Sydney will be the world's new tech start up hub

18 May, 2016
This new initiative, TechSydney, encouraging collaboration within the tech industry is refreshing, hot off my own product launch at CeBIT earlier this month, where the theme was squarely around innovation, with Sydney in the spotlight.

In his keynote, Mike Baird shared impressive statistics: Australia has the world’s 12th largest economy, with 24 years of uninterrupted growth. He also predicted that 21.9% of our economy will be digital from a 2014 figure of 5.1%. Bold stuff.

I am all-in on Australia sharing more of the spotlight on the world stage. We have awesome people here – it’s a fabulous country. I emigrated to Australia without even visiting beforehand, and more than 10 years later, I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else.

Exactly what do we have to offer on the world stage should a young gun developer whizz be offered a job in Silicon Valley vs relocating to Sydney?
  • Cost of living – with Silicon Valley firmly #1, so too are the salaries. Costs, whilst high in relation to the rest of the US, are comfortable in relation to earnings when compared to Sydney. Enticing talent to relocate, or even to remain, in Australia is a challenge on this criteria alone – especially when dual-income families are the norm and spouse earning potential may also be optimal outside of Australia
  • Career opportunities – world class prospects across of a range of established names, and doors they could open are a huge enticement. Google, Facebook, Uber, Apple, Airbnb, eBay – and on the list continues. The likes of Slack setting up in Melbourne, and Atlassian staying firmly put in Sydney is great news - is this slowing it’s admittedly break-neck growth speed?
  • Investment opportunities – the funding scene is risk averse in Australia. The culture of giving it a red hot go doesn’t seem to apply when it comes to parting with money – is this less the case in other markets, where angel funding and wider access to expansion funds are more readily available? Creativity reigns less here than the hard numbers, it appears to me
  • Infrastructure – education, NBN, transport – all of these need sorting out. Strategically. Plugging the skills gap now is fine – but educating a pipeline of skills across a diverse population is key. Then encourage them to stay here. Get a proper Broadband network – with actual decent speeds. Ensure that if we set up a Tech hub in White Bay – tucked away in a notoriously hard to reach peninsula of Sydney – we have the means to get people to and from work.
When I talk to businesses relocating staff to Australia, it comes with an assumption that everyone wants to live in Australia. Whilst that may be the case in some industries, and certainly when moving from some corners of the world – it’s certainly not what I hear when discussing the challenges of plugging the technical skills gap.

It’s a real worry. Money doesn’t cut it any more – especially when we’re considering a new generation of workers – millennials – who are motivated by empowerment, culture, and know nothing else but a collaborative economy of choice and transparency.

What do you think? Would love to hear your thoughts - am I wrong? Missing something?

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