At MORGO Byron Bay a fantastic group of tech entrepreneurs came together to re-charge, re-connect and re-imagine.
AI in everything
The conversation was all about AI, blockchain, space, AI again, surviving as an entrepreneur, virtual reality, back to AI … We didn’t set out with a theme of talking about AI! The theme was meant to be COURAGE. Somebody put that to bed pretty quickly by saying that all entrepreneurs must have courage.
We were incredibly lucky to have Howie Xu as our opening speaker. Howie’s Silicon Valley story is amazing: a founder of networking at VMware — US$4 billion revenue in 10 years, time at Greylock Partners, the author of the second-most quoted article on unicorns, and more recently the co-founder/CEO of TrustPath, which he sold into Zscaler, joining the team there as VP of AI & Machine Learning for another rocket ride.
Amazing entrepreneurs: marketing, space, HR, diamonds
From there the conversations took off. Mike Carden talked about the future of marketing when the internet is so noisy — we can’t just shout louder and louder. He said his business used to send 20m emails per quarter. Seriously? Now he says the solution is beautiful product.
For a change of pace, Adam Gilmour talked about the opportunity in space and building rockets to take advantage of the rampant demand to get stuff up there. Steve Hibberd talked about building and selling bigger and bigger businesses — he recently sold Tiger Pistol, a social media marketing automation platform. Building this company required him to build a close relationship with FaceBook, who constantly changed the ground rules.
And Ben Thompson — “Nobody goes into business to be an employer”! Employment Hero is making it easier to be a good employer. Leanne Kemp had us enthralled with her story of building Everledger, blockchain for the diamond industry.
With another set of lessons on entrepreneurship, Phil Richards talked about the lessons from the 14 companies he has started! He shared one that didn’t go well. The takeaway I loved was the advice from his father: “Just be the best you can by 10 am. Then be the best you can by 12 o’clock.”
The agritech entrepreneurs took us into a different world.
Emma Weston gave a great talk about Agridigital, blockchain for the cereals industry. They did the world’s first grain sale on a blockchain in 2016. While at MORGO, the company hit 10 million tonnes traded through their platform or, put another way, $1.9 billion worth. With a detailed knowledge of the industry, Emma explained how blockchain can be used to address issues of trust, liquidity and provenance. We’re looking forward to hearing more about this company.
Steve Saunders talked about how a deep knowledge of the horticultural industry has enabled him to build strong partnerships around the world — with RoboticsPlus scaling rapidly through these partnerships. He made it sound simple.
Knowing that Howie was coming, it seemed like a good idea to stretch our brains a little with a deep dive into AI. Dian Tjondronegoro talked about his research at Griffith University with plenty of real world examples. Did you know that the 2028 APAC market for AI in healthcare is estimated to be US$30–50 billion? Howie and Dian together ran a workshop to answer some of our questions about AI.
And a great partnership
And finally, an awesome duo presentation from Karl Redenbach and Peter Nguyen-Brown of Live Tiles. What a great business partnership. Peter describes himself as the business partner of an entrepreneur, resisting all attempts to brand him also as an entrepreneur. Is that the secret of their 17 year business partnership? Karl kicked off their chat with a ROOAARR. Literally. It brought the resort staff running to see if we were OK. We were — we were crying with laughter.
And a shout out to the resort, Byron at Byron — stunning.