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ACS Week in Review: 18 July 2014

Friday, 18 Jul 2014

Building a disruptive culture

The time is nigh to start building a workplace culture that a Google or a Facebook would envy, says Bankwest CIO Andy Weir.

What is it that is unique to traditional banks, which at their core are simply technology companies wheeling and dealing in credit, that can’t be replicated online?

That’s the key question digital leaders from Australia’s major banks will be asking themselves over the next three to five years, as new models emerge from surprising corners of the industry.

Whether it’s Google or Amazon in payments, peer-to-peer players like Lending One and Society One in credit, or some other as yet unforeseen challenge, most agree that the industry is ripe for disruption.

Australia’s godfather of agile

Few technology leaders have seen the forces of digital disruption so repeatedly and at such close quarters than Nigel Dalton, CIO of the REA Group.

Nigel Dalton is CIO of - a company that can take much of the credit for disrupting one of the most lucrative industries in Australia - the newspaper classifieds.

By applying a search engine to property listings, the company has displaced several hundred million dollars in annual revenues from the likes of the Fairfax media empire, which today has a market capitalisation of $2.2 billion versus REA Group’s $5.9 billion.

Immediately prior to his time at REA, Dalton was CIO of Lonely Planet. While at Lonely Planet he railed against the inertia stifling the printer of travel guides as content began streaming onto the internet.

Local tech start-ups put the Google bug to full effect

AN increasing number of Australian technology workers have caught Silicon Valley’s entrepreneurial bug thanks to the rise of “imports” such as Google, a leading angel investor says.

Steve Baxter, who has investments in start-ups and early-stage firms such as goCatch, DoseMe, TXT4Coffee, TrekTraka and CohortPay, said there was enough data in the market to suggest that Google was a breeding ground for budding entrepreneurs.

In the old days, computing behemoth IBM was the launching pad for technology careers, but times — and the market — have radically changed.

The Silicon Valley effect, with its ingrained start-up culture, has influenced many in IT.

Mr Baxter himself was lured to join Google in the valley for a short stint in 2008 before returning home to Brisbane in 2010. The co-founder of PIPE Networks described Google as a “force that tends to produce” entrepreneurs: “I can’t really think of any other organisation (that) can match Google in terms of spawning entrepreneurs in Australia.”