David Shing, better known as Shingy, has been one of Australia's most outspoken exports — appointed AOL's digital prophet, he has been on the speaking circuit for the last few years spreading his particular view of the future of the IT marketplace — drawing criticism and praise in equal measure. ARN sat down to have a chat with him at CeBIT 2015 ahead of his keynote.
What brings you back to Australia?
CeBIT's a great event, with some great speakers. It also helps me get a good pulse on what's going on here. I like getting on the trade floor and getting hands on with the technology — and to observe the consumers in the wild.
What's important to me is to see a lot of creativity celebrated around Australia. I'm not here that often. I haven't lived in Australia for about 16 years, and I still love coming back to see my mum. I won't get to see her on this trip though unfortunately. She's in Armadale and its just too far away. I might come back and bring the American wife over for Christmas.
I'm hoping to get a pulse on the Aussie industry while I'm here, catch up with some digital agencies.
So how have you found the Aussie start up industry? How does it compare to New York?
We're always celebrating Australia. Even the big multinational companies, like Google, they do their incubation here. It's a lovely can do attitude, the same we all grew up with — it's part of the culture, that of not taking it too seriously. You have the great ability here to just experiment. And that's quite rare around the world.
So we have some sort of advantage starting up here?
Look, Australian's are pretty exotic everywhere else. We tend to feel fairly insulated, we're relaxed, we balance work life very well here — whereas we tend to over index on work overseas, especially in the US. That allows a certain level of creativity.
The entrepreneurial spirit here, it feels like there's a lot more opportunity available. But it is also where the population is. We are seeing more of that creativity coming out of Sydney versus Melbourne. It's not just population though, it's culture. Moving out of Australia and seeing that difference, it really does stick out like dog's balls to me, both cities are unique.
A lot of great tech has been tested here, such as chip and pin, and contactless payments. We adopt a lot of technologies, but I also think it's the marketplace for it. We are only 24 million people, but they're tech savvy and its a wonderful place to incubate new technologies before they go global. It's a massive opportunity.
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