Atlassian co-founder Scott Farquhar on Australia's future in tech

Saturday, 01 February 2020


    Co-founder of software developer Atlassian Scott Farquhar explains why the company chose to base its global operation in Sydney instead of Silicon Valley.

    Almost 20 years ago, when I started Atlassian with my best mate, we had a choice of where to base our company. The obvious choice was Silicon Valley, but we chose to stay in Sydney because it’s the best city in the world and we want it to stay that way.

    If we want to ensure our kids have the quality of life we do, and make sure it’s a prosperous nation, we need to be creating technology jobs here in Australia. Technology is totally here to stay — it’s not going anywhere.

    As a company, we sold globally from day one. Now we sell to more than 160,000 companies. This gives us a unique view into how the business world is changing. There are three types of companies: tech companies, those who are trying to become tech companies, and those who are being disrupted by them. Australia produces approximately 1.5 per cent of the world’s GDP. If we want to maintain our standard of living, if we want our kids to have meaningful jobs, we need to ensure we produce 1.5 per cent of the world’s technology in order to stay competitive.

    We have the ability to do this. We have built a thriving technology industry in Australia and it’s been a privilege to play a small part and hopefully be a role model for many of these companies. But we need to do more.

    Atlassian was listed on the NASDAQ in 2015 and now has 4000 employees and $1 billion in annual revenue. Scott Farquhar gave the keynote speech at the BESydney Global Ambassador 10th anniversary dinner in November.

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