Perception is Everything – Why we should thank Paul Graham for dissing Australia

So Paul Graham drops the following quote today

 Why is it that 90% of the stories we hear involving Australia and technology are about stupid moves by the government? Is there something unique about Australia?”

Renai fired back but not too sure PG is listening and to be honest it probably doesn’t matter.

When somebody who single-handedly changed the dynamic of startup funding around the world says that 90% of the stuff he hears about Aussie tech is related to Aussie Gov stupidity then that’s because 90% of the stuff he’s hearing is about Aussie Gov stupidity.

Hard to argue about that.

Yeah we could reference Adioso, or Whereoscope – 2 Y Combinator Alumni that have Aussie founders (albeit Aussies who had been in the valley for a while) but when you consider that Y Combinator has funded over 200 startups, and are funding 78 per year these days, pointing out 2 Aussie related alumni seems like a waste of time.

We can also reference Atlassian or any number of Australian startups – including the ones i like 🙂 – but again, we’re wasting our time.

Perception is everything. We’re perceived as a tech backwater.  We need to deal with that for now and move on.

Things have come a long way in a short period – I’d say most of what we know now as the Aussie tech startup community has only come about in the past 3-4 years. We definitely need to give ourselves a pat on the back for what we’ve achieved so far, no doubt, but let’s not fool ourselves – we’re competing with every other tech backwater to try and create startups with global relevance and it hard to be heard amongst all that noise…and signal.

We should thank PG for reminding us of this then say “fuck it” and move on.

If we keep the momentum going, keep focussing on building a self-sustaining tech startup ecosystem that creates value-adding startups, then the rest, including PG’s perception of Australia, will fall in place.


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