“Despite our self-image as a fair and egalitarian country, we nonetheless happily treat school-leavers who go to university much more generously than we do all the other school-leavers. This generous treatment only panders to and enhances the snobbish, middle-class, inflated sense of being better that so many tertiary-educated people seem to display.”—Amanda Vanstone.
I am writing this from Darwin, a remote Australian city in the teeth of the wet season. It’s the most intense rain and humidity I’ve experienced. I ran 5 kilometres yesterday and almost passed out. The Darwin summer feels as extreme as the New York winter.
New York to Darwin isn’t the typical path so this post is intended to shed some light on why I’ve chosen to take it.
Jules is studying medicine here in Darwin and there isn’t a hospital in Australia that delivers the breadth and intensity of experience the Royal Darwin does. After spending a lot of last year 16,000 klms apart, I made a decision that the best thing for me this year would be for us to spend some normal time together in Darwin.
After a year at Boxee, the truth is, I didn’t want to leave. Of all my options (and trust me, I explored them), coming to Darwin and resigning from Boxee was the best available compromise. I will be forever indebted to Zach for getting me in the door and to Boxee’s founders - Avner, Tom, Vulkan, Gidon and Idan - for putting their faith in me.
I woke up every day knowing that of all the things I could be doing, working at Boxee, with such a smart, good group of people was exactly what I wanted to be doing. I’m only just starting to realise how much I learnt there and I’m really proud of what we achieved in the last 12 months.
My friend said to me very early on in my New York stay, everyone who comes here leaves sharper than they came. I took it as hyperbole at the time, but it’s 100% true. I went to New York with an inkling that I had what it took to build something meaningful.
That inkling has developed over the last 12 months into a steadfast belief. I now know I have what it takes and it’s thanks in large part to the incredible friends I made and who took the time to share something of themselves with me. To those friends I will be forever grateful.
I intend to return to New York in June. I want to live in New York because it’s the place I feel most like myself and the best city in the world right now for someone like me.
Native Digital, the first business I built, the first business I loved and the platform for so many of the great things I’ve experienced over the last 24 months, has gone from strengthtostrength since Ned Dwyer joined as partner in early 2010.
With this in mind, and my focus turning now to the next step in my professional life, I am happy to announce that I am handing the reigns to Ned and stepping into an advisory role with the company.
Ned is one of the brightest entrepreneurs I’ve met and his relentless drive and focus has been and continues to be inspirational. If you’re in Fitzroy, make sure you stop by our offices at 90 Moor St and say g’day.
All that leaves me with a very clean slate and an opportunity now to spend three months in solitude, focussed on defining my next step. I’m certain that I want to lead and build a great company.
I’m turning my energy now to looking for the people, markets and ideas that will make that desire a reality.
There’s a passage from William Deresiewicz’s article ‘Solitude and Leadership' that I'm thinking about a lot at the moment.
You have to be prepared in advance. You need to know, already, who you are and what you believe … Not what your peers believe (that may be exactly the problem), but what you believe.
How can you know that unless you’ve taken counsel with yourself in solitude? … Solitude and leadership would seem to be contradictory things. But it seems to me that solitude is the very essence of leadership.
The position of the leader is ultimately an intensely solitary, even intensely lonely one. However many people you may consult, you are the one who has to make the hard decisions. And at such moments, all you really have is yourself.