Friday, 25 January 2013

A Reply to Malcolm Turnbull

I just caught this on paper print in the Fin Review today.

In Malcolm Turnbull's address to the nation for the upcoming Australia day, the following words profoundly resonated with me:

"The keys to prosperity have not changed. Our greatest assets are not under the ground, but walking on top of it."

I can't express how happy it makes me that our RIGHT WING is seeing and saying this.

Now, Malcolm, all you have to do to help tap our rich human capital and make your vision a reality is make it less painful for us Aussie entrepreneurs to spin up globally-competent high-growth businesses.

If you want a future that truly taps our national potential, it will not come from BHP Billiton or IBM. That stuff will all go to Asia.
To justify those high Aussie dollar wages, it'll come from a couple of guys in a garage (or a Melb Uni dorm), multiplied by the highest number you and I and all of us can make happen.

Undo the damage done by Howard, who advocated for small business at the expense of high-growth (read: mostly tech) entrepreneurship, and who laid out a vision where tertiary education is the privilege of the few. It should not be.

It's the small things that favored small businesses over large ones... but kicked out our best and brightest starter uppers in the crossfire. Like making it hard to crowdfund stuff. Like taxing stock options on the day they're given. Like all manner of stuff making it harder for small businesses to become big businesses.
Howard got 20 years worth - a generation - of our smartest and bravest to go to the US east coast to build their visions there instead.

Set in place BIG incentives to be the first country with an industry that tackles HARD PROBLEMS. Being first is a big ticket. It means you won't just sell locally. It means you'll sell to the entire world.

Like Denmark did with its tax incentives - making them a tiny 6-million-odd nation that sells 40% of the world's wind turbines. They put the right problem in front of their smartest people. And as a nation, they solved it before everyone else did. They now have a big-ticket item on their GDP to show for it.

Like Julia did with the carbon tax. Tell our boys that if they'll do the undoable and find ways to reduce emissions, you will help put wind in their sails, not let Gina Reinhart anchor them to the ocean floor.

The smart people are here. We have an exemplary education system. We've got the best engineers and scientists in the world. It's policy - coming from government - that can direct them to exploiting their capacity in ways that will matter on a global scale.
Help us make it happen here.

Rebrand the tall-poppy syndrome, that makes us revile those who succeed at fixing something.
The good sentiment is already there. Look at the Aussie faces glued to the telly watching our boys and girls shovel in gold at the Olympics after four years of grueling training. Look at the emotional connection, the spirit and the pride. Look at how we admire the Nick Caves, Kylies and Russels of the world - those of us who made it to Holywood.

We can and we should re-connect that sentiment to the people behind the Lyfx's, the Hitwises and the Atlassians - our self-made entrepreneurs that challenged the world and emerged victorious.

I want to be able to tell my 9-year-old that if he is brave enough to take worthy risks, solve hard problems and build a successful business around him as a result, this country, its government and people will embrace him for it.

No comments: