Above All Human 2016
Last Friday we had the pleasure of attending one of the most unique tech conferences in Australia – Above All Human 2016. Co-founded and organised by Susan Wu (Serial entrepreneur, VC, Head of Stripe AU/ NZ and Fast Company’s Most Influential Women in Technology) and Bronwen Clune (Editorial Director, Culture Amp and former editor at Startup Smart) #aah16 was an empowering and thought-provoking conference examining the intersection of technology and innovation in the service of humanity.
We heard from CEOs, VCs, designers, philosophers, astrophysicists, doctors, and comedians sharing their life passion and reminding us of our responsibility as founders, innovators, entrepreneurs and makers to solve bigger challenges and to shape a better world.
The moral of #aah16?
Are we really using technology in the service of humanity? What will we decide to be the things that matter? Will it be used to solve real problems or (as Mike Monteiro below put it) “make white boys richer?”
In order to shape the future we need to better understand ourselves. That means asking the hard questions and challenging the decisions we make, particularly the ones made FOR us by the tech and startup world.
Here are of some of our favourite takeaways of the day… daring, honest and unapologetic.
On having global vision:
“We want to challenge all of us to think big. We should set our standards high and aim for our companies, not just to be good enough for Australia, but to become the best in the world.” Bronwen Clune – Co-Founder, Above All Human
On gender parity in tech:
“For what it’s worth: it’s bullshit that so many other tech conferences claim it’s too hard to get to gender parity.It wasn’t that hard for us at all. We did it in our first year of launch, and we’ve done it again this year. All the while growing our attendee base to over 1000 people on a modest budget. And without having to “lower any bars.” Susan Wu – Co-Founder, Above All Human
On expanding to the US:
“Make sure you have experience under your belt before you open those doors. Test, iterate and continuously perfect your product in your home market. You’ll find that’s where your established users will give you honest feedback and voice their needs.” Rod Drury – CEO, Xero
On life, learning, and what we should be fighting for:
“Confidence is not being a know it all, it’s being unafraid to admit you need to learn.”
“It’s not disruption when it’s white boys getting rich again and again.”
“Go find some better problems to solve.” Mike Monteiro – Designer and Co-founder, Mule
On startups being flavour of the month:
“I love when people are suspicious of government and put the pressure back on us.”
Roy Wyatt MP – Assistant Minister for Innovation
On startup life:
“Starting a startup is freaking hard. You don’t want to do it if you want to have an easy life, or a comfortable life.” Susan Wu – Co-Founder, Above All Human
On getting the right target market and building the best team:
“Be your first customer.”
“If you’re not fighting you’re not being honest enough with each other.” Martin Hosking – CEO and Co-Founder, RedBubble
Congratulations to#aah16 conference organisers Susan and Bronwen for an incredible day of insight, inspiration, and action.
Can’t wait til next year!