I created this petition to create a groundswell of support for to Save Australian Technology Park (ATP) as a technology hub. If we don’t do something, it will become a Commonwealth Bank office or an apartment block. We will lose an integral part of the Australian startup community and the Australian technology industry. If you care about the future of Australian technology, sign this petition here and leave a comment. It will take 30 seconds. The purpose is to give more community support from Australian startup community to the Atlassian bid.
This is my most epic presentation to date on “Innovation In Professional Services”. I was invited to present it to an international professional services firm to their management team. It was a talk I was really looking forward to because I have previously worked in professional services at Deloitte and I could also apply my technology/startup lens to what has happened in that industry.
We’re seeing a lot of innovation happening in the FinTech (Financial Technology) space. In the past 12 months, I’ve noticed these developments in Australian FinTech industry. I wanted to separate my visit to Tyro’s fintech hub today and the latest news in FinTech. I’ve gathered my insights and news from speaking to industry participants, friends, contacts, startups, banks, reading up about it and just being on the ground. This is from the period of March 2014 to April 2015.
I have a special interest in this space. In my earlier career, before I worked in tech I was a tax accountant at Deloitte specialising in FSI (Financial Services Industry). I worked with banks including the big end of town – Merrill Lynch, BNP Paribas, and Deustche Bank. I also worked with insurance companies, fund management, private equity, venture capital, mezzanine finance, securitisation, and mortgage companies.
I try to keep my eye out for new websites and my ear to the ground. However, not all new websites catch my attention. It’s impossible given the cambrian like explosion of new blogs, social websites, and online innovation.
What I look at are websites that are interesting to me or have an interesting/unique concept. Another important factor are the people behind the website.
Now, Quora was interesting because the team is made up of ex-facebookers. Not just ordinary employees at Facebook but “Adam D’Angelo, who was previously CTO and VP of engineering at Facebook, and Charlie Cheever, who led Facebook Connect and Facebook Platform”.
So I signed up to Quora a while back, and one day a beta invite popped up in my inbox.
Beta invites are cool because they are not open to the general public and you need to sign up and register your interest. Websites are in beta for a number of reasons, one of these is that they are still in development and might not be able to handle the load if it was open to the public. Having a beta limits the number of users and allows them to get feedback and develop iterations rapidly. The other thing is that it generates a level of excitement in tech geeks who think they have exclusive access (see @inspiredworlds).
Que es Quora? (What is Quora?)
According to the website:
“Quora is a continually improving collection of questions and answers created, edited, and organized by everyone who uses it. The most important thing is to have each question page become the best possible resource for someone who wants to know about the question.”
The closest analogy I can come up with is Yahoo Answers. Quora aims to be the best place to find answers or knowledge about a topic. They do this by having the community ask questions, and having the community answer it. Sounds like any forum right ala stackoverflow, or a wikipedia or google’s attempt at knol.
A particular feature is that certain people have expertise in an area, so their answer should be given more weight. The analogy Quora likes to use is if Michael Jordan answers a question about basketball, its not the same if you or I answer the question (though I do claim to know a lot about bball!). Clearly, an expert that answers a question knows a lot more about the topic.
In addition, the community can vote up the answer similar to a forum. The community can also edit the question, summarize answers, categorize, etc…similar to wikipedia. Quora tries to use people with real profiles and real names.
Here is an example below of a question about Firefox’s growth:
Right now, there a lot of interesting questions and insightful answers being posed like the above pic. Mostly, they have a tech skew because these are generally the first adopters of these kind of websites. The quality of the answers and the experts answering them are also really good. You can see in the example above, one of the original co-founders of Firefox answered, then the current CEO, and a bunch of people that use to work there or developers that have worked with it.
So much of the web is uncategorised. When you search in google, you are presented with web pages that best match your keywords. It might not actually ANSWER your question or search intent. What Quora is trying to do is create some sense of order in the web by having the community organise it, and giving priority to experts. The community also help shapes the answers by giving feedback.
Here is an example of a question I answered on Yammer. I corrected the person below who answered Blellow as a competitor. Yes, most people would see it as a competitor but its actually a different service.
One of the issues that I have is that right now there are a lot of really good answers from credible people at lot of tech companies. What will happen when Quora scales? When the questions drift away from tech, will the quality of questions and answers decline? Will it become like Yahoo Answers?
Honestly, I find Yahoo answers a bit of a hit and miss. It comes up often in google searches, but there are a lot of crass comments as well useless junk in there. Much will depend on the quality and willingness of Quora’s community to curate and moderate the content.
You can find a lot of interesting and insightful comments all over the web. Its buried in blogs, forums, reviews, wikis. A major problem is that you don’t know how authoritative or useful that information is. I mean, you can’t believe everything you read on the web right? You don’t know who posted that information or who answered a question, what their experience is with the subject matter. Maybe Quora will help bring some categorisation + order + expertise into topics.
As of this moment, this website is best described as Yahoo Answers meets Wikipedia, with a dash of facebook engineering =)
I’m out like beta invites,
If you have been following me on Twitter, you can probably tell that I’m very excited about the next release of Google’s Android Phone. It’s called the G2 and will be exclusively distributed by Vodaphone.
Check out this video. It shows off the qwerty keyboard with predictive text and corrective text.
The release date is 1 May 2009 for the UK and they are accepting orders for it now. There’s been a lot of chatter about it on blogs, tech and gadget websites, and video demo’s are popping up everywhere on youtube, vidder, etc…
Why am I excited about the Android? Because the platform is opensource so it opens up to the possibility of more applications. And you know developers can come up with some crazy apps! It will be superior to the iphone.
At the moment, the release date is set for the following countries and this is what they are getting:
Germany – black version
Italy – black and white version (why?!!!)
Spain – white version
The obvious question is – when will it be released in Australia? There are no plans at the moment. I couldn’t find anything on the internet. Why am I not suprised? I checked the vodaphone website in Australia, they don’t even list HTC phones on there!! Optus is still flogging off the G1 (first version) aka the HTC Dream. According to ZDNeT:
“As with the Dream, HTC will be announcing the Magic for different countries only after it has secured operator partnerships. Vodafone will be selling it in Europe but there have been no announcements for Australia yet.”
I’m out like the G1,