News

Zuck didn't invent the metaverse, but he's started a fight to control it

Begun, the Metaverse Wars have. And the Metaverse will fight Facebook's attempts at domination.

Read it here.

In my regular chat with RNZ's Nine To Noon host Kathryn Ryan, we discuss Mark Zuckerberg's announcement last week that Facebook would rebrand to Meta, to focus the direction of the company on the 'metaverse'.

Mark explains what the metaverse is, something he knows quite a bit about as the founder of one of the first virtual reality companies. He'll look at the single biggest change that's led to a decline in Facebook's revenue, and maybe forcing a change of direction on the company.

Listen here.

The killer app for ambitious virtual reality could be our world

IEEE Spectrum column November 2021 - If we technologists are going to build a metaverse, let's start with a mirror world: a high-fidelity reflection of the real world, in all of its richness, complexity, and unpredictability Read my column here.

It's one thing to have the world in your hands – what are you going to do with it?

Google won the patent battle against ART+COM, but we were left with little more than a toy

Read it here.

S09E20 The Success Factors with Murray Hurps Part Two - TWISTA’s Series 9 review of what we’ve learned about success concludes with UTS Startups‘ Murray Hurps reflecting upon what we’ve learned about successful startup hires – and hacks. Plus, a big announcement about the future of TWISTA.

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S09E19 The Success Factors with Murray Hurps Part One - Every TWISTA series 9 guest shared insights on what makes a startup and a founder successful. UTS Startups‘ Murray Hurps joins us to review what we’ve learned about customer focus, self-knowledge, listening, communication – and resilience.

Listen here.

S09E18 Ian Gardiner and Spark Festival - Ian Gardiner, one of the founders of Australia’s startup ecosystem, tells TWISTA how he identifies the hallmarks of success in startup founders – and in himself. Maxine Sherrin, director of Spark Festival, visits TWISTA with event hosts Adriana Belotti and Biliana Rajevic to spruik this year’s Australia-wide celebration of all things startup.

Listen here.

In my regular chat with RNZ's Nine To Noon host Kathryn Ryan, we discuss how a shortage of semi-conductors is now making things worse for automakers, who were already being affected by the global shortage of computer chips. Facebook shareholders aren't happy with revelations that the company offered to pay a fine that was fifty times higher than what the US Federal Trade Commission was seeking over the Cambridge Analytica affair - all so Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg didn't have to testify. And a crypto-trading hamster has been found to make better trades than Warren Buffett and the S&P 500...

Then we had a super interesting conversation about the RBNZ plan to introduce a digital currency -- read about that here.

Listen here.

Through the looking glass - holographic display hardware is great, but it's not enough

An intriguing proof of concept for real-time 3D arrives, but without the software it's just a gimmick

Read it here.

S09E17 News Special - Startup ecosystem legends Petra Andren and Alan Jones join TWISTA to examine the Afterpay purchase (or is it a merger?) – and the largest philanthropic donation in Australian history. From a startup! All the news startups need in our final news special.

Listen here.

Manufacturers should maintain their software and firmware indefinitely

IEEE Spectrum column October 2021 - A lot of our perfectly good devices hit the trash heap not because they've failed, but because they're no longer supported. That's unsafe, and wasteful. It's got to stop. Read my column here.

S09E16 Teamgage's Noelle and Ben Smit - You can’t improve what you don’t measure. Co-founders (and partners) Noelle and Ben Smit built SaaS firm Teamgage to make it easy for organisations to measure themselves – and improve. Does it work? And have they used their own tool to improve their chances for success?

Listen here.

The Next Billion SECONDS
SERIES FIVE EPISODE seventeen:

Sustain #5: can we radically reduce the emissions created growing our food?

Measuring your carbon footprint? There's no app for that

Smartphones can keep us informed of everything other than environmental impact. That needs to change

Read it here.

The Next Billion SECONDS
SERIES FIVE EPISODE
sixteen:
Sustain #4: would electrifying everything eliminate carbon emissions?

Resist the temptation to let machines manage you

IEEE Spectrum column September 2021 - All our cloud services work to keep us swimming in our lanes - so we need to embrace a desire to ignore their advice, go off-piste, and go in search of the unexpected. Read my column here.

S09E15 Harvest B's Werner Fuggersberger, Kristi Riordan and Alfred Lo - Plant-based proteins could form as much as fifty-percent of our diets within the next thirty years, so there’s enormous opportunities for ‘foodtech’ startups to redesign global agricultural supply chains around the changing diet of a warming planet. Harvest B‘s founders have a vision – and a mission. Does that spell success?

Listen here.

The Next Billion SECONDS
SERIES FIVE EPISODE
THIRTEEN:
Sustain #1: CAN we 'flatten the curve' on climate change?

S09E14 CryptoSpend's Andrew Grech & Richard Voice - Fintech has mostly meant doing what banks do – but better, faster and cheaper. Cryptocurrencies live outside our banking and payments system – until now. CryptoSpend offers a VISA that allows users to BPAY with Bitcoin! Is this the future of payments?

Listen here.

The web was done right the first time. An ancient 3D banana shows Microsoft does a lot right, too

It's wonderful that code written for Windows 3.1 still works well today.
Read it here.

In my regular chat with RNZ's Nine To Noon host Kathryn Ryan, we discuss Apple's proposal to scan all photos uploaded to its iCloud service, looking for child abuse materials - and whether that opens a Pandora's box of snooping in your smartphone. Facebook banned researchers from NYU looking at the effects of political advertising - and used a privacy judgement from the US Federal Trade Commission as a fig leaf to cover their actions. Finally, an Australian court has ruled that artificial intelligence can be considered a 'person' for the purposes of patents!

Listen here.

S09E13 AirTasker's Tim Fung - Tim Fung has charted a course to success – from plucky startup entrepreneur to newly listing AirTasker on the ASX. Why did he take his firm public — and how has it changed his startup? Along the way, what has Tim learned about success?

Listen here.

S09E12 News Special - How are startups adapting to the in-and-out-and-in-again of pandemic lockdowns? Is Go1, Australia’s newest unicorn, on a growth path to be the next Canva? Microsoft for Startups’ Annie Parker and Main Sequence Ventures’ Phil Morle offer their insights – and their secrets for startup success. All the news important for startups!

Listen here.

Great reset? More like Fake Reset: Leaders need a reality check if they think their best staff will give up hybrid work

Fortune favours the flexible in the new normal. Read it here.

The cloud's electricity needs are growing unsustainably

IEEE Spectrum column August 2021 - How will we cope with the growing electricity demands of cloud computing? It may require a deep rethink of the design of programs that we run within it. Read my column here.

Monopolies of the Australian Mind

"On the morning of 18 February 2021 Australia awoke to find itself at war. While the nation slept, powerful digital saboteurs cut the cords that bind the nation together, severing connections to its most popular and most important sources of factual information....

"As Australians realise that they are dangerously beholden to a handful of ‘Big Tech’ firms, collectively worth around 10 trillion dollars (nearly a decade of economic output), we must assess the immediate threat to the nation’s sovereignty, map out the future under these new powers, then consider—if we decide we value national agency over convenience—how to work ourselves out of the pit we have dug ourselves into..."

Read it here.

Restoring your privacy costs money, which makes it a marker of class

Opting out of data monetisation is neither easy nor cheap. Read it here.

Imagine a world where Apple shacked up with Xerox in the '80s: How might it look today?

An alternative history of the computer revolution. Read it here.

S09E11 Success in Lockdown - From inside a pandemic lockdown of uncertain duration, how do Sydney’s startups operate – and thrive? We ask Tractor Ventures‘ Matt Allen for insights from Melbourne’s 111-day lockdown, then check in with Inspace CEO Justin Liang – who pivoted his startup during the first lockdown. Timely tips for all of Australia’s startup community.

Listen here.

Data collected to promote public health must never be surrendered to police

Voluntary location-tracking to crimp COVID is too good a tool to waste. Read it here.

S09E10 EOFY with Damian Smyth & Alex Chisholm - EOFY means startups need to do their sums - and file for R&D tax credits, instant asset write-offs, and much more. TWISTA speaks with Swanson Reed's Damian Smyth & Alex Chisholm about how clever startups can document their way into big tax refunds - no profits required!

Listen here.

A combination of batteries, motors and smarts is pushing aside internal-combustion engines, large and small

IEEE Spectrum column July 2021 - Electric motors are useful, capable, ubiquitous - and nearly invisible. Recently they've come to the forefront, their tortoise to the internal-combustion hare. Guess who's winning the race? Read my column here.

In my regular chat with RNZ's Nine To Noon host Kathryn Ryan, we discuss the increasing sophistication of computers -- resulting in them producing random, unpredictable errors. Meanwhile, Android users in the US state of Massachusetts got their Covid app installed - whether they wanted it or not. Advertisers could soon be coming for you in your dreams, thanks to smart speakers! Finally, the inventor of the 'anode' used in all lithium batteries has now invented a faster way to charge electric vehicles.

Listen here.

The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The best time to build a semiconductor foundry is 5 years ago

The history of computing is all change, all the time. Yet silicon-slingers let the chips fail where they may. Read it here.

S09E09 Fingerprint for Success' Michelle Duval - Michelle Duval created Fingerprint for Success as a SaaS offering, leveraging what she’d learned as a career coach. Michelle shares her detailed studies of successful startup entrepreneurs – and tells us what we need to improve within ourselves to maximize our chances for success.

Listen here.

The Next Billion SECONDS
SERIES FIVE EPISODE TWELVE:
Geopolichips #4:
Will the next war be fought for control of semiconductors?

We had the tools but lacked the imagination

IEEE Spectrum column June 2021 - Last year the world turned on a time, from office to remote work, somthing that could only happen because we were better prepared than we ever realised. Read my column here.

S09E08 Coviu's Silvia Pfeiffer - A pandemic-driven transition to telehealth meant Silvia Pfeiffer's Coviu grew massively over the last year. How does she balance growth against the ever-changing rules of Australia's Medicare system? And what has Silvia learned about building a succesful startup?

Listen here.

The Next Billion SECONDS
SERIES FIVE EPISODE ELEVEN:
Geopolichips #3:
How did America lose the semiconductor race?

S09E07 News Special - We've just seen a big-spending federal budget. What do Jelix VC CEO Andrea Gardiner and Carthona Capital partner Dean Dorrell reckon it all means for startups? Do we need a 'patent box' for deep tech? And what have both learned about why a startup succeeds?

Listen here.

The Next Billion SECONDS
SERIES FIVE EPISODE TEN:
Geopolichips #2:
Why DO COMPUTERS GET SMALLER AND FASTER AND CHEAPER?

S09E06 VOW's George Peppou - George Peppou knew nothing about biotech when he co-founded VOW; he’s now well on his way to vat-growing meats that could feed billions around the world. Is biotech fundamentally different? How has VOW used the best bits of tech startups to accelerate their growth? Get the answers on this show.

Listen here.

The Next Billion SECONDS
SERIES FIVE EPISODE NINE:
Geopolichips #1:
Why is there a shortage of chips?

Blessed are the cryptographers, labelling them criminal enablers is just foolish

Preserving privacy is hard. I know because when I tried, I quickly learned not to play with weapons. We need to make sure we can continue to use encrypted messaging apps - because without privacy, we are easy pickings... Read it here.

In my regular chat with RNZ's Nine To Noon host Kathryn Ryan, we discuss the ruling by Facebook's Oversight Board to maintain the ban on Donald Trump - for now - then look at the NYPD taking its 'digidog' behind the shed. And finally, the 'Disaster Girl' meme has become a non-fungible token, which then sold for half a million dollars. No bubble there, eh?

Listen here.

S09E05 Tractor Venture's Matt Allen - Matt Allen found a gap in the startup funding model. Now he’s driving Tractor Ventures through it, providing unsecured loans to startups with accelerating revenues. Are loans a better deal than selling shares? This episode is a must for every startup raising capital.

Listen here.

S09E04 Tide's Michael Loewy - An epidemic of data leaks proves businesses need to rethink how they collect, store and operate on our personal data. TIDE co-founder and CEO Mike Loewy tells us what it takes to bring the best of blockchain – invisibly, and securely – to nearly every digital product and service.

Listen here.

IEEE Spectrum column May 2021 - The recent power shortfalls in Texas exposed the need for better control. Read my column here.

Last year I was privileged to work with journalist Claire Aird and producer Josh Butt on the 'Criminal Domain' podcast - sponsored by Norton 360. It took a 'true crime' approach to the kinds of cyberthreats that all of us face every day, online. 'Criminal Domain' been nominated for best 'PR-led Content Creation' in the Mumbrella Comsconn Awards!

Harassers and bullies succeed in tech because silence is encouraged

Countless people have signed away the right to have their trauma acknowledged through 'non-disparagement' clauses in employment contracts, and that has to stop. Now. Read it here.

S09E03 Oovvuu's Ricky Sutton - Ricky built Oovvuu into a successful media company by challenging the platform monopolies of Google and Facebook – offering an alternative, and beating them at their own game. He shares his secrets for success when going up against trillion-dollar companies!

Listen here.

S09E02 News Special - We welcome back SheEO Country Lead Julie Trell and Main Squence GP Mike Nicholls to explore the post-pandemic landscape for startups, emerging funding models – and key elements for success.

Listen here.

The Next Billion SECONDS
SERIES FIVE EPISODE EIGHT:
What stands in the way of electric vehicles?

S09E01 Jason Calacanis - We kick off series 9 with a deep dive into the post-pandemic startup world – and the virtuous cycle of successful startups.

Listen here.

The Next Billion SECONDS
SERIES FIVE EPISODE SEVEN:
Have Australians Embraced Electric Vehicles?

IEEE Spectrum column April 2021 - Engineers developing drones or similar robotic helpers need to focus on mitigating the dangers. Read my column here.


The Next Billion SECONDS
SERIES FIVE EPISODE SIX:
what's the next fuel after batteries?

In my regular chat with RNZ's Nine To Noon host Kathryn Ryan, we discuss the 'Code War' - the undeclared war between global powers battling for control and supremacy in the digital sphere. We also look at how Facebook conspicuously ignores the recommendations of its own 'Responsible AI' research group. And Amazon is 'gamifying' its warehouses, in order to make its workers more productive.

Listen here.

The Next Billion SECONDS
SERIES FIVE EPISODE Five:
Has Europe gone 'All-in' on electric Vehicles?

There’s always someone to blame for bad infosec, but never a willingness to make meaningful change

We're losing 'The Code War' - with an exponential increase in the number of exploits and attacks against our hyperconnected systems. Blame is not enough - but what can we do? Read it here.

The Next Billion SECONDS
SERIES FIVE EPISODE four:
Has social media turned us into conspiracy theorists?

The Next Billion SECONDS
SERIES FIVE EPISODE three:
Can we make friends with a superpower china?

IEEE Spectrum column March 2021 - Inspired by a recent outage in the Service NSW COVIDsafe check-in feature, I take a look at whether we're really designing our networked world for that in-between state of connectivity, where the network is sometimes there - and sometimes not. Have a read.

RN Life matters 22 Feb 2021

ABC Radio National 'Life Matters' -- Many of us learned just how dependent we are on Facebook for news and information when we all woke up to blocks on our favourite pages.

How has Facebook's recent action affected how you get your news and information?

I'm joined by the amazing Margaret Simons. Listen here.

The Next Billion SECONDS
SERIES FIVE EPISODE Two:
Will you own an electric car this decade?

Triple j hack 18 february 2021

Triple J 'Hack' 18 February 2021 -- Facebook has cut off all news content to Australian users, as it ramps up its beef with the Federal Government. The Govt wants the big tech company to pay for sharing Australian news content, and they aren't keen.

So how did we get to this point? And how come a lot of other government and community-run pages have been caught in the fray?

Have a listen here.

The Next Billion SECONDS
SERIES FIVE EPISODE ONE:
WHY WILL ALL CASH BE DIGITAL BY 2030?

How do we combat mass global misinformation? How about making the internet a little harder to use

My latest column for The Register asks whether Google's threat to pull its search products from Australia might not be a blessing in disguise. Read it here.

In my regular chat with RNZ's Nine To Noon host Kathryn Ryan, we discuss the ramifications of Jeff Bezos stepping down as the CEO of Amazon, the anti-trust lawsuit Facebook has filed against Apple -- and why you should think twice about your internet-connected chastity belt. (That last bit is _slightly_ NSFW, but very funny.)

Listen here.