Myriad Live 2017 with Alex McCauley from StartupAus
Myriad live with Alex McCauley from StartupAusPosted by BeachCity on Wednesday, March 29, 2017
Chris: G'day, just adjusting the trouble. That's what we do when we're live. We're live in it, we live adjust. I'm here with Alex McCauley from Startup Boss. Welcome Alex.
Alex: Thank you, glad to be here.
Chris: Alex, obviously, we're very live in Brisbane in Powerhouse, and unfortunately, things are going to be delayed today, so we're almost ready to, I don't know, what are you gonna do? You gonna go home?
Alex: I think we're gonna trying to get back to the city, but then I don't know if there's gonna be any Ubers. Because everyone's leaving at once. So, I hear buses are the way.
Chris: On their way, I don't know if I'll be able to fit everybody in my truck, so, yeah. Maybe everybody's just gonna hang out here. I don't know.
Alex: Yeah, there's lots of great conversations going on around the place that I'm in, actually, a big part of this stuff is meeting people, having conversations in the margins, so I think people are taking advantage of that while they can.
Chris: What's one of the most amazing conversations you've had so far, that you can share?
Alex: I've been here three hours, and it's been back to back conversations with people who want to do in awesome stuff in this ecosystem. You know, bring in international accelerators into Brisbane, growing new programmes here, take Australians overseas to learn from the best ecosystems in the world. There's so much energy in the room. It's sensational.
Chris: Excellent. So, tell us a little bit about Startup Boss. What does Startup Boss do?
Alex: Yeah, sure. So Startup Boss is Australia's national advocacy group for startups. So we mostly do big system level policy changes, working with governments around the country to get the settings right to make sure Australia has really vibrant growing startup ecosystem, and we can compete with the best in the world.
Chris: Cool, cool. So how does our startup ecosystem faring up? Are we a red, amber, or green light at the moment?
Alex: I think, we're amber. That's probably a good way to put it. We've done some really stuff stuff over the last few years. Probably starting with the big push from the Federal Government from 2015 with the National Innovation in Science Agenda.
Then really building across around the states, including, and probably led by Queensland, where the government's really gotten behind startups and technology stuff in a really big way. Actually, I just had a chat with the Minister Aliona [inaudible 00:02:00] down here. She's supporting personally. She's been a big personal advocate for this here in Queensland. And it's showing fruit, you know. I think Brisbane is one of the really exciting ecosystems in the country.
Chris: Yeah, absolutely, and so, on that, when everyone is talking about, "This is happening in Queensland, this is happening in New South Wales." There's a bit of a rivalry, isn't there?
Alex: I think it's a bit of healthy rivalry. And, I think it's useful insomuch as it means that everybody pushes hard and strives to do well. I think all the people that are really serious about this stuff are playing for Team Australia. And that's where the bottom line is. We, as a national ecosystem, and with each of our cities as a sort of jewels in their crown made to be competing in international stage with likes of Silicon Valley, and Tel Aviv, and London, and Berlin, Singapore, and really, making Australia or, stamping Australia's place on the map.
Chris: Awesome, awesome. What's your position at the Startup Boss? What's your job title?
Chris: I like that. Are you founder?
Alex: Actually no. So, Startup Boss was founded by 50 members of the ecosystem, almost four years ago now. And then, it was launched largely as a volunteer organisation for the first couple of years. And I came on to help do policy advocacy work after I came back from three year stint working with the Federal Government in Tel Aviv as a diplomat there. And then transitioned into the CEO role, a little bit over 12 months ago now.
Chris: How does the volunteer thing work? I mean, my ears pricked up a little bit, "Oh volunteers," you know? How do you rally people behind your brand, behind your business that basically, aren't gonna get paid?
Alex: Yeah, well, I mean it's not for-profit for starters, so I think that helps. It's an organisation for cause, rather than for money. So we're about building a community in Australia for the country's good and the ecosystem's good, so that helps. But, actually, one of the biggest challenges is so many people out there that are really enthusiastic about helping and have great skills to lend. Just managing and actioning and getting the most out of community can be really tough. So a big part of my job is figuring out how we can really leverage a lot of the enthusiasm and support that's out there into something that's really going to make a difference.
Chris: Great, great, so title off track now. What do you do to bestly keep your mind clear? How do you operate in the day-to-day life to get that work-life balance.
Alex: Take the dog for a walk in the morning. I think it's really important to do dedicated leisure activities. I really, actually, amped up my computer games playing which I've given up a few years ago, and really got back into it. I bought a playstation and said "You're just gonna sit down, get into it again, and enjoy it."
Chris: So no more walking your dog, or?
Alex: Yeah, yeah, walk the dog in the morning, make sure you have, you know, have something that's dedicated leisure in the evening, whether it's a glass of wine and a book, or a nice dinner or a playstation game, or something to just to make sure that it's not all work all the time.
Chris: And so, you don't have kids to distract you then. I think that...
Alex: No, I got a Great Dane puppy, which, I mean, it's hard work, so.
Chris: Yes, a Great Dane probably would be. I hope you don't live in an apartment. Do you live in-
Alex: No. I've got a little terrace, which is still smallish, but actually, I like great house dogs. Great Danes. A modest exercise, curl up nicely, then we see how we go, that's all I'm telling ya.
Chris: Beautiful, good. And if I had asked you, where is your favourite beach in the world?
Alex: Oh, I'd love to say a beach here in Queensland, but I'm a Bondi boy from Sydney. I was a surfer life savour for Bondi beach for a few years, so, I gotta say Bondi. I lived in Tel Aviv for a few years, they've got some great beaches there too. And a lot of startups. If you want the beach-startup mix, Tel Aviv, Sydney, Brisbane, actually some great places on the Sunshine coast, the Gold Coast and Byron Bay. So, if you haven't checked out some startup hubs in those towns, not so far from Brisbane. That is well worth the look.
Chris: Man, we've really got it. You rattled off, Tel Aviv is the only international place, and we had the rest, so, that's fantastic.
Alex: No one does beaches like Australia.
Chris: Beautiful. Thanks very much for listening guys. We've met Alex McCauley from Startup Boss, and stay tuned, we'll have more come to you real soon.