a good example of that then like Fred’s gonna go and learn about unity. So it’s gonna enable more, I guess, informed conversations elsewhere that I guess become more productive. Yeah.
Speaker 3 (20:12):
And, and, and now coming all the way back. Yeah. That may form part of the narrative that may form part of the appendix. Um, that context, it may be required. Reading required learning, um, it’ll inform, um, the type of team, the, the, the, the, um, types of tools we need to find, um, identify partners and companies, um, influences, um, experts, courses that we need to go and refer to look at and consider. Mm. And that’s like, you know, if you think about it milit, it’s like, these are the logistics and the supply chain that you need to go and fund this exploration mission. Right. Yeah. That’s right. So that’s, so you keep going,
Speaker 4 (20:54):
That’s the foundation of your like roadmap forward.
Speaker 3 (20:58):
Yeah. Yeah. And I think, I think that’s really hard, you know, that’s why, you know, big leaps in thinking big leaps in innovation are hard because it’s an, it’s an UN, uh, exact science of it’s seriously. Yeah. Wandering. Yeah. You’re literally wandering around. Yeah. Yep. And I encourage that in our team. So in our, in our S I run the ventures team at finder, which this is what we do. We literally wander, you know, we wander around and we make, we made a game the other day and we haven’t launched it. And we, we made, um, a little app that transfers money between people in our finder app. It’s on one of our versions. It fully works, you know, it’s like, like we just wander. Right. What does this actually feel like? What does it actually mean? What does that yeah. What does it do? What does that say? You know, cause you talk about it, like, Hey, we should send money between people. Cool. And like, that’s the end of that. Yeah. Yeah. And it’s like, that’s the end of the idea of that feeling. Whereas now when you go to that horizon, right. So you go to that place, you walk down towards that area. Now you, you sit there and you’re like, huh, this is what this place looks like. And that’s really interesting. And now what do we see from here?
Speaker 4 (22:06):
Yeah. What does it enable or yeah. What new opportunities does it create?
Speaker 3 (22:11):
And that’s a hard process. Right. And that’s, that’s something I think, you know, as, as a leader or, or anyone who’s, you know, a manager at a company, one of the most important roles is to assign capital. Right. So where do you put people’s time? Yep. Um, the second one obviously is operational excellence, but those two things are the most important things. And signing capital to that. Inexact science is hard. Yeah.
Speaker 2 (22:37):
It is hard. And I would imagine quite difficult to, um, to distribute in a fair and even way across a, a large team. I mean, how many people are there in finder now
Speaker 3 (22:49):
Must be at least 300
Speaker 2 (22:50):
It’s 300 plus
Speaker 3 (22:51):
Speaker 2 (22:52):
Yeah. Yeah. And how many of them are, are encouraged to, to go down that road that you are describing? Well,
Speaker 3 (22:57):
You know, we, one of the, the, the values of Fonda, the third value is to go live and there is a real exploratory feeling to that value. Right. Of, of going live of getting, putting things out there. And, you know, um, we talk about the idea that, you know, anything on your computer, um, doesn’t exist until it’s on the internet.
Speaker 2 (23:16):
Speaker 3 (23:17):
Yeah. Which is kind of whack, which is kind of true, right. It doesn’t, it’s on the internet and it didn’t happen. Um, we, so I definitely think people are, they do go live and they do experiment, but this, this level of dedicated, assigned time to wandering to places is a, is, is a defined area of finder in the ventures team.
Speaker 2 (23:38):
Right. Right. Okay. And over the, the sort of 22 plus years that find has been in existence, I was really fascinated by the fact that you focus so highly on Australia as a market first, and the second country that you went to was the states, is that right? Um, but that was some 10 years after the company was founded. So just looking at the, kind of, um, that, the history of a lot of innovation in the internet space, that seems like a long period of time from one country to the next, was that deliberate or was that a factor of the market or, you know, was that a decision? The leadership team was taking what, what was kind of the driver behind? Okay. Let’s take our time. Let’s make sure it works here first. And then we’ll start thinking about the next place.
Speaker 3 (24:26):
Mm it’s interesting. Um, reflecting back like that. And in the, in the moment, in the time, I think to give context, like Fondo a, was a, you know, a bootstrap company for, you know, only to we had our first, we had, we first ran a funding ever last year.
Speaker 2 (24:44):
Goodness. Just to a new context. Wow. Yeah. Okay. That’s, that’s impressive.
Speaker 3 (24:48):
So, so, you know, casually funded business, you know, we ran a profitable business. It’s not like a, a fast growth business. It’s more of a slow, um, slow as right. The word it’s, it’s more of a, we work fast at finder, but it’s just, we don’t recklessly grow for growth sake. Um, you know, it’s, it’s very Warren Buffy in a way really. Yeah.
Speaker 2 (25:12):
But it’s, it makes it even more remarkable actually that, that you’ve, you’ve managed to, to grow the company that way, because that is not the way that most, you know, dot com companies or that the leading digital companies have actually grown, you know, they’ve all grown by being fueled by these big capital raises huge increases in, in capital. Yeah. Which have taken the valuation up and given them what they needed to grow. So to do it organically is a phenomenal achievement.
Speaker 4 (25:41):
I know, but also creates expectation.
Speaker 2 (25:42):
Doesn’t it? Well, it does.
Speaker 4 (25:43):
We’ve given you mega bucks now you shall grow.
Speaker 3 (25:47):
Speaker 4 (25:47):
That’s it. And yeah. So do you feel like that you could take, you could take that more considered approach that you were describing to, to growth. Yeah. Because you were, you know, boots, strapped and
Speaker 3 (25:58):
Yeah. I, I think, I think, yeah, it’s the same, it, I think it should be the same equation, whether you have big money or not. Yeah, really. Um, it
Speaker 2 (26:06):
Should be, but it is.
Speaker 3 (26:08):

Speaker 2 (26:08):
Very rarely anyway,
Speaker 3 (26:10):
We, you know, I think it depends on the clarity of the growth and the clarity of the business model and the opportunity if it’s very clear and obvious, and it’s literally, we just need to do more of this and do it in a bigger sense then, you know, there are times when we have grown definitely faster and we knew what we were, what, why we were doing that. And we, we just added on, because we knew this was gonna work cuz we’d done it before then I think it’s slightly, that’s a different risk return trade. Mm. Um, I think when you are like pot shotting, like you don’t really know and there’s a lot of money, then you’re gonna make a lot of mistakes. Yes. And I think that’s what there’s not really seen is that there are huge numbers of projects in like Amazon and Google that literally have, you know, tens of millions, if not hundreds of millions and they’d never make it.
Speaker 2 (27:03):
Of course. Yeah.
Speaker 3 (27:04):
Um, and, and that’s the same thing, right. That’s them just trying to start a new business and they fail. It’s just actually just a startup
Speaker 2 (27:09):
Speaker 3 (27:10):
And funded as well, but they just fund it from their balance sheet. Yeah. Which is the same thing as what we kind of do in a way, um, just in a small scale.
Speaker 2 (27:19):
But to your point, you know, even with, with companies that have got a really good business model, I mean, I’m thinking of Klarner who have just announced, you know, an 85% drop in their valuation based on what’s happening on the stock market at the moment, nothing wrong with their business model. You know, people need to borrow money to buy stuff. This is, you know, gone on for millennia, but because they have been funded by these huge capital raises, the valuation went up to what, 450 billion at one point, um, and has dropped, you know, right back down. But it’s been inflated because they’ve had these big cap raises, which have kind of driven the perception of value way in excess of what they were able to, to deliver from a revenue
Speaker 3 (28:00):
Or expected value. Right.
Speaker 2 (28:01):
Or expected value
Speaker 3 (28:02):
That’s value they expected to grow into.
Speaker 2 (28:04):
Yeah. Whereas your model, I think is much more, uh, it’s got a lot more integrity to it because it’s, it’s basically saying, you know, we, we have to be able to prove to ourselves that our business has value in of itself and that it grows through our efforts to make it so not somebody else just chucking money at it.
Speaker 3 (28:22):
Yeah. And I, I agree with you and I think, um, maybe to wrap that back, so let’s go, if you go all the way back, what does that mean? Well, we have to make something valuable to the customer. Yep. We have to find product market fit. Yep. Um, and we’ve had lots of things that have not, you know, we built a marketplace during COVID and we shut that down after about five months, like a full on marketplace, you could buy and find out you could list products. It was full on. So we thought eCommerce is gonna be massive. Yes. Yeah. And then we kind of like thought, okay, maybe there’s a gap here, but we didn’t really do enough of what that exact gap was. And we realized that actual sheer depth and, um, moat there is it’s, it’s like, it’s, it’s not a moat, like a barrier that stops you in front of you.
Speaker 3 (29:15):
It’s just the sheer length and depth of data, um, people to contact and, um, almost connect connections that you need to build to get to a, a reasonable size of whether enough buyers and sellers to create that network effect. Yeah. The, the amount of, um, activation energy that needs to put in is enormous. It’s enormous. Yeah. And you know, when you’re really late to the game, like eBay’s been around sold, I mean, listed, you know, it’s kind of been done. Books have been written about it. I’m pretty sure the guy from trade me in the New Zealand, this has probably a rip off, but he just literally read the eBay book and then copy pasted. like, you know, the book was already written. It just, literally there was nothing in New Zealand, you know, like yeah. That sense. It’s a good opportunity, right? Yeah. Whereas we’re like, okay, eBays here, it’s number 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 top sellers.
Speaker 3 (30:17):
And that was probably, you know, a little bit of a, you know, it was a poor, but it wasn’t a, it wasn’t, it wasn’t, it, it, it, it definitely failed, but it taught us to a lot of things. And there are, there are pieces of things that now we have used in other ways, really. Um, so you kind of, yeah. So taking payments, like we never took any payments, no one gave no customer gave finder money. Never. Yeah. Okay. It was like, it’s a free service. Right. And we were like, people are willing to give finder money. Like that was a, that, that, that as an idea was not like we were like, you are willing to give us money revolutionary. Yeah. Like to us internally, that’s like, everyone else is like, obviously getting money we’re like of us. Like, would you give us some money?
Speaker 3 (31:05):
Are you sure you wanna, like, you’ve never given us any money before, you know, that, that, that seems, it’s kind of like a, if you think of it, it’s a, an idea wall that we broke down and then now new nuances were able to be formed. It’s like, oh, well, we are, we can take payments now. You know, we subscribe, what, what do you take them for? Well, you know, we started collecting money from customers and so people could list their products on finder. They still can list their products, they list their business bot. So we just slightly changed it. Oh, okay.
Speaker 3 (31:43):
Excuse me. Um, and that, that just, that just wasn’t an idea we would ever do. It just wouldn’t happen. Right. No one would, you know, no customer will give finder a credit card. It just, you know, that had improved, obviously our payment terms, cuz you kind of almost go to negative negative terms because someone prepays your, you, you kinda owe their money. Really. Yeah. Mm-hmm , you know, so you going negative, which is really, you know, it’s good for the business, you know, to a crew. Yeah. You go the other way around, you know, you get a liability. Yeah. Yeah. Um, I don’t know if that’s the accounting treatment by the way, but I just, it is never enough. Yeah. A nuance um, it is, you know, I think, you know, we also think now, Hey, could, could we build a subscription? Well, people are willing to give us money.
Speaker 3 (32:28):
That idea can now be, you know, that, that, that barrier is no longer a barrier, you know? And, and so, so let’s actually extend that. So people will give us money. Okay. Now we built a wallet in, in, in finder, in the, in the app and it, you know, it has, you know, I don’t know, north of tens of millions of dollars in it. And people are willing to buy crypto with, from finder again. Oh, well, people are willing to give finder money. So maybe they’re willing to trade with us. I suppose it’s a nice leap and not, not too far away. Cool. So, you know, I think, I think that’s, I think there’s, you know, I think of it, like, you know, you build sort of a, a, a, um, a construction, it kind of like gets taken to this, you know, tip, but the energy and the idea barriers it crossed, come into existence are kind of like, you know, when I think about you, you imagine you got on a ship right now for the very first time, like a wooden ship and you came to Australia and all you saw was Bush.
Speaker 3 (33:35):
And you know, like, like snakes and insects and birds flying around and some kangaroos, you know, and, and, and, and obviously some, some, some people who originally were here and you are like, whoa, okay. Let’s say we wanna walk from that first beach to a stream. No one’s ever been well, well, people have been on that route, but I mean, no one has a clear map that’s been written to go to that path. Like, we didn’t even know if we can get any water in the first place. Okay. So we don’t even know if we can survive. Oh, that’s a bit of a problem. All right. So imagine that first person going that path, maybe, maybe, maybe two people set off and one person comes back. Okay. That’s kind of bad, but like, you know, that path gets formed. Yep. Now, and I think of it like an idea bridge inside an organization.
Speaker 3 (34:23):
It’s, it’s like, you know, once you start to be okay with doing something like that, that gives birth to now, that road gets formed and that’s, that’s normal. So now say that path to the water was established. Okay. So now we need another path and we’re thinking, Hey, can we make it from here to the wood, to the forest? Cause we need some wood. Cause we need to build our houses and you know, those kind of things. Yeah. Yes. We’re okay with exploring one we’re okay. Because we’ve built a road before two, we’ve worked out how to survive. You know, these are kinds of things and skills and muscles that you’d start to learn.
Speaker 4 (34:54):
That was the new normal, right? Yeah. It goes from, here’s the thing we’ve never done before. Oh, now we do it all the time and river confident to like take the next
Speaker 3 (35:02):
Step. I’ll give you the most extreme example. Um, you know, we’ve, we obviously have this new wallet, business and finder. Yeah. And it’s, it’s obviously a very small percentage of our revenue. Um, and, and you know, I think some people can see that as like, oh, well, you know, you know, we’re spending all this resources and it’s only for a small owner revenue. Well, let’s go back all the way back in time. And I remember sitting in a, you know, we, we had a, we had a, a boardroom, which was a hexagon. It was kind of interesting cuz no one sat in the middle, which at the head of the table, which was kind of nice. Yeah. Cool. And we had 12 ideas, all written on a four pieces of paper. They were, I’d say max three or four sentences with a title. And they were literally just put it on the paper, on the, on the, on the, on the table. I can still see it now. And we just voted on which ideas we go for. Yeah. And four of them were chosen and one of them just happened to be finder three of them failed and literally that’s how we began.
Speaker 2 (35:58):
That’s start.
Speaker 3 (35:59):
So, so like, you know, yeah. We chose a great idea back then, but that’s the nature of it. Right. So we are still trying to choose ideas. Now they just don’t look like what Fonda looks like today. It look, they look like, you know, a wallet that, that you know, is making some money, but it’s, and, and that’s hard, you know, that’s a, that’s a, that’s a hard idea because every see everything, you see all the structures, everything you see around you inside an organization looks like the, what the, what, what, what the organization is today. And it’s very hard sometimes to see what it was. Yeah. I can imagine Microsoft was maybe a tiny office with a few, um, people sitting around coding dos and like getting a call from IBM and like quickly better get in the car and drive on over. Yes. You know, like, or get enough, let’s look at airplane flights and figure out, maybe there wasn’t, you know, let’s go and call up a travel agent. Maybe that’s how they did. I dunno how they did it back then. But you know, before the internet, before there were hashtags, you know yeah. Before there was to, um, you know, I, I think,
Speaker 2 (37:01):
And mobile phones.
Speaker 3 (37:02):
Yeah. Cell phones, by the way, here’s a question for you. I remember. So I used to, when in the beginning I sold websites and I used to drive around all around Sydney. Yeah. For distances to try and win business. And I did a relatively solid, you know, three outta 10 success rate, but I was re I realized we didn’t have GPSs then no. And we looked at the, you know, the, the book of
Speaker 2 (37:27):
Maps, you have a Z, did you? Yeah. Yeah.
Speaker 3 (37:29):
Like, like an, a Z. Um, and, and, and, and what I’m trying to remember is how did we know how long it would take?
Speaker 2 (37:39):
Oh, what an interesting question. I don’t think we did. I think,
Speaker 3 (37:43):
How did we know we’re gonna be on time?
Speaker 2 (37:44):
I think we just sort of had that cognitive process kinda it’s from a, to B, it’s gonna take us that long. Yeah. Like how could we
Speaker 3 (37:50):
Possibly know that you
Speaker 2 (37:52):
Wouldn’t know?
Speaker 3 (37:52):
And, and obviously, well,
Speaker 2 (37:53):
You’d look at it in terms of, it’s this number of kilometers, I’m gonna be doing X number of kilometers per hour. You’re gonna take me an hour. Yeah.
Speaker 3 (37:59):
Whatever I agree with you roughly. But I was thinking like, and I agree. And I was like, but I was thinking about it the other day. I was like, I was like, like, have we become worse estimators? Cause we’re so precise now
Speaker 2 (38:11):
Completely. I, I
Speaker 4 (38:12):
Would say yes,
Speaker 2 (38:12):
A hundred percent, definitely
Speaker 4 (38:14):
A hundred percent because everything is, I guess, everything is very, it’s easy to make loose plans as well, because we’re all very contactable. And, but also we’re very used to getting precise answers. It’ll take 37 minutes to get from here to over there. That’s that’s fine. And so,
Speaker 2 (38:30):
But when it doesn’t take 37 minutes, how, how off do you get? I,
Speaker 4 (38:33):
I know it’s so annoying.
Speaker 2 (38:34):
It’s like the weather fall comes. I mean, you know, the technology that sits behind the weather forecast is extraordinary. Yeah. But how many times is it wrong? Well, it seems like it’s wrong more often than it’s. Right. But that’s only because we have a very high expectation it’s gonna be right.
Speaker 3 (38:47):
One. So I just wanna build on this idea if I can slow. I don’t, if I’m taking it too much of a tangent from, so just on this idea, and I think it’s a really important idea, um, is to recognize how poor humans are at forecasting, the future. Like we are just average, I’d say below average. Yes. Really rotten, like people,
Speaker 2 (39:11):
Even when we’ve got data to back it up.
Speaker 3 (39:13):
Yeah. Proper, like what the, like, like a hundred years of data of population growth. And we’re trying to predict this number. No, no idea. No
Speaker 2 (39:20):
Outcome of an election. No idea.
Speaker 3 (39:22):
Yeah. um, so, um, what I, what I, what I wanna sort of take that data point. Right. And I, I think what’s interesting in coming all the way back to the innovation question is I think in that moment of creation, one of the inputs that you’re trying to also encounter and deal with is what is the future gonna look like? Right. So you are not planning when you’re innovating for three months, six, probably not even 12. It probably took a good 18 months before the finder app took any shape at all. Robert, we took two years before it started to gain some traction with its wallet and probably two and a half years before we built the earn product. You know, it’s like, like, think about, that’s a significant, terrible lack of ability to forecast the future, right? Like shocking two and a half years to wait until we’ve got some P think, okay, let’s turn that a round up.
Speaker 3 (40:19):
Let’s submit that. Maybe just, maybe we are just not great at forecast in the future. And if you look on earth, like this is probably a big statement and there might be some thing that I don’t realize does as well, but I’d say almost all of biology also is pretty bad at predicting the future. And doesn’t really spend that much time doing it. They don’t sit around and go, Hmm. Well, you know, I think this is probably gonna be a mass extinction coming. We probably should forecast for that and deal with it. And those kind of things that’s not gonna happen. Right. So, so, so in general, what do they do? I think this is interesting, right? Yeah. And I think this is what the, the, the zeitgeist of today is about is I think what they spend their time doing is focusing on their ability to adapt.
Speaker 3 (41:08):
Yeah. So, so the ability to respond, to change, to move, to, to, to, to, to take new inputs and as quickly as possible, translate them into an output that’s relevant. Yeah. Timely and valuable to customers. So given that, I think, you know, this is future forecast. If I was looking at, you know, companies and markets, as you were talking about before, I think if you right now were to index companies on their adaptability, I think you’re gonna see the winners in the next two to three years. Mm. And who would you put in that category? Well, you know, for example, I think there are, there are fast followers as well. Like Microsoft does a great job. It’s like, and no slight in no hand, you know, Samsung did it for years and still does, but Microsoft, you know, saw hip chat, saw slack and made teams.
Speaker 3 (42:07):
And I don’t think they, you know, I’m not saying like that’s good or bad or by them, but they adapt quickly. Yes. You know, they do a good job. Yeah. And they rally teams around it and they, they put engineers and they put a product set around it and it works and it, you know, it builds onto their thing. I think that’s a good thing. Um, you know, I don’t think necessarily I was the inventor of comparison as an idea that that’s an age old idea that’s been around forever and it was in print magazines beforehand. We just did a really good job of adapting. And we, we do a good job of adapting and to new things. Right. You know, so during COVID we started, you know, comparing heavily stocks cause stocks are really popular, um, where to buy them cryptocurrencies, face masks, rat tests, you know, these are all massive things that came.
Speaker 3 (42:53):
Energy’s a big deal right now. A price of energy. People are switching their energy massively right now, which they should, by the way, that’s small tip, there’s lot, a lot of money to be saved and you get a hundred dollars in the, find a wallet. That’s a small promotion, shameless shame of this promotion. Remember that? Go for it. Yeah. Um, so, you know, I think indexing on that I think is really strong. Yeah. Um, there are things that don’t really change that much. You know, bricks, people are still buying bricks. People are still buying steel. Um, they still need iron. You know, there are certain things that I don’t think are changed that much. And there have large lengths of persistence. Um, you know, they’re gonna take a large period of time to sort of unwind that the car bunk on top of human’s behaviors, right.
Speaker 3 (43:47):
Those are the kind of things you’re looking for. It’s gonna take a long time to change some of those things. But there are other areas where I think if I was to, you know, other companies that adapting fast, you know, I think teams is, it started out pretty average and it’s gotten better. I think, um, you know, LinkedIn keeps, you know, I think moving a little bit. I like LinkedIn. I don’t know. I think maybe I’m just the odd one. Um, everyone everyone’s hanging out on, on, I don’t know, Instagram and TikTok these days and I’m the one on LinkedIn still. I, I like the place, you know, the reason why, you know, why I like it is cuz it’s clean and well lit. Yes. You know who you’re speaking to. Yes you do.
Speaker 2 (44:31):
But I mean to
Speaker 3 (44:32):
There’s some accountability to that.
Speaker 2 (44:33):
Yeah. I, I agree. I, I think it, it, it can be a little bit banal sometimes
Speaker 3 (44:39):
Can be boring. Yeah.
Speaker 2 (44:40):
Uh, and a bit boring and, and uh, you know, you need, you need to be in the right groups to, to get value out of it. But I, I agree with you. I think it, it serve a really useful purpose. The thing that really surprises me about LinkedIn is there is no competitor to it. There is no viable competitor to LinkedIn. That’s right. Why hasn’t anybody had a go
Speaker 4 (44:59):
As much as people
Speaker 2 (45:00):
Complain, creating something that addresses some of the shortcomings of LinkedIn
Speaker 3 (45:04):
Must be a hard problem.
Speaker 2 (45:06):
It must be a hard problem. Yeah. Yeah. You wouldn’t think it would be that right. I mean, you know, a massive market for million news is whatever it is.
Speaker 4 (45:13):
Yeah. But building something to get a network effect from the ground
Speaker 3 (45:17):
Up. Yeah.
Speaker 2 (45:18):
Another company has been around for a long time and survived a lot of things, but, uh, yeah. I’m surprised it hasn’t got any viable competitors.
Speaker 3 (45:28):
I think so building on, you know, those other companies, things which are new, but have become slightly less popular, but if they make it through, they’ll always still have that moat and that brand from, from, you know, that COVID digitization, we went through. So, you know, I think Zoom’s a good example. Right. So what is the difference these days between zoom and Google meetings and teams? Like, it’s kind of, not much, maybe, I don’t know. Everyone has their preferences, right?
Speaker 2 (46:02):
Yeah. Just of a personal preference thing or a company preference thing. And it’s like really any kind of logic to
Speaker 3 (46:09):
Now. It’s, it’s gotten
Speaker 2 (46:10):
Better than another. Yeah. I don’t think they’re all, it’s like your energy
Speaker 3 (46:12):
Company. You don’t really care. No. Um, no disrespect to anyone who works in energy, but
Speaker 2 (46:17):
no, but I mean, if you’re a Microsoft user, it’s, it’s the go-to product. Right.
Speaker 4 (46:21):
And it’s dictated often by, you know, your company, your organization, what sort of infrastructure they’re bought into,
Speaker 2 (46:27):
Why would you want to go to zoom if you’ve got Microsoft 365? I mean, it’s, um, you know, one of those things really isn’t it. Yeah. And if you’re into Google, same thing, it’s a platform choice.
Speaker 3 (46:37):
And I think there’s cost savings now everyone’s quite conscious about, so I think zoom is one of those ones where they need to find that next thing, that next angle. And I bet you, that’s what they’re talking about all day in their just going, we need another feature or hook or, or
Speaker 2 (46:58):
Speaker 3 (46:59):
To keep.
Speaker 2 (47:00):
Yeah. So because that was the event. Yeah. I mean the pandemic was the event for zoom. If they, if they hadn’t had that pandemic, would they be as big as they are now? Probably not because Microsoft and Google would’ve swallowed up the market.
Speaker 3 (47:15):
Yeah. It’s, it’s definitely, um, you know, I think, I think we, we were using zoom maybe two or three years before the pandemic and because it was just easier and it was just better. Yeah. But that, I think we were, we were like, everyone else was sending us, you know, WebEx and, and, you know, Google meets and stuff like that. Um, we would send a zoom link and everyone was like, oh, you could actually share your screen. You know? Like it works. Yeah. You know? Um, so, so I guess what, I’m, what I’m trying to submit, but is that’s a good example of a company where, you know, if they make it through, they’ve almost, they’ve got a verb, you know, zoom me, you’ve got a great position. You’ve gotta play great place. If they just need to stabilize, they need to show that they can adapt and be resilient through this. And then great. Fortunes will be on the other side.
Speaker 2 (48:10):
Fair enough. Can I talk about crypto?
Speaker 3 (48:13):
Speaker 2 (48:14):
What’s happening.
Speaker 3 (48:15):
It’s all happening.
Speaker 2 (48:17):
is it, is it gonna recover? I mean, I, it’s been a really brutal couple of months. Um, and I know that you’ve, you’ve invested in that, that area itself. What, what would you say to people who are thinking of investing crypto?
Speaker 3 (48:32):
So, you know, I always think start starts more start with the amount of money you’re willing to just lose start there.
Speaker 2 (48:38):
So, because most of us have yeah. Lost
Speaker 3 (48:42):
In. Well, it depends, you know, if you bought, if even if you bought the all time high in 2018, 2019, I think you’d at least break, even if not slightly up right now, mm-hmm, just, you know, to give gut context. So, you know, if you bought any time before 2018, you are up like that’s. Yeah. So, and the new high, you know, what, 64,000 it’s pretty high 60, I think it might be 68 when I touched. Um, so, and if you just zoom back, let’s go back further. Um, in 2013, Bitcoin crossed, I think it was a thousand dollars for the first time, and then it crashed down to $150. So you’re down 85%. That’d be a pretty big loss. Right. But that it hit a thousand dollars was a remarkable thing. Now imagine if Bitcoin went to a thousand dollars, how much would you buy?
Speaker 3 (49:36):
Like as much as you could possibly load up probably. Right. Yeah. Yeah. So, so think of that perception and zoom back in time. And now what’s hard is to say actually, maybe right now we’re at the $150 mark, potentially mm-hmm like, I’m not, I’m not, this is not financial advice. No, no, but yeah, we that’s, right. Yeah. not expecting every market gets to this point where it goes through these, you know, exorbitant, exuberance, and then fear and, you know, um, hopelessness. Yeah. Hope, you know, um, capitulation, um, anger, um, despair and, and, and normally, and, and depends on you. You’ve got obviously gotta back a company or a, a crypto that is gonna survive and is gonna, you know, continue on. And if you do that during those times, that’s when you tend to actually make your money, you buy in those times when those extreme fear, um, you know, despair, um, and those kinds of beliefs.
Speaker 3 (50:44):
So, so right now, I think is the time where I personally am adding. So I’m, I see this as like, I believe mm-hmm, , I’m a believer in what crypto’s doing. I think it’s just the beginning of like, just at the, at the beginning of the internet, it’s only just started and there are more engineers and developers and designers and accountants and smart business people going into it. It’s not like, it’s not like people are leaving. It’s like people are going in, more people are going in more courses are being taught like more, um, like kids now talk about their NFTs and their cryptocurrencies than they do, you know, talk about their, um, you know, their baseball cards or their, um, online gaming or stocks. Yeah. But like, you know, your young kids that know how to do technical analysis, you know, for stock trading mm-hmm or, or, or, or crypto trading.
Speaker 3 (51:40):
And they’re learning that as such a young age, imagine what they’re gonna be like in 20 years time. I think it’s an incredible education. Yes. It’s like a, like a, yeah, they might have lost some money. They might have made some money as well. I know a lot of people who have made very good money and have helped their family and, you know, put their kids through school. Um, I know single moms that have, you know, just, just collective, like consistently invested throughout time. And now, you know, they take care of their, their, their child. You know, there’s all sorts of different stories, right? Selling is the hard part, obviously with all these things, cuz you get really exuberant and, but this is a time I think where I believe, and I’m not going anywhere now. I’ll, I’m here to here to keep, um, building.
Speaker 3 (52:25):
And um, I think this is another one of those lows. Talk about it again. Like I remember 2017, 2018, when we hit $3,800, Bitcoin hit 3,800 from a high of 20 grand. I remember the day I was sitting there, I was watching the chart and I saw it capitulate and everyone thought it was dead. It was like, oh this is over. People were leaving. They like left, you know, I’m just like, and I just stayed. I was like, ah, quite right. You’ve gotta have been here for the long term. Haven’t you really that’s the thing. Yeah. Amazon stock just after crash, you know, that hit like ridiculous prices. And there are people who write letters to Jeff Bezos thinking him for putting their kids through college. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Like, but that’s, that’s what it is. Right? That’s that’s, that’s, that’s, that’s the creation of wealth.
Speaker 3 (53:13):
That’s where you believe where you understand where you’ve got someone and a group of, of other people, right. Coming together to create wealth, to bring wealth. And there are other people who take the risk and invest with those managers, invest with those people to create something great. And they deserve those gains. Cause they took the risk. And also the people who did the work, they deserve the gains because they did the work to go and get that. And so the, the whole system works. And so I think this is one of those times where people’s belief in crypto are questioned. And you know, if you don’t believe in Bitcoin anymore, look, I’m happy to put my Bitcoin address at the bottom of this podcast. You, everyone can send me there. Bitcoin. It’s fine. I get it. You’re over it. Totally understand. I’ll hold onto it, you know, for you probably won’t, you know, if, if you’re not into it, that’s fine. I’ll hold.
Speaker 2 (54:05):
Okay. So I think we’re going to do that, and we’ll also put a link into your book and to find the, uh, and if anybody obviously wants to send you money, I’m sure you’ll say yes as well. Fred, Fred. Thank you so much for joining us and great conversation. Really good to have you here and, uh, best of luck in whatever you’re gonna do next. We’re gonna be keeping an eye out for that too. Um, but thank you very much, indeed.
Speaker 3 (54:27):
Really amazing conversation. And, really looking forward to seeing what’s coming next. I, I’m, I’m sure it won’t be what you expect. thanks a lot. All the better there. Cheers.
Speaker 1 (54:44):
Hope you enjoy today’s episode. Feel free to check our other episodes out on any of the major podcast channels If you enjoyed what you heard today, we’d love a subscribe follow, or even a share. It really helps us out, but on that note, stay safe and I look forward to catching you on the next episode of that digital village show.

Post Grid #4

How To Choose The Right Technology For Your Business.

Steven GreenSep 20, 20225 min read

Technology is a key driver of success and provides a solution to many of the challenges faced by businesses today,…

The Digital Village Show

The Digital Village Show: Decentralised Internet and Cyberbullying

Episode 7

In the next episode, Jason and Paul are delighted to be joined by Australia’s eSafety Commissioner, Julie Inman-Grant.

The decentralised internet:

There’s been a lot in the press recently covering the idea of a decentralised internet, with some cynics saying it’s a utopian fever dream that will never come to fruition. It’s easy to imagine how it would remove some of the dominance of the big tech companies, and put more control in the hands of consumers and communities, but wouldn’t a decentralised just become even more out of control than the one we have today?

What is it? The services that are decentralised today?

Pluses and risks and the Commission’s approach.

Cyberbullying and crime!

Australia leads the world in its approach to cyberbullying and protecting our citizens online. The government online safety act was passed into law in June this year.

It’s a world-first and empowers the government eSafety Commissioner to force removal of cyber abuse and exact fines on those who do not comply with the new act.

And they’ve only just got started. As the technology landscape continues to evolve and online media channels emerge in ever more exotic forms, the eSafety team is pressing for more codes and standards to guide the industry to a better, safer customer experience.


Julie Inman-Grant

Australia’s eSafety Commissioner

Julie Inman-Grant’s credentials are as formidable as her remit is daunting. Both a mother and having a global leadership roles in Microsoft and Twitter forming policies and programmes covering safety, privacy and philanthropy. Jaulie’s is currently the eSafety Commissioner has led her to be described by the Australian press as ‘one of the nations most influential women’, and a moniker that really stood out was the picked up at the World Economic Forum in 2020 as one of the #Agile50 – the world’s most influential leaders revolutionising government.

The Digital Village Show

The Digital Village Show: Cyber Security

Episode 6

We’re changing things up for the next event. Covid has hit NSW hard, and our thoughts and prayers to go out to everyone impacted.

Although we’re in lockdown though, we won’t stop trying to provide you with the best industry tech knowledge from leading experts.

Our next episode is going to be a 3 part series podcast with Jason and Paul diving into the murky world of cybercrime and cybersecurity.

In the not too distant past, security breaches that affected tens of thousands of people would be headline news, but now breaches that compromise millions (or even billions) of people. Ransomeware attacks and data breaches hit the headlines daily.

And it’s not just high profile enterprises that are getting hacked. Small and medium businesses are increasingly the targets of cybercriminals using ever more sophisticated techniques to extract data and hold firms to ransom.

Chief Strategy Officer of Cyber CX, Alastair MacGibbon, and The University of Sydney CIO Trevor Woods will be interviewed across a 6-week covid-special series.


Alastair MacGibbon

Chief Strategy Officer of Cyber CX


Trevor Woods

The University of Sydney CIO

Post Grid #4

How To Choose The Right Technology For Your Business.

Steven GreenSep 20, 20225 min read

Technology is a key driver of success and provides a solution to many of the challenges faced by businesses today,…

The Digital Village Show

The Digital Village Show: The Environmental Cowboy

Episode 5

Touching on the important topic of climate change!

The DV Show team meet with Khory Hancock, the Environmental Cowboy, to discuss how technology is being used to fight the climate crisis.

Did you know seaweed can be used to reduce methane emissions by up to 99% in the agricultural industry? And it can help take carbon out of the atmosphere and store it in a safer place that won’t impact the environment. Why aren’t we using more of this?!

Environmental Cowboy Instagram:

Environmental Cowboy website:


Khory Hancock


Paul Scott

Post Grid #4

How To Choose The Right Technology For Your Business.

Steven GreenSep 20, 20225 min read

Technology is a key driver of success and provides a solution to many of the challenges faced by businesses today,…

The Digital Village Show

The Digital Village Show: Premiere the show! The norms of remote working.

Episode 1

The year is 2021 & our live stream is back with a new format, new set & new guests. Welcome to That DV Show!

Totally unscripted, potentially provocative & /hopefully/ hilarious, we’ll be keeping our finger on the pulse of all things tech with our revolving door of guests.

In our first show, we dove into the latest news to shake Big Tech: What are the implications of Bezos stepping down as CEO of Amazon & who will win between a defiant Google & opportunistic Microsoft for search supremacy.

The government has become very vocal about becoming carbon neutral by 2050. How can carbon trading technology help farmers meet the country’s needs?

So, COVID is still here. What went wrong with America’s $44 million vaccine data system & have we learned any lessons? Thankfully, Australia’s response has been more triumphant but there are still implications.

More Sydney-siders are headed for the bush, beach & suburbs due to the success of remote working. Is this just a blip or will tech & remote working become the new norm for collaboration?

Finally: Management Consultants are a waste of time & money… Discuss.


Jason Hardie


Luke Fabbish


Paul Scott

Post Grid #4

How To Choose The Right Technology For Your Business.

Steven GreenSep 20, 20225 min read

Technology is a key driver of success and provides a solution to many of the challenges faced by businesses today,…

The Digital Village Show

The Digital Village Show: Purpose-Driven Organisations

Episode 4

Purpose provides both the foundations for a business and a way to evaluate its reason for existence. With a wider acceptance endeavours should extend beyond economic exchange, we’re shifting from why to how to create purpose-driven organisations.

This month, we’ll be chatting with our two guests about modern business, the leaders of a new age and how organisations are adapting to the needs of people, society and the environment.

Tegan Smith, CEO of OPAL Rheumatology, has grown a powerhouse medical research business from her living room that now supports 210,000 patients in Australia.

Our second guest, Tim Duggan, co-founder of Junkee Media and author of Cult Status, has been praised for his insights & thoughts on how businesses are becoming principled, purposeful and creative to cater to changing clients.

As always, we’ll also be jumping into the latest headlines in business and tech!


Tegan Smith

CEO – OPAL Rheumatology Ltd

Brought 112 clinicians and 210,000+ patients together with industry, government, and technology to harness the power of data to improve human health.


Tim Duggen

Co-Founder, Author and Editor-at-Large

Author of the book, “Cult Status: How To Build A Business People Adore” is a business optimist who firmly believes in the power of business to do good.