7 pillars of business wisdom from Tech23

This week in Sydney a slew of startups and tech mentors gathered to hear the latest pitches and share their wisdom at the Tech23 conference.

Here’s what caught our ear.


I think there will be a transition point in the next five to ten years.

It’s only a matter of time before some event happens and there’s a paradigm shift in society, or we start to see people being more willing to give up some of their privacy for the freedoms and utility [that smart cities provide].

You see that online with people exchanging their data and privacy all the time to use things like Facebook. I think that will transition into the future – and it’s going to be a very interesting journey.

Keaton Okkenen, CEO of black.ai, on applying people-tracking tech to smart cities


I think the common theme here is all about power to the patient – using technology to achieve better outcomes – which is fantastic.

Petra Andren, CEO of ATP Innovations, on health tech


I think what we’d like to see as entrepreneurs is that we’re brought to the table to help government do these things.

They’re not trivial – even when you think you’re anonymising provider identifiers in Medicare datasets, it turns out you’re not.

We think we can contribute to the success of these experiments. So bring us in.

Paul Nicolarkis, CEO of Lorica Health, on the government’s approach to open data


I think there is luck [in business], because there are always factors that I can’t control. Those factors do influence us, and that can be in a good way or a bad way.

But the most important thing is how you respond – that’s what we can control.

Tanya Newhouse, Co-founder of Clevertar, on the role of luck in business


When you go home tonight I want you to light a match and hold it in your hand and [pitch] your value proposition. If you can give your value proposition without burning your fingers, I’ll know you’ll be tight and ready to pitch.

– Larry Marshall, CEO of CSIRO, on good pitching


The issues with regulation are always there, especially in a fast-moving space. At the moment technology is outpacing the regulation on technology.

While regulation is really important in ensuring we keep customers safe and protect their rights, I think it’s really important we don’t let regulation stifle what is a really important shift towards consumer participation in the grid.

– Lachlan Blackhall, CTO of Reposit Power, on regulation in the energy space


“What seemed a massive bit of bad luck at the time meant that we had the time to really examine how the business operated in a way that we hadn’t before. Every time you do something the second time around you do it infinitely better.

We were forced to innovate, to be more efficient, and certainly forced to be much more proactive on the legal side – we’ve ended up with a better company because of it.”

Dave Snowdon, Founder of Metamako, on starting (again) from scratch

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