I’m moving to San Francisco

It doesn’t seem like that long ago I was writing this article telling you all that I was moving to Sydney. Now, just a short four years or so since then, I’m writing again to tell you that I’m moving to San Francisco!

I’m moving to take a new role with Yammer, as the Business Manager for Yammer Engineering. About 6-7 months ago, I had one of the best experiences of my career when we had Adam Pisoni, the Co-Founder of Yammer visit us in Australia and New Zealand. It was a whirlwind trip where we met with executives, customers, audiences and ‘Yammer’ people in general and from then on I’d been thinking about how to create experiences like that for our community of change makers and world shakers. Such a role opened up not too long after that and I was successful in my application for it – so here we are! In the role, I’ll get the chance to work directly with Adam and the team on things spanning Yammer product strategy, operations, strategic customer dealings and continuing to help with the Responsive Organisation movement. It’s a terrific opportunity and I’m very thankful to Adam and the team for allowing me the chance to take it.

Yammer (and Twitter) Office

Life looks a lot different than it did four years ago. I’m incredibly lucky to now be married to the amazing Rose Levien and to be sharing this with her. We’ll continue to put arm-over-arm and keep enjoying this adventure called life as much as we can. We’ve got a lot to look forward to in San Francisco, not the least of which is continuing to raise our little girl, Edith! We can’t wait to get over there and begin nesting again and building a home for ourselves. Whilst moving away from my family in Melbourne will be tough, we’re heartened by the fact we’re now a whole 14 hours closer to Rose’s family in London!

Rose and Steve in Love - Getting Hitched Low Resolution - www.bellazanesco.com-70

Thank you to everyone who has made our stay here in Sydney so warm, welcoming and just plain good. We’ve loved every minute we’ve been here and to be honest, until I applied for the job, we were beginning to find ourselves wondering if we’d ever leave. It’s an incredible place, Sydney. It’s the kind of place that really grows on you with time and allows you to be who you are. The physical beauty of the place is hard to compare to anywhere else and the space that provides is pretty special. We’ll certainly miss it, but look forward to coming back here to visit as much as we can. Finally, thank you to the Yammer team around the world. It’s been such a special place to call home these last few years and I’m so proud to keep calling it home. For the local team here in Australia, you all know how special you are. Please know how thankful I’ve been to have shared that time with you. Thank you.

We’ll be flying out to San Francisco, from Melbourne, around the 10th of April.

I'm moving to Sydney

About a month ago, I was faced with a decision. Move up to Sydney and work full time on an amazing opportunity with Ai-Media to end disability, or stay in Melbourne and try to find something else. It’s nice to be able to say that when Tony Abrahams offered me the gig in Sydney, it didn’t take long to say ‘Most definitely. Count me in!’


I’m going to work with Ai-Media in the role of Ecosystems Coordinator. This is essentially a continuance of the work I’ve been doing with Ai-Media over the past year. We’re working on providing access to classroom education for deaf children in Australia, as well as considering other innovations that can provide access and inclusion to disabled people all over the world.It’s an exciting time, in an exciting company that I’m very proud to be involved in. My role will, as before, focused on building the ecosystem (both internally and externally) to help make this happen. I’m relishing the challenge that it brings, and look forward to chatting more with you about what we’re trying to achieve in the future.

At this stage, I’ll be moving to Sydney next week (March 1st) and am still searching for somewhere to live. Should you know anyone with a room for rent who you think I would get along with, please drop me a line at steve@thesquigglyline.com or comment below. A short term stint, even on a couch, is probably my preferred option as I look to get settled in.I’m looking forward to meeting the growing and vibrant Sydney start-up and jelly communities and can’t wait to meet many of the people I’ve been following from afar for these past few years. I plan on commuting back down to Melbourne often to keep in touch with many of the exciting projects and people that are doing their best work here currently. I’ll still be involved in Trampoline Melbourne, which we will have more information on shortly.

Thanks to Tony and the crew at Ai-Media for the opportunity to change the world and to my friends and family for their continued support in taking on such a big opportunity and life change. It’s something I look forward to sharing with all of you as it continues to develop.  You can follow along with access issues by following @accessinclusion on twitter.

Update from beyond the Squiggly Lines: What projects am I working on currently?

There has been a lot of news recently. A lot has been happening in this little world of ours – one night a few weeks ago I awoke to a great email from Ross Hill that made me aware that overnight Zach Klein had been hired by BoxeeJeffery from Threadless was joining Digg and that Google had aquired ReCaptcha. That’s just in one night. Certainly, it was cause for a pause and consideration about what had been happening in my own ‘Valley.’ So, inspired by the posts above and also Fred Wilson’s totally authentic announcement about Union Square funding Foursquare I thought I would provide an update of where I’m at and what that means.

The Australian Davos Connection

I’ve been working at the Australian Davos Connection (ADC) now for the past 6 months or so, coming on board in an exciting move as their Community Manager. Certainly, the past 6 months have been a great roller coaster to ride between Future Summit (@futuresummit for the tweeps out there) and the recent Australian Leadership Retreat we held on Hayman Island. If you’re interested, check out our (still nascent) Future Summit Blog and Twitter account – as well as some of the Livestream footage from the ALR.

Twitter Crew at Future Summit

(Photo by @jjprojects)

I’m quite excited about further developing the ADC presence on the web, in the hope of connecting with more of the amazing people (such as yourselves) out there agitating for a better world. Stay tuned, as soon we will be opening the nomination process for our Australian Leadership Awards, which provide successful applicants free entry to Future Summit each year and inclusion in our small Awardees Community, which includes invitations to smaller lunch events and discussions. I encourage you to apply.

Ai-Media and Ai-Skills

Whilst I was at Future Summit, I met Tony Abrahams – CEO and founder of Ai-Media and a great guy doing an amazing job leading the march for access and inclusion in Australia. We got chatting at Future Summit about all the possibilities around inclusion for deaf children in Australia and what that looks like in the classroom environment. Low and behold, a few months later Tony had fully unearthed what his crew at Ai-Media had been concocting these past three years and I couldn’t help but jump on board and help them continue to build the platform for what promises to be a truly paradigm changing innovation in the provision of education access for deaf children in Australia. Ai-Media have developed a system which now allows children in class access to real time, captioned text from their teachers. It’s essentially the same as having subtitles on your TV, only on a laptop in a classroom. It’s an exciting project and I’m proud to be involved. You can see Tony and Alex, the founders of Ai-Media, talk you through the project below.

The role at Ai-Media is involved in helping to build the market platform to allow this service to blossom across the country. I’m sure I’ll be talking to many of you and seeking your advice (yet again) in time to come, but for now appreciate that the technology and people are hear now to make this happen. These surely are exciting times.

Of course, some thank-you’s

There have been a few notable people who have helped me progress and make stuff happen in these new roles which I would like to thank at this current juncture. Ross Hill helps me everyday with his insights, thoughts and friendship and certainly has provided me perspective on the number of activities above.

Pete Williams (@rexster) was the one that helped with the strategy that became the Future Summit twitter/online presence back in May. His help and thought-leadership made moving into ADC a dream and provided me with clear direction at a time when it was at a premium.

Donal, the man (Myth. Legend.) behind Nodecity, has helped ADC no ends in doing his thing and providing connectivity services and access to the internet at both Future Summit and ALR. Without him, we simply wouldn’t have achieved what we did and he deserves the credit for that. The man knows his stuff better than most I’ve met and just nails it time and again.

Col and Derek from Ergo Consulting for their constant support and understanding which I constantly appreciate.

Finally Nathan, for throwing open his digs at Inspire9 and allowing me to take a desk at different times most weeks.

Finally, in fear of making this sound more like an Oscars speech than it already does, thanks to everyone who spins around this community and makes all of these interesting things that take place possible. It’s impossible to mention everyone, so I won’t – but those involved know just what I mean when I talk about the magic that currently floats about Melbourne like a dust cloud in Sydney. Let’s keep moving, keep progressing and making the good stuff happen.

From Vision Drive to Corporate Drive

Recently, my life journey has taken me to some amazing places – including helping to set up www.learnaboutpoverty.org, working at World Vision Australia generally and taking part in some pretty alive communities such as Start Up Camp Melbourne, Melbourne Jelly (intermittently, but I aim to make it a more common thing), The Hive and serving on the Marketing Sub-Committee of a great little Mental Health service provider in the Southern Region, Reach Out Southern Mental Health. But, it has come time to move on in one major aspect of my life so far which bares special mention.

 I have moved on from World Vision Australia and am now working at South East Water Limited. Or, more poetically, I have moved from working at 1 Vision Drive, Burwood East to 20 Corporate Drive, Heatherton.


I feel amazingly privileged to have worked alongside the amazing people at World Vision these past 18 months or so, and I have learned an incredible amount about myself, the International Humanitarian and Aid Industry and grass roots activism. But, I felt it was time to move on and learn some new things, and what better place to continue to cut my teeth than in the Water Industry. These sure are interesting times.

I look forward to my new role with great interest and anticipation, working in the Innovations Unit at SEWL looking to help our organisation ideate and create new business ventures which help further reduce our water consumption as well as drive revenue to continue investments in alternative water technologies. As always, I’ll be looking to see how we need to change as an organisation and hopefully getting up behind a flywheel again to help create momentum and drive a more sustainable future. I will also be continuing as co-editor of the Learn About Poverty blog with my good friends Nigel Preston and Joely Wilkenson-Hayes. World Vision has certainly awoken in me a sense of what is left to be done in the world, and through the blog I hope to contribute in some small way to better uncovering what is happening and what we can do together to make a difference.

As always, I hope you’ll join with me for the ride. Thanks for your support and contribution to my work so far, it has certainly made a difference in my life. Scanning back through my blog posts today in a moment of reflection I was reminded of the amazing comments, insights and thoughts you have shared with me this past year of so since I have been blogging. I look forward to hearing from, and meeting, more of you as this journey through our squiggly reality continues.

Cheers and thanks,

Steve Hopkins

Brand Me – The Chris Brogan eBook

I’m not a huge fan of the ol’ eBook – but I’m quickly learning to appreciate and value the contents of them as I go. The latest one that struck me – Chris Brograns ‘Personal Branding for the Business Professional.’

As most of you will know by now, I’m a huge advocate of the Brand Me lifestyle. Tom Peters wrote the seminal article in Fast Company some 12 years ago now, but Chris’s latest work comes from a place of true experience rather than the ‘Practicum/Theory’ piece from Tom. Have a read and see what you think – I particularly liked the following points:

 1) Your Own Company: Each opportunity is a chance to learn a new skill and add a new experience. I too don’t really see a resume in the traditional sense. I want a story to tell someone about what I have done. I try to hunt for interesting projects as often as I can.

2) Innovate and be a scout. I’ve read a lot about this recently. I think it falls upon you as a personal brand to be innovative and blaze a new trail…even if the trail is small/not often used or even entirely uninteresting to most people. The fact that you have created the path is evidence of another option or experience someone might use in their own project. Blaze often, blaze weird things and then see where the path takes you. Often, I find several paths I beat seem to come together to create one really valuable path for my client/project/partners.

3) Read widely: I read often. Someone once told me that the average Corporate CEO reads about 12 books a year. As CEO of Brand You, it’s a responsibility that you must accept. Check out different blogs like 800-CEO-read and build an Amazon wish-list which people can check out on Friendfeed etc etc to build a list of good titles that may pique your business professional bone, then link/blog about them. Get Love is the Killer Ap for a good introduction to the professional-reading world, and become a love cat.

Finally – follow interesting brands on the net. Chris alludes to many in his eBook but some of my favourites are: Pat Allan, who is living the next installment of the brand me life by connecting with a truly (amazing) global vocational community, Col Duthie. who is trying to help blaze a trail of international co-existence between the business, government and non-profit sectors and Ross Hill , who has just gotten back on the blogging-bike to better discuss his growing internet empire.