I was worried it was a bad start to my trip when the taxi drove the wrong way up a one-way street to pick me up then the driver didn’t know his way to the airport. The crease of worry on my face grew more pronounced when, once we’d arrived at the airport, the driver got out of the car while it was rolling backwards because he’d left the handbrake off. But, we survived the trip to the airport and my nerves were set at ease when I locked eyes with Ian Thorpe at the check-in, there’s something about the thorpy gaze that sets the heart at ease.
After almost 2 hours of watching kids high 5 each other as we weaved our way through the customs queue and following a young Chinese guy with an enormous santa sack full of shoes through bag check I made it to the waiting lounge where I was begrudgingly served a long black, my first coffee for the day.
I was texting my parents from the plane when flight attendant Peter leant over asking if my phone was on flight mode, he then grabbed my phone and texted “I’ve dumped you” and pressed send. When I told him I was texting my dad he fell over laughing before calling his mate over to tell him that I had broken up with my boyfriend. Classic.
I’m now sitting in the lounge room of the Kombi hotel in Santiago, I’m here for a few days before traveling to Antarctica with the Unstoppables. The Unstoppables are a brand new initiative founded by Julio De Laffitte, kind of like a glorified incubator I guess. This is the first of three scheduled events, the other two being trips to Uluru and The Amazon. The basic idea is to take entrepreneurs, investors, thinkers, engineers and people who just get things done out of their usual routine and environment, out of their ‘normal’ sphere of reference so they can discuss some of the big challenges we face today, find business opportunities and plan their commercialisation. Julio believes that business can solve problems that governments can’t and so the Unstoppables initiative is his attempt to provide an ecosystem in which innovation and start-up enterprise can thrive. He intends for The Unstoppables to evolve into a community of forward thinking, innovative entrepreneurs and business owner / managers who all help each other develop solutions to complex problems and get to the future first.
I was awarded a scholarship berth on the boat on behalf of CarCrowd, a ride share app with some distinguishing features. I’m not technical but I’ve surrounded myself with technical people in Sydney, I pay friends for consultations so I can ask tonnes of questions about coding and new tech. I’ve partnered up with a team of developers called PLYCODE whose founder is an ex Somalian refugee, a really inspiring guy. CarCrowd has developed a novel check-in method for which we have a patent pending. This method will prove particularly useful when autonomous vehicles become the norm. Last year I had several meetings with state government about my ideas which were received well. We’ve set everything up to target the needs of governments and councils, including setting up the back end so that it can very easily integrate with smart card accounts.
As the Australia Ambassador, I see this expedition as a really great opportunity to speak with people about the Network Society Project, to raise awareness about our goals. I believe the Network Society Readiness Index will have enormous value to enterprises and to governments, and these are exactly the sorts of people who would find it useful.
PS: If you are in around on Feb 1, please come to our Antarctica Meetup!