International Students in Sydney: The Economic Driver it is.

It isn’t until I started working in Boston University’s Sydney study abroad program that I realized education is Australia’s biggest service export. Like most people, I never thought of education as being such a big player in a country’s economy. Education services accounts for $16.3 billion in exports for Australia.

I live in Chippendale right across from UTS, so I see the impact of internationals on the streets every day. The UTS- USYD area depends on these students for growth, which allows big residential complexes to be put up. I got word that the Central Park project is funded by Singaporean investors. Two building away from my apartment is a residence hall designed specifically for Chinese students and their living habits (individual apartments).


We all know how Asians have begun gentrifying this sector of Sydney, which is why it’s so fascinating to think what Broadway will look like in 15-20 years. I imagine it to have a look and feel similar to Singapore, if it doesn’t already.

Another stat I found interesting was the proportion of Chinese and Indian students who are contributing to Australia’s economy.  $4.1 billion (25.1%) is related to China, $2 billion (12.3%) to India, and $.9 billion (12.3%) to Korea.

One point to note though is that 2010-2011 was the first year education exports decreased from $18.6 billion to $16.3 billion. My guess is that this is due to the global recession. It will be interesting to see where the numbers stand for 2011-2012.


Documents needed for a 457 Visa (August 2012)

I’ve recently had to go through the 457 visa process for Australia, which was a bit of a pain when it came to documentation. I thought it would be useful to let people know what docs I needed to complete my application and get approved.


Note: This is what I had to submit. You may be asked to provide additional documents.

– Submit your 457 Visa online:

– You need to find a job code that correlates with your role:

Things you need to submit after the online application:

  • Proof of Health Insurance in Australia (Can be an international health insurance plan). I’m from the U.S. and got my health insurance through
  • Official College Transcript from your University.
  • Resume or CV.
  • Certified Passport Copy.
  • Letter of Offer from your employer which includes your role and such.
  • Competitive Salary Proof – This consists of screenshots of various job posting sites and their rates for the same position. This is to prove that you are being paid a competitive salary with the market.
  • Copy of employment references.

Your company needs to submit:

1196N: This is a request to sponsor you from the company.

  • Hiring rationale – A doc that explains, from the company, their reasons for hiring you over an Australian.
  • Organizational Structure- A doc/image that shows where you stand within a the organization’s structure.
  • Letter of Offer with both the employer and employee’s signature.

Co-Founder Speed Date Review

Yesterday I had the opportunity to attend Co-Founder Speed Date here in Sydney.

Overall, it was a very quality experience. Of about 15 developers, there were a couple standouts that I felt who who were compatible guys that would be fun to build something with. It definitely sparked the startup entrepreneur in me, which is my real passion I’d say as a professional. During the session, I realized something interesting. Every job I’ve taken, It’s been because I have wanted to gain knowledge or learn from others on how to co-found my own company.

Things move fast sometimes. Update on everything.

Since my last post, I have:

– Taken a full time job
– Am considering sponsorship to stay in Australia
– 1st potential technical co-founder and I broke up (*emotional tears*)

Basically, a 360 from where what my goals were a few weeks ago.

Tomorrow morning I start working at Zambrero, the 3rd fastest growing franchise in Australia. Zambrero makes awesome burritos, sort of like the Chipotle of Australia.

When I told my tech partner last week about the job, he was a bit nervous, but thought we could still execute the project. Within a few days I got a message from him stating he thought this job would occupy me too much, as well as his need to make more money and put extra hours into his job. And just like that, I’m back at square one. Bummer. He was a decent guy, but I think it was the right move for both of us.

So here I am again, with everything planned out to the T for an alpha and on the search again for a driven technical co-founder. I plan on still contributing time to the project in the evenings and weekends, and since the alpha isn’t a ton of work, a hacker could probably bust something out in a weekend.

So what caused me to take the job at Zambrero? I’ve been lucky enough to work at some awesome startups with great execution, as well as abysmal early stage companies with no chance in hell of going anywhere. Zambrero, from what I’ve seen, seems to be the former.

I read an insightful book awhile ago called Tribal Leadership. It discusses natural groups and how to build a thriving organization:

The image above shows the different tiers that organizations can be put in. 1 is the worst, 5 is best. Zambrero is a 4, and maybe even a 5, which is one of the reasons why I think this is an opportunity that cannot be passed up. It just seems like a really fun place to work. When an unpaid intern says, “I don’t know if I’m ready to leave, I want to keep living in Sydney and working here a bit longer”, you know that the company has got to be doing something right.

Startup Update: Looking for Slick Front End Developer

So it’s been a week and I’m now on the hunt for a front end developer. I’m now “dating” a technical co-founder, which chemistry wise has been going great. We both understand the vision of our startup and now just need to execute steps toward an alpha.

After discussions, we’re possibly looking for a front end developer (which we would pay) for an easy project with us, but with the hopes of possibly finding a keeper in terms of joining our team.

With my self-taught design skills, I’ve mocked up one page that we’re looking to get sliced and CSSed. My technical co-founder is focused on the back end, so we’re looking for someone will killer CSS skills who can also polish off cross browser compatibility and such.

It’s Official. I’m looking for a Tech Co-Founder in Sydney.

Title says it all. I’m considering doing a video log of how my search goes in Sydney’s tech/startup ecosystem. Let me know if you have any thoughts or opinions.

If you’re a developer, I welcome your email or phone call. I’d love to buy you a coffee or have your baby if that’s what it takes to get to know some great coders.

In a sentence, there’s a huge opportunity to create the 1st brand in high quality social experiences through an exclusive platform. Confused? I’d love to explain in person.