How Australia turned into the test mattress for tech regulation
A PAIR weeks ago, Facebook in short became off the power for any individual within the world to publish links from Australian information publishers. they simply blocked ‘em with a bit of message. this is an actual thing that happened. the corporate, along with Google, was locked into a struggle with the Australian government over something referred to as the Media Bargaining Code, which would have required social structures and engines like google to pay news publishers for linking to their paintings. Simply linking to it. This was once a large deal — it might change the way in which the internet works. Both Google and Facebook threatened to go away Australia over the proposed regulation, till Google cut a take care of Australia’s biggest information businesses, and Facebook became off their access to the scoop feed fully. After a few days, the legislation was relatively modified, Facebook also paid the money, and access was once restored.
What struck me about this is that we’d heard a lot from Google, from Fb, and from Australian govt officials, however we hadn’t in reality heard from any individual from the Australian tech trade. So I known as up Scott Farquhar, the co-founder and co-CEO of Atlassian, Australia’s biggest tech corporate and one in all Australia’s greatest corporations, period. Atlassian has always been an international corporate — even when it was once simply Scott and his co-founder and co-CEO Mike Cannon-Brookes, their first sales have been outside of Australia. That’s the ability of the internet.
Scott and i talked about why Australia is the take a look at mattress for tech law round the sector, as a result of its size, location, and the way its government is established. We talked about what took place with the Media Bargaining Code and how it's going to paintings in Australia now that it’s passed. And we talked so much about find out how to run a global company in an an increasing number of fractured world, and whether new rules lend a hand level the playing field or just cement incumbents.
K, Scott Farquhar, co-founder and co-CEO of Atlassian. Right Here we cross.
This transcript has been frivolously edited for clarity.
Scott Farquhar, you’re the co-founder and co-CEO of Atlassian. Welcome to Decoder.
Thank You for having me.
What time is it there for you?
It’s about 10 prior ELEVEN in the morning.
So, you’re in Sydney?
On a Thursday, I Feel ahead of the place you are.
Right, so it’s 7PM Wednesday for me and it’s ELEVEN within the morning for you.
Residing within the long run.
I’ve never talked to any individual in the next day to come. How is it?
Laughs It’s great. It’s very nice right here. the weather’s unbelievable.
i have a bunch of questions about Atlassian, how you are working the corporate and i wish to speak about the Australian tech industry.
However, actually elementary question, you used to be a man who controlled a company from a aircraft, proper? You used to fly to San Francisco, you’d fly round the sector. How are you handling that within the pandemic?
It’s been great on an individual degree. Now Not removing that Covid has had many dangerous tales across an entire bunch of individuals and firms and person lives disrupted. But from an individual viewpoint, I haven’t had to be on a airplane every week or every month to head see folks within the U.s., or go back and forth around the arena and see our team of workers. And we had an government crew that used to be lovely dispensed up to now.
Some people can be in an workplace, the place they'd want to seize their colleagues and be in an administrative center on a meeting. And that was once nice, however it intended we sort of had 3 or four meeting rooms dialed in, that is method much less immersive than everybody dialed in Brady Bunch-taste on Zoom. in order that’s been really expert besides, to have that type of higher reference to personnel around the world.
Is the time difference just unimaginable for you to manage? How are you fixing that?
I Feel the sector will transfer from where do you're employed in an workplace, to which time zone you work in. And that’s something we’ve been dwelling with. We’ve had places of work in a dozen international locations or more. So we’ve had that for an excessively long time. And so the transition hasn’t been that tricky for us.
i think like i'll ask you “future of far flung paintings” questions for all the hour, simply because it's a allotted corporate, you might be in Australia.
However, let’s start at the get started. Tell me about Atlassian. you're certainly one of Australia’s biggest corporations, you are Australia’s largest tech corporate. Provide me the story of Atlassian.
So, Atlassian’s mission is to unleash the possible of each crew. And we do that through in large part turning work into teamwork, getting your groups to collaborate better. And the groups we paintings so much on are the teams thinking about virtual transformation. They’re the makers, the developers, the ones people who are running with software and past. We assist them to be extra effective and collaborative. And it began about 20 years ago in Australia with myself and my co-founder, Mike Cannon-Brookes; we nonetheless interact as co-CEOs nearly 20 years later. We started out really building one product in Sydney called Jira — which is nonetheless our greatest product — that started out as a malicious program tracker for tool developers.
there have been a couple unique things about that. One was we have been in Australia, which is type of an extraordinary position to begin a company in 2001. And I Believe as a results of that, our cross-to-marketplace was once very, very other. We didn’t promote enterprise device within the conventional way, which used to be to get a salesperson and promote to the CIO. Our revel in was extra consuming shareware, you recognize, video games where it was once “try before you buy.” And so we took that approach to enterprise instrument.
the way that Jira got marketed and bought used to be on the internet. It got bought at a low price, it got offered globally, you have to simply obtain and install it. And that form of started a flywheel of our business. And over the years we’ve grown from that two staff on the flip of the century, to over 5,000 employees now around the world. And after all our merchandise have grown from only one, in Jira, to dozens of goods that deal with all kinds of these cases round collaboration.
you lately obtained Trello.
Yeah, that used to be a couple years ago. And Trello has, I Believe it’s 50 million accounts or extra that we reveal. And millions of customers the usage of it and it’s got fantastic CSAT customer satisfaction. And Those of all walks of lifestyles use it, from folks using it of their non-public lifestyles to regulate data, all the best way thru to large firms. We’ve were given loads of thousands of customers in large corporations using Trello to control their paintings. So, we’ve were given merchandise like Trello, Jira, Confluence is an information management product. We’ve got a complete range of goods that help our collaboration.
For a long time, The Verge ran on Trello. And at one point, i noticed, we have been planning our wedding ceremony in Trello. And That I was like, “this is an excessive amount of, I’m spending an excessive amount of time on this device.”
You’re not alone.
Why undertaking instrument, for a pair of 20-year-olds in Australia? In early 2000, endeavor software was once no longer the object, right? It used to be picture sharing apps or whatever. Why endeavor instrument?
Mike and i each did a scholarship co-op application. In that, a part of what you do is work for firms, as well as do your university course, like a sandwich application. And in working for these massive firms in Australia, both of us learned that we didn’t need to pass paintings for a large organization. we needed to build one thing for ourselves and construct something new. And so we wanted to do a startup, however we weren’t truly certain what it could be.
the first incarnation was once we supplied support for third-birthday party corporations. So, there’s an organization in Sweden, providing an software server, and they have been nice merchandise however bad reinforce. And we thought, smartly, k, we can provide the nice give a boost to from Australia. Which was a negative trade as a result of we have been providing fortify to other people in Europe, and people within the United States, and so that you’re up at 3 in the morning. I keep in mind that my telephone used to be set to the loudest ringtone to wake me up and also you’d type of stumble out of mattress trying to sound lucid at that degree. And that product or, i assume, that provider we supplied was so bad that we made up our minds we wanted to build something else.
at the turn of the century, there has been in order that so much blue ocean in device. We constructed a ticketing device for dealing with those tool consumers, we built a web site monitoring system for monitoring folks transferring across our web page. And the object that we were truly serious about used to be that ticketing device, and turning it right into a ticketing gadget that everyone could use. As A Result Of we felt that, again then, there has been instrument that price $ONE HUNDRED,000 to put in, and there was loose tool, open-supply, but there was in point of fact not anything in between. And we felt there has been a huge market gap there.
What was once the trail to move from other folks, “K, we’ve got a device product we like, now we've got some consumers,” to where you're now, which is Australia’s greatest tech company? Was that linear progression? Or was it fits and starts?
The product we ended up on, Jira, has been beautiful a success from the start. within the early days, you’re doing a whole lot of hustle. We didn’t have any mission capital in the back of us. It was once simply folks bootstrapping. coming out of college, we didn’t have cash behind us that we’d saved to bootstrap. It was once truly put on credit cards at that degree. And so, we'd do the standard hustle. we'd visit conferences around the arena. We couldn’t afford to sponsor a booth, so we'd turn up at a convention with business playing cards and use the ones little beer tables that had been usually arrange around the place to open our pc and do demos for people, simply in the hallway.
in reality, at one in all those meetings, we realized there was a podcast much like this one that was once reside-streaming from one in every of the sessions. So we stood at the entrance and we pasted or, you realize, got stickers and positioned them on the beer. So, we went to the native beer retailer, got cases of beer, then as folks walked in, we positioned an Atlassian sticky label at the beer can and gave it to each individual in the target market. And so, that used to be kind of the guerilla advertising that we did in the early days. after which, through the years, we type of built the flywheel up, clearly hustling customers.
after which sooner or later, we were given a fax from American Airways. And I requested Mike, had he been operating with American Airways, and he said no. And neither had I. And so, we’re like, “Wow, this actually works.” that they had faxed during the bank card number, and we’d never heard from them. And we’re like, this device trade works while folks send your cash for effectively doing nothing. Obviously we’d spent a lot of time at the products, but we hadn’t needed to hustle each and every person consumer. And that was once more than likely a turning element for us.
So, that sort of brings me to the bigger set of questions i want to invite, which is, as tech corporations get larger, their relationships to the nations they’re in and the international locations they function in get more complicated. There’s all this dialogue of law. But American Airlines is an American company. You were in Australia and so they simply faxed you an order and you suddenly had a consumer in The Usa.
How temporarily did you pass world? since the promise of the internet for a instrument corporate is that you just have a global marketplace from the first day, right?
Utterly. I Believe our first sale was within the UNITED KINGDOM. We did a few extra in Europe and Nordic countries. Then I Feel we had some sales in the US. And I don’t assume we got an Australian company in our first 10 sales. And so that you’re global from day one. And I Believe it’s interesting to peer how that adjustments because, I Think we’re seeing a brand new breed of businesses. in case you go back perhaps 50 or 70 years, firms hired folks in the community.
Successfully, they bought their items in the neighborhood. They have been ruled by way of a government that used to be elected by people locally. if they polluted, they polluted in the community. And of course, that used to be where that their workers would be working in or put in the environment that they kind of existed in. And if you happen to return to the ‘70s, we moved to the sort of megacorporation or the global supplier that disconnected a lot of that local thing, and opened up provide chains and different spaces and disconnected that link between an organization and a physical area.
And I Believe, at Atlassian, we’ve got body of workers in dozens of countries round the sector. We’re based within the UNITED KINGDOM, we kind of really feel like we’re Australian-sponsored. Most of our consumers are in the US. So we’re a global company by means of default. And we have the benefit of that. We get to rent other folks in a majority of these puts and sell to folks in all the ones puts. But we’re also ruled via regulations in all these countries, each employment laws and, you realize, how we sell in those countries. And so I Feel that’s just attention-grabbing to see how the world evolves.
Earlier Than we got here on, i used to be doing the analysis. I watched a few of your other interviews. i spotted that after you're on the Australian media, they glow. They’re very pleased with Atlassian as a large, Australian tech good fortune tale. Do you're thinking that of Atlassian as an Australian company? you just defined it as a world corporate, however within the local coverage, there is a countrywide delight around your organization. Is that how you really feel?
Atlassian’s the largest technology corporate in Australia. And the biggest, I Think, employer of individuals in era, in Australia. And we’ve got Australian historical past and we’re in point of fact proud of that. I Feel that should you went to any of our offices round the world, you possibly can really feel adore it has a few Australian roots and Australian heritage, despite the fact that it used to be in many different cultures that we cater against. So I’m pleased with our Australian heritage.
We wish to do as a lot as we can to make stronger the Australian era industry. And I Feel that, because we opened our office in Australia first, we got to tap into an Australian tradition and community. We weren’t competing for talent with any era corporations in the US. And so we most definitely had more of a captive target market for our group of workers in the early days, which meant we had nice tenure, and that helped us construct wonderful products. So I Believe we’ve benefited a lot from Australia. And selfishly, I are living in Australia. i've three youngsters right here in Australia, and that i want to ensure that Australia assists in keeping up with the worldwide technology arms race that we’re all in.
And Australia produces between 1 and 2 percent of the sector’s GDP (gross domestic product). And if we wish to proceed our high quality of life, we want to produce between 1 and 2 % of the sector’s instrument so as for us to keep up with that. And that’s roughly why I’m a little bit of an evangelist for the generation trade in Australia.
But there’s slightly bit of a pressure there, right? the new breed of companies like Atlassian, like Facebook, like Google, you name it, are inherently international corporations. they're conceived of that means, they begin that method. Atlassian started that means. And now we are seeing some of this nationalistic spirit, “Whats Up, our usa has to do well.”
considered one of the reasons i needed to talk to you is, my body is the Usa, that is an excessively difficult position to are living so much days in recent years. The conflict among Facebook and Google and the Australian govt, seemed uneven because those corporations are actually large. But even in only speaking to you for quarter-hour, you’re announcing, “i would like Australia to be successful.” what is the dynamic there? what is the steadiness there? How must I Think about that?
Neatly, I Think it’s interesting for your target market to understand that a lot of the issues which can be going down in Australia are just a little of a test mattress for the way issues would possibly end up in the world. and because they’re a regulatory regime, like we’re a parliamentary democracy, so we don’t actually have a type of 3rd gadget of government, an government department. The legislature does, you realize, each run the rustic and enact their rules. And in order that means a lot of laws can happen quicker and can be enacted so much sooner than they may be able to in different jurisdictions. We’re additionally a relatively small united states. you recognize, 25 million folks is so much smaller than many other countries. And so we will, i assume, move a bit of bit faster.“What you’ve seen in Australia is a little of a take a look at mattress of legislation”
And so what you’ve seen in Australia is slightly of a test mattress of legislation on a complete bunch of different spaces. Whether Or Not that is encryption and privateness, antitrust regarding media with big generation. Skilled migration is a large factor for us. There’s a lot of items that are being examined out here in Australia that I Feel are having world implications.
Permit’s speak about the inside track Media Bargaining Code. that is kind of an inflection point, I Believe, in legislation around the arena, in particular because it relates to Fb and Google. the short model, for individuals listening: The Australian legislature was once going to move a regulation saying Facebook and Google had to pay the media industry in Australia to submit hyperlinks from news. Each the ones corporations have been unhappy about that; they threatened to go away, full forestall. Google made a take care of publishers; Facebook stated, “We’re turning off hyperlinks from the ones publishers.” some time handed, there was a compromise, Fb paid the publishers, and now they’re back in effect.
You’re sitting there as one in every of the co-CEOs of Australia’s greatest tech corporate. How are you observing this fight among the country you’re in and the yankee tech giants?
It’s been attention-grabbing right here in Australia. Atlassian doesn’t have, truly, the rest to achieve or lose on this particular example in an instant. However we are concerned, as a result of we wish to ensure that that we live in a country the place the rules make experience, in a country where we will be able to draw in nice people to come paintings in the generation industry, and where the regulations don’t adversely affect the best way that era gets advanced in Australia. The Ones jobs pass elsewhere and in order that’s the place we come at it from, no longer as a result of we straight away get advantages or are hurt by way of this.
And to additional do what you said, in Australia and probably globally, all of us recognize the desire for a loose press, a unfastened media that is colourful. However globally, media’s traditional method of funding, being promoting, has been eroded. Classifieds, you already know. You don’t cross into the newspaper to shop for a automotive anymore. we've carsales.com.au in Australia, we now have realestate.com.au. So those places have pulled so much of the media bucks.
but also, Google and Facebook are actually reaping benefits, i suppose, in terms of simply advertising bucks, not necessarily from news, however from promoting bucks. And so the federal government has said, “How do we've a vibrant media surroundings that is free and honest, that we all get pleasure from, and the way do we fund that as a country?”
They regarded around and stated, “Neatly, you realize, Google and Facebook are making so much of money. additionally they happen to be the use of news hyperlinks of their merchandise,” and so, in somewhat, I Believe, conflating different problems, they stated, “Smartly, they should be taking advantage of the news and they will need to have to pay a lot for that receive advantages.” Then, what took place is, the Media Bargaining Code mentioned, “Well, Google and Fb are huge. They’re maybe no longer monopolies, but on the subject of it in terms of virtual advertising.” So it would be unfair for anyone news company to take a look at and negotiate with a monopoly, which I Feel is totally honest, right? Like, the mom-and-pop information company with 50 people that produce information isn’t the kind of one that’s going to be able to barter with Google.
at the flip facet, Facebook and Google have stated, in fact, “Information itself is one in all many things on our platform and even though information disappeared, it wouldn’t make a huge difference to the engagement now we have with our platforms,” and so that was where the stalemate ended up.
What took place is, Google discovered that pulling out of the rustic, that's what they might need to do. the way this code is written is, you can’t simply turn off information, you actually must flip off news globally, to every person, that is very tough for Google to do. And for Facebook, it was a little bit bit more uncomplicated, because folks in reality submit news in Fb. Like, Facebook doesn’t scrape the internet in any manner.
And so we were given to peer two other reactions to the federal government, as to how that came about. So on the end of the day, what’s ended up because the compromise, is that, this regulation has gone through, which principally mandates named corporations to have to move and negotiate. Alternatively, no company has been named, yet.
So even if Facebook and Google have done most of these deals, they’ve really performed the ones offers to stop being named through, effectively, the minister for communications. the problem we’ve ended up with is that, at any degree, that minister for communications could threaten to call them and convey them again to the bargaining desk again, and again, and once more. Time will inform how that plays out, but for those who came as much as an election and the federal government wasn’t getting favorable information coverage, may they have the ability to, successfully, direct bucks from two old-college media companies, from era, by threatening and saber-rattling?
And so we’ve type of ended up with an excessively fascinating stalemate at the moment, as a result of this invoice.
Atlassian, mainly, mentioned, “This invoice is not a great concept.” you've got a press release of principles up in your website online approximately how you assume legislation will have to paintings. You’re in Australia, Facebook and Google are giant US companies, they do own, principally, all the digital promoting market. How do you sq. all of this, as you think that approximately, “Smartly, the next era of businesses are inherently global?”
There’s a couple issues. One, as a world corporate based totally in Australia, our Australian popularity issues to our business and we need to convey extra folks right here, so we spend so much of time fascinated by, “How do we have now excellent rules that get made?” And, what we discovered is that politicians, until maybe five years ago, they didn’t in reality take into account what era was or that there’s a vibrant business there. It’s wonderful when you look throughout the newspapers, how many photograph ops there are with politicians in a prime-visibility vest, traveling some factory and, kind of, that’s their view of the place jobs come from.
They’re nonetheless building things, developing things, but those things are device or they’re virtual items, and there’s less chance for picture ops in a high-visibility jacket, however that’s where the jobs are gonna come from.
you must just start getting other people the jacket once they consult with the place of work.
Stroll through the place of work space with a prime-visibility jacket. watch out for that desk within the corner.
However that’s what’s going down, these kinds of jobs have gotten digital. Software is disrupting every business, so our task as a company is to assist train our legislators on this. So we’re seeking to find people that can talk each languages. We’ve got a head of policy, David Masters, who got here from Microsoft, and he can speak each generation and politics. We’ve outlined our concepts, the place, successfully, “How can we have interaction with coverage makers?” and some of these principles are such things as, “Treat the illness, don’t kill the patient. Consult early, consult regularly,” the ones varieties of things, to make sure that that we kind of have the foundations for the way we expect regulations need to be made.
And if i may ask for something, it’s that both era invest the time to understand the political landscape that politicians function in, and politicians spend time to understand the technical panorama that era companies perform within.
I’ll provide you with an instance of the second one. We had a different bill, which was, in Christchurch, we had a terrorist assault, maybe one or years ago, and it was really bad, because one of the terrorists are living-streamed the terrorist assault, while it was once happening, on Facebook. And, terrible: no person should have to ever activate Facebook and spot one thing like that being are living-streamed, but the way in which the regulation was once written supposed that, effectively, you had to save you a live move of a terrorist assault if it was once being filmed by way of the terrorist. after all, if it’s being filmed by way of another person, it was if truth be told fine, consistent with the law. And in the event you’re a person looking to determine, with machine studying algorithms, the best way to do that, it’s in reality tricky. Like, I don’t understand how Facebook might do it, with the exception of banning all are living streams.
This regulation was once successfully conceived and passed inside of per week of this tragedy, and so you’re like, “I agree, we should always do something, however it seems like this regulation was rushed in and that i don’t recognise, in reality, it’s gonna save you anything happening within the long term, because in reality complying with it's close to unattainable.”
that is one of the balances that doesn’t exist within the United States Of America, for instance. Our govt may be very slow and regularly deadlocked. The Australian govt turns out very fast and often perhaps too speedy, but isn’t that higher? Like, isn’t it higher to have a government response and say, “Right Here’s how we predict the tech business will have to paintings.”
I imply, that law, ultimately, was modified. i do know there has been a law approximately encryption that used to be sooner or later changed in Australia. Isn’t that a higher cadence to be on? Speaking from product language, that looks as if an iterative cadence the place you’re looking to find the are compatible, as against doing nothing, endlessly.
I do love the speed at which we can do issues and engage, nevertheless it has to be in engagement with trade and so, while things are rushed thru in a week, there’s clearly not any engagement going down. an even instance is the encryption invoice. there's a business-off, as everyone in era is familiar with, among privateness and safety. in the event you use the telephone in Australia, your telephone line may also be tapped, consistent with a communications act that happened in 1970, that certain telecommunication providers to permit governments to pay attention in on phone calls, if they have a warrant and those types of items.
Now, people using finish-to-finish encrypted gadgets, like if you’re the usage of Sign or WhatsApp, the government can’t concentrate in on those and so the federal government can’t prevent any terrorist assaults that may be coordinated the use of the ones equipment. at the different aspect, customers want encryption and privacy, to make sure that that the federal government can’t listen in on their messages or even so those messages can’t be observed at a later date by means of a third birthday celebration.
There’s a elementary business-off between the ones , and Australia passed, effectively, an anti-encryption invoice that stated, “the federal government can designate any company, and they must put in back doors for the government, in order for the federal government to be able to listen in.” And, there’s things in the bill that says, “Smartly, that are supposed to no longer introduce a systemic weak spot into that exact platform,” but it surely’s now not defined what systemic weak spot approach.
so that’s as much as the eye of the beholder and again, most people may say, “Either it’s encrypted or it’s no longer, there’s no longer a midway element the place it’s half-encrypted or it’s encrypted with a again door or a few keys there.” And so although that bill has had, due to this fact to the bill being passed — so, it’s these days regulation — it’s had parliamentary inquiries to move look at tips on how to fix it up. Politicians, after they’ve kind of fixed the article the primary time, there’s not as a lot energy in politics to head back and revisit something and make it right. There simply really isn’t a lot benefit to politicians to make the ones laws be nice, as against simply get them around the line.
So we’re nonetheless waiting on that regulation to be adjusted and progressed. Even things like having an unbiased judicial review, below strong suggestions, haven’t come thru but. I Believe, we’ve observed within the US, potentially, with FISA warrants and different things in the market, that impartial eyes and unbiased evaluation make an excellent difference to the public’s talent to have faith in those areas. And so even if it used to be passed in 2018, it hasn’t been modified yet.
How does that impact the way you take into consideration construction products, proper? there is a regulatory equipment that may be doing things. they could move regulations. It might be a while earlier than the ones regulations are enacted, or improved or, even enforced. But, Atlassian continues to be development products in Australia. You’re shipping products in Australia. Does that really feel like an volatile dating? Does that really feel like one thing you'll be able to expect? How does that affect what you really make?
Neatly, as a world company, it’s not just Australia’s rules that affect us, it's the laws in each and every usa that we operate in. If we simply set Australia, the u.s., and Europe as 3 distinctive examples: Europe presented GDPR, that's the general Data Coverage Regulation, and that has been around privacy.
but the laws in the US and Australia don’t correspond with GDPR and so we’ve needed to do particular issues just for Europe. And in lots of cases, there are spaces of conflict among the ones jurisdictions. So there used to be a privacy protect which might go among the us and Europe to effectively say that one nation’s regulations will apply in certain how you can the other nation, which permits companies to function and work across each areas.
I Think the privateness defend was just lately struck down by way of the Ultimate Court and so now, as an organization, we actually operate in an unsure environment. That’s the thing that is most likely the toughest overhead on firms, is that the unsure atmosphere across other jurisdictions, where everybody desires to make their rules, and in lots of instances they're conflicting.
In Europe, GDPR might basically say i must do finish-to-end encryption, as a result of i can’t proportion private information, and Australia’s legislation says i have to proportion non-public information with the federal government, underneath positive conditions. It makes it very tough to construct one product, globally.
and prefer all regulation that provides form of a tax on everything, it in reality benefits incumbents and large firms. Atlassian’s attending to that degree now, where we’re greater and we most definitely receive advantages, because it would hurt a few of our upstart challengers to come back have to have all this overhead that we will put it up for sale over a big platform and a large number of merchandise.
I just concern about what that implies for innovation, globally. As an instance, Clubhouse, which has come to the fore within the US, violates GDPR because it leverages your phone address e book to percentage things. It already can’t use Twitter’s network, it may’t use Facebook’s community, as a result of the ones are closed, so it used your yellow pages’s network. But that suggests“Clubhouse could never had been created in Europe.”
Clubhouse could never have been created in Europe. I Believe that’s simply an enchanting state of the world you end up in, the place the laws are so conflicting across different jurisdictions and what, probably locking down which start-ups can exist.
Yeah, it’s funny, i used to be saying that we planned our wedding ceremony in Trello. Clubhouse, I wouldn’t have been so unhappy if they were kept away from my phone book, as a result of they despatched me a notification that our wedding planner used to be speaking about one thing on Clubhouse. i was like, “I haven’t talked to her in a decade.” Like, why would I? And, there’s a push and a pull there, right?
But, that’s a fascinating section as a result of they can only use your phone community, it’s the only factor to be had to them. in the event that they’d used your Fb pals or your Twitter community, they'd have ended up with a much extra top-high quality community and you may have had a greater purchaser experience, but the laws, or even those corporations, prohibited that, and in large part the ones corporations prohibited it as a result of the rules that happened. you already know, Fb, with Cambridge Analytica, used to really share your community with everybody, and those concept that was once an excellent thing, till somebody stole the ones information, used it in a nefarious manner, and now they don’t percentage it with any person.
we're form of seeing the impact that the regulatory setting that everyone operates in, now we’re seeing that in, in reality, how merchandise get constructed.
So this brings me to the query that I ask each govt who comes on the display. the adventure you’ve described is beginning Atlassian, now being the co-CEO of a large corporate, there have been two of you, you were excited to get a fax with a bank card number from American Airways. Now we are right here, talking a few globally fractured internet, and the way to build and send products in that internet. what is your decision-making procedure like? How do you evaluate all of those issues? What has that construction been like for you?
There are two issues that I believe whilst making choices. One is our challenge as an organization, and our project is to unleash the potential of each staff. That components into how we think about issues lengthy-term, the spaces we'd like to build for. And the other area that we take into account is our values as an organization.
now we have 5 specific values that each one among our employees is aware of and lives each day, together with “open company, no bullshit,” that is certainly one of our values to speak approximately transparency and working in combination. Any Other one is, “be the change you are searching for.” we think our staff to take an active position in shaping Atlassian. So, between the undertaking that drives where we’re going and our values that sort of force how we’re gonna get there, that form of factors via every single choice.
Placed that into apply for me. David Masters, your head of coverage, who, via the best way, the audience should understand, he’s on the name on mute, he’s within the historical past right here. David involves you and says, “Rupert Murdoch, and Sundar Pichai, and Mark Zuckerberg are in a combat with the Australian legislature. We Must Always do or say something.” How do you evaluate that and information his process motion as your head of coverage?
Well, if we need to unleash the potential of each crew, one in all the things we'd like to do is have, to begin with, great body of workers, who're going to return and paintings for us at Atlassian. And we want to operate in a world the place we've got regulations that let us to do this. And so, for us, the derivation of that is that policy framework approximately how and where we engage.
And there are positive areas the place we as a company have interaction proactively. you already know, we have these ideas that say, “Proper, we’re going to proactively engage in things.” There’s sure issues we’ll interact in reactively. So we will be able to placed it throughout the lens of “how can we lend a hand the world?” So we’ve engaged proactively on debates similar to similar-sex marriage in Australia.
If Truth Be Told, Australia was once behind the u.s. in legislating that. Atlassian used to be a large proponent of serving to us get there, as a result of we believe the ones types of things actually matter to our staff. We’ve had other areas where, you understand, we don’t proactively have interaction, like we haven’t sat down and regarded on the festival framework for Australia, but when something happens, we spend so much of time instructing folks. And so, that every one fits thru that lens of how we as an organization could make an affect within the world.
Allow me placed a cynical hypothetical determination in front of you. You’re a rich tech executive, you’re in Australia, you might be part of a growing and colourful Australian tech economy, Google says, “if you happen to cross this legislation, we’re leaving.” Did it ever happen to you to assume, “Smartly, I must simply put money into a pair of founders, to construct an Australian Google, to right away exchange that product.” As A Result Of that appeared like an excessively herbal opportunity at that second.
It’s interesting, in truth, that’s virtually what happened, apart from Microsoft stepped into that body. It’s in reality fascinating, Ben Thompson from Stratechery, and i’m positive he stole it from somewhere else previously, talks about technique credit. you realize, there’s spaces where, as a result of your strategy, there’s a method tax, which I Think affects your enterprise. Where your kind of native maxima aren’t reached, because you’re attempting for an international maxima, and the strategy credit. And on this case, Microsoft and Microsoft’s Bing used to be slightly participant, like sub-10 percent marketplace proportion in Australia. I don’t recognize a single person that was using it.
I’m sure it would be an excellent seek engine, simply not moderately as superb as Google. And whilst Microsoft heard that Google was once threatening to go away Australia, they known as our prime minister and mentioned, “we would fortunately live beneath any regulatory framework you need to come up with. you understand, please make it as exhausting as imaginable to make Google leave, in order that we can come in and keep the day, and be the white knight because the handiest seek engine in Australia.”
And you know, that was very effective from Microsoft. I Believe that truly got Google back to the bargaining desk, and from Microsoft’s perspective, they don’t make much cash from Bing, relatively, so they would have been very happy to shut Google down in Australia and take that market percentage. So we've began to see the kind of geopolitics, , multi-3D chess game come out, where other people and companies are now using politics and regulation as competitive weapons.
I’m imagining Brad Smith at Microsoft being like, “Wait, we simply introduced Google again to the desk? Like, “That’s no longer what we desired to do right here.”
Smartly, you spot why Brad Smith is at the seat of the table at Microsoft, and , he’s on the govt team. Our head of policy, Erika Fisher, who runs all of our prison and HR, and compliance and coverage, she sits on the govt staff, as a result of what you’re starting to peer is that public coverage is becoming a strategic industry consideration. And in fact, as Atlassian is the biggest Australian era company, our job is to help the local atmosphere, but it surely is something that is as strategic an asset as your products or your go-to-marketplace nowadays.
Australia, within the global, is in a bodily interesting place, right? you are just about China, you will have these deep cultural connections to the uk, to The Usa. Do you think you perceive that geopolitical struggle that may be brewing between the entire large nations in the international differently than your average American tech corporate CEO?
Neatly, a couple of things on that. One is that there’s in truth a ebook called The Tyranny of Distance that was written about Australia. should you pass way back, Australia was a colonized usa, and they’ve were given to determine what to trade. Unlike India, we didn’t truly have a spice business, the place we have been buying and selling stuff again. We couldn’t promote lumber, that didn’t make any sense, and there has been truly not anything to sell again to the united kingdom, till after we imported sheep.
There’s a announcing that Australia used to be constructed at the sheep’s again, and why is that? It’s wool. Wool was once the primary thing that was light enough, and useful enough, to be the most efficient valuable delivery all the way back to England, so as to pay for the spades and shovels and different things that the Australian economic system needed to maintain rising. And so, our geography has in fact formed the Australian psyche and the Australian economic system over an overly lengthy length of time.
And it’s handiest maybe, I Feel in the last 10 years, we’ve close down the entire native automotive producers in Australia. as it didn’t make sense for us to construct automobiles here after which send them on ships round the arena, to these geographically disparate and faraway places. So what's really enjoyable for us as a country, is now with these virtual goods, we will construct tool — or Cochlear, that's an ear implant company, even if they don’t ship one thing virtually, they send one thing very mild and very simple to do. they may be able to construct and ship something around the world, and that’s how Atlassian came to be, is that, if we had been trying to build bodily items from Australia, we wouldn’t have survived.
in order that’s in fact built into the Australian psyche, from very early on. Now, to get back for your question approximately how we see geopolitics as a result of this: I Believe Australia is unique, as a result of our biggest trading partner is China. Our greatest, I Believe, cultural spouse, can be the U.s.a., and as a company, Atlassian sells to just about each usa within the world.
So we get to see a novel viewpoint of ways that all performs out, and that i could say from our vantage point, or my non-public vantage element, the increasing parochialization of the web — or the splintering it into a Chinese web, a ecu web, a United States Of America web, an Australian web — is not good for the sector. Those economies of scale that we used to get, where effectively 2,000 engineers may build a product that scales to the entire global, now we’re gonna want 20,000 engineers to construct that very same product 10 other instances.
And that’s not a specialized use of resources, and in order that worries me. And you know, if governments lose agree with in one another’s regulatory functions, as a result of they've different approaches to information, safety, privateness, then you definitely’re gonna see those roadblocks emerge.
You mentioned the splintering internet, the phrase that we use at The Verge is “splinternet.” Do you spot that really taking place? Is that a perceived threat, or is it an actual and rising danger?
I Feel it’s a real and rising threat. I don’t suppose we now have noticed it getting applied in companies simply yet. but in addition, via the time it occurs, it will be very tricky to undo, because the reason why it will happen is for the reason that other governments can have entrenched their particular viewpoint. So while the Australian government received this, of their mind, received a struggle over Facebook and Google, and then Europe does in a distinct means, there’s no incentive for them to move back then and harmonize the 2 different strategies. And so then unexpectedly, Google, rather than having so much of workers in one position that can construct stuff globally, are just gonna have to begin building it two alternative ways.
and like, you gained’t understand it to start with. It’ll just be the choice of employees devoted to a rustic, or a selected jurisdiction, goes up. And that’s sort of a lifeless weight loss for society, and doubtless the biggest concern is the way it entrenches the incumbents.
I listen you on the incumbents factor, and that’s some extent neatly taken. Allow me push you at the loss to society element. Over a year ago, pre-pandemic, in a unique lifetime, I had an economist on The Vergecast, his name is Thomas Philippon, and he was once pronouncing, certainly one of the big issues within the American economic system in particular, is that tool corporations make more and extra and more money, but they actually give a contribution much less and less to the true economic system. They rent fewer folks.
So if GM wants to make ONE HUNDRED,000 extra vehicles, they have to rent X quantity extra folks, they must purchase X quantity more car seats, their providers will need to rent extra folks. There’s only a web increase to the financial system, to the productiveness of a company like GM. Google wants to ship every other billion web sites, they must hire three extra folks and a new information heart, and that’s it, and there’s no internet gain to the economy.
Wouldn’t part of the argument here be, “Ok, neatly, if Google has to construct a european Google, and an Australian Google, they could simply rent more folks in Australia. they could bring more senior instrument engineers to Australia, to construct a version of Google that is local, and aware of the desires of the people in Australia.”
I Think each executive desires extra jobs of their jurisdiction. That doesn’t essentially imply that it’s excellent general, as a maximum. I Feel in case you return and say, “Smartly, we used to deliver so much of CDs to tune stores. And you already know, there are so much of jobs in people that might press the CD, pack the CD, positioned them in vehicles, and drive them around. so much of individuals in retail, that were involved in selling CDs. And yet we buy all our song online. Must we return to having folks doing all that, just to create jobs?”
Like, no, in fact, it’s far more handy, and we actually sell far more tune, and we’ve were given extra musicians producing tune, than ever earlier than. And so, it’s kind of what jobs do we wish? I Feel there’s a large discussion to have round how the largesse is split within the world. so that you recognise, taxation policies and redistribution policies, whether or not that is common fundamental source of revenue, whether that is taxation, whether or not it's a social safety net, whether or not it’s unfastened health care.
There’s lots of various tactics wherein governments can redistribute cash from rich to much less wealthy. But I don’t suppose growing jobs for jobs’ sake, the vintage Depression-technology, “Let’s dig a hole and then fill it in, to create jobs,” is the right approach to take into accounts it. We’ve got to think about, what’s the most productive experience we would like? after which, great, how can we redistribute that, or create new jobs on this new economic system?
now we have spent so much of time talking on policy, and to be truthful, I invited you right here to speak approximately policy, but you said public coverage is a strategic merit for an organization like yours. How a lot time do you spend on merchandise versus coverage?
as the CEO, I always wish i may spend extra time on merchandise. That’s my love and my pastime is building stuff for our consumers. Our customers don’t purchase our policy, our consumers don’t buy our packaging or our pricing. Our shoppers buy and use our merchandise, and so that’s the place i want to spend so much of my time. Our senior govt staff, i would say that — permit’s say GDPR for example, it was named internally, one thing just like the Generalized Destruction of Product Roadmaps.
That legislation came into position and every person in product needed to prevent no matter what they had been doing that they'd on their roadmap to provide for purchasers globally, and as a substitute had to pivot. We had hundreds of people development those information protection regimes, and for privacy it’s a really perfect thing. but it wasn’t most sensible of the checklist our consumers were asking for.
And so kind of having an announcement, or at least a voice in those discussions, to make sure that that these rules are implemented within the right method that achieves the policy results, achieves the way in which that politicians — and again, politicians are elected by way of people — so in the long run it’s the will of the folks, what will get performed.
And so how can we do that in a way that actually makes it the most efficient manner for technology firms to do this, and that’s, i suppose, why I spend time on the public policy. I don’t faux to know better than politicians what the sector needs, what citizens want — that’s their activity. But in phrases of translating that into laws that will also be implemented to succeed in the results, I Feel that’s the place we in era will help.
you've gotten a co-CEO, most companies don’t have co-CEOs. What’s the break up among you and Mike?
On an excellent day, he does 80 p.c of the paintings and that i get 80 % of the credit.
That’s the way in which we’d like it to head. However practically, either one of us have done each and every job in the industry, from cleaning the boxes out after we first started Atlassian, to working every department. We kind of mix it up some other 12 months or so. Today, I run the pass-to-market functions and the sort of G&A general and administrative purposes, so prison, HR, and finance. And Mike runs all the product functions. So all of the product management, the layout, the engineering, and so forth. And so that’s how we cut up it up, however we’ve performed everything at various ranges.
Well, the reason I ask, that looks as if the natural cut up, proper? There’s the sort of coverage side of the home, and the product aspect of the house, that is going to the other question I requested you. However is there a time that you simply made a business-off in the product, as a result of a coverage concern?
GDPR is probably a perfect instance of where we've got performed that. As kind of the broadest-achieving legislation. We are now looking at data residency, is a captivating one, and firms and laws are such that knowledge must bodily are living in a knowledge center on that u . s . a .’s land, so as for it to be appropriate to certain laws. And it’s somewhat bit backward-having a look, because , kind of where the bits physically live on disc is a weird technique to think about the cloud, which most of the people don’t take into accounts after they open their browser. They don’t actually suppose in regards to the physical region of the bits.
However from a policy point of view, that’s the best way the arena has ended up. Then Again, such things as privacy shields, in Australia there’s the Cloud Act between the u.s. and Australia that permits certain issues to occur below those information residency regimes. And once more, the power and what we'd like to installed data centers, what information must are living in numerous places. There’s such things as id, which kind of need to live far and wide, as a result of , you don’t check in to log into Australia, you assert, “i need to log in,” after which we redirect you to Australia. So all those sorts of laws about how knowledge is secure in each and every united states, and the way it can also be shared between international locations, in reality have an effect on concrete product selections and the efforts that we installed.
Jira is used all over, it’s utilized by the largest companies in the global. My understanding of giant corporations as customers and clients, is that they're themselves very not easy, especially once they are themselves international. How do you steadiness, “Okay, the Fortune 50 all makes use of Jira, the ones are large contracts, right here’s what they want from us, we'd need to tell them no, as a result of the GDPR.”
As an organization, we serve from 10-particular person teams to ONE HUNDRED,000-individual teams, and so you’re right. Like, we run the full gamut of that. on the most sensible finish, it’s not a question of claiming, “No, i will’t serve you, because of these laws.”
It’s an issue of how do we in reality agree to these rules. There’s a company in Australia which can be looking to use our cloud product, and because of the regulation, they’re saying, “Smartly, we ourselves perform in 13 different international locations, and sooner than we will sign off in your cloud product, we'd like to get sign-off from our regulatory authorities in THIRTEEN different international locations to do that.” And once more, I believe the rules governing this are beautiful equivalent across the board, however the undeniable fact that they’re other in 13, although they’re 1 percent other, method they wish to get signal-off in all those different locations.
Again, I Feel as a era business, lets do a better activity of serving to these governments harmonize their regulations, or interpret them and say, “Well, all cloud corporations interpret the Australian law this manner, so how are we able to standardize on that,” and for you to make it more straightforward for people to devour that. it could make it more uncomplicated for governments to type of harmonize their regulations.
So, there’s indubitably issues we will do on our aspect. But I Feel there’s also things governments can do, to take the same legislation someone else does, or say, “I’ll do it your method.” if truth be told, it’s interesting, we've got a neighbor known as New Zealand, and you understand, I don’t realize, it’s like in the US, in New Zealand, anything else that’s nice, that’s from New Zealand, we claim it as Australian. Maybe the whole thing just right that comes out of Canada will get claimed as American.
But we do this for all of recent Zealand. one in all the things they’ve performed is, a lot in their laws — as a result of they’re a far smaller usa, a pair million people — many in their rules just say, “We do what Australia does.” So, for instance, drug trying out, more or less the similar of the FDA in the US, New Zealand doesn’t have one, they truly simply say, “We’ll do what Australia does.” I Feel the arena would be so much more practical if lets do this extra continuously and harmonize rules throughout different jurisdictions.
So I obviously have a very US-centric view. I grew up here, I passed the bar exam here. So my entire world view is from the United States. You’re describing one thing that the U.s. could never do, right? Like, the America would just never be like, “We’re just gonna do what Australia does.” Like, it's inconceivable. Beyond New Zealand, do you see that taking place in other places?
, there’s a lot of items we do harmonize on. We’ve were given the Paris Accord for local weather amendment, and you should argue whether it’s best or now not. However we got TWO HUNDRED international locations round the arena to return in combination all effectively to have a standardized size system and standardized goals. And we can have a complete different discussion approximately how Australia is doing that, and that i think we’ve bent the rules reasonably in phrases of ways we’ve interpreted them.
However I Feel if we will do that on climate change, , in reality difficult things, then there are different areas where we can prepare international our bodies to determine what's the union of all of the other laws and issues people are taking into account. Data privacy is an excellent instance. i might settle for one knowledge privateness act across all of the U.s., not to mention internationally.
since you’ve got one in Europe, you don’t have one US-huge, and California is seeking to do one. after which, in fact, there’ll be different states that’ll practice in California’s footsteps. And so if we can harmonize those issues, the Cloud Act among Australia and the us is an excellent one, Privateness Defend between the us and EU the place we try to harmonize rules. I’m optimistic that there are big things we will be able to do there.
As an Australian CEO, you’re obviously elevating your kids in Australia; it’s exceptional that you recognize in regards to the regulation amendment in California at a state by means of state level. How distracting is the United States Of America to you as an Australian CEO operating a world corporate?
There’s a pair of sides on that. One is workers. And That I will say that, not just legislation, but it’s been an excessively tumultuous time within the US over the ultimate 12 months and now we have approximately half of our group of workers globally there. And a lot of them have needed to undergo an epidemic, very tricky racial tensions that experience happened. a very tumultuous election has took place. And so I’m simply really feeling for everybody within the US at the second, in phrases of like, what they’ve needed to undergo over the closing twelve months.
And as CEO, I’m accountable and try to do our greatest to assist that. and then, you recognize, the United States, past that, has a big influence on the arena, and an excessively large purchaser base of ours. just below half our customers are within the US. And so I’m very conscious of what occurs at a politics stage, and at a regulatory and a contest degree over there.
When you assert “aware,” do you get a briefing book in Trello every morning that claims, “Right Here’s what the U.s. executive did in a single day?”
it is humorous. Whilst I were given my first investment from Accel, so this was once type of 2009, 2010, i would fly over there and that i’d move into the places of work. And That I understand that sooner or later, I Feel that is very early on, there has been a revolving door of CEOs at Twitter. i will’t needless to say who used to be in or who was once out proper then.
And I was once in a meeting and that i simply introduced that up. and they have been form of amazed, like, “How did you locate that out in Australia?” And I was once like, “What do you imply?” He’s like, “Well, how do you... How do you recognize?” i used to be like, “Smartly, I learn the same news articles you learn.” Laughs
It’s no longer such as you’re in the Twitter board room and understood it firsthand. Like, you came upon approximately it from the same communication channels. And so I don’t suppose there's a problem this present day, being the professional on any local area, as a result of all that data is on the market online. And so we will be simply as informed approximately what’s taking place in the US from Australia. And the similar factor, I Believe I’d suggest people in the US to be up to date with what’s going down in Australia, given the way it’s form of a check bed for legislation that can come down the road. And I Think we’ve already observed this. Just these days we saw, I Believe it was once Congress, principally discuss a bill where they'd allow media companies to collectively cut price against large generation.
And in some ways that could be a greater resolution than what we've in Australia, as a result of then if all of the media firms collectively discount and say, “Well, our information is value X.” And Google says, “No, it’s now not,” and they close them off. Smartly, then that sounds find it irresistible’s in truth pretty honest as a result of they’ve similarly bargained on either side. However I Believe that may now not have come to the ground if it wasn’t for Australia’s regulation paving the best way. So I Believe folks, globally, have to be kind of looking to Australia and different nations which are enacting regulation as truly a stepping stone to what may happen in the neighborhood.
Yeah, it’s attention-grabbing, all of the antitrust motion within the U.s.a. started with that media collective bargaining activity, which has grown from that to something much larger. Also, i've to go with you, you mentioned these days but it surely is tomorrow for you. So neatly performed. i would’ve no longer gotten that time zone proper.
i want to end by way of asking about one thing that is much harder to look, proper? i will be able to pass read Australian information protection, you'll come read American news protection. It is very laborious for us to look what's taking place in China. You said China is Australia’s greatest trading partner, I’m assuming Atlassian does trade in China?
We do a small quantity of industrial in China. it's, yeah, a