Current Industry: IT Software Development
Current Occupation: Senior Software Developer
What's your academic background?
Please share with us a short synopsis of your career history and industry experience, including where you got your start.
I first started coding when my Dad brought me an Amstrad computer in the 80s when I was around 13. I dabbled in code and building computers most of my teenage life. After high school, I worked as an IT support engineer while studying my undergraduate degree. I always wanted to become a software developer, so I went back to finish my Masters before heading to London. In London, I worked for KPMG developing tax applications and lived there for 8 years. I decided to come back to Australia for a change of lifestyle and worked for a number of organisations. In my spare time I started working on groupPOP and it wasn't long before I decided to take some time off from working to dedicate myself to the project. After groupPop was released, I have gone onto contracting as a senior software developer at various corporations around Melbourne.
Tell us how you first got involved with GLOBE.
I first got involved with GLOBE by attending Fruits in Suits in 2002. I thought it was a great way to meet other professional gay men. I moved to London and upon my return to Melbourne, I wanted to reconnect again with the professional gay community. I love this group and decided to become a member of GLOBE recently.
What accomplishment are you most proud of in your career so far?
My ability to pick up any programming language and make something from nothing! I feel I have a natural ability in understanding the way digital technology works.
How did the idea for groupPOP come about?
When I travelled to Turtle Cove, a gay resort in QLD, I wanted to meet other like minded people in my area. I was keen to go scuba diving as I had never done it before and was interested to see if anyone in the area might want to go. I couldn’t find any apps which allowed me to find other people in the area which were not hook-up type apps. Thus, groupPOP was born.
groupPOP already has a number of specialty groups including GLOBE Blended Fruits and various nudist groups all aimed for like-minded communities and heavily focused on the LGBTI community.
You can download the app and try it from the App Store or the Google Play Store. Links are below:
What are some of the biggest obstacles you’ve had to tackle to achieve your success?
The biggest obstacle I faced was self-doubt. I had very limited experience in developing apps let alone a social media platform. I took this project on alone and quickly realised the development requirements of this project meant groupPOP was going to be a massive undertaking. I was able to overcome this with hard work and determination to ultimately achieve success.
Are there any specific challenges involved in being an LGBTI entrepreneur in the tech industry?
Software development has traditionally been a straight male dominated profession, however my experiences within this industry have been predominantly positive. I have always made sure my employers were aware that I am an openly gay man and I don’t feel it has ever impeded my ability to succeed in my profession.
There have been times where some colleagues might not have felt entirely comfortable with my sexuality, however they have approached me about it and their opinions have never prevented my talent to get the job done. Overall I think today sexuality does not impede someone's ability to succeed within the technology space.
What advice would you have given yourself when you were first starting out on your career path?
The advice I would give myself is to not to listen to people who say it can't be done. Take criticism on board but surround yourself with positive people who believe in your passion. I would also say this: don't be afraid to fail. Failure is a good thing as long as you learn from your mistakes and move forward.
What has surprised you the most about being a member of GLOBE?
I am pleasantly surprised with the other events you hold. Of course I enjoy Blended Fruits, but recently found so many more events through your newsletter communication. I’m excited to now fill my diary with even more social events and have the chance to meet other like-minded people.
Is there anything you'd like to share with GLOBE members?
I would like to encourage everyone to download groupPOP and support my app ;)