In this episode of the Arete Executive Podcast, I talk to John Grant. John is the Executive Chairman at FirstWave Cloud Limited. FirstWave Cloud Limited is an Australian headquartered global cloud security technology company, providing unique telco orchestration platforms. The company develops and sells locally produced technology to a global SME market via an international network of partners.
He has also held positions including Inaugural Chair of the Australian Rugby League Commission and Managing Director and CEO of ASX-listed technology company, Data#3 Limited.
He is currently a Non-Executive Director of Uniquest Pty Ltd, the commercialisation company of the University of Queensland, and Stadiums Queensland, the owner and operator of the Queensland Government's $1.8 billion investment in elite and community stadium and entertainment assets.
Listen to him as he tells his journey of how he transitioned from civil engineer to MD and CEO. He also shares his working experience with companies like IBM, ASX, Data#3 etc., how he revived a company that has gone through three crises, what new product his company FirstWave Cloud is planning to release and much more.
Uniquest is the leading commercialisation entity within Australia in terms of the tertiary University IP area, and it's one of the top 10 in the world.
COVID has been the greatest inducer of technological change.
He was born in Brisbane and has done civil engineering from the University of Queensland, under a scholarship.
After graduating, he joined the Business City Council and stayed there for nine years.
After leaving The Business City Council, he worked for IBM and Power Pocket Associates.
The launch of PC IBM IN 1994 validated the PC transition.
His company converted typewriter research and office equipment reselling business to PC distributorship and became the first IBM PC dealership.
In 1994, he became a partner of Data#3 Limited.
In 1997, John became the CEO and Managing Director of an ASX-listed technology company.
Data#3 is a $1.6 billion company now and has no debt.
His company's joint venture went through three crises, so he led the business towards customer centricity.
Customer centricity as a culture was in place in the business from when it was formed and is still a legacy in terms of wider enterprise.
"You have to always tell the truth but the market needs to hear it in the best possible way."
During his career in Data#3, he was involved in the IT industry and participated in advisory groups for the Australian government.
John was also a professional cricket player. In 1972 he toured with the Australian Cricket team to the UK and France.
FirstWave Cloud developed an intellectual property platform, which takes cyber security services from vendors and converts them to all sorts of software.
43% of today's cyberattacks are occurring on SMBs.
FirstWave is going to develop a product that will have an opt-out model rather than opt-in.
What SMBs are really good at doing is not wasting money.