One foot on the ground
SETTING THE COURSE
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.