Tim Griffiths is Co-Founder and CSO of Xref. An MBA-qualified technologist with more than 20 years’ experience advising global companies, his technology start-up know-how and entrepreneurial background have been key to taking Xref from a smart idea to a global success.
What are your thoughts on the Sydney tech scene today and what has been the biggest game-changing moment over the past decade or so?
The Sydney tech scene is booming at the moment, some great tech is being developed that has true global scale. Sydney competes with the innovation incubators of San Francisco and London in both scale and opportunity.
In the past 10 years, anything cloud-based has transformed business – Gmail and Office 365 for email, Zoom and Slack for communications, for example. This coupled with the opportunity to deliver software on platforms such as AWS has been groundbreaking and we have seen an especially large increase in the Sydney region since 2012.
The ability to spin up POCs lightning-fast, and then test and redeploy with ease, destroys the old server room way of working.
What challenges do you see the Sydney tech scene currently facing? And why do they happen?
Sourcing great talent is definitely one of the biggest challenges – finding people who have done it before and have learned from getting it wrong. You tend to see that once someone has had some experience, there is a drive to move to San Fran or London, particularly if they’re looking for a focus on fintech. There do seem to be plenty of interns and entry-level applicants, but raw, talented, skilled experts, who have had real-world experience are lacking in the region at the moment.
What would you like to see changed to solve these challenges? What action can be taken – and who by?
As always, it ideally needs to be driven by the government. The world is changing and reliance on technology is gaining momentum, Australia does and can compete with the best in the world, however, a reliance on ticking boxes and not focusing on true skill is prevalent. I would always take passion, drive and self-learned skills over someone that has a degree and has never done the job. However, that is currently a barrier when you need to find external talent and I believe the government needs to do more to encourage new generations to develop the skills and experience that’s currently lacking.
Which skills do you think are most in demand across the Sydney tech scene? And which skills are we lacking?
From what I’ve seen, the most in-demand skills include DevOps, Data Analytics, and good senior Full Stack Developers.
What trends do you predict for 2020 and then for this decade?
Continuance of AI and machine learning, with IoT maturing and voice becoming a primary interface.
What excites you most about the future of your industry or the Sydney tech scene as a whole?
It’s a golden nugget in the world of tech. People think Sydney is far away from the rest of the world but in today’s remote working environments this is far from the truth, the connection to San Fran is only a 14hr flight and timezones mean that our morning is their afternoon so there’s actually a good overlap. This, coupled with Europe’s time offset and the increase in cloud communication platforms, means we can compete on a level playing field.
Which tech company (Australia or overseas) or individual do you admire and why?
As a technologist, the path of amazon AWS has been unreal.
Recommend our readers a book, why did you enjoy it and who would benefit from reading it?
Do the Work by Steven Pressfield is a great read and includes quite a few “ah-ha” moments. I love books that help you think differently or reinforce.
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson also offers an important reminder to us all, to not to take ourselves too seriously.
For the latest news on the Sydney tech scene check out TechLifeSydney now!