Myriad Live 2017 with Wyatt Roy
Myriad live with Wyatt RoyPosted by BeachCity on Thursday, March 30, 2017
Chris: G'day, we're back. BeachCity live. And I am here with Wyatt Roy. Welcome Wyatt.
Wyatt: G'day, mate. Thanks for having me here. It's great to be here, it's very exciting seeing what's going on.
Chris: It really is, isn't it And have you just come back from a little bit of holiday?
Wyatt: I have, I had a bit of a sabbatical post-politics, which was really needed. I think the longest holiday I had, before that, it was two weeks so.
Took a few months off, and went to, you know, some people have call it "my gap year," which I don't like calling it that, but pragmatic side, let's call it that. Went to the Middle East, through Europe, through South America, and the US, and just enjoyed life.
Chris: Ah, few luck.
Wyatt: Yeah, lucky me.
Wyatt: In fact, all I had to do was a lose an election to have a holiday. So, it was pretty good.
Chris: So you were the Ministers for innovation?
Wyatt: That's right, in the term of governments, so it was an amazing experience. I think we made some really big changes that help set up our country for the future. But now I-
Chris: This is no politic zone.
Wyatt: I know, I'm careful about this, but I am super proud of what we did, and I'm loving life in the private sector now. And I have bit more liberty to enjoy life.
Chris: Cool, cool. So is, what are you doing, what are you doing now?
Wyatt: So, I'm heading up the Australian arm of a global artificial intelligence company called Afinity. It is honestly one of the most remarkable companies I've ever seen. I am hugely biassed, but it's sort of the third multi-billion dollar endeavour of an incredible founder called Zia who initially founded Invisi-one, you know the replacement for, 3D printed replacement for braces.
Now in the artificial intelligence, big data, the world basically, we do some incredible stuff with big data that helps drive about 6% increase in revenues for our clients which are the largest banks, telcos, insurance companies across the world. So a lot of fun. And loving the private sector.
Chris: Awesome, so, what's the biggest difference between public and private that you're loving?
Wyatt: I think one is just having a little bit more of your own time to wake up in the morning, and I'm very busy now. I was incredibly busy before, but you're just not worried about your name in the newspaper, or what's gonna happen today in the news cycle, or how you're gonna respond to that, and to not have to worry about and just focus on what is a pretty focused area of attention, it's, as I said, it's very liberating. It's a lot of fun. The renumeration is a little bit better than politics, so life is pretty good.
Suzy: Can I ask something?
Chris: Yeah, okay, we got Suzy popping in. Suzy's gonna squeeze in.
Suzy: Hi. I've heard you've been travelling so much?
Chris: Suzy, no initial.
Suzy: And you have, you know, been able to be in corporate world, and the startup world, and literally, you're now in the startup world?
Suzy: How can we like, you know, it's such a big gap between the two, right? And the government is all like, this is like, funny that where, like everyone's talking over each other, but I feel like there's this missing link, where we just need to help each other out.
Wyatt: Yeah, I think you're exactly right. And I think sometimes, you're right, there is this huge cultural difference between the public sector and the private sector, but as a Minister of Innovation, I'd developed this enormous appreciation for what is an incredible ecosystem here in Australia.
I think I've learned a lot form that experience. I learn a lot, really, from what are some of the smartest people in the country. And you have exposure to all of the public and private industries in this country. Not just [inaudible 00:03:12] system, but the heads of the banks, or the heads of mining companies, or whatever they might be, those industry bodies. And I think that you can blend these boards together, and there is a lot that we can learn from each other in that sense. And you're right, we gotta work together to push this country forward.
Suzy: And now that you're working on a startup, congratulations.
Wyatt: Thank you.
Suzy: And the AI one.
Suzy: Which is a smart move by the way.
Wyatt: Thank you, I thought so too.
Suzy: What have you learned from the government that you're implementing to your role here?
Wyatt: Look, I think patience is probably a real interesting one. I love the speed of execution when it comes to, I mean, we're a very large startup, but-
Suzy: How many people [inaudible 00:03:49]
Wyatt: We have, I think about 750 staff in the company, now-
Suzy: That's a lot. That's huge.
Wyatt: It's a big company in that sense, but we just fly a little bit below the radar. I'm probably not helping doing all these interviews. So, it's a little big in that sense, but in government, there is always a process to follow there. There's bureaucracy that you deal with.
And I think that, one, it teaches you some patience, but it teaches you a way to navigate a system to get things done. And to be able to take that across to the private sector, I think does add some value, and the ability to basically, get things done in a difficult bureaucratic environment means, in startup world, you can really accelerate things, because a lot of those barriers are removed.
Chris: Well, and in the startup world, there's a lack of patience, right? You know, I want this now.
Chris: Want to grow now, or want this product to market now, so. There's a real contrast there.
Wyatt: Absolutely, and I'm naturally an inpatient person, so as I have said, I feel like I've lost my chains now, and I can go out there and get stuff done.
Chris: Spreading your wings.
Suzy: Plus you just came back from massive travel experience, how did that help you?
Wyatt: I think that was great, it just, you know, I needed a holiday to be honest. Beating up on politicians is kinda national sport, but it's not the easiest job in the world. To be honest and-
Suzy: Would you go back into politics?
Wyatt: I may, you never say never, but I am having a lot of fun at the moment, I can tell you.
Suzy: That's a diplomatic answer, by the way. [crosstalk 00:05:03]
Wyatt: You never say never, but at the moment, I'm not too disappointed I'm not there, put in that way. But the holiday was great. I mean, I could just enjoy life. A part of it was, for about a month, riding motorbikes with a mate in South America and to turn off the phone, not having to think about the outside world, it's just amazing.
Chris: Yeah, I heard the papers couldn't find you. So they were like-
Wyatt: Yeah, that was nice.
Chris: "Where is he? Where has he gone?"
Wyatt: And the great thing is I didn't have to worry about the papers finding me. It's not the world I live in anymore, so, yeah it's a really good grounding experience for someone who [inaudible 00:05:34].
Chris: And you weren't in your cereal, you know? You were actually having a really good time.
Wyatt: I did. And there is no way I could've done that if I was still in politics. I mean, just one, taking that time, to go into the places I went to, I mean, just could not do that as a member of Parliament.
Suzy: And what are you focusing on, what are your big plans for Afinity now?
Wyatt: So Afinity is, as I has said this, an incredible company, It's in a number of countries across the world. Our clients are the largest banks, telcos, insurance companies. And I'm growing their presence here in Australia which I think is really exciting. One, dealing with the corporate side of the ledger here, but also developing a tech AI, big data team, here in this country, is hugely exciting. And we have such talented people who can be a part of that, and what a big story.
Suzy: 've been just reading how you guys do away with the internet infrastructure and the data cloud that doesn't exist in Australia [crosstalk 00:06:22].
Wyatt: You know, I mean we're in countries like Pakistan, for example, which have a much lower bar than where we are, and some states in the US have no way near as good as we are. So, I think where we are is middle of the range sort of the area, and that's not a bad thing.
Suzy: Being that you're such a global company, what can Australia offer?
Wyatt: Look, I think Australia has an enormous benefits to offer. One, a really big benefit is talent retention. When you're competing, say, with San Francisco in the states, or Tel Aviv in Israel, it's really, really hard to retain good staff. But here, one, we're a lifestyle superpower. People want to live here. I cannot tell you, since we setup Australia office, how many people internally have said, "Can I move to Australia?"
Chris: Brilliant, Brilliant.
Wyatt: Which is awesome. I'm very happy about that.
Suzy: It's all about the lifestyle. Everyone has this sun, beach...
Chris: You're a tourism company now.
Wyatt: Effectively. Yeah I've got Lara Bingle, she's coming in, we're creating, no, I'm joking. [inaudible 00:07:12] treat, I love that, yeah. No, no, no. But I do think there is something to this lifestyle superpower. Our cost of living is a lot cheaper than, say, our office in Hong Kong, or Singapore, or in the states for that matter. So I think that's really something we can deliver that. And we just have a lot of really bright talented people. I think we underestimate the quality of talent that we develop here and the quality of higher education institutions.
Suzy: That's amazing. I think we should've vibe it out. Is there any final thoughts about Vinny and me?
Wyatt: No, I just think it's very exciting to be part of this. And more we can offer Australia's great opportunity, but more generally, I think what an exciting time to be involved in the Australian innovation ecosystem. We've got enormous amount to offer to the world.
Chris: Brilliant. So we're gonna do a little dance and close it out?
Suzy: Yeah, let's do a dance.
Chris: Thanks, guys.