06 July 2012

The boys who built a $1b company in the cloud

Their company sells $100m worth of software a year in 130 countries around the world, but has no sales staff.
Now Atlassian - a billion-dollar business built by two Sydney friends in an apartment and then an office above a sex shop 10 years ago - is widely tipped to be the first Australian tech startup to go public during the current boom.

Mike Cannon-Brookes and Scott Farquhar, both 32, have seen their business grow at a rate of 47 per cent a year since 2007. Atlassian products are used by millions of people in over 20,000 corporations around the world, including the majority of the Fortune 500.
The world, they say, is becoming software, and Atlassian's tools are helping companies adapt.
"There's more lines of code in a Ford [car] than Facebook and Twitter combined," Cannon-Brookes said.

Atlassian - featured in Digital Dreamers Episode 5 - makes several software development and collaboration tools.
Their headquarters - and half of their 500 staff - is in Sydney, but they also have offices in San Francisco, Amsterdam, Gdansk in Poland, Porto Alegre in Brazil and Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia.

In 2010 Atlassian received a $60 million investment from US venture capital firm Accel, kicking off a wave of investments by Americans in Australian technology start-ups.
Their major innovation was hosting and delivering software via the web or "cloud", allowing them to offer more elegant and powerful solutions at a fraction of the price of competitors.
"They recognised very early on that on the web you could sell and you could target large corporations by pricing your product at a level where an engineer could just put it on their credit card and not have to get approval to buy it," said Larry Marshall, the Australian managing director of US venture capital firm Southern Cross Venture Partners.
"I think they started at less than $3000 was the price back then, and very quickly engineers started to use the product, loved it, they could make the buying decision themselves and buy it all through the web so you had this ... very rapid acceptance and growth of revenue.
"Without the web you couldn't have done that, you'd have to be knocking on doors and selling product."
Unlike many tech startups, Atlassian was able to generate revenue right away and only raised capital much later. This made it easy to keep the company headquartered in Australia.
"A lot of the new startups you see nowadays, they're looking to raise cash a lot quicker and most of the capital and cash is in the United States," said Cannon-Brookes.
"What we lack is that gap between $100,000 and $10 million; we don't have any really good strong funds or investment pools going into that gap at the moment. If we can solve that it gives us a good curve to grow businesses the whole way up."
Atlassian sees being an Australian company as a competitive advantage because there is less competition for talented engineers here. But they still cast a wide net for employees, recently driving a bus around Europe looking to hire 15 engineers in 15 days (over 1000 people applied).
And there are a number of things about the environment for start-ups in Australia that they would change - principally the tax regime for stock options which makes it extremely difficult to attract early employees with shares. Numerous Australian entrepreneurs interviewed by Fairfax Media complained about this.
"It's very difficult just the legal and the tax structures that you have to set up in Australia took us hundreds  of thousands of dollars in legal fees and tax advice and so forth ... whereas if you go to the states it's a relatively simple document that's pretty standard that everyone signs and it might cost you two or three grand in legal fees," said Farquhar.

The pair also believe education is about 10 years behind industry and instead of churning out computer science savvy workers we are producing too many accountants and business grads.

"Software is powering banks, financial companies, manufacturing companies, big corporations, fast food, cars, they're all being driven by software nowadays so having that base level of computer science understanding means you can understand that technology at such a good level as you grow up to be a manager and executive," said Cannon-Brookes.

"I don't think we're graduating anywhere near enough computer science grads in australia. We should be doing 10x what we're doing today in terms of proportion."

They don't believe in government handouts for entrepreneurs, but criticised the government for investing hundreds of millions of dollars propping up traditional manufacturing industries rather than paying attention to the information economy.
"The politicians talk a lot about digging stuff out of the ground and mining tax and the mining boom but then where's the money being reinvested and where's it being reinvested in a renewable resource?," said Farquhar.
"Intellectual property and building the education of our citizens is a renewable resource and I think that's where we should be investing."
Atlassian says when it does go public it will list on a US stock exchange but the founders expect significant benefit to flow to Australia as cashed up staff go off and create new companies.
Already Cannon-Brookes has invested money in Australian tech companies such as Shoes of Prey.
He would not be drawn on a date for Atlassian's IPO, but said the recent poor share market performance of other public tech companies like Zynga, Facebook and Groupon was not discouraging.
Cannon-Brookes said enterprise software companies were performing well and the poor performance of some sectors was a good sign that we're avoiding a "bubble" in valuations.

theage.com.au 27 Jun 2012

Another company / Aussie talent gone offshore because of Australia's over governance and attitude towards 'smart' Australians.

Australia's politics is not to nurture the talents, but rather to create an oppressive environment (ex tax laws), to stifle growth, if it is not in government hands.

03 July 2012

More Aussie kids overweight

ONE in five Victorian two-year-olds are overweight, a landmark Australian study has found
But researchers have discovered that parents have a window until their kids start school to take action before the negative health effects start to kick in.
The study, of more than 16,000 two- to 18-year-olds by the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, found the happiest, healthiest kids in Australia are of a normal weight.
Although toddlers who are overweight or obese don't suffer any health defects until they start school, by the time they are adolescents their health will be considerably worse than their normal-weight peers.
By the time children hit their late teens, those who are overweight or obese have more special health needs, more wheezing and asthma, poor sleep patterns, and poorer physical and social functioning.
"The best psycho-social and mental health was experienced by normal-weight children, and the worst by obese children," lead researcher Professor Melissa Wake said.
The study found being underweight was more of a health issue for toddlers, but this changed by the time the children were six or seven when the effects of obesity started to show in health outcomes.
"In young children, lack of obesity impacts coupled with heightened concern about underweight is likely to impede efforts to systematically address early-onset obesity," Prof Wake said.
The study found 20 to 25 per cent of children were overweight or obese at all ages, and around 5 per cent were underweight.

heraldsun.com.au 27 Jun 2012

There are factors which can contribute to child obesity.

Some are genetic, which can be improve the health of a child by the correct diet. 

Some factors include laziness of the parents, with the easy choice of  junk food as the main diet.

The above 'choice' can be considered as child abuse.

Young bullies are thugs in the making

TEENAGE bullies turn into thugs and are twice as likely to be involved with the courts or police when they reach 19 or 20. 
Bullying in high school may be a sign of later antisocial behaviour, a long term study of 800 young Australians has found.
The study, to be presented at the Australian Institute of Family Studies annual conference, found likely offences by late teens included theft, burglary, assault, selling drugs and vandalism.
Lead researcher Suzanne Vassallo said 27 per cent of boys and 14 per cent of girls surveyed had been involved in bullying, either as victims or perpetrators.
Bullies had twice the chance of becoming criminals later in life.
"The findings provide further evidence that bullying in adolescence may be a marker of risk for a continuing pattern of antisocial behaviour," Ms Vassallo said.
"This does not mean that every schoolyard bully is destined to become a criminal.
"However, if unchecked, bullying by early teens can be a powerful marker for a tendency towards anti-social behaviour later on, particularly for males.
"It underscores the importance of early intervention initiatives."
Dr Joe Tucci, CEO of the Australian Childhood Foundation, said it would be interesting to track young people backwards to see what had led them to engage in bullying behaviour.
"We need to assess the toxic stress in their lives, particularly what's been going on from birth to eight," he said.
Dr Judith Slocombe, CEO of the Alannah and Madeline Foundation, said the findings confirmed existing research.

heraldsun.com.au 30 Jun 2012

The Big Income Divide

THE gap between the rich and poor in Melbourne is growing, with average household incomes in the wealthiest suburbs up to three times greater than those at the bottom of the heap. 
Leafy eastern suburb Canterbury had a median household weekly income of $2350 last year, compared to $746 for Broadmeadows and $832 in Dandenong.

Nillumbik Shire in the city's north had the second highest income of any municipality, with Eltham North households earning $2098 a week.

Eltham mother-of-five Kate Pincheira said she was surprised to hear the average household income in the area was one of the highest in Melbourne.

She and her husband Dave bought a granny flat about 10 years ago, which they have rebuilt into a townhouse-style family home.

"What appealed to us was the local environment, the hilly geography and the trees. And also the fact that it's not that far from the city," Ms Pincheira said.

Over in Sunshine in the west, the weekly income was less than $1000, according to an analysis of census data by Monash University.

Monash demographer Dr Bob Birrell said house prices rising faster in some suburbs had led to growing income disparities between rich and poor areas.

"You are getting more concentrations of affluent people in places like Boroondara and higher concentrations of less affluent people in areas such as Brimbank and Greater Dandenong," he said.

Dr Birrell said a contributing factor was the tendency of newly arrived, non-English-speaking migrants to settle in poorer suburbs.

Census data compiled by Dr Birrell's team reveals how the relative wealth of some suburbs is increasing while falling for others. In Boroondara, median household weekly income was 31 per cent higher than the Melbourne average in 2001, but grew to 42 per cent by 2011.

Conversely, Greater Dandenong's household income was 28 per cent lower than the Melbourne average last year, compared to being 24 per cent lower a decade ago.

Council area/median weekly household income 2001/2006/2011
Greater Dandenong/680/770/952

Dumb, drunk, wasted

HOSPITALS are buckling under the pressure of boozed-up patients with more than 80 Victorians treated for alcohol-related illnesses and injuries every day.

Research has revealed 30,100 people had hospital stays across the state for alcohol-related problems in the 2009-10 financial year.
The number has jumped almost 30 per cent in five years and the latest figures showed an extra eight patients were taking up hospital beds every day compared with 2008-09.
Alcohol-induced falls, assaults and motor vehicle accidents made up 27 per cent of hospital admissions.
People abusing alcohol, binge drinking and having alcohol-related mental problems made up 46 per cent of admissions.
The Victorian Drug Statistics Handbook 2009-10 published this month showed drunk patients were racking up 112,000 bed days a year.
And the problem was not restricted to inner-city areas, with health centres in rural areas also feeling the pressure.
Thousands of drinkers showed up in Barwon, the Grampians, Gippsland and Hume.
Victorian nurses union boss Lisa Fitzpatrick said hospitals were losing the battle with alcohol, putting at risk the safety of nurses and other patients.
Turning Point researcher Belinda Lloyd said the report showed the problem was not isolated to a particular demographic.
"This isn't just an issue affecting young people, it is affecting the whole community," Dr Lloyd said.
"It is not just people drinking alcohol and going for a swim or driving a car either, people need to know the risks of long-term alcohol use.
"This is costing the whole community a great deal."
The latest figures come after a report tabled by Victoria's Auditor-General found alcohol abuse cost the state $4.3 billion a year.
Acting Auditor-General Peter Frost said the results showed government strategies aimed at curbing alcohol use in the community were failing.

heraldsun.com.au 1 Jul 2012

The whole idea is to have the children of the masses, in the exact state as described in the heading od the article /post.

This is a tactic used by the authorities to subdue the peasants. The English did it in America, giving liquor to the natives, they did the same to the native Australians, the Aborigines, and the same is done to the children of the canon fodder.

This is just one form of controlling the masses.