Category: Internet

Technology Startups – frenetic community energy in Sydney with #Launch48Syd

This is my first long-form blog post in quite some time – thanks for the inspiration @AlanSmithOz (my Digivizer wingman) and @VickyLau_ (wearer of many hats – link to PDF)

Last Sunday I was proud to participate in Launch 48 Sydney as a social media mentor to four promising technology startups.  The energy around community building and startups in Sydney right now is running at a frenetic pace – oh to be 20 years younger I sometimes wish, as the people I am meeting who are building new businesses are only 18-25 years old!  How inspiring is that?  One “young’un” I met recently is only 18, and started a mobile application business from home (still living with parents) and is now generating revenue! (I can’t remember the details but when I do I will share)

Tony Hollingsworth ‎mentoring‬ Launch 48 Sydney Adventurare team

I want to highlight some of the people around this event.  They give back to the community.  They get out and achieve.  They inspire through leadership. They inspire through their actions. If you want some inspiration in your lives, chase down the following:

Vicky Lau – a volunteer organiser for #Launch48Syd and the reason I got involved.  Vicky met with me (with some delicious chocolates – temptress!) and within minutes her passion, intellect, professionalism and dedication to the task at hand had me sold.  I was in! Vicky is very busy yet still finds time to get out and organise a weekend hackathon. Wow!

Grant Downie – I only just met Grant on Sunday and it is through his efforts that last weekend’s Launch48 Sydney event occurred – Melbourne is this coming weekend (details here) so if you are interested in helping out get in touch with Grant. He is giving back to the community simply because he can, and he obviously cares.

Danielle Marie Fletcher – already building businesses including AscendsBranding, Danielle has created PropellHER to help women find mentors to propel their careers.  Wow again!

Elizabeth Kaelin – her passion for artisan produce has brought her to YouChews which aims to “matchmake innovation with the amazing food it deserves) Now THIS is a startup close to my culinary heart!

Annie Beaulieu – leading the Adventurare team who are building a web application to help you plan your next “Rare Adventure” – this one sounds fascinating and I can’t wait to learn more.

Oliver Lee – building Hero Without a Mask, combining Happiness with Gamification – bring it on!  Oliver and his team showed me an interactive mobile app prototype they had already built within 2 days, and I was impressed.  Watch this space – a very interesting startup indeed.

It was also great to see other community leaders there such as Ash Donaldson – I love seeing the mentoring continue over on Twitter too – well done Ash!

Overall, I was honoured and proud to have been given the chance to meet and mentor these startups – there’s a lot of inspiration out there folks, so what are you waiting for?


Online Communities – presentation to primary school community

I recently presented to my local school on online communities and the implications for our children.  This was prompted by my desire to share some of my own experiences with social networks with other parents who may be curious yet somewhat inexperienced in this area.  Particularly with our children having greater access and in many cases greater abilities than our own in navigating through and communicating with others on these networks.

I’ve embedded the presentation below: 

Attending BarCampSydney4 today

Today I’m very excited to be attending my first BarCamp I’m not quite sure what to expect, but I see there’s 160 people registered for the event in Sydney so I’m looking forward to it.

I’ve put together a few points I’ll be discussing at the event, embedded as Google Docs Presentation here:
Update: 27th November 2008.
Reflections on BarCamp Sydney 4
Its been a couple of weeks now since I attended BarCamp in Sydney.  Well it was a fantastic day, for so many reasons.  Firstly, as Steve Herzberg highlighted at his fantastic presentation over at Craig Bailey’s SBTUG last night, you get out of your comfort zone at a conference like BarCamp (or “unconference” as I have learnt it is actually called – because everyone contributes not just a selected group of speakers – fantastic idea!)
Anyway, Steve Herzberg put up a slide last night which articulates how I feel about BarCamp:
“The only way a human being can grow is to work outside their comfort zone” – said by Percy Cerrutty
Well, with BarCamp you certainly are out of your comfort zone:
– you wont know many people
– you are expected to present your own talk or at least contribute vocally
– there’s a high proportion of people of above average intelligence in attendence, people such as software developers, entrepreneurs and venture capitalists
However, if you get out of your comfort zone, get along to something like this, and participate, the rewards will flow:
– increase your knowledge
– meet new and interesting people
– increase your own personal brand
– generate news ideas which may turn into new businesses and opportunities for you
I look forward to the next BarCamp and I encourage anyone with an interest in technology and the Internet, to get along.   See for more information.

Microsoft catching up to Google? Cloud + Client (Software and Services strategy)

I’m pretty excited to have the opportunity to see Steve Ballmer present live in Sydney next week.  I feel priviledge to have had exposure to and experience with so many technology companies and Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer will no doubt thrill the audience – word is, he’s a great presenter.  Of course I am a passionate user and supporter of Microsoft’s platforms and technology – from the business user’s point I have grown up on Office and Windows so feel comfortable using these tools.  I am not a developer but do enjoy working with and listening to their views – and Microsoft probably more than most companies, supports their developer community and in return has amassed an army of “evangelists” who support their initiatives.  Let’s face it, as blogger Craig Bailey puts it, there is the need to clarify “…the exciting, overwhelming, and sometimes bewildering array of Microsoft products”

On an amusing note, I thought I would remind readers of some of the famous moments Steve Ballmer has been captured on video – these videos have certainly done the rounds, but here are a couple for your enjoyment:
Steve Ballmer: “Developers, Developers…”  

Steve Ballmer “..I love this company”

On a more serious note, I am particulalry interested to see Microsoft’s views on so-called Cloud Computing, which as Wikipedia goes on to explain is simply “..the reliance on the Internet to solve the computing needs of users”  Microsoft was famously late in strategically embracing the Internet, dismissing the web browser’s importance before being brought to trial over its anti-competitive behaviour.  This has all been very well documented – one suggested starting point is Wikipedia to see some of this

As the Internet continues to grow its popularity and usage, and bandwidth increases, Microsoft is reinventing itself and positioning itself as a player in the space arguably dominated by Google.  I believe Google is one of Microsoft’s major threats – Microsoft even alluded to this in their latest annual report, as reported by Brier Dudley in the Seattle Times
It’s easy to be cynical about Microsoft, as in my opinion they are as much a marketing company as a software company – but regardless of what your opinion is, next week’s Steve Ballmer and team presentation will be highly engaging, entertaining and thought provoking.

$US200 "Network Computer" available

I remember years ago (as far back as 1995 apparently) Larry Ellison touted the “Network Computer” as the way of the future. Well it seems to have arrived now albeit without Oracle’s involvement in the form of the gPC (or “Green PC”), available through Walmart stores in the US (and currently sold out). Matt Cutts, a respected blogger from Google, describes the gPC in more detail here. It seems to be an incredibly cheap way to get online, runs an open-source operating system called gOS, and encourages the use of purely web-based applications from Google. Check out some of the press coverage here. I am not sure if it would work in Australia but I don’t see why not. I am fascinated with Google’s web-based applications, particularly Docs and Gmail, and have been using them for a while. For example, I recently put together a spreadsheet of a budget gaming computer (with thanks to Sharky Extreme’s excellent guides) I am interesed in custom-building.