December 19, 2019

Thoughts on Techstars Startup Weekend Adelaide and _southstart

Here's another post from the UniSA ICC blog that I wrote.  This one is about our recent Startup Weekend and _southstart and how they fit into the startup community here.





December 19, 2019 in Australia, Entrepreneurship | Permalink

July 29, 2019

Thoughts on product companies and services companies

I have really neglected my blog. I have lots of thoughts about living in Australia, what's going on in the US, my latest hobby/obsession and my study of stoicism. But, I just don't make time to write regularly here. So, I'll will post a link to a blog post that I wrote for the Innovation & Collaboration Centre where I am an entrepreneur in residence in Adelaide, South Australia.

This post is about the difference between product and services companies and how to think about them.  I see a lot of founders trying to do both, as I did. I'll save my thoughts on whether that was a mistake or not for a future post, maybe.

Click here for my latest ICC Blog Post

In a few weeks I get to sit with Dr. Charles Camarda, a space shuttle astronaut who is visiting Adelaide and we'll talk about his lessons learned from working at NASA and flying on the space shuttle.  I can't wait!

July 29, 2019 in Australia, Entrepreneurship | Permalink

February 26, 2018

GigCity and beyond: Adelaide’s high speed, startup revolution

GigCity and beyond: Adelaide’s high speed, startup revolution

Terry Gold, Techstars Adelaide


While Silicon Valley was known as the only place where startup dreams were made, gone are the days when being based in the Bay Area - or even the United States - is necessary to become a successful tech company. Now, location is no longer number one. Getting a startup up and running is more about having a great team, a unique idea, the right contacts, and a high-speed internet connection.

Adelaide is lucky to be a place where you can find all of those things. It’s undergoing a transformation. In the last six months alone, the South Australian government has announced that it plans on creating a digital gaming development fund, has established a giant lithium-ion battery in partnership with Elon Musk, and this week announced that its GigCity project has had 16 new innovation precincts added to it - one of which I’m excited to say is Techstars Adelaide.

GigCity makes Adelaide one of the most connected cities in the Southern Hemisphere. The first of its kind outside the United States, the $7.6 million fibre network is connecting key innovation hubs to internet speeds 100 times faster than the national average. Where the Federal Government’s National Broadband Network has encountered challenges and changes to its speed and delivery, GigCIty is already enabling South Australian businesses to develop new ideas, products and services and bring them to the world through the fibre optic Australian Broadband Research and Education Network (SABRENet).

Just before I moved to Adelaide in 2016, I was living in Longmont, Colorado. The city was in the midst of a gigabit fibre network install for businesses and homes. The network was Fibre to the Premises, and cost $US49 per month for a Gigabit for downloads and uploads. On my first visit to Adelaide, I was shocked to see download speeds of just 1.6 megabits per second.

But, even as a massive consumer of data, I gladly made the move to Adelaide, because I believed that the city had the potential to be a regional startup capital. It’s Australia’s leading smart city, recognised for its enviable infrastructure projects and technology, and is also home to the nation’s first Internet of Things innovation hub – Adelaide Smart City Studio. And it’s a beautiful city with friendly people!

The week I arrived here, the city announced its intentions to become the first GigCity in Australia. Initially connected to 14 innovation sites including Tonsley, TechInSA, and Hub Adelaide, applications opened late last year to join these great spaces in the second round of sign-ups. I was so excited to be told last week that Techstars Adelaide’s application had been accepted and that we’d be joining 15 other connection points in the next stage of the rollout.

So what does it mean for Techstars Adelaide? As a global network, having a smooth internet connection is vital for what we do. Our last accelerator attracted applications from startups in 49 countries. These startups wanted to come to Adelaide to take their products to the next level. They need to be plugged into the world, and that means fast internet. Being able to match upload and downloads speeds at a global level is going to be of huge benefit to us and the people we work with. It makes Adelaide an even better place to base your startup.

It’s a necessity for our future Australian companies of to succeed, and if they don’t get it here, they will go somewhere else.  Australia needs to keep investing in the future, and the Gig City project is a great first step towards that. Having fast internet is not about streaming Netflix movies, it’s about enabling new technology businesses and keeping them from having to move elsewhere to get the infrastructure they need.  Adelaide and South Australia have made a vital step forward to making this an even better place to live and create new businesses.


February 26, 2018 in Australia, Entrepreneurship | Permalink

June 30, 2017

Why high-speed internet matters to the startup community


In another post, I wrote about Brad Feld’s Boulder Thesis and how it relates to Adelaide.  In that post, I said that “Now you can start a tech company anywhere with a decent internet connection . . .”

I moved to Adelaide just over a year ago, and the first week I was here I was happy to see that Adelaide had declared it would become the first “Gig City” in Australia.  I moved here from Longmont, Colorado which was completing the installation of their gigabit fibre network to businesses and homes.  (Longmont is just up the road from Boulder and Denver).  As I was locking up the house to go the airport, the installer walked up the driveway to say they were ready to install my connection.  It was going to be fibre to the house, with 1 Gigabit speeds up and down, and it was going to cost $49 (US) per month.  I gladly gave that up for the chance to live in Adelaide.

Many people I’ve talked to either don’t know what it means to have a high-speed internet connection, or they just don’t think it’s needed.  The rest are pretty frustrated with the general state of the internet here and can’t wait for Adelaide to get the gigabit network going for all who need it.

Let’s start with how fast a gigabit really is.  I love this video because it graphically shows the difference between what many people in Australia and the US have and what’s possible with a gigabit network.

Usually though, when I’m talking to people about internet speeds I don’t have access to YouTube, so I’ve come up with an analogy.

I only have access to ADSL2+ at my home and I get about 2Mbs per second.  That’s 2 Million bits per second - sounds pretty fast right?  In Longmont, I was going to get 1,000 Million bits per second, so my speed here is 2% of what you can get in Longmont for about half the price.

I recently flew to Melbourne, and that took about two hours gate to gate.  If my plane had flown at 2% of that speed, it would have taken me 500 hours or almost three weeks to get to Melbourne!   It’s ironic that one of the local internet providers here is selling what they call high-speed internet with an image of a guy wearing an astronaut helmet in a lawn chair with balloons tied to it.  He’s no more going to space than they are selling actual high-speed internet connections.  (Google "limitless data plans have landed" if you want to see the image yourself - oh, and the gigabit in Longmont is for unlimited data as well.)

Some would say you don’t need a gigabit or even a fraction of that.  I know that plenty of people said that the aeroplane was a waste of time and money in the early days of flight and that the car was good enough and before that, the horse was good enough.  I’m sure some thought the expense of running power lines all over Australia and the USA was a waste of time and money because candles were “good enough.”

I am certain that one day we’ll feel the same way about the investments being made in the internet infrastructure.  High-speed internet isn’t just about being able to watch Netflix at home or reducing the time for a Facebook page to load.  The companies of the future and many of the present require actual high-speed internet.  If they don’t get it here, they will go somewhere else.  The US and Australia need to keep investing in the future, and that means gigabit and beyond.  I’m proud that Longmont did it, and that Adelaide is doing it now.

June 30, 2017 in Australia, Entrepreneur Essays, Entrepreneurship | Permalink

March 08, 2017

Wow, I'm the Managing Director for the new Techstars Adelaide

File 9-3-17, 12 27 47 am

Adelaide Oval and the River Torrens Karra wirra-parri


I'm going to keep this short because it's after midnight here in Adelaide, Australia and it's been a busy but fun day. By the time you read this it will have been announced that I am now the Managing Director of Techstars Adelaide.  I can hardly believe it myself, and there will be a blogpost on the website soon about how this came to be.

I'll then come back here in the next day or two and fill in the details and add links to this post.  This will be the first Techstars accelerator in Australia and the Asia Pacific region and I'm feeling incredibly lucky to have this opportunity in this wonderful city.

More to come . . .


(Thank you Jana)

March 8, 2017 in Australia, Entrepreneurship | Permalink

November 03, 2016

Sidebar in UniSA Business Magazine

This month's UniSA Business magazine asked me to write a sidebar piece for an article on entrepreneurship.  I answer the question, "What three things do you need to start a business?"  You can check it out here if you want.  You can find the sidebar by looking at the top of the article for the "Further Reading" tab.

UniSA magazine



November 3, 2016 in Australia, Entrepreneurship | Permalink

October 28, 2016

The latest news, not from Australia

The latest news is not from Australia, though things are going great here and Spring is finally springing, but rather from Appleton, Wisconsin in the USA.

My son Christopher is a professional musician and I'm very proud of him, and a big fan.  He was named Wisconsin Singer-Songwriter of the year last year and he's a hardworking guy who is out there every weekend and a lot of week nights, while still being a great husband and father.  Yes, I am very proud.  Christopher and his wife Tori have done such a great job of raising a bright, fun, thoughtful young man and now my grandson Oliver is starting to get up on stage himself.  Here is a video of Christopher and Oliver together in the studio.  

If you want to sing along yourself, here's a version with the lyrics.  I had not thought about it until this morning, but this could be a good anthem for entrepreneurs.

Finally, because I can't get enough of watching my boy playing, here is a video from his latest album release party at the Rock Garden Studio with his band The New Old Things.

Christopher does a lot of benefit concerts, and his big Toy Drive is coming up soon.  He's also helping to raise money for and you can support them by buying the audio track from the Roll On video above at  For more about Christopher Gold, check him out at where you'll find links to more videos, tracks and his blog.

Not to leave her out, but my daughter Amanda is doing great too.  More on her another time . . .




October 28, 2016 in Australia, Music | Permalink

August 24, 2016

Living in Australia, Part 1

It’s hard to believe, but it’s been almost three months since we moved to Australia - and our furniture should be here “any day now.”  Cindy and I were lucky to find a townhouse by the ocean where the owner was willing to let us move in with it furnished, and then they will take away the furniture when ours arrives.  It turns out that most of the appartments we looked at were on the market furnished, and no one wanted to remove their furniture, so we are fortunate to have found this place.  But it means I do about a 45 minute commute each way.  Don’t feel sorry for me . .
For me it is a dream location because almost every room has a view of the ocean so I feel like I’m on a boat, except without the expense and maintenance of actually owning a boat.  I just hit 600 days straight of running, and most days I get to run on the beach.  I’m putting in a lot of hours at the University so on the days when I’m running before the sun comes up, or late at night, I run on the esplanade.  It’s still winter here, but the days are getting longer and Spring starts September 1.  It seems very safe here, so I just put on a headlamp and go.  
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Going to work is an adventure too - I walk up a nature trail, often in the dark, through a neighbourhood, up to the train station.  My sister taught me when I was a kid that I didn’t need a flashlight most of the time if there is just a little bit of moonlight, so I think of her when I walk the trail in the dark.  I’ll admit it was a little scary the first few times, but I enjoy it now.  Walking down from the train with the sun setting into the ocean makes it all worth it.
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The reason I’m running and walking so much is we’ve decided to try to do without owning a car here.  That seemed really easy the first month when we were staying in the Central Business District (Thanks again Jana!).  Adelaide’s CBD is beautiful, clean and safe and it was nice to just be able to take the elevator down, walk a few hundred meters and be at the grocery or a restaurant.  
We gave that up when we moved to the ocean, so now we own grocery trollies and we walk or take public transportation everywhere we go, except for the occasional weekend where we rent a car for a few days to either see the sights or do a big shopping run.  Most weekends we drag our trollies up the hill, get on the train and go to the grocery store four or five stops down the line.  It’s fun really, and I’m not missing having a car.  Adelaide has declared that it will be the first carbon neutral city in the world, and I feel like I’m helping a bit and staying healthier in the process, and it is so much less stressful to just hop on the train or tram.
I expected that there would be some challenges in moving around the world.  In fact I’ve learned that figuring out all the little differences in culture and society is a big part of the fun.  Some of the challenges are amusing - learning that french fries are chips, and ketchup is tomato sauce here for instance.  I still don’t know what to ask for if I actually want tomato sauce to use in our spaghetti sauce recipe.  
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Here they say “How are you going?” rather than “How are you doing?”  I'm quick to tell people that I am the one with the accent.
Other things are not so amusing, like having to work with companies in the US who simply do not have a way to deal with people who’ve moved to another country.  Here in Australia phone numbers look different, and zip codes are four digits, not five.  More than one place where I had an account couldn’t deal with that, but luckily a very good friend is allowing me to have what little paper mail I get to be sent to his address in Colorado, and I can use that address when they won’t accept an Australian address.
Just today I found out that the US Post Office sent change of address notices to everyone, including the Department of Motor Vehicles, who now has sent me a letter saying I could be fined if I don’t update my vehicle registration to match my new address.  The problem is, they won’t let me do it online, or even by mail - they expect me to actually go in person to the DMV in Longmont to make the change.  For a car that is in storage and not being driven.  
Adelaide is a great multicultural city.  Every day I hear languages that I don’t understand and can’t even identify.  And it turns out that Americans are not that common here.  In Sydney yes, but not Adelaide, so I’m often asked if I’m Canadian.  I think they are playing it safe - if you ask a Canadian if they are American, they might be insulted.  (That’s a joke, sort of)  In any case, often total strangers will ask me where I’m from and what brought me here.  And if they talk to me more than a few minutes, and they often do because everyone here is so friendly, they will usually ask me “what’s up with Trump?”  I won’t get into to politics too much here, but the rest of the world seems to be making contingency plans in case he gets elected and they wonder how it is he got this far.  They just don't understand it, and they are worried.  I actually saw “Trump” listed as a risk in a PowerPoint presentation for a startup that is bringing a product to market in the US.  I’ll save the rest of my thoughts for private conversations.  And yes, I am registered to vote in November, which was another little challenge.  It’s not like they make it super easy for US Citizens to vote when they happen to be out of the country during an election.
The point is that all of these little challenges, that happen almost daily, do add up to a bit of fatigue at times.  I had not expected it, and I was feeling like I was always behind in the tasks I had to get done.  I certainly wasn’t regretting making the move, but I was getting a bit tired.  (Australian’s love to say “a bit” as in, “A crocodile took off my leg, and now I have a bit of trouble walking very far.”)  Lucky for me the Uni assigned me a buddy to look after me and help me get settled into the job.  I believe she had been in the Peace Corp, so she saw the signs and told me that it was normal for people who make big moves to go through a cycle of ups and downs.  Euphoria when you arrive, then a down bit when you start missing family and friends and “normal” life, and then you come back up again when you start to get settled.  Just knowing that it was normal helped get me back on track, and I’ll always appreciate that she told me about the phenomena.  That was a turning point for me.  (Thanks Alicia!)
Before I stop whinging, I’ll say that staying in touch with family and friends has been more difficult than I expected, but I’m working on getting better at it.  Given that I am 19 AND A HALF hours in the future, that means there is only a window in the morning, or after midnight, when I can call people.  I never was very good at making phone calls, and now I’m worse.  I’ve actually considered posting to Facebook just to make sure people know I’m alive, and I’m doing this blog post because several good friends cared enough to poke me.  Thank you.  I do not intend to disappear here.
Here’s part of the problem - most days are fabulous.  I mean living the dream, amazing, can’t believe I’m here, happy days.  I think to myself, “Oh, I should post on Facebook that a dolphin just swam by” or “A flock of parrots just flew over.”  But then I think, “I don’t want to be that guy who only posts “Look at me!” posts."  So, to avoid that, I have to commit to posting frequently and to writing about the normal, trivial and even annoying stuff, and that’s not my nature either.  So I haven’t figured it out, and that means it may be another three months before I do an update.  But I am thinking of all my family and friends.  I wish you could be here, I wish we could talk and have a coffee or a beer, and I wish you all the happiness that I am experiencing right now.  I’d love to hear from you too, and though it may take me a bit to answer, I am thinking of you.  If you are up for a 24 hour plane ride, we have a spare bedroom.
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To my new friends in Australia - I love it here, and I appreciate you inviting me into the country!  Sometimes I think you don't realise what a great place this is, and that's the only negative thing I can say. Oh, and the slow Internet, but that's another post.  :-)

August 24, 2016 in Australia | Permalink

August 20, 2016

Waiting for the train

My good friend Marty emailed to say it is time to update my blog. Life in Australia is great, but very busy. I'm taking a minute while waiting for the train to explore mobile access to Typepad, where my blog is hosted.

If this works, I'll be better about doing updates. Unfortunately it doesn't seem to allow photos to be uploaded. Maybe it is time to think about a new provider.

August 20, 2016 in Australia | Permalink | Comments (0)

June 15, 2016

My new job in Australia - From Longmont to Adelaide in less than three months

The story of how I ended up in Australia begins almost 20 years ago.  I was given a copy of a manuscript for a new book to be published called Leading at the Speed of Growth.  One of the authors was Dr. Jana Matthews and I knew she was a friend of Brad Feld’s and had been a leader at the Kauffman Foundation.
I read Leading at the Speed of Growth at a time when I was struggling as an entrepreneur.  We had grown the company, hired a lot of employees, moved into new space and I was not having fun.  Reading Jana’s book made me realise that I needed to change and grow as much as my company was changing and growing.  I decided I had to go from being the hands-on startup techie guy who liked to code, to an actual leader of a company.  Fortunately Jana lived in Boulder, and I was able to meet her and spend time talking about the concepts she had developed over the years working with high-growth companies.
We both still remember having breakfast together the day after the September 11th attacks.  Like everyone else we were still in shock but I felt better after that breakfast because Jana inspired me to focus on being a good leader and to be there for my employees.  After that, we got together regularly to talk about growing companies.  Often we talked about culture, core values and the challenges of growing as a CEO.  My assistant at the time sometimes suggested I get together with Jana whenever she noticed the stress of the job weighing on my shoulders - it was that obvious that Jana was helping me cope and learn.
Jana is often introduced as a “Global Thought Leader” and she earned that title by literally going all over the world to work with CEOs and their teams.  She traveled to Australia to work with growth companies, and soon helped found an accelerator for startups with growth potential.  I had been a mentor at the Boulder Technology Incubator and at Techstars, so Jana called me up and invited me to visit Adelaide and be a mentor to their first cohort of entrepreneurs.
I fell in love with Adelaide, and as Jana likes to quote, I said, “How can you miss a place you didn’t even know existed until a few week ago?”  I was fortunate to be invited back for the third cohort, and enjoyed working with Jana and being in Adelaide even more.  When I heard that Jana had become the Director of the Centre for Business Growth at the University of South Australia, I wondered if I might be so lucky as to get a third visit back to Adelaide to work with her again.
In October of 2014, Jana invited me to come down and be a “Visiting Growth Entrepreneur” but I was in the midst of getting Launch Longmont started and I reluctantly declined.  On March 5th, 2016 I emailed Jana to say that I was done with Launch Longmont and that Cindy and I were thinking about a trip to New Zealand.  Instead of getting vacation tips back, Jana called me a few hours later to ask me to consider coming to Australia for a year (at least!) to be the “Growth Entrepreneur in Residence” at the Centre.  I've now joined Jana, a growing group of researchers and managers, and other CEOs/mentors to help grow companies in South Australia and beyond.
In less than three months we went from thinking about “what’s next” to living in Adelaide, Australia.  I am so grateful to Jana for making all of this possible and I’m honoured to be working with her and the team.  When I first read Leading at the Speed of Growth, I never imagined how far it might take me!

June 15, 2016 in Australia, Entrepreneurship | Permalink