5 things you should know about tech today

- October 30, 2019 3 MIN READ
Tech Central

Sydney’s Central railway station as Atlassianstan. Artist’s impression: Urban Growth NSW.


Happy Wednesday everybody.

Hello from the startup pitch fest at CEBIT Australia in Sydney.

We’ll bring you the results tomorrow


1. Who wants to spend $17 a month on Apple AirPods?

To paraphrase Robin Williams, Apple products are god’s way of saying you have too much money.

Castle Cupertino is flogging AirPods Pro, water resistant wireless headphones with noise cancelling ability, yours for just AU$399, a mere $150 more than the existing $249 model. They’re available from today and also have interchangeable flexible tips so they fit better and “Adaptive EQ”, that automatically improves music quality.

So why did we say they cost $17 a month? Remember they last about two years before the batteries start to fail, and they can’t be replaced so you have to buy new ones. You may look cool, but you’re also trashing the planet, with help from Apple.


2.  Malcolm Turnbull talks innovation at StartCon

Former PM Turnbull will speak on innovation and opportunity as the keynote speaker at StartCon in Sydney next month.

“My feeling is that there is now more support in the community for innovation and science, although the rising tide of authoritarian populism with its “anti-globalist” and protectionist agenda represents a real threat,” Turnbull said, announcing his participation.

The ex-politician and Freelancer CEO Matt Barrie will also chat about putting innovation back on the national agenda, and how to transform the economy.

More than 55 global leaders in technology including experts from NASA, eBay, Airbnb, Airwallex, Uber, The Iconic, and elsewhere will be part of this year’s gathering.  StartCon is at Royal Randwick Racecourse, Nov 22-23.

3. A glassy new home for Atlassian?

The NSW government’s latest “tech hub” ̶t̶h̶o̶u̶g̶h̶t̶ ̶b̶u̶b̶b̶l̶e̶  development plan – remember transforming a disused power station into a tech hub with Google? – is unfolding over Sydney’s Central station train lines. The 24-hectare proposal for a Sydney Silicon Valley, announced earlier this year, and being driven by Transport for NSW (the people who will one day give us CBD light rail), includes Atlassian as anchor tenant in a 35-storey skyscraper as part of a “jobs of the future” centre. TfNSW’s Central Precinct draft strategic vision for the rail line airspace (which stretches from where trains emerge from the underground network at Goulburn St in the north to Cleveland St in the south) is now on public display and seeking comment. As part of the teaser they released artist’s impressions of how fab it will all look (see below). We’ve take some solace in the fact that yet another pile of the glass boxes that pass for architecture in the current development fad wasn’t described as “iconic”.  Submissions are open until Nov 27. To chip in, head here.

An artist’s impression of the Western Gateway sub-precinct beside Central Station Atlassian will call home. Source: Urban Growth NSW


4. Grab a startup scholarship

The Cranlana Centre for Ethical Leadership is offering six scholarships in 2020 people working in the not-for-profit, startup, arts and culture, and community sectors. The involve two options – a six-day Executive Colloquium to give people enhanced leadership capabilities and frameworks for complex decision-making; and 12-month Vincent Fairfax Fellowship, designed for business leaders seeking to influence their workplace culture. Recipients will need to demonstrate excellence and courage in ethical leadership. 

Two of the six scholarship places have a specific focus – one for an applicant from a refugee background who has achieved a position of leadership within Australia or an individual who is demonstrating leadership through their work with refugees; and one for a woman under 40, working to improve outcomes for socially disadvantaged and marginalised women and children in her community. 

Applications for Cranlana Centre scholarships close on 22 November 2019. Apply here


5. The NSW govt wants suggestions on boosting R&D

A startup fairy died when we read the line from Macquarie St on the government seeking submissions from “organisations and individuals who play in the R&D space”. It should say “frolic”.

But seriously, the pollies want answers to six questions, including how to get the most out of the Government’s R&D activity and how it can support and improve the R&D and commercialisation ecosystem more generally.

Submissions  close on December 13. All the questions are in an online submission form here.


BONUS ITEM: This 17-year-old boy deleted his social media  – here’s what he’s learnt


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