In July, I moved the family out to Sydney in Australia with a couple of days in Hong Kong on the way. To be exact, we have moved to a suburb called Pymble which is about 40 minutes North from the Central Business District (CBD).
So what are my first thoughts? In no particular order…
- The weather is better but being different. No surprise that the weather is warmer – in fact it reminds me of my childhood summers like ’76. What is different is that the weather is being “less stable” and not “usual” according to those that live here. We are seeing more rain in summer. I think that changing weather patterns around the world are here to stay – would that be global warming or climate change?
- Excellent investor pitches. I recently attended TiECon where there were six pitches followed by questions from Sydney Angels. I was impressed by the quality of the pitches – they were consistently high. In fact I would say higher than I’ve seen at similar events in the UK. When I asked the key question about exits: “We’ve only been going a few years so we don’t know yet.” It will be interesting to see how it pans out.
- Sky writing. Every so often we see words in the sky. Yes, planes fly around making smoke messages… mostly seem to be email addresses though!
- Taxi know-how. Today I was in a taxi travelling through Sydney when the taxi driver simply said “You have to see this video” and gave me his iPhone to watch. Actually it’s quite an interesting video – take a look at World War III explained. It takes some knowledge of history to create such a compelling story. Not sure what I do now I’ve watched it though!
- It’s expensive. The exchange rate is around 1.5 AUD to 1.0 GBP. However if you use 2.5 or 3.0 you get an approximate cost of goods. In other words, living in Australia costs about twice as much as the UK. In fact, Ikea has tagged Australia as one of the most expensive places to do business. As far as I can tell this is down to two key issues: the exchange rate; and the shortage of high quality employees.
- Think globally. Most of the CEOs of companies I have spoken to (in the technology arena) are thinking globally rather than locally. They want to start with Australia and rapidly move towards Silicon Valley (sometimes they even miss out Australia on the way).
- Livability & innovation good, cost and traffic bad. The latest report I’ve seen comparing cities around the world concludes: “Sydney was ranked second for demographics and liveability, behind Paris, and third for health, safety and security, after Stockholm and Chicago and seventh for Innovation and Capital. However, it did not do so well in on transport and infrastructure, coming fourth last, with only Los Angeles, Sao Paulo and Johannesburg worse.” My experience would agree.
So now I’ve been here nearly six months and time has flown – we have a great house in a quiet suburb (except for some traffic noise). We’ve seen mermaids, kookaburras, red-back spiders (no, you don’t want to be bitten by one), bush turkies, and even been to a beach wedding.
As for earning some money: I’m helping people “Cross the Chasm from MVP to MSP.” “What?” I hear you say…
In the new year I’ll be posting a range of articles as I meet more people and get networked in Sydney… Please feel free to challenge any thought, statement or provocation!