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A new book looks at how Aussie companies can survive (and also thrive) in this wave of digital disruption


With half of Australian businesses affected by digital disruption (2015 Harvey Nash Global CIO Survey) and over five million jobs at risk of being automated (PriceWaterhouseCoopers report), a new book looks at how companies can navigate the next digital generation and turn it to their advantage.

Written by entrepreneur and leading technology lawyer Nick Abrahams, Digital Disruption in Australia: A guide for Entrepreneurs, Investors & Corporates is a wake-up call for the entire economy.

“No one is immune. Take accountants: almost 100 per cent of the tasks they do will be automated by 2035 according to the PriceWaterhouseCoopers report. How can we as an economy survive this? That’s what my book, Digital Disruption in Australia, seeks to help answer,” Nick says.

According to Nick, Australia’s biggest inhibitor to becoming a global innovation powerhouse is our preoccupation with what he calls the ‘corridor of comfort’.

“Australia loves the middle too much. We don’t like tall poppies and we are scornful of bankrupts. To succeed in the future, Australia needs to embrace risk-taking. We need to celebrate our successful entrepreneurs and give support to those who have failed.”

The good news for Australia is that the global backdrop of ferocious change is driving a boom in the Australian tech scene. Many Australian industries are reporting high levels of investment and activity from the increasing popularity of digitally disruptive solutions.

What is covered in this book?

Digital Disruption in Australia draws on Nick’s extensive experience to analyse the impact of more than 500 corporate transactions across the Australian technology, media and telco sectors over the last four years to identify areas of true disruption in the Australian economy.

This is not crystal-ball stuff. The book shows where disruption is happening – here and now.

“We are facing a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Never before have startups managed to move so quickly to maturity and even global leadership. Former Telstra CEO David Thodey says in the past forty years, the greatest rate of change has been in the last two. We won’t get this chance again,” Nick says.

“This is a critical issue for our children and generations beyond. There is solid research to show that many of the jobs people have today will not exist in 5 or 10 years.

“We need to ensure that companies embrace innovation and that the government has the right policy settings to ensure we give our kids the right type of education.

“Frankly, we don’t need more lawyers, We need different skills, let’s have more data scientists, social media identities and user-experience experts. Our universities have a duty to their students to give them an education that will set them up for this new world.”

An interesting outcome of his research is a proprietary framework Abrahams uses to help companies and boards visualise how they are embracing the challenges of disruptive technologies.

Called the “Innovation Dating Game”, the framework maps a company’s engagement with innovation and identifies areas such as “The Honeymoon”, “Meeting the Parents” and somewhat chillingly the “Alignment Explosion Zone”.

What should businesses do about disruption?

Nick’s key tips for companies coping with disruption include:

  1. Alliancing: partner with other companies, even competitors to give a great user experience
  2. Talent: great people are critical, and HR policies must be flexible to meet their demands
  3. Get lean: de-stigmatise failure – the flip side of innovation is that some projects are a leap of faith
  4. Culture: corporate values are vital, as employees seek a higher purpose through work

As well as providing an overview of key current and upcoming tech trends, from adtech to new marketplaces, Digital Disruption in Australia offers in depth advice to investors wanting a piece of the action.

“Picking the game changers is always challenging, when many of them are creating new markets. How can you identify the next Uber or AirBNB and get in early?

“Trying to value these companies is no easy task, but my book provides some insight and tools that investors can use to get a more accurate picture of potential

“Silicon Valley does not have the exclusive rights to digital success. We can have our own unicorn farm in Australia. Just look at the success of companies like Atlassian, Campaign Monitor and Menulog.”

Digital Disruption in Australia also includes:

  • A comprehensive summary of all tech / internet-related M&A / investment deals & ASX listings for the last four years (500+ deals summarised)
  • A detailed list of the main players in digital disruption in Australia including: investors, incubators, and advisers (200+ individuals / companies named)
  • Articles Nick published on the subject of digital disruption for the Australian Financial Review, Sydney Morning Herald and The Age newspaper

If you are an entrepreneur eager to disrupt a market, an investor keen on being part of this seismic shift or a corporate looking out for the next big opportunity or threat, this book will give you a great understanding of what is happening in Australia.

Digital Disruption in Australia is available for purchase for 99 cents on Kindle.

More about the author

Nick Abrahams is one of Australia’s leading technology lawyers having worked on over $3 billion of technology transactions in the last four years.

He is an angel investor and a non-executive director of one of Australia’s leading software companies, Integrated Research. He is an investor in online legal disruptor www.lawpath.com and has started and exited several businesses.

Nick took time out from his legal career to be a creative executive at Warner Brothers in Los Angeles and a chief operating officer in the listed dotcom group, Spike Networks.

A former professional stand-up comic, Nick is a regular media commentator on technology issues and speaker at corporate events.