Straight off the back of last week's bonus episode, we're turning now to emerging technologies. Think artificial intelligence, mixed reality, augmented workforces and other new shiny buzzwords in marketing and business. We get the insights directly from the source this week as I sit down with one of Australia's brightest entrepreneurs, Vaibhav Namburi, or V as he's more commonly known.
Disclaimer at this point is that V and I have worked together for a couple of years as we mention in the show.
I genuinely believe that he's one of the country's best and he's active on social channels. So after you've heard the show, check out some of his videos on LinkedIn. He's an engineer by trade who's now solving business problems using technology for some of the world's biggest companies.
He's already built a blockchain solution for the United Nations, mobile apps for the likes of William Hill and News Corp along with PwC.
Not only that but he's built his own product in the form of automated recruitment platform Laddr, a company built by devs for the hiring of devs. An automated and anonymised recruitment tool which allows engineers to portfolio their work and save time without the need to do multiple tech tests. Disrupting recruitment by reducing the shortlisting process for candidates down to a few clicks.
We delve into some of his insights as a founder and marketer of his own brand:
- We discuss how he got into the industry
- How to differentiate yourself in business
- Marketing methods he’s used in his business
- How to harness social media
- What’s next in emerging technology in the 12 months
- Ethics in AI
- Challenges he faced with building his businesses
- Problem solving in growth marketing
- The biggest lessons he’s learned
- Why he focuses on marketing
- The importance of simplicity, messaging and trust in business
If you like what we’re up to at Cut the Cliches, please give us some online love in the form of reviews on your podcasting platform of choice. We welcome all thoughts and keen to hear more about what you’d like to see on the show next.
The advice of CSIRO’s Data61 chief exec Adrian Turner, presenting a new report during his keynote at D61Live yesterday in Brisbane.
He explained that Australia is at a crossroads. A very important choice will fork our future one way or the other. Door A involves us creating our own digital exports – the stark reality is that we currently lag at just 20% of the rate of our OECD peers in this area.
Door B results in lagging further behind, and that’s just the start of the problems that would begin.
It’s an argument which Matt Barrie has been making for a few years. Few of the top 10 most valuable companies in Australia make their own digital products. The youngest of our big four was established in 1911! Scaling and exporting in the digital world becomes harder when this is not the case.
Dr Andrew Charlton from AlphaBeta, one of the authors of the report, added that many of the constraints which Australia previously suffered reduce in a digital economy. Challenges of smaller local market, greater distance between population densities and higher wages matter less when competing on the global stage, so “we need to think differently about comparative advantage”.
Adrian made the point that many of the algorithms we use today, have been around since the 70’s – but “we don’t have the tech talent”, we’re already behind and every day “that delta is only going to grow” added Dr Charlton.
From idea to market
The question across the whole day was how to turn the great research which Australia is responsible for, e.g. Wifi, into a product we can commercialise? How can we bridge the gap between breakthrough and branding, taking the product all the way to market? Why is R&D going down comparatively with other OECD countries?
Brisbane’s Chief Digital Officer, Cat Matson, was keen to emphasise that there’s no one party responsible for Australia succeeding as a country. “It’s about how do we still get everyone together” she added, focusing both on celebrating what we can do fast, while still painstakingly and rigorously testing efficiency and market-fit in the background.
However some of the timeframes imposed by academia for collaboration are too slow. AI specialist from Queensland’s Office of the Chief Entrepreneur, Dr Natalie Rens, spoke of experiences with academia, where it can take a year to form partnerships because of administration. “It’s difficult in Australia as research is tied to universities who typically demand extensive IP agreements and take a 30% equity stake in the end product…we need to be more like the States where it’s a one page agreement, maybe 5% equity and let’s go.”
One solution is to focus on specific problems, entrepreneur Bevan Slattery offered. We need more imagineering and problems with a social license which can be approached from a state and national level, life the Reef. We need to ‘reshot’ and find our solutions through science and innovation – which is what the Data 61 Challenge program is doing with its first mission Food Provenance (managing transparency in supply chain) – it’s about “grabbing great thinking, capital and solutions through partner networks” says Data61’s Ben Sorensen.
When is a trend not a trend? When it’s a megatrend – typically a large cluster of smaller trends.
Six interconnecting, venn-diagram-piecing trends the latest CSIRO report on the issues focuses on include:
– Intelligent machines
– Digital dividends (improving productivity)
– Data driven
– Burning platforms
– Online burnout
– Reality bites
Discussion around Industry 4.0 and the future of automation, brings a unwarranted amount of scaremongering. The megatrend of ‘intelligent machines’ comes with the harbinger of a stat that 47% of jobs will be taken by automation within a couple of decades. In reality though, jobs redefine and augment with technology rather replace. A lot of the repetitive roles may go, but hopefully this will free up time for humans to be more human and add value through creative thinking and applying the technology in additive manner.
"The opportunity is to create new value – it's the additive automation that's really compelling" – Adrian Turner on jobs, automation and work at #D61Live
The benefits are clear, Dr Wen Wu explained the Case Crunch (2017) experiment which pitted 100 commercial London lawyers against AI when it came to predicting the outcomes of cases, given all of the facts. Needless to say the robots outperformed their human counterparts 87% accuracy compared with 62%. There are benefits of standardising elements of decision making.
But there are issues around bias both in the way we think about cases, but also those coding the algorithms responsible for coming to these conclusions. Ethics was a bigger issue which Day 2 panels were looking to address. What happens when all of the coders are white men?
It can’t just be in isolation
The final thought should go to Adrian Turner who warned attendees of the danger of having conversations in an echo chamber alone.
We don’t have the answers but data can certainly help and Australia must become more targeted in its approach to claw back its position on the global stage. All of our futures depend on it.
The annual tech and gadget pilgrimage to the desert took place last week.
Drones, unnecessary connected devices among some pretty cool and innovative tech.
To discover the real insights behind the event, head over to Juniper Research where there’s a 30 page report on the impact of ‘ingredient technologies’ from CES, ‘those that glue the industry together’ (5G, AI, IoT, mixed realities, AR, VR, etc). It can be read in full here
It’s the first year Google has set up shop at the event – billed as a VAS (voice activated services) battle of epic proportions as the Californian behemoth went up against Amazon which has been at the festival for many years through its cloud offerings. Sahil Patel explains more on Digiday.
Despite a biblical downpour on the first day, Google’s pop-up demo tent received a visit from TechCrunch’s Tito Hamze and you can see what he experienced here.
To read more on the Consumer Technology Association’s 2018 predictions, head to VentureBeat as Dean Takahashi reports from Las Vegas.
Oh and the lights went out. At an electronics festival. The irony was not lost on social media. Engadget with the update and the best Twitter could capture.