JO KELLY: Good evening, everyone, and thank you so much for joining us this evening. We know that it’s an incredibly busy time of the year. So we really appreciate you taking times out of your very busy diaries to join us. We’re so thrilled tonight to really deep dive and focus on tech jobs. And this is part of the city of Sydney’s Visiting Entrepreneurs Programme, which they’ve been really proud to present this year. There’s been many events, which I hope many of you have had the opportunity to pop in and say hello to. Without any further ado, I’d love to first start the proceedings by welcoming Councillor Robert Kok. (APPLAUSE) ROBERT KOK: Thank you, Jo, and hello everyone.
Welcome. Welcome to our final Small Business Digital one on one seminar for this year. Firstly, I’d like to acknowledge the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation, the traditional custodians of our land, and to pay my respects to the elders both past and present, and also acknowledge the people of the 200 nationalities who reside in our wonderfully diverse and multicultural city. Of course, I would like to welcome this evening’s expert speakers and panel members. They are Louise McWhinnie, the UTS Dean of Faculty of Transdisciplinary Innovation, Alex Gruszka, the CEO of StartupAus, author of the Talent Gap Report, UX panellist Rebecca Enya Lourey, user experience designer, UsTwo, data analyst panellist, Bing Ong, data scientist product manager panellist Magda Griffiths, who is a senior product manager with Gumtree, BDM panellist Adam Long, the business development manager and CEO of Smarter Drafter, and director of Conscious Steps.
Today, when most people talk about the tech sector, the discussion often focuses on smart devices and apps– perhaps also data stored in the cloud. I guess I’m of the generation when I was, you know, I’m guessing at your age, I was using phones. And the phones were those dial ones that you call over friends, and then I had to dial. If I wanted to call a friend overseas, I had to dial the operator who has to connect me to the number overseas. So, so much has changed. However, back to– the most critical component of the tech sector today is people, and the value they bring through their skills, knowledge, and expertise. This is especially true for emerging tech start-ups. Tech skills are high in demand in Australia and around the world, as we all know it. But there are key skills gaps. Specifically, some skills are higher in demand than others. The recent StartupAus talent gap report is significant and very useful, providing detailed evidence about the gaps that exist, and contributing to our understanding of the skills context of the Australian tech sector. Specifically, it identifies and profiles the four tech roles that are in immediate high demand.
In tonight’s seminar, as well as giving you an introduction to Sydney’s tech start-up ecosystem, you will gain an in-depth introduction to these four cutting-edge role types. Tonight’s panel members are experts who are working in each of the identified roles– data scientists, user experience designer, product manager, and business development manager. They will help you understand the critical impact that each role can contribute to the tech start-up, what it is they actually do, the pathway they took to working in the role, and what it is they most enjoy about it.
So we know that the start-up tech sector is constantly changing, and many of these skills and roles have only emerged in the last 10 years, and are only found in this sector. So why are these four roles so critical? Well, one, because when done well, they have the capacity to trigger growth, and in turn stimulate further job growth. Equally, a shortage of these critical skills can inhibit growth. So globally, both new and well-established tech firms are looking for similar roles to recruit, which means that Sydney’s start-ups are competing for talented employees in what can be a cutthroat global talent pool.
So Australia has some key advantages– the quality of both our education system and our workforce. However, as the StartupAus report identifies, we are potentially curbing growth in the wider economy by not meeting the demand for some of the most important jobs in the technology sector. So I wish you all an informative and stimulating evening tonight. So enjoy. Thank you. (APPLAUSE) JO KELLY: Thank you so very much, Councillor Kok.
So my name’s Jo Kelly. I’m going to be helping moderate this evening, and helping us work our way through the agenda. So tonight’s focus is, we have a couple of key speakers who are going to share some really interesting knowledge you, and hopefully inspire you, for those of you in the room wondering if the tech industry is your next big move. We’re going to then have a curated panel, where we’re going to talk and a lot more about the day in the life of– the different roles, the different things that the people are doing right now, and to help you define what those roles and skills are.
We’re then going to end the evening with a bit of an opportunity for networking, so we’d love it if you were here at the end of the evening to have that opportunity to talk to each of our speakers. If you are interested in following us tonight on social, we are actually hashtag– it’s just up there behind me on the screen– which is #VEPSyd. So we’d love it if you could share that with your network so we can further let people know what is actually happening in the digital ecosystem here in Sydney. The city of Sydney has been focused on the digital economy for a number of years, and it’s really exciting tonight that we’re looking really first-hand at the skills, because we’re really passionate about ensuring that there is opportunities for people to find work within this wonderful city. So with that in mind, our very first speaker tonight, Louise McWhinnie, is from the University of Technology, Sydney. She has just started an incredibly exciting role at the University, which I won’t steal her thunder to tell you what it is. But why it’s exciting is because it really is focusing on the opportunity of training people right here in Sydney for these really exciting new jobs and new opportunities.
So I might welcome Louise up, and you can tell everyone exactly your role. (APPLAUSE) (LOW TONE BUZZES) LOUISE MCWHINNIE: I’m not sure if that’s ominous or not. Thanks, Jo. Firstly, I’d like to say thank you to Microsoft, Google, LinkedIn, and UTS for the scope of the Start-up Talent Gap Report tonight, and of course the city of Sydney for this evening. It’s a wonderful reflection of Sydney that we’re together to talk about the talent and the future of the Australian tech sector. And Alex will be coming up shortly to talk about the specifics of that report I just held up. However, I’d like to start off by introducing myself not by what my job title says that I am– although my mother loves my job title– but who I am. I am fascinated by wicked problems, where single disciplines alone are not enough to deal with the complexity of the challenges we face.
Where complexity and technology require not simply the combination of singular disciplines to generate new forms of thinking, but new abilities in hybrid thinking. I work in the space of curiosity. I’m curious about the dreams of the past, of this future that is now our present– a future that is, and also at times never was. I’m also fascinated by the future as we build it and it unfolds. By the scope of Artificial Intelligence, by AI writing, by the potential and ethics of drones for new forms of data gathering, by how an autonomous car is programmed to recognise and react to the movement of an approaching moose in America, or an elk in Europe, but cannot then recognise the approach pattern of a kangaroo in Australia. I’m fascinated by face recognition and its implications, by the use of geospatial technology, by inventions and technology created for one purpose, with often unforeseen potential for other purposes. I am fascinated not simply by coding, but by the role of our culture in what we code.
I’m fascinated by biomimicry, by swarm intelligence and flocking behaviour. I’m fascinated by big data and the ethics for us as individuals and our society, by human-centeredness in the advance of technology. And I agonise over the lack of digitised visual language to cope with our digital age so that ancient written and also oral languages are condemned to die out. I am also fascinated by why inequality exists, how it perpetuates itself, and how that gap will potentially widen through access or lack of access to technology and education.
My list obviously speaks to the education that we’re producing for our students, but also to those in the environment upskilling hard, and soft skills to move with and lead change. Alex is going to present the specifics around the report and the identification of the talent gaps the research has revealed, but I want to engage in a wider introduction about the time that all of us in this room find ourselves in, and the fact that many roles are not yet identifiable, and what this actually means for us in the workforce, as well as our future workforce. Innovation is shifting the very nature of the problems and challenges in the world towards becoming open, complex, dynamic, and networked. We therefore need to develop radically different ways of working, and that of course requires a transformation in how we prepare for our future and upskill our current talent. Existing ways of doing things are all too often proving to be a mismatch for immediate and future needs, and the skills needed now and into the future are being massively disrupted by the complexity of the problems that we face. For me, that means that, as the Dean of the Faculty of Transdisciplinary Innovation at the University of Technology, Sydney, I work in the first new UTS faculty in over 20 years, and the only faculty of its kind in Australia.
We have seven undergraduate and postgraduate degrees and growing, spanning innovation, creative intelligence, technology, data science, animation– all of which forefront critical and creative thinking, problem solving, problem posing, innovation, invention, complexity, entrepreneurship, and preparing these students for the jobs of the future. Now, the need for such a forward-focused course and courses requires that we work across and between the traditional definitions of disciplines. And the scale and speed of change that we’re engaged with, particularly in the tech space, means that we’re also deeply engaged in the role that education, industry engagement, and lifelong learning needs to play in accelerating Australia’s forward momentum. People talk about this as the fourth Industrial Revolution, or the second Renaissance, or even the perfect storm.
But as the Vice Chancellor of UTS recently said, people often naively talk about the future of work as some distant point in time. But the future is here, now. So we’re in a time when technology does not simply provide tools to improve our lives, but generates new thinking that’s powerful enough to enable quantum behavioural and societal change. None of you in this room will doubt this, although to occasionally remind myself, I use a very simple set of images. Our younger generation have been raised as tech natives who have no memory of what it was like not to have multiple mobile devices and permanent access to constant communication, research, and the whole world in real time– or of having a profile that anyone in the world can see, or the ability to take a photograph or film an event and upload it in seconds to make it accessible by the entire world within minutes.
Our mobile devices have changed our social and cultural behaviour in a very short time. If you have any reason to doubt this, here is the crowd in Rome prior to the 2005 papal election of Pope Benedict XVI. Seven years and 315 days later, this is the time prior to the announcement of the election of the next Pope, and everyone is viewing the event through their own mobile devices. In 2013, everyone here is facing forward with their mobile device in front of them. Three years later, however– (LAUGHTER) Can you even begin to imagine what previous generations would make of an image showing everyone turning their back on the first female US presidential candidate?– a time where every event requires that people turn their back on historical moments to insert their presence in history by foregrounding themselves. In doing this, they abandon all previous protocol and social etiquette. (LAUGHTER) An admittedly flippant example. But thinking deeper, it’s easy to see that radical reshaping of human needs, and how interaction is revolutionising sectors such as energy, education, entertainment, person-to-person communication, media, advertising, transport, travel, shopping, recruitment. Meanwhile, innovation has driven us towards a more globalised world, and technology has dissolved borders and disciplines, and transformed who we consider our neighbours, our customers, and our competitors.
We have to engage in greater complexity than ever before, seeking connectivity in that complexity between and across what were traditional and often siloed professions, specialisms, or disciplines. We’re increasingly mobile and networked in a culture that rapidly demands that we’re innovative, adaptive, and outcomes driven, but less concerned with conventions in achieving outcomes. Innovation is, of course, specifically propelling one sector to adapt and thrive in this complexity, and that is the start-up sector. You’ll recognise a lot of the start-ups operating because they are thriving. Start-ups are a vital part of the paradigm shift, forging new growth and opportunity in the tech sector. They’re nimble, opportunistic, and can adapt to change in ways that large organisations cannot. To thrive in the start-up environment, people need to be entrepreneurial, resilient, understand and know how to navigate complexity, be comfortable with uncertainty, and how to learn or acquire a skill they need just in time. So as an educationalist working in the space of complexity, future thinking, and start-ups, I have to ask a fundamental question, what kind of university does a new generation need for this changing world, when potentially jobs that will exist in 2030 do not presently exist? But also, what place does the university play with our industries in creating opportunities for lifelong learning? Because learning doesn’t stop when you get that degree or that piece of paper– in fact, quite the opposite.
Lifelong learning is an important societal shift when our work futures are changing so rapidly. Just in time learning, microcredentials, blended learning, short courses are all the ways of the future for people of all ages who work in global and rapidly changing and shifting economies, allowing us to rethink ourselves, adapt to change, up skill, and create change in the way in which we navigate and take charge of our own work destinies. So what does the shifting time mean for the emergent generation of employees graduating from our universities and colleges? As taught by academics whose parents had jobs for life whilst our students will have a life of jobs, this has meant a significant change in what our universities are. With great change also comes great responsibility, not simply preparing students but also members of industry to be new kinds of employees, new kinds of employers, and new kinds of leaders.
Universities in the education sector as a whole have always worked with industry in leading research. Now, we also work with government, corporations, and the start-up community to conceptualise a future of change and growth for not only named jobs, but building agility and capabilities that will grow with the changes ahead and also lead them. Many UTS students aspire to be their own boss, and form or start or join a start-up. We know this talent needs skills support of a solid network, which many of the partners provided in this report, and even in this room, have been providing. So yes, this report identifies we have skill gaps and key shortages in Australia in the high tech sector, and it’s critical that we address this. The report identifies migration and education as potential solutions to the need for injected talent. I have to assume that in the report identifying migration this also includes repatriation, given the large and highly successful and innovative population of Australians overseas, particularly in Silicon Valley, where the Australian Mafia– as it’s known– is punching far, far above its weight.
The integration of education and industry and the tech start-up ecosystem is vital if research, innovation, and the tech sector are to work hand-in-hand. Using the US as an example, it is no coincidence that Silicon Valley was formed alongside Stanford University, the Boston start-up culture is adjacent to Harvard and MIT, and that the US’s fifth-largest start-up tech hub in North Carolina is centred within a triangle of three major universities. We already know this. We’re working hard on it in Sydney. Six years ago, UTS staff set out to understand not only the technological revolution, but what we recognised was an ideas revolution, and the Faculty of Transdisciplinary Innovation emerged. It was obvious that industry needed different types of employees to explore complex problems from multiple perspectives. With rapidly moving complexity, or driving question was, should people with the same knowledge address big issues? And educationally, what kind of university does new technology and a new generation of employees require? This is a time when our students are working hard and hand-in-hand with industry, start-ups, government, and the not-for-profit sector from their very first subject in their very first year of their university education.
This is vital for students, but please don’t for a minute think that this is all one way, as industry gains as much as the students with access to a new generation bringing their perspective to partner issues. It’s vital that industry contributes to education, and education to industry, so new advances are made, new talent is generated, and new perspectives formed where learning and lifelong learning is available for all. If you want to see some evidence about what I’m saying, according to the World Economic Forum, in many industries and countries the most in-demand occupations or specialities did not exist 10 years, or even five years ago. I find that to be an incredibly conservative prediction. Our first cohort of faculty graduates graduated this year and have progressed into the sum of these jobs with job titles that did not exist when they entered their degree four years previously– innovation analyst, transformation designer, we also have our first Silicon Valley start-up co-founder at the age of 23.
That makes an interesting challenge for us in the universities when we’re asked by parents to name what jobs their children will graduate into. So the Start-up Talent Gap Report identifies the highly-skilled thinkers that we require in the tech and start-up ecosystem, but also the significant level of global competition for such people. To compete for these people, we need to provide the right environment for innovation, and pre-empt what people will need to flourish in work and home environments for the coming years. In addition to the identified people gaps in the report are also the unidentified gaps, and that throws down the challenge of how we need to upskill our present workforce, as well as prepare upcoming generations for the technological innovation that exists in the cracks in the pavement between these jobs, and how we need to prepare to build this city’s and this country’s competitive future. That’s the challenge of my job, and it’s also the challenge for every single person in this room. Thank you. (APPLAUSE) JO KELLY: Wow. I’m feeling like my job has been around forever– (LAUGHS) the job that I’ve certainly had.
Thank you so much, Louise. If any of you would like to recapture anything that Louise talked about tonight, we are videoing this evening’s proceedings, so you will have an opportunity to look back over that and take away some of those key things in those messages. We’ll pop a link to you in the next several days, so thank you so much for that, Louise. Alex Gruszka is our next guest tonight. He’s going to come up and talk all about the report that Louise mentioned several times. He’s a Chief Operating Officer at StartupAus. StartupAus and UTS are our event partners tonight, so we would like to thank both of you for that on behalf of the city. Alex has actually been the Chief Operating Officer there for us for several years. His head role is research data and communications. He’s previously co-authored Powering Growth Ag Tech Report, and edited The Crossroads in 2016 and 2017.
So Alex is going to pop up on stage now and give us a rapid-fire view through some of the key research findings. So welcome, Alex. (APPLAUSE) ALEX GRUSZKA: G’day. Thank you very much. It’s always good hearing your bio read back to you, because you sound super impressive. I think of myself as the nerd, but occasionally I get wheeled out to events like this, and I end up with more of a tan than I had just from the bus. So that’s great. Let me flick through. So I worked for StartupAus. We’re a not for profit that make it our mission to make Australia one of the best places in the world to build and grow a tech start-up. We do that because tech businesses start from start-ups, and tech businesses are the future of the Australian economy, pretty clearly. In the five years that we were just talking about for new roles, five years ago, Facebook IPO’d to make itself overnight larger than any Australian company that exists.
And in those five years, it’s quadrupled in size. There’s no question that tech is the future for Australia, in terms of providing jobs for the people in it. So we do research like this– research into how the tech sector affects traditional industries, like construction or agriculture, and also broadly, what are the sort of settings that we need to tweak in Australia to make it a good place to build and grow a tech start-up. We also do events like this policy hack we did in Brisbane, where we got 150 of Australia’s most prominent investors, founders, politicians, and university professionals, and got them all in a room talking about some of those issues– how can we improve migration? How can we improve start-up corporate collaboration? And various other sort of policy-focused things.
But I’m here to talk to you about the Start-up Talent Gap. So this report came out because we’d been hearing from start-ups in the tech sector for quite a long time that there was a talent gap and they really, really needed people, but there wasn’t very much research done into actually what those people were– what they did, what their skills were, what their roles were in the business. So we wanted to do a little bit more research there.
And there’s actually quite a lot of public interest in that topic, as well. This is a study by Core Data which asked parents, do you feel confident that you understand what kind of jobs will be available in 20 years? And 70% of them basically said, no. I’d love to meet the 2% who were extremely confident about what jobs were there in 20 years’ time. But there are some themes that we can pull apart from what we think that is going to happen. And most people said that, for example, interacting with smart technology, or that technology disrupting employment and industries were going to play a part.
So we can be confident about some of the themes, but we don’t know exactly what the roles were. So we approached it in a couple of ways. These are all Australian start-ups. I know when I say start-ups, often we think of a couple of people in a garage eating pot noodles. But these are the ones that have been really successful and have grown to actually quite big businesses. So all of these businesses are Australian, and they’re all over $50 million valuations.
At the bottom left, there, there’s Canva, which is a $1 billion US valuation. It’s our first private unicorn– excluding Atlassian– which went to the US, so we’re semi-not counting them. But we went and talked to the founders of all these businesses, and asked them things like, what roles have been really important over the last six months? What roles are really important now? What’s going to be important for you in the next little while? What have you had real difficulty being able to hire? When you’ve been looking around, what skills are you most prioritising? And through that, we could extrapolate a bit about where there were gaps in the ecosystem. But we wanted to have a bigger dataset than just talking to founders of some of Australia’s prominent businesses.
So we tapped into our partners, LinkedIn. They have a tremendously large dataset. You’ll note there are 10 million people. In Australia, I think there’s about 12 million full-time workers. So the capturing is about 80% or something of Australia’s full-time workers. So we’re able to aggregate all that data and look at both sides of the LinkedIn platform. So on one side, there’s the job roles, themselves. So you know you can advertise for jobs on LinkedIn. And we could do things like look at how long those job ads were up for, how many applications they got, that sort of stuff. And on the other side, there’s the profiles of the people. So we could look at who is calling themself a data scientist, what skills do they list, what education did they have, what previous roles did they have, and whereabouts have they moved in the world– like, which countries have they changed to? And from that, we can answer some interesting questions.
So for example, this is countries by share of migrant hiring. So we can look at how many people were moving around. And one of the concerns about migration as the solution to the talent gap is a concern that we are accepting too many people into Australia. And we can pretty comprehensively say, we’re not. We’re just middle of the pack. Sorry, it’s just that’s where we are. Germany are importing a whole lot of people. The US, not so much, because they already have a very developed tech sector. And we are roughly in the middle. So we can sort of safely answer that question. This was kind of an interesting finding. So in Singapore– so the role of a data scientist basically has two components. It has one component which is analysing the data and finding sort of insight and commercial outcomes from the data, and the other side is the tech ability to actually manipulate the data– so the technical coding background.
And you can see that in Singapore, people who listed themselves as data scientists most often came from a data engineer background. When you look to Australia, people who list themselves as data scientists most often come from a research assistant background. So you can see different parts of the cultural landscape are providing access to these new roles, but they’re both finding themselves at the data science position because that’s the position that’s really in demand. So we ended up highlighting four roles from the data that came out. There are lots and lots of different roles and skills. The role title that you have on your business card might not be the same one you put on your LinkedIn profile, or the one that you tell your mum, so I’m aware that there’s always some wiggle room in this.
But these four roles consistently came up as ones that were really in demand by Australian start-ups. And in particular in overseas mature ecosystems, these were the ones that were absolutely most in demand. So data scientist, for example is the most imported role in the US. And they don’t import as many people into their tech scene as most other start-up ecosystems. So they’re roles that we’re going to explore right now. JO KELLY: Thank you so much, Alex. (APPLAUSE) We had, four years ago, Melanie Perkins from Canva on this very stage. She hadn’t yet launched Canva. She was talking about launching it. She was on this stage, I think, a month before she actually launched Canva. And it just goes to show, in 2014– she began the concept in 2012, but in 2014 actually launched. And it just goes to show how rapidly and how successful some Australian start-ups have actually been. Similarly, we had Tim Fung from Airtasker here the following year. They were mucking around with the concept when he was on the stage, hoping it would succeed. Now, I was just in LA recently.
My son left his iPad in the hotel room. We were an hour and a half away. There was no Airtasker in LA. I could not get that iPad, and it’s still now stuck in the LA hotel room, which we know where it is. We just can’t get it back. But it just goes to show, when you have a real problem, the potential solutions are there. And if you haven’t looked at Canva or Airtasker in any detail, do that, because they’re exceptional examples of our homegrown tech stories of real great success.
So I’d now like to introduce four of our specialist speakers tonight. They’re going to share with you their skills, their experiences, and their journey in the tech industry. So I might start off with Beck Lourey. She is actually what is known as a UX designer. I’m going to let Beck tell us a little bit more about that as she joins the stage. So welcome. She’s from us, too, and she has a background in visual design. But again, I’ll let her share that with us in a moment. Bing Ong is actually a data scientist. She’s from Daisee.
She’s also going to be sharing some of her knowledge with us. We have Magda Griffiths. She’s from Gumtree, and she has an entrepreneurial product management background. And again, I’ll allow her to tell you a little bit more about that as the night goes on. And lastly, we have Adam Long. He’s the CEO and director of two different places. And Adam might share with you right off the bat why he’s wearing no shoes.
Would you like to kick us off, Adam? ADAM LONG: Yeah, Sure. So nice to meet you all. I’m Adam Long. I’m the CEO of an AI for lawyers company called Smarter Drafter. I’m also the Director and Founder of Conscious Step. These are socks that fight poverty, For example, these ones provide 18 months of clean water through Water.org. These ones, on the other hand, feed three kids in refugee camps through Action Against Hunger for every pair that we sell. We’re not about promoting tonight, so I won’t mention that it’s called Conscious Step more than once. I won’t mention that it’s Christmas. And I won’t mention that the code AdamSentMe will get you a discount. JO KELLY: Thanks, Adam. Welcome. And Magda could you please tell us a little bit about where you’re from? MAGDA GRIFFITHS: Yeah.
So I work at Gumtree. I’m the Senior Product Manager there. And I basically work with technology and engineering teams to build products that our customers want and will use that actually meet business objectives. So I work in a cross-functional team, meaning I work with, as I said, developers, but also analysts, testers, people from various business units, such as marketing or sales. I capture their needs, and also capture customers’ needs, and create products and features that serve both. JO KELLY: Fantastic. And we’re going to come back and learn a lot more about that as the night progresses. Bing, can you tell us a little bit about your role and what you do? BING ONG: Yeah.
I’m currently a Data Scientist at Daisee, which is a local AI setup. So at Daisee, I’m involved with a product that’s called LISA, which is an acronym for Linguistic Integrative Semantic Analysis. So I deal with natural language processing. And effectively, we take calls from call centres and put them through, and in the end we churn out results that tell the call centre whether the agents are behaving in the manner that they want the agents to represent the company in. So that could be in the form of scorecards, behavioural, and so forth, and what are the things that they look out for in scoring how agents deal with calls and so forth.
So that’s what I do with in Daisee, churning out insights for customers. JO KELLY: And thankfully, LISA worked as a good acronym, because the other’s a bit of a handful, isn’t it, to work with? Thank you. And Beck, can you tell us a little bit about your role? REBECCA ENYA LOUREY: HI, my name’s Bec. I work for an agency called UsTwo. They’re most famous for a mobile game called Monument Valley and Monument Valley Two, which is now being turned into a movie, which is pretty crazy. But my job title is Product Designer, which is this nice little blend between visual design and user experience design, or UX design. And I guess I’ll talk a bit more about that later on. JO KELLY: Fantastic, thank you. So Alex, can you start us off.
Both Louise and you identified that many of these roles didn’t exist, and that they’ve really come about in the last sort of five, some maybe 10 years ago. Can you talk about what you see, and what the research has shown us about the types of jobs that Sydney needs? ALEX GRUSZKA: Yeah. So I think one of the key features of these jobs are that they’re taking similarly, or like, traditional jobs, and adding a twist, or adding something extra. So you’ll find that, for example, a business development manager’s main function is to bring business in– bring revenue in. But they do that not through necessarily traditional sales channels, but by having a more networking approach. They are more understanding of the product that they’re selling. They’re more able to assist customers. And the way that they work with clients is on a longer sales cycle. They meet them at events and they network. So it’s sort of similar skills, but adding something a little bit extra. And I think– like, we were talking earlier, and one of the things that united all of the roles was a very big focus on problem.
And this is pretty common amongst start-ups, but the idea is that the start-up exists to solve a problem, and everything that it builds flows out of that. And I think all of these roles specialise in that problem to some degree. JO KELLY: Yeah, fantastic. Can you jump in, Adam, and talk about, from your perspective, in your role, as looking after the business development side of your tech experience, what exactly do you– let people know a little bit more inside and what that looks like for you.
ADAM LONG: Yeah, sure. So ultimately, the role of business development is about making customers flow– bringing customers into the business. Now, in the olden days, there used to be a marketing manager, and their job was to make customers appear. And then it was the sales manager, it was their job to make customers pay. Now, somewhere along the line, that got a little bit merged. And now it’s really very much treated as one function. And in fact, it does seep into everything that everyone else on the stage does, as well. How do you get customers to appear? How do you get them to pay? How do you get them to refer beyond? So traditional channels have morphed in different ways. At one end of the spectrum, a business development manager may be trying to convince a bank or an enterprise to switch the basis of their entire software system.
At the other end, a business development manager may actually be having one-on-one conversations with mums and dads, or individual potential customers. Somewhere in the middle, a business development manager might be looking for other ways to bring customers in– partnerships with other businesses, media alliances, product changes, and product agreements with other companies– all of these with the goal of making customers flow. JO KELLY: Fantastic, thank you. Beck, can you tell everyone a little bit about your background, and as I’ve understood from my conversations with you before tonight is that you worked in a retail job. And you did that traditional thing that Adam just talked about. REBECCA ENYA LOUREY: Yes, I was a dirty salesman. (LAUGHTER) JO KELLY: How did you find that experience and what you did there transferable, I guess? Or how did that start your passion to be thinking about user experience and products, and how you take them into a tech environment? REBECCA ENYA LOUREY: I think what was interesting about that is realising how much of my skills that I learned from customer experience– like stakeholder management, client management– and also creating the ideal experience for someone– as they walk into a store, their experience while being in the store, and interacting with the store, and then leaving the store and re-engaging them after that.
And so much of that is knowledge or logic that I don’t even realise, half the time, that I translate into when I’m designing an app or a digital experience. I’m like, oh, I can definitely– I remember doing that with a customer back when I was 17 years old. And it’s so funny how much of that– how many of those experiences from such a seemingly mundane job that I draw upon in my daily life. JO KELLY: And Magda, can you talk about from your own experiences pre-what you’re doing now. What kinds of roles did you previously have, and how have you translated those into what you do now? MAGDA GRIFFITHS: Yeah. So in the late ’90s, I was studying design. And I specialised in graphic design. And that was sort of, like, by the early 2000s when websites started to take off, so I applied my design skills in building websites for various small businesses.
And then, just because I sort of was curious about the technology, I started to understand how search engines work, and how to rank some of these small business websites. And eventually, I scored a role at MSN. And that was basically my path into– well, I wasn’t actually doing design at MSN. I was optimising the content from their print materials, because MSN is a partnership and a joint venture between ACP, Channel 9, and MSN. And so bringing in the print material, so that, again, it’s found on the website. And then, the role quickly shifted once I showed other capabilities.
And yeah, ultimately it was understanding what customers wanted from that experience, but also what the business needs were. And I was able to translate customer needs into products. So my focus was entertainment and building out entertainment within NineMSN, and then ensuring that it’s commercial. JO KELLY: Fantastic. And Bing, can you talk from your experience– Alex raised the point that everyone on stage has got an area where problem solving is a big part of what they do. Can you talk about from your perspective how you help to solve problems through the data work that you do, and the data analysis work you do? BING ONG: You know, I find that data science as a team sport. So everyone plays a part. And I think when you experience this, too, the richer that it is, that the more that you’re able to bring the different roles together. So essentially, there is the product management consultant that qualifies the customer’s problems, and sees where our solutions can fit in. And there is the product management that can bring the voice of the customer in that, OK, this is our product.
What are the benefits that we can do? And even after we have churned– after we have worked with the data, and we have done the data wrangling and churned out results, we have to look on behalf of– through the eyes, too, or work with the UX designer, too. So in what manner would the data be represented best? Like for example, in these certain products that we work with. So we have aggregated scores on the dashboard, or then we can drill down to why is a certain department scoring badly. And then we can drill down further, and then we can bring up– you know, we want to be able to understand what kind of data needs to be present in order for the output to be shown correctly on the UX, for example.
So it’s a team sport. And I think everyone plays a part in making the solution shine. JO KELLY: Fantastic. And so can you talk about from your point of view, Adam, how you work with the customer, and how the data that you learn through the data scientists that you work with, and within your field, how you then relate that into your role– being business development? ADAM LONG: Yeah, sure. So I think that one of the key insights already is that none of us work in silos. There’s so much cross pollination. So if I want my business development team to do a better job, I might ask the data scientist to tell us, what is it about our best-paying customers, and ones that retain– what makes them the same? What’s unique? So then we can get the marketing team to try and identify more of them, and the sales team to spend more time on the ones that match that description better. When we talk to customers, they tell us what other problems they have.
Or they say, you know what? We like your software, but hmm, here’s what’s actually more important. Or does it do this? That’s a problem that we need to solve. And the product manager’s role is then to find new ways to solve that. Now, the UX comes into it because you can have a great solution to a problem, but if you have a bad UX, no one’s going to use it. No one will find the time to learn how to use it. And UX is all about making sure it’s adopted. And the bottom line, here, is that it was all strings together. So we’ve got a whiteboard in our office with the algorithm of the entire business. It’s sort of six levels deep. At the top level it says, revenue minus costs equals profit– obviously. Then I said, all right.
Well, what makes up revenue? Revenue is the number of customers by the number of times they buy it by how much they spend. What drives the number of customers? Right, well, it’s the top of the funnel multiplied by conversion rates. By the time you get about six levels down, and you’re thinking about, OK, well how does a particular incentive Programme for salespeople change the type of customers that turn up and how much they pay? You need this data to get there. You need the UX to get it right. And you need the product tools to get there. So once you’ve got this algorithm on a whiteboard for how a business operates, you can start to see who’s going to tweak things where, where you want to dedicate resources in order to change it all.
And believe it or not, by the time you’ve got this algorithm on the page, it kind of feels like a game of Age of Empires. And there’s your map. Maybe not Age of Empires– StarCraft, WarCraft, chess? Whatever you play, it’s a game. And there’s data to play with. JO KELLY: Fantastic. Thank you. So Magda, from your point of view as product manager, how important is stakeholder manager? And why is that a key skill or a key part of the role that you have? MAGDA GRIFFITHS: Yeah, so if you’re looking at moving into a product role, it is very important. Firstly, because it is quite– I guess we’re dealing with so many different stakeholders, whether it is the parts of the business, from management through to marketing, business development managers, and taking their needs and understanding maybe what they’re hoping to achieve from the product, or what their customers are saying.
And then also understanding sort of how– what a customer is actually trying to say. Because customers will say, oh, these are our pain points. These are our frustrations. And they won’t necessarily tell you the solution. But it’s balancing both needs, and having conversations with different parts of the organisation, from the people that are actually building the product– the developers, the engineering, the site operations– through to, OK, how will we measure success? And then UX and design– what will that look like? So taking needs from parts of the business, from the customer, and trickling– cascading that back down to the team, so we have a sense of what we need to build. What does that look like? How do we build it from the tech side, and how will we measure it? JO KELLY: Fantastic.
Thank you. Bing, is data scientist all about numbers? BING ONG: Of course not. I think it’s so multidisciplinary. I think that it’s trans-disciplinary. I think there is so much skillsets that you need to be a data scientist. It’s about numbers, yes. You’ve got be comfortable working with a huge amount of data. Because this is where data is a new currency.
You need to be able to massage it, process is. You can’t be scared of it. But because of the increase in compute power, and the multiple ways that you can, you know– the unstructured data that you can analyse right now, the new ways that you can look at it, that there’s so much depth that you need to be able to do as a data scientist to be able to talk to the data. You need coding skillsets. You need to be able to wrangle the data. And you need to be able to work with data platforms, and able to manage that huge quantity of data.
And then, on top of that are the non-technical skillsets. You need to be able to be good in communication. You need to be able to work well in the team. And you need to be but communicate your ideas. You need to be able to convince customers or management that this is what rudimentary methods can achieve, but with machine learning, with deep learning, with data science, this is where it brings the solution to you, or it brings the benefits to you. I think there is lots of other skillsets that you need, yes. JO KELLY: Fantastic. So it’s not just code and not just programming. So Beck, from your point of view, a UX designer who’s looking at user experience, and also from a visual point of view, is it actually just that you have got a roadmap and you’re just planning it out? And you’re going, yep, these are the steps, and I follow them each time? REBECCA ENYA LOUREY: Definitely not. I wish it was that way, because my job would be so easy. (LAUGHS) So I guess UX design– it’s pretty different every day. Generally, when we start a project at UsTwo, we kind of break it up into three main, like, sections, I guess.
The first one we call sit and listen. And so a huge part of that is, a lot of the time, just talking to people– talking to our clients, our stakeholders, and talking to their users, and understanding from there what the problems are that we’re dealing with. There’s a million different activities we could do through that stage. Some could be assumption mapping, customer journey mapping. I could just list them for days. But I think the toughest part of being a UX designer is problem solving– understanding where you want to get to, and what activities or things you can do to get you that one step closer to identifying what problems you want to tackle and how you want to do that.
And then once we kind of get to– well, you could research forever. But once we decide it’s, OK, we’re done researching, we start this other phase, which we call do and learn, which generally we run in design sprints. So within a week, we rapidly prototype a solution to that problem, and synthesise our findings from that from testing with real users. And then the next week, we do it again. And from there, you’re just constantly building, testing, iterating. Again, it could go on forever, but you’ve got to put a deadline on that one, as well. And then, the last one we call build and launch, which is when we ship it. JO KELLY: Fantastic. So it goes out into the big, wide world. REBECCA ENYA LOUREY: Yeah.
JO KELLY: So Alex, we’ve heard a little bit about the four different roles. And so from the research perspective, how in demand are these roles in Sydney? ALEX GRUSZKA: Yeah. I mean, they’re very in demand from the higher level start-ups. And the more mature a start-up ecosystem gets, the more these people become really critical. And they’re critical because they really do block growth if you don’t have these roles. I mean, we’ve talked about this in the abstract somewhat, but you all know what bad UX is, because I guarantee you have all gone into a website and been like, I just want to pay for this thing, and not been able to do it.
Right? That’s bad UX. And you’ve all gone to the dentist and say, yes, I promise I floss every night. And you don’t. And data analytics does design to find that out for you, right? So I used to work in a bit of product management stuff for an education company. And we ran data on the videos that we put out. And we could tell you that if it was a five-minute video, they would watch for five minutes. If it was a seven-minute video, they would watch for seven minutes. And if it was a 13-minute video, they would watch for seven minutes. JO KELLY: Wow. ALEX GRUSZKA: Seven minutes was the limit. They would never watch further. JO KELLY: So now it’s like two and a half minutes, right? ALEX GRUSZKA: Yeah, that’s right. And you need to communicate that to the rest of the business. You need to say, anything you say from seven minutes on will not be listened to– just full stop, you know? So being able to take those learnings and input them into a start-up that’s trying to develop a product is really critical.
And the way that Uber and Airbnb and all those sort of companies get so big, and be able to employ thousands of people across the country, is because they absolutely nail all of those little features. And if you don’t have the talent, you don’t get to be that big. JO KELLY: And where would be your advice to people in the room that are considering wanting to go exploring these roles? Where do you think the demand is now in Sydney? Like, how do they tap into where to go? ALEX GRUSZKA: Yeah. I mean, so I think you can hear from the discussion that we’ve had the elements of a lot of these backgrounds. So there’s like, design is a big part of a lot of these roles, right? So it doesn’t take that much to take your design background, input a little bit of maybe some basic coding-like literacy, and some understanding of the tech sector, and bang, you can enter into a UX design role. So I think the trans-disciplinary approach that UTS are implementing is a great example of this. It’s trying to find ways to take your existing skills, add usually some sort of tech component, and maybe some way of thinking outside the box, and getting involved in the tech sector.
And then, you’ll find yourself naturally falling into one of these roles, or you’ll make up a name and will have a new role that’s really critical. JO KELLY: Fantastic. This might be a perfect time, actually, to invite Louise back up onto the stage. And while she’s doing that, can I ask each of you in a quick sentence– can you share with us, Adam, what your five core skills would be within your product management role? I mean, in your business development role, sorry. ADAM LONG: Yeah, sure. So in business development, number one is curiosity– curiosity for everyone you meet. What makes them tick? What’s interesting in their world? Second one is empathy– actually understanding what matters for them and being able to relate to that. Third one would be– it’s kind of a consequence of the first two– networking. If you enjoy the first two, the third will just come naturally for you. The fourth is actually understanding the role of data. There is no business today that isn’t affected by data or technology.
So the tech sector doesn’t exist anymore. Every business is a tech business one way or another, if you’re a salesperson you should get across that. Four is enough. JO KELLY: Fantastic. And a quiet little plug that we will be concluding tonight with a networking session. So you can upskill in that right here tonight. And from your perspective, Magda, what would be the five key skills you’d take from product management? MAGDA GRIFFITHS: Yeah.
So I times two, basically, what was said here. But being an active listener is critical, because when you’re being in a customer-centric environment, you have to not only ask the right questions, but also try to– obviously, actively listen, but understand what the customer is trying to achieve, because it won’t be explicit. Have a sense of data, and how to– use data to create the right information. Because what customers say and what they do, which is the analytical side, can be worlds apart. So reading in between the lines and taking that forward to build the right products or features is another one. And to be curious. So yeah, that is definitely– I’m constantly learning, looking at different alternatives, and lateral thinking. JO KELLY: Fantastic. Thank you. And Bing, from your perspective, your core skills for a data scientist? BING ONG: Curiosity, again. You know, yeah, curious about what data can do, and what you can do with it– what you can achieve with it. I think another one would be the language of programming– coding. Yeah, pick up that language. be conversant in it.
Be comfortable expressing or churning out what you want from the data to put it into the format that you want– data wrangling. To be good in maths, statistics– that was the third. You’ll be working with huge amounts of data. You’ve got to churn it up and make it out into some sort of sense. You’ll be building lots of algorithms and so forth. And the fourth one, be comfortable working with huge amounts of data, which means that you’ll be using two sets of platforms, whatever else.
And then, to be learning how to use all those SQL. Yeah, I think that would be– oh, sorry, communication. Yeah, to be able to communicate. JO KELLY: Because you need to help people read that data. Absolutely. And Beck, from your point of view? REBECCA ENYA LOUREY: I knew that all of mine would be said before it got to me. But I think empathy is the number one skill required to be a UX designer. Yeah, the first thing you can do before you solve a problem is understand what that problem is. And by doing that, you need to talk to real people and understand their real needs.
The second would be, leave your ego at the door. (LAUGHS) If you’re putting a design in front of a user, they’re going to tear it apart, because it doesn’t meet the needs that– well, what they’re trying to achieve. It doesn’t help them to do that. And so you need to be open to putting your work in front of people, and understanding their feedback, taking it on board, synthesising, and then iterating. So you constantly need to change, and learn, and iterate. The third would be– gosh. I think it would definitely be, if you see something that you think is cool, do more of it. Say, oh, I want to do that. I guess the reason why I got into UX– one of the main reasons was, I used to throw parties with my housemates, and we would code projections to put up on the walls that would change based on the music and the people who were in the room at the time. And I said, I want to do more of that. So I think that’s one of the biggest things that’s happened to me. JO KELLY: Well, I’ve never been to a party where that’s happened.
Has anyone else? I’m clearly showing my age now. Alex, from your point of view, what do you think are the critical skills that Bing mentioned– from all of those wonderful organisations that you spoke to, and companies, what do you think are some of the core skills that you would say to people in the room are you must-haves– those must-haves that people have said that we need in these roles? ALEX GRUSZKA: Yeah, I think these guys did a very good job. I think the one sort of principal I would highlight is the Google idea of coding plus, where they have an idea that will take people who are great at coding, but you need a plus. You need some passion, some understanding, some extracurricular that you are really focused on. And we can find ways to make that work.
So hold the plus, but I think some sort of technical background is always going to make you a lot more useful for the tech sector. JO KELLY: Fantastic. And Louise, from your point of view, what do you think are critical advice for people in terms of thinking about upskilling their own personal journeys and careers? LOUISE MCWHINNIE: Well, I’m saying the same. Be curious. Question not just why, but also, why not. Why shouldn’t you do it? Don’t assume that the problem that you’re possibly being asked to solve is the right problem. What if the problem– the question you’re being asked– is actually not right? So never assume. Don’t assume, and also go directly to the first solution. That is the wrong way to work. Seek out people who are going to challenge you– people that are actually from other disciplines– and they’re going to make you better problem solvers.
Surround yourself with people. Find people to talk to. Find people that are like minded. Find people that are different. Step on the cracks in the pavement, and cross the boundaries in seeking solutions. Don’t play safe. Also– and this is particularly around big data– think carefully about the ethics of what you’re doing, and the impact of what you’re doing on others. In other words, be predictive, not reactive. JO KELLY: Thank you. We’re now going to open up the floor for anyone that has questions that they would like to ask any of our panellists. Would anyone have a question they’d like to ask, something they’d like to know a little bit more about? Yeah, pop your hand in the air.
Wonderful. Lots of hands went up. I’ve got some hands down here, here, here. And then, there was also one just in the middle there. Thank you. So there’s a lady down the front here, a gentleman here, and a gentleman just there in the middle. Yeah. Thank you. Yeah, they’re all on, so if you just speak– not all at once, though. If you’d go first. AUDIENCE: Hi, my name is Praveen. I’m doing my master’s in UX in the University of Sydney.
And I guess my question is kind of directed towards Rebecca, but please, the rest of you please feel free to answer, as well. This is a little bit of a longer question, if you will. So in a world where there might be a saturation of start-ups, you know, there’s fewer niches being explored by start-ups, rather than clones. There’s way more clone companies of existing start-ups. My fear– and I’m glad to see that UX is up here as one of the four burgeoning industries, but I was pretty surprised to see that. But my fear is that, how future-proof is UX? And the reason I’m asking this is because maybe five, six years ago, every website company might have had a UX designer. But with the advent of companies like Wix, Squarespace, those are companies which give you products with already robust UX principles in their designs.
So does this mean that as UX designers– is it a shrinking thing where we have to only try to explore towards, like– JO KELLY: I might get Beck to jump on and to answer that one. Beck, what’s your–? REBECCA ENYA LOUREY: Yeah, I think that’s a really interesting question. I think about that a lot, actually. And I think you brought up a really interesting idea, that Google are always taking people who can do coding plus. And I think as a UX designer, or as a product designer, you need to constantly be thinking about what really excites you. And I think from there, you’ll find your niche. There are so many copycat start-ups, like you said. But say, when you’re creating your portfolio, think about the work that you want to do next.
And my portfolio– I’ve got so much work that I don’t include in that that I think is good work, but I don’t want to do it again. And I think from there, you’ll be able to create something that will really represent you as a person. And I think work that excites you and interest you will find you. Yeah. I think UX is never going to go away. I think it’s existed for longer than– it’s only just gotten this fancy name in the last couple of years, but it’s existed forever. And I think it’ll continue to exist, because products are never finished. You always need to iterate upon them. You always need to make them better. If you leave an app on the app store and never– JO KELLY: Update it. REBECCA ENYA LOUREY: Update it, then (LAUGHS) people are going to stop using it. JO KELLY: Thank you, Beck. Yes? AUDIENCE: So I agree that, globally, tech is going to be a very important industry in the future.
But I was just wondering, given the experience I have at work, where the vast majority of my co-workers are from overseas, and as well, where I’ve been to Singapore and I’ve seen the salary differences between overseas and local workers. What do you think is the economics of developing local talent as opposed to just– which is what a lot of companies are doing now, just offshoring all the tech capabilities? JO KELLY: I’m going to head straight to you, Louise, on this one. LOUISE MCWHINNIE: I hoped she wouldn’t on that one, actually. JO KELLY: I know. (LAUGHTER) That’s why I went straight to you. LOUISE MCWHINNIE: Thank you. JO KELLY: Because the solution is what you’re creating through your new department.
LOUISE MCWHINNIE: It is. (SIGHS) The education sector is already working in this. And it’s not simply, let’s do another IT course. Let’s produce more coders. I mean, we launched three years ago a course– the Bachelor of Technology and Innovation– for people to think socially across technology, not just, I am going to be a coder like all the other coders that are coming from IT. The universities are starting to work this way.
With some of the universities, it can be like turning a very large tanker. With some, they’re slightly more agile. But people like yourselves, and people here need to be working with the universities to make this happen, and to make it happen fast. Unless we actually grow this talent here, we are severely limiting where Australia can go. MAGDA GRIFFITHS: And if I can contribute to that from a business perspective, as businesses and organisations, we should support the talent coming through. Because a lot of the times, there’s an expectation of having a certain level of experience. And maybe it’s– yeah, there’s a gap. LOUISE MCWHINNIE: You’re right. Take people on. Take interns on. Mentor people. Help build them up. Come in and offer, say, to the universities, what if I came in and mentored some students, or sat down with the group and talked to them and actually assisted them? MAGDA GRIFFITHS: Like traineeships of today. LOUISE MCWHINNIE: Absolutely. Doing a degree is not enough. It’s that mentorship, it’s that engagement with industry. And all of us here should be working to support that. JO KELLY: And from a different point of view, the state government is really challenging this at a New South Wales level.
One of the big goals and the big purpose of the new aerotropolis that has just been announced is actually for there to have a very large tech focus. And so one of the things, obviously, that they’re looking there is creating essentially 100,000 new tech industry jobs through the universities and things are going there. So the Sydney economy is really acutely aware of how those jobs need to stay locally. So the city of Sydney is doing really strong work in this space, as are some of the other state agencies.
So it is something that many levels of government are focused on– ensuring that we can generate these opportunities for companies to get the skills they need on our shore, and not having to go offshore. So it is certainly being looked at at several levels. ADAM LONG: I respectfully challenge some of the ideas about this. And I would say, drop the patriotism. We’re not living in a bounded Australia anymore. We live in the world. I’m not a patriot, put it that way, because I’m a human, and there are plenty of humans out there. My best salesperson lives and works from South Africa. My best lawyer lives and works from Singapore. The operations team for Conscious Step are based out of New York.
There’s no reason why you have to contain your thinking to the people who turn up to this event. We’re actually in a global world, where you can find the best talent, the best strange, ironic combination of skills that somehow produced. For example, lawyers with a computer science background that have an interest in sales. Where do you find them? They don’t exist. They’re unicorns. But there’s one or two out there. They live on planet Earth, and that means you can find them. (LAUGHTER) LOUISE MCWHINNIE: And I would just finished and add to that, because obviously from my accent, I’m a migrant– of 20 years, but I am a migrant. And what we very much encourage students to do– and people– is not just connect to the people in this room, but I would say, find the best people around the world. Connect your ideas. It’s a global world, and it is certainly a start in Sydney. Our students will work outside of Australia. They will sweep back into Australia.
This is how it works JO KELLY: The best country in the world. There was a few ore questions. Does anyone have a microphone in their hand? No? Excuse me, can I get you over here to bring the lady here a microphone? And there was someone else that had their hand. AUDIENCE: All right, so Alex, just one question. Now we’ve been talking about data analysis and those type of things. What about robotics as well? So you’re coming across robotics, and you see the need for a lot of courses. And this is to the whole panel, because there’s another thing it comes to– the cost of courses, the length of courses, to you know, upskill quickly and efficiently. JO KELLY: Alex, did you want to? ALEX GRUSZKA: Sorry, are you talking about robotics as a skill, or robotics as a disruptor to existing workers? AUDIENCE: Well, I think just for this panel or this event, from my point of view I’m into data analysis and data science. Now, past that, I can see there’s a need for robotics.
That’s something separate. It’s just a general– very general. ALEX GRUSZKA: Yeah. I think that absolutely that’s one of the skills that is going to be incoming. I think we don’t have enough about AI up there. I think AI is already dramatically impacting the world and people that interact with it in ways that we probably can’t imagine now– are going to be hugely important in the future, as well. So this is not meant to be exhaustive, and there are definitely specialised tech skills that are right on the horizon. AUDIENCE: And you guys know about specific courses? You know, just about robotics courses? LOUISE MCWHINNIE: I would suggest, start looking at the universities. What you’re going to notice very, very quickly with all of the universities is they are moving into short courses and microcredentials, which means small subjects. So you don’t have to do a whole master’s. You can try out smaller subjects. They can build up to a master’s if you wish to, but you can just start to take small subjects– the ones that spark your curiosity.
JO KELLY: And I will get you, if you’d like to at the end, you could pop up and ask some more questions around that one. We’ve got a question here? Thanks. (INAUDIBLE) No, no. It’s fine. AUDIENCE: Is it on? OK. If we are constrained by time, I can ask them in the networking. JO KELLY: No, no, no. AUDIENCE: OK. Hi, my name is Grace Jimenez, and I also work in a start-up. And I have– like, an experience that happened to me is that I was– OK, and I’m a product manager.
And one day, I was describing the activities that I do for work without saying before, I’m a product manager. And then, this person said to me, oh, so you are at UX designer? And I got like, um, well, I do, and my focus is a lot into the user experience. But I am a product manager. So having the opportunity to having both in the panel– product manager and UX designer– I would like to know if you define where is this line between saying, OK, I’m a product manager or I am a UX designer. JO KELLY: I think, Beck, you were having this exact conversation earlier today.
REBECCA ENYA LOUREY: Yeah. It’s very interesting. I think the product development process requires everyone in the room to be able to put ourselves in each other’s roles. So when we’re running a design sprint, everyone’s in the room. There’s the developer in the room, there’s the product manager in the room, there’s the UX designer, there’s the visual designer. And then, there’s people from the client side who could be, say, customer service lead, or they could be the CEO, or someone who is not involved in the product whatsoever, but has input from different aspects. I think in that moment, everyone is a UX designer and everyone is a product designer. And I think sometimes when you’re client-facing and billing someone, then it is easy to break things down and say, this is exactly what you’re getting. But I think at the end of the day, the most skilled product designers and product managers are people who can do everything, or are excited to stand up and do everything. MAGDA GRIFFITHS: I think it’s definitely a trans role.
But I’d also say that what product does that maybe UX may not is help with the prioritisation, and works with the business to sort of say, OK, look, this is the end goal, but what do we really need to do? What can we deliver in this month, and what can hold off? And I think that’s probably the key difference. But we both work with the customers. We both try to translate needs and interpret what they’re actually trying to say. But yeah, I think from a product perspective, I’d tie it back to the business, and ensure that we meet those business objectives. JO KELLY: Is there any last questions from the room? Yep? AUDIENCE: Yep. Sorry. I’m kind of curious from a business standpoint in the user interface– with the augmented and virtual reality solutions becoming more and more common nowadays, like, you’ve go HoloLens.
Your phone could do cool stuff, nowadays. When it comes to designing websites, you reckon there will be, like, a bigger incline to go to more virtual experiences to bring customers, sell your products, and stuff like that? REBECCA ENYA LOUREY: I think that all of these things that you just listed are awesome things that exist within the market. But I think at the end of the day, if someone in a marketing room is saying, we need to make a VR experience, we’re going to generate users, everyone’s going to love it. If your VR experience needs to be marketed, it’s probably not a good VR experience.
I think at the end of the day, we need to start at, what is that problem? Is that the right problem that we’re looking at? And I think that starts with empathy, as well. And so from there, you work up, and you think about what’s the best way to design in response to this problem. Sometimes that’s AR. Sometimes that’s VR. Sometimes that’s a website. I think all of it just depends on the context in which it’s going to exist. ALEX GRUSZKA: I do think that AR and VR have a place in certain industries. I know that construction are using VR a lot in order to visualise what a constructed building will actually look like, and be able to walk around a physical space. I know that there’s an Australian start-up that specialises in doing VR shopfronts. So you can put things on shelves and stock your things exactly how you want them. And you can get a better sense of what that UX experience is like. So I think there are definitely applications that are greater than what we’re seeing at the moment. They’re around the corner. But I agree with you, that each individual industry or product will require its own marketing sort of styles.
JO KELLY: Fantastic. So I’m going conclude with the panel tonight in asking you all to give us a little bit of a top tip from yourself to everyone in the room. Louise, what would be your key tip– your key takeaway for people to think about as they leave tonight? LOUISE MCWHINNIE: Don’t just assume that because you’ve started on one path, that’s the path you need to remain on. Actually, really look inside yourself. Talk to people. Think. The amount of times that my sheer curiosity– I take an idea and just disappear down a rabbit hole with it. I’m fascinated as to what the possibilities are. So just start to apply that to yourself. JO KELLY: Fantastic, thank you. Alex? ALEX GRUSZKA: I’ll go with, tech is just really, really important for the economy. It is going to define Australia’s well-being in the next 20 to 30 years. I can give you statistics all day, but the two largest companies on the US stock market are larger than the entirety of the ASX, and they’re both tech companies. It is critical that we focus on both the skills and roles and people that we need, but also in supporting our tech sector.
And the importance for understanding the roles tonight– I mean, the way that we issue visas in Australia is based on census data. Census data is updated, like, every five years. So we’re five years behind. And so roles that didn’t exist five years ago, you physically can’t get a visa for, despite the fact that they may be really critical to Australia’s tech sector. So we’re all about to vote in a bunch of different major elections, some state, some federal. There’s going to be 25 million votes cast in the next six months. And think about the tech sector when you’re doing it. JO KELLY: So Alex, one last piece of advice from you, too.
In your report, you mentioned that you did this research, and asking parents, and parents ask you, you know, what should our children do? What is your advice to any parents in the room in terms of how they talk to their children in terms of their next career path, given what you just said? ALEX GRUSZKA: Yeah. I was going to pick on you– Praveen, is it?– for saying futureproofing about your job. I think you futureproof yourself, not the job. I think the goal is to get as stuck in as you can to what you feel is the cutting edge, and grow, and develop, and move with the economy as it moves. Because trying to hold on to a classic position is probably not the best way in a very changing world. So I’d say, grow yourself. JO KELLY: Fantastic. Thank you. Beck, what’s your key tip? REBECCA ENYA LOUREY: I was going to say something very similar.
You said it so nicely– futureproofing yourself is just the coolest way to think about it. Always look out for the next thing that you want to move into. Never sit still. Always be fearless, and look at what’s coming next– what your current job can do for you, and what you can learn from that. Yeah, I think do more of what excites you. JO KELLY: Fantastic. Bing? BING ONG: Well, I was going to say something similar. But yeah. Dive in. Dive in. Don’t just wonder about it. Dive in, try it for yourself. Get going. Yeah. JO KELLY: Fantastic. Magda? MAGDA GRIFFITHS: Yeah. Be comfortable with uncertainty. So dive knowing that maybe that thing isn’t quite right, but you know, you’ll always find your way. And yeah, so if you have an idea, whether it’s for your own start-up, or even something within the business, it’s great to have that vision piece and something that’s like, maybe, the North Star. But think about, like, if I had to do something in the next fortnight, what could I do to actually test that? And sometimes that may mean that that test– that experiment– may not actually have verified the idea.
So keep at it. So there’s a scientific approach, but if it fails, it’s OK. JO KELLY: And Adam, other than buying your socks, what’s your tip? ADAM LONG: Number one, go to Toastmasters, so you can learn how to present your ideas, otherwise your ideas will land on deaf ears. Number two, take your social life seriously. The people you spend your time with are the ones you’ll become friends with. You can actually be intentional about who that is. It will make a huge difference for the long term.
Number three, a bit of bad news, the whole world changed since AM this morning. Someone’s invented an AI that does UX and has automated data science and is automatically making customers appear. Good news is, world changed since AM, and we’re all on the same page, so there’s a chance for all of us to actually learn what’s next and build it for yourself. There are so many areas where there isn’t an expert, because it hasn’t existed for long enough. These jobs have only just appeared. That’s a huge opportunity. JO KELLY: Thank you so much. And my tip for all of you is the plus, and it’s the passion. So the city of Sydney have been running these events for so many years. And the one thing that we hear time and time and time again, is find your passion point, because that’s what will help you to succeed. And take any these skills, or take all of this desire you’ve got, but it’s the passion that will help drive it home.
So that’s our tip from me. So if you could all join me in thanking our guests, that would be really lovely. So thank you all so much. (APPLAUSE) So one are the key tips that Adam actually said was networking was an important skill that you need to have. So with that, we’d love to have our speakers actually make their way out to the room that you began in. If you could all just stay seated for two seconds while they make their way out, they’re going to get un-microphoned and then be available for you to ask any personalised questions. Please feel free to pummel them with questions, because they have so much experience and expertise. And they are really connected and networked in the Sydney scene. So they certainly may be able to help you connect into some ideas or some people that you may well need to. So just a little bit of a wrap-up from us. We have been doing these events for several times. This is actually the Visiting Entrepreneurs Programme, a brand new event for the city of Sydney this year.
And we’re really keen on feedback. The city uses all the feedback we get from these events to make sure we curate, we modify, we specialise events as we go forward. So we really, really would love for you to take your time for like a little teeny weeny second to do us a survey. So if you just could grab out your phone, if you have it. I’m sure everyone does. And you can actually find– there’s a little QR code there for you to pop onto to fill out a survey for us. We really appreciate it, because it does really help us to generally curate events for next year.
And some people, you’re taking a photo of it and doing it later. That’s absolutely fine. You may do that. We don’t mind. While you’re doing that, I would also once again like to thank our event partners tonight, which was UTS and StartupAus. They’ve really helped the city of Sydney to help put on these events. So we really appreciate their expertise, and also they’re assistance in doing so. We encourage you to stay behind, network, talk to each other, have that opportunity to find out some more information. We will be sending you the video that came from tonight, so watch your email. You’ll find that your inbox in the next several days. And we do thank you so much for taking your time out of your busy day, and we hope that you’ve gained some value out of being here. So my thanks to you for giving up your night to be with us. So thanks so much. (APPLAUSE) .