Why three weddings and no funerals is good news

Three bouquet

Redchip’s annual EOFY function last week gave me a moment to reflect on the year we’ve had and the commercial landscape for the coming 12 months. In personal news, I was stoked to remind our team we’d had three weddings, one baby and no funerals at the firm in FY2015 – good news!

The weddings and funerals theme seemed a useful metaphor for the commercial market as a whole as we head into FY2016. Bear with me on this one…

We know predictability is all that business leaders really want in decision-making, and that can only come about when the political and economic environment is relatively stable.

Whilst our economy and our newly minted Federal Government are still challenged by the need for reform, and a tough trading environment, many of us can feel the breath of stability blowing over the horizon.

Elections and seismic political shifts are (hopefully!) behind us. Many of the economic pointers are looking positive. And business leaders, including Redchip’s leadership team, are looking towards investment in innovation to generate ongoing sustainable advantages. I predict some commercial nuptials to celebrate in the near future.

There is more money rolling around in the early stage investment and VC space now than at any time in my 20-plus years as a technology lawyer. The recent launch by Signal Ventures of a $10 million early stage tech start up fund is just one example of the opportunities investors are seeing in the market.

When you combine this with a digitally-driven PM who understands the tech venture environment and has a good feel for what the country and our economy needs, I believe we have a strong recipe for solid commercial activity. And it’s commercial activity which drives law firms, accountants, property developers, business advisers and a plethora of other businesses.

I am particularly eager to see business confidence translated into investment in technology, and into innovating around industry best practice. Interestingly, CEOs surveyed for PwC’s 19th Annual Global CEO Survey, released in January, are identifying and responding to technological disruption.  Without exception, all 49 Australian CEOs who participated indicated they will make changes in how they use technology.

PwC’s CEO, Luke Sayers, has been quoted as saying: “You can’t cut your way to growth, so companies that want to prosper over the longer term should be looking at where they can make judicious investments, particularly in innovation, technology and entering Asian markets.”

I agree with Luke. There is no spot price on technology, like there is on coal or gas. There’s no point at which the technology sector grinds to its knees because it’s uneconomical to remove an asset from the ground. An innovation-driven economy simply doesn’t have these issues. It’s an economy that can be driven by business, and all the government needs to do is create a positive investment environment, remove obstacles and get out of the way – just allow businesses to interact and transact.

As Redchip enters its 20th year, I spoke to my team last Friday night about what this climate means for our business and for them. While it’s taken 20 years to get to where we are today, I see our business changing and evolving much faster. It’s taken time to build a foundation from which to grow, but we are now in an enviable position which we can capitalise on by investing in business process, technology and – most importantly! – our people. We want our team doing ever more interesting work for clients by removing as much of the mundane administration as possible. That’s the opportunity I see for both Redchip and many of our clients in the coming year – interaction and transaction.

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