A Stateside Aussie

A Stateside Aussie

Thanks for checking out my personal blog. Before I get to how a small town Aussie landed in Silicon Valley, I'll share a favorite haiku, by the master, Matsuo Bashō:

Natsu-gusa ya
yume-no ato.

Summer grass:
of stalwart warriors splendid dreams
the aftermath.

In Basho's poem, we consider the futility of striving for success when all we have are our actions in this very moment.

Born in a small town about 55 miles south of Melbourne, Australia, I was raised in an entrepreneurial and academic family. My father is a now-retired professor of applied mathematics with a PhD in continental shelf wave dynamics. Energy from the ocean ftw! My mother owned a successful small business in the garment trade. As a kid I a ran a paper route during near freezing winter mornings and much more friendly warm summers.

From the age 16, I worked nights and weekends in Australia's equivalent of Radio Shack. During college I worked in the telecommunications group at the university, continued work at the electronics store, and volunteered at a student outreach organization on campus. I suspect by "student outreach" they meant recruiting spies.

Cycling back a decade or so prior, in third grade I socially engineered my elementary school cafeteria to get (free) ice cream during summer. I had a simple hypothesis and iterating through tests I eventually found the correct answer. It was a win, but I crossed a line in the process.

Beginner's luck and a entrepreneurial approach that I've taken into a talent management and marketing career spanning the music industry, book publishing, open source software and SaaS, information technology, and agribusiness.

Creativity is core to many of the entrepreneurs who inspire me, along with the artists who move the world with their work. I believe everyone is creative, but I know from experience it takes a certain type of bravery to live it.

Creativity changes the world more than any discipline. Whether the arts, humanities, or sciences, all great innovation starts with someone who viewed the world a little differently to everyone else. That often comes at a heavy price.

I’m a lifelong musician, albeit not a very good one. Gifted enough to have played several instruments for a time, but not confident enough to make a career. Turning that love for tunes into a career in the music business, I co-managed bands signed to Universal, Warner Music, and several indies. Those were some of the best days of my life.

Transforming a love of reading, with my amazingly talented wife I co-founded Australia’s leading book publishing services business. Clients included global publishers HarperCollins and Random House.

Always on the move, after relocating the family from Australia to the United States in 2012, and then with a startup fail in the history books, I returned to marketing.

My family has now lived 9 years in the United States, 3 of them as proud Lawful Permanent Residents.

Thinking back to the ice cream saga, I've learned along the way that there aren’t any hacks. Just focused, deliberate, considered work. And timing.

While you're here, sign up to my very irregular newsletter. The posts cover tech, tunes, and I discuss marketing from the perspective of small teams. I call it Marketing, Minified.

When the insanity of a mismanaged response to the novel coronavirus finally resolves let's grab a coffee. We all need to get back to living our lives.

I will leave you with a quote from businessman and entrepreneur Lawrence Stroll, that reflects much of my approach to life:

My heart, and soul, and passion are going into this. You always want to be better than your competition. So, you always look above, you don’t look down.
— Lawrence Stroll, 2020 (Drive to Survive)