Don’t forget to play
My brother-in-law Dan was telling me a story of a meeting he had in the city. Dan's a creative guy and he turned up in shorts. everyone else was in a suit. One of the guys turned to him and said "Are you one of those 'lifestyle guys'?"!!
Well, the truth is that he is the original Lifestyle Guy. He works from home, shooting and editing movies with his loving family around him. He swims, paddle boards, sails a laser and philosophises. He loves the Stones, Pink Floyd and Bowie and heads for his beach house a couple of times a month in his VW van with his board on the roof. This movie captures some of our first three weeks in Australia and is a tribute to the Lifestyle Guy, without whom we wouldn't have had half the fun we have had. Dan stars in several scenes, but he's the one opening the beer bottle on the rock.
Last weekend we watched Miranda's nephew (Fiona's son) Monty Tait, competing in the Pro Surf qualifiers for the World Series, which took place in Maroubra, a ten minute walk from where we are staying. Out of 128 entrants he came in 3rd! (the picture above was shot during the comp by a pro).
It was the first time I've watched the sport live. It was really exciting and pretty tense. Each heat lasts 20 minutes. During the heat there are a few rules governing the 'priority' of who can take a wave. But the bottom line is that you can surf as many waves as you like, each is scored our of ten and the best two combine to give your score, taking the winners through to the next heat. A key judgement is choosing the right waves. The most powerful ones are the result of 'ground swell', a series of waves that have travelled from their source in a distant storm, and that break once the swell reaches shallow enough water. 'Wind swell' also creates waves but they don't have the same power.
As well as being the local hero (he's seen as one of the 'three wise men of Maroubra'), Monty walked away with a chunk of prize money to help fund his next two months touring in his camper van from one event to another around the coast of Australia. Now how cool is that?! Oh, and he's got the warmest, super sensitive heart too - just like his Dad, Dan (below left and right).
Well .. I'm working hard and Miranda's taking a holiday :)
I've just finished week two of my new role. It is absolutely fascinating, unfortunately I am bound under a variety of confidentiality clauses which make it difficult to write much about what I am actually doing. But here are the basics .. (1) Australia is waking up fast to the huge $$ multi-billion opportunity of the Internet of Things (2) KPMG has taken a very strong lead in this market over all the other major consultancies and has recruited an international team with extraordinary expertise across a variety of domains including Smart Cities and Agritech (3) Our tools include financial modelling (eg to help raise funds for infrastructure investment), technology enablement, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and much more. (4) I have a role that spans a number of industries from banking and insurance to government, telcos and farmers. I am also developing some key local strategic alliances (Hypercat members) that will deliver some totally unique offerings (5) Our secret sauce involves mixing *******, ******* and ****** to deliver lasting results. Below is a view from my office window. I'm loving it.
Meanwhile Miranda has been enjoying the Australian sun with her sister Fiona. This week they headed South to Jervis Bay on the South coast of New South Wales, where Dan & Fiona have a beach house in paradise. Jervis Bay is said to possess the whitest sand in the world, Below are some of the pictures they took during their trip. How the other half lives :)
Miranda and I arrived in Sydney last Friday with just four cases, to stay in her sister Fiona’s shed until we settle. As we passed through border control, I thought about Ellis Island in New York. It was the gateway for over 12 million immigrants who arrived to start a new life, many were the driving force behind America’s growth. We were arriving in Australia as new immigrants. With just four cases.
Never have I experienced so much change in such a short period of time. We have literally turned our lives upside down. The following is a list of the new things that we have had to set up or change: New residential address. New bank accounts and insurance policies. New boss and new team. New computer operating system and a dozen new apps. New phone and new phone number. New email address. New commute, without a car, with an Opal card. New friends. New weather patterns: sun, sun, sun. New legislation. New starter training programme. New views and new ways of thinking. New bed and bedroom. New neighbours. New habits. New recreation. Oh and my new job is driving the cutting edge of change on earth in IoT, robotics and artificial intelligence.
With so much change, it is a challenge to process everything. Miranda and I have walked for hours. We’ve visited 10 beaches, 2 art galleries, and a debate. We’ve sat in a bunch of bars, restaurants and pubs. We’ve travelled on ferries, buses and Uber cars.
But the real essence of the change of the last few days is that the sun and sea changes the way you think. The light changes the clarity of thoughts and living out of just four cases is hugely liberating.
And whilst we will be back in the UK in six months and most of the change is temporary, the change we have already experienced over the last few months are really huge, And some of the changes we are driving though my new firm will not be reversible. We are going to change the way cities are run and food is grown. It’s an exciting time.
On Saturday we woke, walked to the beach, had a swim in Mahon Pool and after a fruit breakfast we caught a bus into the city. Buses are the main form of public transport in Sydney and there's a great link from the end of our street straight into to the city.
We walked for four hours around the Harbour City. It was full of vibrant energy and there were literally hundreds of waterside bars and restaurants between Darling Harbour and the Opera House. Street performers pushed themselves to entertain with highly risky acts. We dropped into the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Opera House. The city is a truly exciting and envigorating place.
In the evening Miranda cooked and we had some great discussion over a few bottles of wine with Dan and Fiona. Bed at 11 and a full night sleep until 7. We seem to have defeated the jet lag.
We are used to seeing the world with a Mercator projection - a 'cylindrical map' that tries to flatten out the earth by laying it out as you might if you carefully cut up an orange. But it doesn't give you the real sense of the distance north and south relative to east and west. You'll see on the map below that it looks like we are nearly there once we cross Europe and Asia ..
However, we flew 10 hours East to Seoul, switched planes then flew 10 hours South at an average speed of just over 500 miles per hour, covering a total distance of about 10,500 miles. Both legs were about the same distance.
When we arrived, Fiona met us at the airport and drove us home to Maroubra where we are staying for a while.
Feeling very excited ... Tomorrow, Miranda and I fly to South Korea for a very brief stopover and then we land in Sydney.
It's late. House packed in lots of boxes marked ''stuff'. Lovely caretaker ready to take over. Three suitcases packed with all we think we need for six months away including good boooks and a Juice penknife. All bills paid and a few pounds left over. Celebrated Christmas and New Year and exchanged love with close friends & family.
We're staying with Miranda's sister, my brother in law and their grown up children for a while - in their shed. And then we're moving to an apartment on a cliff with a view we can watch whales from our bed.
I have a fabulous new opportunity working with a great team at KPMG and I'm looking forward to 'knocking it out of the park' in their amazing office over looking Sydney Harbour. This new practice is one of the most innovative and disruptive in the whole firm, it's led by an awesome, genuine, generous, innovative good friend I met in Chelsea in the DotCom boom days - Piers (you'll most certainly be hearing more of him). It also turns out my step cousin is the National Managing Partner of KPMG NSW so I'll need to prove myself big time to show my face when I next see my mother in law! Oh, and whilst I have an official fancy job title, I have given myself an unoffical title. I'm now a 'Smart City Architect (SCA)' and I am going to help design a/some Smart City/ies in Oz. From a quick Google, I think I'm the only SCA at the moment. I'll be blogging on that area in another blog sharing some ideas about how to build a Smart City (see www.howtobuildasmartcity.com if that made any sense and sounded interesting).
The kids are coming over soon for the Easter holidays and we're all going to learn to surf in Maroubra beach - the HQ of surfing in Australia (400m from our appartment). My step nephew is currently around 100th best in the world so I'm hoping he may be able to help out.
Several other friends will be over and we know a few more really great people there.
Last but not least ... I have four step nephews (Sam, Luke, Tom and George) who are considered to be the best sibbling rugby league players in Autralia, so I am hoping to watch their magic while we are there.
What could possibly go wrong?