The other kind of Australia

by ericknight

We tend to think of Australia as a country whose most valuable resources lie underground. I think that values what we have above ground too lightly. In The Monthly, out now, I make the case through one of Australia’s most compelling entrepreneurs. Shi Zhengrong is not a household name – but he should be. What he has produced is a template for a different kind of Australia – one that weaves its way in the global economy by the thread of its best minds and budding businessmen. Buy a copy or subscribe here to read my essay.

The Economist released a special issue on Australia last week which made a related point. I have written a piece in The Age┬átoday – click here – which begins to draw the connections. This is a question ripe for now . We are a country whose economy is booming and whose chief customer, China, is ascendant. It won’ always be, so what are we doing to invest the surplus wisely? Canberra is not giving a lot away in that respect but in my piece in The Age I begin to explore some ideas.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Michael June 8, 2011 at 7:13 am

Hi Eric,

Enjoyed reading your article in The Age, I think it’s spot on and touches on several important issues regarding innovation and startups in Australia. There’s a handful of exciting tech/web startups here in Melbourne such as rome2rio, adioso,, and travellerspoint (see These startups don’t get nearly as much attention in the media as they should, and the startup eco-system that exists in places such as San Francisco is almost non-existent here in Australia. Still, there’s a lot of exciting, world-class innovation going on here – it’s great to see and hopefully there will be more in the future. Recent successes such as 99designs and spreets are encouraging.



ericknight June 9, 2011 at 5:33 am

This is super interesting Michael. I’m guessing you’re at rome2rio? Is there a startup community down there where oyu all know each other? I’d be keen to know a bit more about it…


Michael Cameron June 9, 2011 at 11:05 am

Yes I’m co-founder of rome2rio. There’s a small but thriving startup community here in Melbourne, happy to tell you more drop me a line at mcam at


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