When I was young, my mum always used to tell me that Australia had the best beaches in the world. You can go to Italy, Thailand or the Pacific Islands, she would say, but you would always come back to Australia.
After almost 12 years living abroad in the US, the Netherlands, Germany and Indonesia, I concluded that my mum was right -- Australia has the best beaches, but it wasn't just that. We also have one of the best societies. It is diverse, open-minded and (comparatively) egalitarian; a place where people are healthy, highly educated and have great opportunities.
I don't mean to paper over the problems, of which there are many. But if you look around at a lot of other countries, you pretty quickly come to understand that what I'm trying to say has some bearing.
They say you make your own luck in life, and historically, I think Australia has done that through the wise pairing of our rich natural resource endowment with considerate prudent governance. But I don't think this luck -- our historical luck -- is also going to be our future luck. I think if we believe we can ride the sheep's back into an affluent future, then we deserve to be the poor fools we will become.
In 2011, I went to Indonesia with my wife because we were looking for an adventure. I never imagined that I would end up building a big technology company, and have front-row seats to witness the country's transition in only five years from having almost no transacting internet sites to a place where billion-dollar funding rounds are a normal occurrence or where JD.com is delivering packages by drone.
When we returned to Australia we wanted to stay in technology, but it was harder than we thought. Despite the evident global success of a suite of Australian technology companies, the money and the sense of opportunity were often missing.
I joined TechSydney at the end of 2017 because I believed in the mission of cultivating a deeper technology ecosystem, particularly because of their push to convince the NSW government to invest in building a technology precinct that would help retain Australian talent and attract global capital. To their credit, the government has done just that, and it's an important step in the right direction. But if we want to build a bigger ecosystem here, we need to be investing in company generation. That's why I recently joined the team at Antler, a global startup generator that takes top individuals and works with them to create innovative companies.
Antler is unique in the Australian landscape and it has a bold vision: to create 200 new technology companies in Australia over the next four years. These companies will help contribute to the transformation of our local technology ecosystem and, more broadly, the texture of Australia's economy.