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Myriad is a conference that connects the dots, bringing the best minds to the biggest brands in a way that is fresh and engaging. We spoke to CEO Martin Talvari about what he hopes to accomplish, and how he sees the entrepreneurial space in Australia.
Hi Martin, for those in our audience who may not be across what Myriad is about, can you break down exactly what you are creating?
Myriad is as much an inclusive cultural experiment as it is an inspiring technological showcase. The event features founders, investors, thought leaders and senior executives from some of the most influential brands on the plant. The Myriad program is designed to engage curious minds in a variety of unique formats, including:
- Keynote presentations;
- Fireside conversations;
- Panel discussions;
- Intimate workshops;
- Networking opportunities;
- Live performances and, of course, the side parties with world’s best DJs!
We want attendees to leave educated, inspired and connected with new friendships.
In your experience, what are the key elements of a technology conference to ensure it is truly valuable to its audience, rather than preaching to the converted?
Great question. The first and foremost important part of the Myriad structure is that we include lots of students and allow them to grow with us. Our main focus is creating an experience-forward environment and our measurement for success is all about how many genuine connections are made. We want attendees to feel that their opinions and contribution to the event count and that their voices will be heard. I think it is valuable for everyone to recognise that they are part of this event and there is a large amount of opportunity for anyone who puts their hand up.
Myriad is focused on creating a massive shared experience that will help break down boundaries not only between attendees and even the national and international borders, but between tech and other sectors, leading to higher social and economic advancement.
Could you tell us more about why you are flying to Australia, from Silicon Valley, leading entrepreneurs and investors for Myriad?
I believe Australia has a vast amount of entrepreneurial talent, world-class research and design. Myriad is focused on helping to connect the dots and by doing this we are helping to “build a bridge” between Silicon Valley by flying them over to Brisbane, Australia. I want to help put Australia on the world stage and allow outsiders to view the entrepreneurial talent we have here.
We hear the word innovation used so often that for some, it has lost its gravitas. What are you looking for in a technology company or tech entrepreneur that is truly breaking new ground?
A person with integrity, intelligence and energy. Someone who is dedicated to the task they have in front of them and knows their strengths and weaknesses; someone able to confidently reach out for help and who values the people around them as an opportunity for growth instead of competition.
How do you select those who are going to be involved with leading the narrative at Myriad?
I have learned how to highlight the startup and tech scenes around the world. What they do must be relevant. One doesn’t have to be great onstage necessarily, some of the most brilliant minds are often reserved. We are constantly learning about local and international people who are inspiring investment, innovation and impact around the world using technology. These speakers are divided into different tracks ranging from:
- Future of food;
- Future of health;
- Future of cities;
- Future of culture;
- Future of work;
- Future of play;
- Future of money.
Is there a keynote topic that you have always wanted someone to address, but that never seems to be fully unpacked?
Mycotoxins in food, a serious issue that we don’t talk about nearly enough. Food and health (or longevity in general) is a topic that I introduced this year, a topic that I am extremely passionate about. We are currently at a crossroad, where society is at a time of deep uncertainty at every link in the global food chain. I believe Australia is on the cusp of change towards a more healthy future and we can tap into that.
You have travelled to 80 countries over the past four years, in some of the most disruptive technology environments all over the world. What is it that excites you about Australia’s entrepreneurial scene?
I believe there is a lot of talent down under which hasn’t been tapped into yet. Australians have been fortunate to see the world develop around them and learn from others’ falls and rises. It is set in one of the most beautiful places on Earth, with locals blessed to walk out onto the beach and experience a fast paced city lifestyle too. I believe the country is deeply invested in research, sits on a ton of resources and has an early adopter mindset that you won’t see anywhere else.
Your background is not purely technology focused; you also have a nuanced understanding of the arts and creative space. How has that influenced the way you view technology in our everyday lives?
I grew up in a small town of 5,000 people and just one school, focusing on arts and play. I knew I wanted to be in Civil Engineering since I was 8 years old, because of my passion in building tree houses. Later I specialised in the mathematics of structures. I believe my background in arts and science brings a unique twist to the Myriad events – I believe innovation happens at the intersections. Also, the events are so much more than a networking opportunity, it’s about an experience. We want attendees to leave with so much more than business cards and potential investments…we want to open their minds to new opportunities and insights.
What are three things you believe every attendee will get out of their time spent at Myriad?
Education – education is key at Myriad. We have plenty of workshops, hackathons and mentoring happening throughout the event. Our event foundation is also dependent on students’ involvement.
Experience – this event is like no other, the fact that the event starts high up in the sky in a private 747 Qantas charter says enough 😉
Engagement – we are flying over a plane full of entrepreneurs, leading thought leaders and international investors to Brisbane to help the Australian startup ecosystem. We want to help provide these invaluable networking opportunities for each attendant at the event. The amount of networking opportunities you can achieve in two days is equivalent to a year’s worth of contacts.
And finally, what is your best advice for anyone else looking to create a venture that has the bar set so high?
Stay focused, don’t get distracted in comparing yourself with others, trust yourself. The beauty of an individual’s project is that it is unique from others. I believe it is great to see people becoming confident in starting new projects in Australia. It shows that we are confident down under and it’s our time to show the world what we’re made of!