What’s the story and idea behind Beem?
When I was six months old my parents moved from Switzerland to Australia, and bought a piece of land near Byron Bay in a communal project. We didn’t have a telephone, and it gave me this intrinsic value for communication – when I started using more digital communication, I realised that it was much less effective. Eighteen years ago we invented Skype and are still using the same format, but I wanted to look for the next credible evolution in communication, which is how Beem started.
What the unique leadership challenges that you’ve experienced as a founder in a completely new area?
Creating a technology that doesn’t exist yet means that you are trying to understand when the market will be mature enough for the value of your product to be understood. It’s an interesting challenge to motivate a team to create this product, and to keep the faith that the world will see and appreciate what we are doing.
In the world of competitive and disruptive start-ups like Beem, how do you compete for top talent and ensure you are able to hire the most innovative people?
We are a very tight knit team of twenty people and are all sold into the vision – we all want to see Beem succeed. That is what’s important when we talk to new hires that they understand and are excited by the potential of the technology.
What have been the most effective personal methodologies you have used to grow and develop as a leader?
It’s been really valuable, especially as a sole founder, to have an amazing network through my investors. They are from a range of different industries: from ex-CEOs of global companies, COOs of certain banks, and even celebrities. They all have amazing experiences that allow me to lean on them for advice, and for them to fact check me and keep me in check. It allows me to keep bettering myself, to understand my own deficits and work on them.
What does great leadership look like to you?
There’s not many great leaders out there – if you think you’re a great leader, you’ve got more to learn because leadership is a fluid thing. Leadership is knowing that you always have space to improve – the key is identifying your weaknesses, keep bettering yourself, and listening to your team.
How significant has the buzz around the metaverse been in helping augmented reality become more mainstream?
It’s great for the industry, because it’s creating a shift in public knowledge around what technology is out there to improve the way that we interact, but this metaverse hype cycle has been heavily pushed by technology companies that are very invested in the space.
The narrative of the metaverse has been focused on virtual reality, on virtual worlds like Sandbox where people can buy little plots of land and build things on them, but the metaverse is a new paradigm for the way that we interact with technology and data. It’s a big ecosystem that incorporates augmented reality, virtual reality, cryptocurrency – it’s this entire universe.
Psychologically however, the most exciting world will always be our world, the physical world that we’ve grown up on because it’s the most high fidelity one – augmented reality will allow us to unlock our own planet in different ways by replicating and enhancing the way we have done things for thousands of years.
Anyone who says the virtual reality/gaming world is the most exciting part of the metaverse either has a vested interest in ensuring the commercialization of the space, or doesn’t fully understand where we are going with this technology. Over the course of the next 1-3 years we will see public knowledge of the metaverse shift into a more rounded understanding of where we are going with technology.
What’s the best book, podcast or movie you would recommend that you have taken long lasting learns from?
The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle.