The World Computer Congress 2010 kicks off in Brisbane, Australia (Day 1)

The 25th World Computer Congress kicked off at the Brisbane International Convention Center today (WCC2010 program). About 1100 people attend this year’s congress, representing around 50 countries.

Robert Schwarten, the Minister for Public Works and Information & Communications Technology welcomed the congress goers, mentioning that around 70000 people in Brisbane works in the ICT sector.  He recognized the growth of ICT, reminding us that today the average teenager has more technology in his/her pocket than what was used to put a man on the moon…  Progress indeed… It remains a challenge to put the correct policy framework around these technologies to maximally harvest the advantages that technology can bring to communities.

The keynote for the morning was delivered by Graeme Wood, founder of, a web-site that revolutionized the hotel industry in Australia. He enumerated the dangers of entrepreneurship as (i) loosing money and (ii) loosing reputation. So if you don’t have much of either you are a good candidate!  He identified four steps in the processing of being an entrepreneur: (1) You need an idea (2) Knock out a prototype (3) Do a skills audit and where to get the skills and money, then (4) Do it (execution) Steps (2) and (3) may be interchangeable depending on the idea and context…

Graeme feels that testing in the real world is absolutely essential. His main argument is that it allows you to listen to the market and react accordingly. Of course, once the market tries your offering and likes it word-of-mouth marketing will thrust you ahead.  Word-of-mouth marketing is extremely effective and not expensive. Countries need to foster the entrepreneurial spirit more. We need to become more tolerant of failure and policy makers need to consider the implications of their policies… would tax policy supportive of entrepreneurship for example not stimulate entrepeneurship.  Finally he conceptualized a simple framework to think about opportunities.

The model is based on two axis: Profit and Social impact.  Key in success might be to find ideas in the high-profit, high-social-impact quadrant…

Thereafter several parallel sessions commenced, but the day was ended by Google’s Alan Noble who in his address identified 4 converging trends in IT: (1) massive shift to cloud, (2) blurring of lines between consumer users and business users, (3) mobile becoming the channel of choice for many, and (4) social media.

All in all a productive and interesting day…


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