Creating Generational Legacies

Monday, June 26, 2017

Is this the real life - or is this fantasy?

This is coming.........soon

Building cities of the future Adelaide is up there

By Jonathan Nally 
Tuesday, 27 June, 2017
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Dollarphotoclub 77295105Local governments around Australia are implementing strategic plans to place themselves at the forefront of the smart cities revolution.
Twenty years ago, no-one had heard of smart cities. Today, the concept is rapidly growing all around us. And in 20 years’ time, any city that hasn’t become smart will seem like a quaint and somewhat bewildering relic of the past.

According to analyst firm Gartner, the global smart city market is expected to exceed US$1 trillion in 2019, rising to US$3.48 trillion by the end of 2026. India alone plans to develop more than 100 smart cities by modernising some of its medium-size cities. And Australian cities and towns are jumping on the bandwagon, racing to implement strategies that will improve efficiencies and boost the bottom line, all while providing better services to their communities.

Addressing the Australian Smart Communities Association’s annual conference in Adelaide at the end of May, Martin O’Malley — former governor of Maryland, former mayor of Baltimore and a respected authority on technological change — said the South Australian capital is perfectly placed to harness big data and the Internet of Things to make the city the ‘smartest’ in the country.

“When you have government, business community and thought leaders committed to embracing new technology, you can completely rethink how cities are planned and operated to develop economic and social growth,” Governor O’Malley said.
“I’ve seen a new way of governing emerging — a change that’s being brought about by smart cities.
“Cities that understand that spatial intelligence allows us to better reduce crime, better manage traffic and understand what’s going on at any given point in time in our city. This visibility to see, track and act ultimately delivers better data-driven decisions.”Martin O'Malley on stage giving a presenation, gesturingSmart cities expert Martin O'Malley spoke at the Australian Smart Communities Association in Adelaide.

Named a Cisco ‘Lighthouse City’ in 2015, Adelaide was an early leader with public Wi-Fi, smart lighting and smart parking. It’s now leveraging the possibilities offered by geographic information systems (GIS) technology.integrating data sets from a variety of business sources and visualising them across a time-space continuum, decision-makers can see more clearly the cause and likely remedy of even the most complex of issues,” said Brett Bundock, managing director of geospatial technology firm, Esri Australia.

“Adelaide is showing real leadership in this space.”

That space includes research into driverless car technologies; smart lighting that lowers energy consumption; environmental monitoring of CO2, noise and temperature; and innovative plans to make the city a high-speed internet zone.

“The technology is here. By displaying big data, policy and program information on a map, a clear picture emerges that can show the best ways to target resources, track performance and communicate with the public,” Bundock said.

The South Australian capital is also the first non-US city to sign up to the Smart Gigabit Communities Program run by US Ignite, which bills itself as fostering “the development of next-generation internet applications with transformative public benefits for the education, energy, transportation, health and manufacturing industries”.

“South Australia will develop and share cutting-edge applications with other US Ignite communities,” said Science and Information Economy Minister Kyam Maher.

“This has the potential to deliver important advances in areas such as health care, education, public safety and other priority areas using advanced internet applications that are not yet available on today’s commercial internet.”

Adelaide’s Lord Mayor, Martin Haese, said stronger internet services would be the key to Adelaide achieving its smart city and carbon neutral goals.
“We’ve launched a four-year strategic plan to look at a range of measures including reviewing our own fleets, procurement practices, leading by example over the installation of solar PV over more of our buildings,” he said.
“Point one in that strategic plan is to become a smart city. This relationship between data speed, the environment and automation to some degree is converging.”Looking up at tall buildings in a cityImage credit: © Tomayo
Sunny and smart
Located about an hour’s drive north of Brisbane, the Sunshine Coast is Queensland’s third most populous region, and home to a thriving tourist market. It encompasses such well-known destinations as Noosa Heads, Caloundra and Maroochydore. With a little over 300,000 residents, it ranks as Australia’s ninth-most populated area.

But with the population expected to expand by 40% over the next 20 years, Sunshine Coast Regional Council faces significant challenges in coping with demand for services while being pressured by ubiquitous revenue constraints, while also desiring to advance in an environmentally friendly and culturally sensitive manner.
To this end, the council has positioned itself at the forefront of the smart city revolution, with ambitious short- and long-term plans to reinvent the way in which many services are provided, as well as the introduction of new services, all energised by the latest technologies.

The Sunshine Coast partnered with Cisco and Telstra in 2014 to develop a comprehensive plan for the municipality. According to the resulting Smart City Framework, published in 2015, the council aims to use “information and communications technology… to improve quality of life, stimulate economic growth and ensure environmental sustainability throughout our region”, with expected benefits to include: improved council services, reduced service delivery costs, shorter waiting times and increased customer satisfaction;reduced carbon emissions, traffic congestion and energy use;increased public safety; attraction of more investment and business, with concomitant increased employment opportunities and local business competitiveness; and improved town planning and designing. Michael Whereat, the council’s Smart City Framework Co-ordinator, said that part of the plan is to demonstrate that the city is a “cutting-edge, investment-attractive location for people to move to from a business as well as from a residential perspective”.

“What we’re actually doing is digitising the urban environment, and by that I mean the IoT, the sensor networks, the connectivity arrangements,” he said.
“We’ve been working on it for a number of years and have quite a bit of investment in the way we’re doing it.

As one example, the council has smart sensors that turn on watering systems if the weather forecast says there’ll be no rain in the next 24 hours. But if it’s in a public park, citizens won’t get wet because the system can sense their presence using Wi-Fi to detect their mobile phones. “We have that operating right now,” Whereat said.
“It’s an integration approach where we’re not working on silos, we’re actually joining the dots together,” he added. “So it’s that kind of intelligence approach [that makes] Sunshine Coast one of the leading cities in Australia, because we are already applying these learnings in a fairly broad scale across the region.”

Whereat said one thing the council is particularly proud of is its flagship smart centre in Caloundra, where members of the community can come in and learn what is being done.

“We use a living lab to test before we deploy at scale, so we learn that these things do in fact integrate at a technology level, not just visually and financially. If they fail, we want them to fail fast and move on to the next thing,” he said. “So it’s a kind of entrepreneurial approach.”
Whereat is also president of the Australian Smart Communities Association, which counts among its members more than 130 local and other governments that represent more than 12 million Australians citizens. The association’s 2017 conference brought together experts from around the country.
“The conference is about being able to collaborate and share at a national scale,” he said.

Whereat added that although Australia is not the first and not necessarily best in the world when it comes to smart cities, “Australia is a high technology adopting nation, and despite the fact that we’re only 24 million people, the fact that across such a huge continent we are deploying agricultural equipment that uses smart farming, through to [solutions for] our urban environment, means that we are pretty well placed”.

“It’s pretty exciting.”

The Real Threat of Artificial Intelligence


BEIJING — What worries you about the coming world of artificial intelligence?

Too often the answer to this question resembles the plot of a sci-fi thriller. People worry that developments in A.I. will bring about the “singularity” — that point in history when A.I. surpasses human intelligence, leading to an unimaginable revolution in human affairs. Or they wonder whether instead of our controlling artificial intelligence, it will control us, turning us, in effect, into cyborgs.

These are interesting issues to contemplate, but they are not pressing. They concern situations that may not arise for hundreds of years, if ever. At the moment, there is no known path from our best A.I. tools (like the Google computer program that recently beat the world’s best player of the game of Go) to “general” A.I. — self-aware computer programs that can engage in common-sense reasoning, attain knowledge in multiple domains, feel, express and understand emotions and so on.

This doesn’t mean we have nothing to worry about. On the contrary, the A.I. products that now exist are improving faster than most people realize and promise to radically transform our world, not always for the better. They are only tools, not a competing form of intelligence. But they will reshape what work means and how wealth is created, leading to unprecedented economic inequalities and even altering the global balance of power.

It is imperative that we turn our attention to these imminent challenges.

What is artificial intelligence today? Roughly speaking, it’s technology that takes in huge amounts of information from a specific domain (say, loan repayment histories) and uses it to make a decision in a specific case (whether to give an individual a loan) in the service of a specified goal (maximizing profits for the lender). Think of a spreadsheet on steroids, trained on big data. These tools can outperform human beings at a given task.

This kind of A.I. is spreading to thousands of domains (not just loans), and as it does, it will eliminate many jobs. Bank tellers, customer service representatives, telemarketers, stock and bond traders, even paralegals and radiologists will gradually be replaced by such software. Over time this technology will come to control semiautonomous and autonomous hardware like self-driving cars and robots, displacing factory workers, construction workers, drivers, delivery workers and many others.

Unlike the Industrial Revolution and the computer revolution, the A.I. revolution is not taking certain jobs (artisans, personal assistants who use paper and typewriters) and replacing them with other jobs (assembly-line workers, personal assistants conversant with computers). Instead, it is poised to bring about a wide-scale decimation of jobs — mostly lower-paying jobs, but some higher-paying ones, too.

This transformation will result in enormous profits for the companies that develop A.I., as well as for the companies that adopt it. Imagine how much money a company like Uber would make if it used only robot drivers. Imagine the profits if Apple could manufacture its products without human labor. Imagine the gains to a loan company that could issue 30 million loans a year with virtually no human involvement. (As it happens, my venture capital firm has invested in just such a loan company.)

We are thus facing two developments that do not sit easily together: enormous wealth concentrated in relatively few hands and enormous numbers of people out of work. What is to be done?

Part of the answer will involve educating or retraining people in tasks A.I. tools aren’t good at. Artificial intelligence is poorly suited for jobs involving creativity, planning and “cross-domain” thinking — for example, the work of a trial lawyer. But these skills are typically required by high-paying jobs that may be hard to retrain displaced workers to do. More promising are lower-paying jobs involving the “people skills” that A.I. lacks: social workers, bartenders, concierges — professions requiring nuanced human interaction. But here, too, there is a problem: How many bartenders does a society really need?

The solution to the problem of mass unemployment, I suspect, will involve “service jobs of love.” These are jobs that A.I. cannot do, that society needs and that give people a sense of purpose. Examples include accompanying an older person to visit a doctor, mentoring at an orphanage and serving as a sponsor at Alcoholics Anonymous — or, potentially soon, Virtual Reality Anonymous (for those addicted to their parallel lives in computer-generated simulations). The volunteer service jobs of today, in other words, may turn into the real jobs of the future.

Other volunteer jobs may be higher-paying and professional, such as compassionate medical service providers who serve as the “human interface” for A.I. programs that diagnose cancer. In all cases, people will be able to choose to work fewer hours than they do now.

Who will pay for these jobs? Here is where the enormous wealth concentrated in relatively few hands comes in. It strikes me as unavoidable that large chunks of the money created by A.I. will have to be transferred to those whose jobs have been displaced. This seems feasible only through Keynesian policies of increased government spending, presumably raised through taxation on wealthy companies.

As for what form that social welfare would take, I would argue for a conditional universal basic income: welfare offered to those who have a financial need, on the condition they either show an effort to receive training that would make them employable or commit to a certain number of hours of “service of love” voluntarism.

To fund this, tax rates will have to be high. The government will not only have to subsidize most people’s lives and work; it will also have to compensate for the loss of individual tax revenue previously collected from employed individuals.

This leads to the final and perhaps most consequential challenge of A.I. The Keynesian approach I have sketched out may be feasible in the United States and China, which will have enough successful A.I. businesses to fund welfare initiatives via taxes. But what about other countries?

They face two insurmountable problems. First, most of the money being made from artificial intelligence will go to the United States and China. A.I. is an industry in which strength begets strength: The more data you have, the better your product; the better your product, the more data you can collect; the more data you can collect, the more talent you can attract; the more talent you can attract, the better your product. It’s a virtuous circle, and the United States and China have already amassed the talent, market share and data to set it in motion.

For example, the Chinese speech-recognition company iFlytek and several Chinese face-recognition companies such as Megvii and SenseTime have become industry leaders, as measured by market capitalization. The United States is spearheading the development of autonomous vehicles, led by companies like Google, Tesla and Uber. As for the consumer internet market, seven American or Chinese companies — Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Amazon, Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent — are making extensive use of A.I. and expanding operations to other countries, essentially owning those A.I. markets. It seems American businesses will dominate in developed markets and some developing markets, while Chinese companies will win in most developing markets.

The other challenge for many countries that are not China or the United States is that their populations are increasing, especially in the developing world. While a large, growing population can be an economic asset (as in China and India in recent decades), in the age of A.I. it will be an economic liability because it will comprise mostly displaced workers, not productive ones.

So if most countries will not be able to tax ultra-profitable A.I. companies to subsidize their workers, what options will they have? I foresee only one: Unless they wish to plunge their people into poverty, they will be forced to negotiate with whichever country supplies most of their A.I. software — China or the United States — to essentially become that country’s economic dependent, taking in welfare subsidies in exchange for letting the “parent” nation’s A.I. companies continue to profit from the dependent country’s users. Such economic arrangements would reshape today’s geopolitical alliances.

One way or another, we are going to have to start thinking about how to minimize the looming A.I.-fueled gap between the haves and the have-nots, both within and between nations. Or to put the matter more optimistically: A.I. is presenting us with an opportunity to rethink economic inequality on a global scale. These challenges are too far-ranging in their effects for any nation to isolate itself from the rest of the world.

Kai-Fu Lee is the chairman and chief executive of Sinovation Ventures, a venture capital firm, and the president of its Artificial Intelligence Institute.

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Saturday, June 24, 2017

Australia to be the first fully connected continent by 2020


By 2020, we expect we’ll be the first country of our size to make broadband access universal. Our generation – GenNBN – will be more connected than ever before.  This will pay huge dividends in health, education and entertainment... to name just a few. And it will create exciting economic opportunities for everyone.

In the next three years, nbn is on track to put Australia ahead of the world for high speed, universal broadband access. How can we leverage this advantage to transform our businesses, economy, communities and lives?

Digital technology has radically changed the world and right now we’re walking into a wave of innovation that will revolutionise everything. Not just what we do on our computers, but the way we live our lives and interact with the world around us. This is the world of GenNBN.

Over the next five years, we’re going to see the proliferation of:

  • Self-driving vehicles;
  • Virtual and augmented reality;
  • The internet of things;
  • Personal robotics; and even,
  • Artificial intelligence to a degree...

So what does this mean?

Firstly, data usage in Australia is exploding, largely because of video uptake. In just two years, data consumption in Australia has doubled to 1.7 exabytes. For context, Cisco estimated in 2011 that one exabyteis enough capacity to hold over 36,000 years of HD video, or stream the entire Netflix catalogue 3,000 times over. On our own network, we are now seeing, on average, 131 gigabytes per month for each end user and we are predicting 30 per cent annual growth over the next four years. This is why networks like the one nbn is building are so critical.

Australia in transition

For the last 250 years, three pillars have supported Australia’s growth: manufacturing, mining and agriculture. These industries remain vital to our future. But, to flourish, we need more. We need to lift local digital demand to support local digital innovation. In other words, we need to build an Australian digital marketplace and then take it to the world.

We need to encourage more companies to follow in the footsteps of Australian innovators like Atlassian, Envato, Campaign Monitor, and Canva. These Australian companies are showing us the way forward. If we can get better at harnessing and commercialising this knowledge, we can build on their success. 

KPMG recently reported that small and medium businesses are the fastest growing employment sector within Australia, they noted: “While medium and big business are important components of the Australian economy, the really transformative element since the mining boom has been the small business sector.”

As a nation, we need to make it easier for entrepreneurs to get started, grab opportunities and build scale – locally and globally. And the nbn™ network has a vital role to play here. We can make sure that businesses have the tools to participate – and grow – in the new digital market place through the use of digital technology. We can help digital innovators grow across Australia by accelerating the local adoption of content and e-commerce. By providing high speed universal access, nbn won’t just improve lives. It will expand the local digital marketplace and make local innovation more viable. Then, as these innovative new businesses grow, we can help them build global scale. 

We are now entering what will be an exciting time in history: the nbngeneration – or GenNBN. It will be a time of rapid change and unique opportunity for all Australians but particularly for the private sector. I’m genuinely excited by the benefits nbn can deliver to all Australians.

The final question I have for you is this: how will you make the most out of a fully-connected Australia?

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Who are the worlds most innovative countries

They say the growth of a country is directly proportionate to how innovative they are.


The UNs World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) together with 2 business Universities, INSEAD and the SC Johnson College of Business at Cornell University, seeks to shed light on countries' competitiveness based on 81 indicators, and has created The Global Innovation Index.

The index takes in factors including political environment, education, infrastructure and business sophistication, and reviews the state of innovation in agriculture and food systems across sectors and geographies.

The top 10

  • The Nordic States (Switzerland, Sweden and the Netherlands)  topped the list , with Denmark being pipped by USA and the UK.
  • Singapore continued to punch above its weight by being placed 7th, pipping Finland, Germany and Ireland 
Other notable Stats
  • Australia slipped 4 places to 23, NZ placed 20th and  Israel was placed 21 out of the total of 311
  • China excelled in  high-tech exports, industrial design and business sophistication, but was left wanting in  tertiary education, the regulatory environment, creative media and protection of minority investors.
  • India rose 6 places to 60th (actively spurring investment and encouraging innovation), only being let down by its bureaucracy and lack of infrastructure. 
  • the United Arab Emirates from 35 to 41, Vietnam from 59 to 47 and India from 66 to 60.

Australia is ranked 4th among the top agricultural R&D spenders. The first is India, followed by South Korea, China, the Netherlands.

Australia's yields on crops are the envy of other countries.

Eg the rice yield in India is 2.6 tonnes per hectare—far lower than the 4.7 in China, 3.7 in Brazil, 5.9 in the United States, or 9.5 in Australia.

WIPO's head, Francis Gurry, (WIPO), told a conference that he believed that investing in innovation was key to economic growth and that international openness was a key to fostering innovation, and wasn't sure how Trumps protectionist policies and Britain exiting Brexit would effect world innovation. 

Australia has always been regarded as an Innovation Nation, 

Australia, let's rise to the challenge - and strive to be in the top 10 in Innovation and Growth. We have the Infrastructure and Education Facilities - we just need the MAD (motivation, authority and desire) by our leaders. 

I was encouraged to hear how the NSW Government was placing an enormous amount of importance and investing in innovation. Let's hope Malcolm Turnbull and  our Federal Government does the same.


Wednesday, June 21, 2017

SolarGaps | Photovoltaic Solar Panel Window Blinds

These blinds will reduce your apartment, home and/or business electricity bill by up to 70% with solar energy generating smart blinds.
 SolarGaps was engineered with features designed for renters, homeowners and small businesses to affordably reduce energy usage, create renewable energy and transition to energy independence.  SolarGaps smart blinds automatically track the sun throughout the day, adjusting position to the optimal angles to generate solar electricity to power devices in your home, apartment or office.
  • The blinds are not permanent.  With renters in mind, the interior wall brackets are designed as a non-permanent, plug & play solution with additional installation options for homeowners to maximize energy production.
  • The built-in solar panels can generate up to 100W-150W of renewable energy per 10 sq. ft. iof window, enough to power 30 LED light bulbs or three MacBooks. 
  • In addition to generating solar energy, the window blinds also save energy by shading your home interior and reducing air condition cost by up to 40%. 
  • Energy surplus can either be stored by battery or can easily be sold to your electricity company as green energy through a two-way meter they provide. 
The blinds easily integrate with smart devices like Google Home, Echo, Nest Thermostat and more to control by voice, temperature and/or smartphone app. 

Dubai's Robocop rolls onto streets to fight real crime

The Bob Pritchard Column 

A robotic policeman which can help identify wanted criminals and collect evidence has joined Dubai's police force and will patrol busy areas in the city, as part of a government program aimed at replacing some human crime-fighters with machines.  Dubai Police wants the unarmed robots to make up 25 percent of its patrolling force in the near future.
Clad in the colors of the Dubai Police uniform, the life-size robot, which can shake hands and perform a military salute, is part of a plan to use technology to improve services and security ahead of Dubai hosting Expo 2020.  These robots can work 24/7. They don’t require leave, sick leave or maternity leave. They can work around the clock,
The first automated policeman in the Middle East, the robot on wheels is equipped with cameras and facial recognition software. It can compare faces with a police database and flag matches to headquarters. It can read vehicle license plates and its video feed can help police watch for risks such as unattended bags in popular areas of Dubai, a financial and tourism hub.
Members of the public can also talk to the robot to report a crime or communicate with it using a touch screen computer embedded in its chest. Most people are not nervous about talking to a robot and some prefer it.  New generations who are using smart devices love to use these kind of modern tools.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Victor Dominello inspires at a pre budget breakfast

NSW Finance Minister, Victor Dominello shared with  us the 7 D's, at a pre-breakfast NSW budget launch (where the government posted a $4b surplus, wiped out debt and has budgeted massive spending on developing infrastructure, education and health)... saying that to survive and thrive, we need to make sure we take a grasp of the technologies that will drive us to 2050 and beyond.


  • Data - knowledge and big data is key. Your decisions should be  evidence based 
  • Digital - you need to be in 21st century
  • Direct -  things need to happen in  real time 
  • Display - present it in an easy way - display tools - make it easy to digest knowledge
  • Dissection - analyse it - operationalise those insights 
  • DNA - culture - needs to be in 21st century - or you will be left behind quickly
  • 3rd Dimension - mobiles will be toast,  its  2 dimensional  - you will have glasses or contacts - giving you a 3D - augmented reality experience. digital morphing - where we will be unable to distinguish what is digital and what is real. This is the future - and we (our government) should embrace this and be at the forefront of this wave. 

It's great to see that our NSW government has a solid vision, with the motivation , authority and desire to invest in innovation and adopt cutting edge technology. 


As a Shareholder and Director of BSI and a number of Innovative Startups, I believe that  this is the sort of leadership and direction that will provide a massive boost to our Country.

Monday, June 19, 2017

How common is a successful intergenerational family succession plan?

Entrepreneurial family businesses

The demographic reality for most family businesses is that the business created and then bequeathed by generation 1 (or G1) has to continue growing to support the needs and aspirations of a larger family in G3. But, you may ask, why would a family business bother when it is regularly claimed that all of them are doomed to go from clogs to clogs or shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves in three generations?

Damned clichés

It is odd that ‘clogs to clogs’ is regularly trotted out as evidence of the vulnerability of family businesses. Really? Three generations is roughly 100 years. Few, if any, entrepreneurial start-ups will last this long and many listed companies will cease to exist during this period. If longevity of a particular business is so important, most family owned businesses will outlive their competitors. 

Can families breed entrepreneurs?

We may as well try to start at the beginning and look at the difference between sculptors and gardeners, as parents.

The sculptor has ambitions for the child and will do all he or she can to guide and form the child so that they turn out in a way that complies with the sculptor’s design. In comparison, a gardener tries to cultivate the child, caring for its roots, and with a bit of careful pruning from time to time waits for the right season in that child’s existence for the flower to appear.  A gardener doesn't expect a flower to emerge just because he or she orders it to do so.

The argument is that gardeners are more likely to breed entrepreneurs than sculptors. Gardeners allow space for the child to develop, no matter how occasionally exasperating this is. They acknowledge that life involves making errors that cannot all be avoided by careful planning, due often to factors beyond the gardener’s control. Meanwhile the sculptor is busy trying to mould the heir or heiress and for understandable reasons help them to avoid any of life’s pitfalls that do not serve the goal of achieving the sculptor’s desired outcome.

Gardeners, in other words, are more of the view “go out and see if you can make it”, whereas sculptors tend to the view “see what I’ve made you in to.”

Backing the talent in your lineage

After a family business has passed through the start-up phase the challenge becomes how to maintain an entrepreneurial attitude, when at the same time trying to run a maturing business.

One way of doing this, if resources allow, is to set up a new venture fund to support family members who want to start a new business. Family members can be encouraged to present business plans and whoever is in charge of the fund (family members, advisers, experienced business people) decide which to back, much as would happen with a conventional private equity or business angel fund.

Usually investments will be made on broadly commercial terms, maybe a bit softer to reflect kinship bonds, but the key driver for many families is to encourage entrepreneurship by backing the talent in their lineage. In so doing they are also wise to the fact that this can lead to successes that diversify the family’s wealth, thereby managing the risk of families having too many eggs in one business basket.

Don’t overlook history

Families who create great dynasties over generations are good at telling the next generation the stories of past success and failure. The key here is to focus on how each generation has contributed to the story of the family’s continuing entrepreneurial success. This encourages the next generation to take up the challenge of becoming the authors of the next chapters of the family’s continuing story of entrepreneurship.

This approach, however, is in stark contrast to the accounts of entrepreneurship that venerate the greatness of individuals, who are blessed with talents that are beyond other mere mortals. In a family business this comes across to the next generation as ‘you’ll never be as good as your ancestors, so why bother?’

Other things that get in the way

Entrepreneurs take risks that carry the imminent risk of failure. While it is understandable for families to create structures, like trusts, to preserve wealth as it passes down the generations, the idea of preserving what we have is inconsistent with taking the type of entrepreneurial risks that created the business in the first place. So the final word is a warning to be careful about using risk averse structures if the family’s aim is to continue being entrepreneurial.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

7 Industries that will boom in the next decade


Everyone’s looking toward the future, eagerly anticipating what promises to be a long line of innovations due to rapidly evolving technology. Consumers know these inventions will change the way they work and play. Not only will they make some aspects of life easier, they could quite possibly empower people to do more with less money. 

This means that, on a wider scale, many fields will see serious growth. And with growth comes opportunity.

Here are seven industries that are most likely boom in the next 10 years thanks to advancements in technology.

1. The Internet of Things

The Internet of Things (IoT) has forced manufacturers to rethink the way their products function. This will continue over the next several years, as everything from refrigerators to toasters become more sophisticated. Even children’s toys will eventually utilise  IoT technology to entertain, educate and even keep kids safe. For example, tablets made for toddlers may  let you monitor your child from the other side of the house through the device’s camera while they’re learning to spell. 

2. 3-D Printing

As retailers compete to get products into the hands of consumers quickly, a new type of technology stands to change everything. 

Once 3-D printers go mainstream, consumers will be able to select and manufacture the items they want, reducing the need to ship the item to them. This also brings custom design into play, allowing consumers to personalize an item like clothing or jewelry, then print it out immediately.

3. Finding Trust in the Sharing Economy 

In the past few years, consumers have embraced services such as Airbnb and Uber, creating opportunities for themselves and the many workers who provide these services. Consumers will continue to seek services this way, but it will also be important for businesses to build trust by adding protections for both their customers and contractors. 

Once those are strongly in place, these services can continue to grow. The sharing economy will continue to spread into other markets or industries, such as services in which people may be able to offer or trade skills with each other.

4. Wearables in Health Care

Technology will take health care in exciting new directions over the next decade, thanks in large part to devices such as health trackers. Instead of merely counting steps and monitoring heart rate, sensors will be able to track glucose levels and detect signs of cancer, while also allowing elderly patients to stay safely at home. 

This in many cases will allow medical professionals to focus less on diagnosis and more on finding the best courses of treatment.

5. Virtual Reality

Today’s consumers may think of virtual reality (VR) in the gaming and recreation context. However, there are real-world applications for the technology, especially in training. The technology is already being used to train medical professionals, giving them hands-on experience in a medical school setting. Once a professional is fully trained, VR can help them experiment with new surgeries or get a better look at certain tissues to create improved treatment.

Beyond the medical field, all kinds of ideas are emerging about how we may use VR in the coming years. Whether we’re doing our day-today office work using virtual reality glasses that let us interact with a virtual office, or even relive actual physical experienceswe’ve had in everyday life, the future is exciting and definitely a new frontier.

6. Connected Schooling

The Internet has opened up a wide range of opportunities for education systems worldwide. 

In the coming years, classrooms will use technology like videoconferencing to access resources outside of their physical location. Students also will have access to more personalized learning, thanks to apps and connected classrooms. 

For example, already there are companies producing apps that integrate teacher lectures onto tablets, allowing students to watch brief videos or take short quizzes during the day’s lesson.

7. Digitized Hospitality

Travel is already becoming easier for consumers, with many hotel chains automating check-in. Apps will increasingly become tightly woven into the hotel experience, with consumers using their smartphones to check in, access their rooms, and request services. 

Customer relationship management (CRM) software and marketing automation will increasingly help hotels send you personalized messages. The underlying theme for the future here is that the hospitality industry is working to make its relationships with customers more smooth, informed and beneficial to both sides.

For every industry, user experience will be a top priority as companies strive to win long-term customers. Through the use of technology, businesses can create experiences that flow seamlessly, making the lives of consumers and business owners far easier. The end result is that to remain competitive, businesses will need to invest in order to take advantage of new technologies and come up with innovative ways to deliver products and services to their customers.

Why I disrupted my Role and you should do the same


Written by Lance Rubin, CEO and Founder of Model Citizn.


12 months ago I became the CFO of a Fintech startup called Banjo, whilst launching my own financial modelling consultancy firm Model Citizn.

It was a perfect match. Banjo only needed a few days a week, sometimes all week, sometimes once a week and I was starting a new business from scratch so had no idea what demands would be made on my time.

However, as my clients grew even a fully dedicated single day a week with Banjo became a challenge for me whilst I was needing to support multiple clients on an adhoc basis.

Being available for my clients at the drop of a hat is every client’s dream consultant but having a permanent part time role was making that dream somewhat unrealistic. Not being able to flex my time was a challenge.

I had both client demands and CFO responsibilities which I needed to deliver on.


I really had no other option but to disrupt my own role and automate my tasks from 2–3 days a week to 2–3 days a month.

I simply couldn’t (and didn’t want to) step away from the CFO duties (which included cashflow modelling, credit modelling and reporting, valuations and assisting on debt and equity raising). I was determined to make my business a success whilst building a portfolio career and growing clients.

Banjo was the best place for me to experiment and it worked like a dream for both of us.

I realised by disrupting my own role it gave me the opportunity to tell the story to clients and help others who were afraid of exploring it.

Being part of the transformation is a learning opportunity which can help you and others do more interesting work whilst creating more value for your employer and most importantly yourself.

Whether we like it or not robots are going to have a profound impact on all key finance processes, posing a threat to those that don’t embrace it, but creating many opportunities for those that do. For example the key finance reconciliation/control processes (e.g bank recons) and basic/standardised management and financial reporting, which is largely still manually performed today. This is driving a big demand for automation skills for key finance processes (hence the rise in demand for financial modelling) and more valued advice in relation to accounting matters and future business performance and less focus on the preparation of historical results.


At this point you’re probably wondering how this post is relevant to someone in a full-time role.

It’s very relevant. The journey of automation and disruption throws up new opportunities that simple aren’t evident or intuitive in your current role. The natural reaction is to perceive it as a threat, when it’s actually an opportunity (assuming you are willing to adapt).

If you think that your role isn’t going to be impacted, read the 13 future trends that will shape business and society, then perhaps you need to stay closer to reality. Having worked in the corporate world for close to 20 years it’s easy to lose track of what’s really happening outside the 4 walls of a skyscraper.


Given the strategic and highly-customised nature of my CFO role at Banjo, Microsoft Excel provided the most powerful and flexible solution, but very time intensive. I had researched a number of technology applications for automation but nothing is quite like an Excel based content management system in Modano.

Excel is still one of the largest software packages used in the world due to its powerful flexibility. This means as business conditions, laws and your strategy changes so can your Excel model.

Modano (an Excel Add-In) is enabling people to share content, automate financial modelling and systemising spreadsheet processes, as it did for me.

Banjo was one of the first fintechs in Australia to implement Modano’s dynamic rolling (actuals updated each month) 3-way financial modelling and content management technology for Excel.

The deliverables where not straight forward including cashflow modelling (fund/trust and management company), valuations, debt covenant reporting and board reporting including break-even analysis, all completed in a couple of days after each month end cycle.

Implementing this type of technology, amongst other automated processes, is the essence of the tech in fintech and why traditional business models are under threat. This can flow onto job losses as those traditional businesses must maintain cash and preserve profits.


Most importantly it’s better to be part of the journey than merely a passenger to the process.

There is a major risk for passengers / employees desperately holding onto the security of full time jobs.

Security and full-time employment doesn’t exist, in case you missed the newsflash. Traditional businesses faced with disruption and falling revenue have no option but to reduce cost.

This isn’t going to change, just see the CEDA research (which is already almost 2 years old at the time of writing this). More than 5 million Australian jobs will be gone in 10–15 years. Whilst this isn’t going to happen overnight the change has already started.

Can you think of what will happen if someone got rid of 75% of the work you did today (as I did to myself), what will you do? Rather than waiting to face that fact, act now.

There will be 3 million truck drivers in the US displaced by driverless trucks, like Uber which completed its maiden delivery of beers.

The tighter full time employees shut their eyes, the safer they think they might be. This is not only flawed but the rate of change (in the real world) is accelerating and time is running out on missed opportunities that are right in front of you today.

If this hasn’t convinced you let’s summarise the pros and cons of actively driving disruption in the work place.



  1. There is an opportunity to influence and guide the automation process so that you can use it as a proof point in your career, making you more marketable.
  2. You have the opportunity to be a leader within your organisation to drive change and thereby increase your chances of retaining full time employment (if you want it).
  3. “Free” practical training on the latest tech solutions in the market by being part of the pilot/project team.
  4. Might open up new career opportunities or business ideas. This was certainly the case for me. The software company might actually approach you for help if you do a great job. Alternatively, you could help a range of clients achieve similar efficiency as their VCFO.
  5. If you are bored with your current role it’s an easy sell without telling your boss you hate your job.


  1. You are living in the delusional state of comfort that a full time job won’t change and is secure. I was certainly caught in this for a number of years.
  2. The average tenor in roles has dropped significantly. If you don’t change someone will do it for you exposing you to the harsh reality of unemployment with no plan. It’s not a matter of if this will happen, but when.
  3. When it does come time to change jobs or careers you would have missed out on learning new skills. Others that haven’t missed the opportunity and who might also be applying for the same jobs you are , will be clearly favoured.

The workplace is changing in many different facets, if you don’t change with it you will be left out in the cold needing to change anyway, but without a job. Think now and act.


If you are working on a spreadsheet-based processes (which is still a very large proportion of corporate tasks) then you should consider the following:

  1. Is your spreadsheet easy to navigate and understand? Is there a process document or some sort of structure to the logic? If no, then suggest you work on that first. Resisting tidying up the complexity in your spreadsheet isn’t going to save you from disruption. I already use technology that helps decipher spreadsheet content and even the most complex formulas without talking to someone. I have previously extracted business logic from 26 bespoke spreadsheets of a large multinational company without talking to any of the spreadsheet creators. It’s only a matter of time until someone does the same to your spreadsheet based process. Handing over your spreadsheet process creates capacity for you to learn new skills like financial modelling for dynamic decision making.
  2. Do you follow some sort of spreadsheet standard or compliance like consistent formulas horizontally and no random hardcoded numbers in formulas. If not take a look at Best Practice Spreadsheet Modeling Standards.
  3. Do you know if you have any errors in your spreadsheet? Have you created error trapping or prevention with flags and alerts or data validation? We all make errors, it is just a question of how many and how big the impact might be, not if they exist.
  4. Is your spreadsheet being used on a regular basis to absorb new and updated information? Is this easy to follow and replicate via form controls like dropdown boxes and in cell data validation lists? Can it be broken down into a simple copy and paste process? If it’s well-structured almost all spreadsheet processes can come down to just a copy and paste process which is a very short step away from complete automation.
  5. Once it’s been left to a simple copy and paste process then using Macros written or recorded you are there. You also now have the opportunity to look at a range of other RPA (robotic process automation) software. Modano still remains the best automation software for rolling integrated 3 way models in Excel.

Don’t be afraid to take that initial step yourself. It’s far scarier and it will knock you far greater when someone throws you overboard or under the bus.

Grab a lifejacket today whilst there are still some left hanging in front of you, there ain’t enough to go around for everyone.

Stay tuned for the rest of the 3-part series of posts to find out about more about the opportunities you can explore.

Follow up posts will explore some of the opportunities in more detail.

Alternatively, reach out to Model Citizn to explore how we can help you automate, streamline and leverage some of the latest technologies.

We also offer training and workshops to help support your staff to develop these skills.

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