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A day of insights and inspiration from the world's most innovative minds.


The Stage

We've collated some of the most innovative minds in tech, science, innovation, entrepreneurship flying from all corners of the Globe to the #aah18 stage. 


Design And The Self - Why We Need Good Design

Irene Au is Design Partner at Khosla Ventures in San Francisco, she's also built and led the entire User Experience and Design teams at Google, Yahoo!, and Udacity. 

She's coming to Melbourne to talk about how design, as the tangible manifestation of intention, has the power to shape how we think and feel.

Conversely, how we create and what we design are the culmination of who we are as individuals coming together to make something for others.
In this talk, Irene will explore how our inner state manifests in what we create, and why the best thing we can do to become better makers may be to work on ourselves.


Becoming Great Founders : The Path Less Travelled

Ivan is the co-founder and CEO of Brosa, a next-generation furniture retailer. Brosa raised over $7 million and is part of the AirTree Ventures, Bailador and Melbourne Accelerator Program portfolios.

His talk focuses on: What does it take to go from founder with an idea to a leader disrupting the status quo? Take a journey through the lessons learnt scaling a fast growing startup.
This will be a rallying cry for all founders to get serious about becoming the leaders that this wave of innovation deserves.


Prototyping The Future Of Democracy

Shu Yang Lin is co-founder and re:architect of

In this talk, she will share the story how g0v, Taiwan’s civic tech community, works toward forking, merging, hacking and opening the government. Taiwan, and open consultation process for regulatory reform, will be covered, as well as how this consultation process facilitates deliberation on national and transnational issues such as regulating Uber. 


What I Learned From Decades of Operating in Silicon Valley

Gary Swart is a partner at Polaris Ventures, veteran Silicon Valley executive and venture capital investor.

Scaling a business through different stages is difficult and requires various skills and strategies throughout the journey.

Gary will share valuable lessons learned about scaling a business from his 3 decades as an operator and most recently building oDesk from inception to a globally recognised brand.


anil sabharwal

Lessons Learned: Building Tech Companies While Building A Happy Life

Daniel was the first Australian to become a senior VP at Microsoft. 20 years later Anil is one of the top VPs at Google (and only Australian VP).

Both have had interesting careers and lives and have learned a lot about how to build sustainable companies, manage high functioning teams and try to (at the same time) be a good and decent person.

In their session they will cover the good, bad and ugly from their respective careers and offer some insights into what young (and old) founders should think about as they embark on their founder journey.



mina radhakrishnan

The Hard Thing About Easy Things

Mina is the co-founder of :Different, rebuilding property management. Mina was also the global Head of Product at Uber, having started as employee #20.

When we think about great products, we often focus on how it looks, but the thing we really tend to remember as users is how that product made us feel. Did it make that part of our life easier, happier or better?

That's the hallmark of great products - we don't think about the app or the technology. Rather, we remember the experience. But crafting great experiences that people remember is easier said than done.


michael biercuk

Starting Up The Quantum Future

Michael J. Biercuk is Professor of Quantum Physics and Quantum Technology at the University of Sydney, and Founder of Q-CTRL, a quantum technology company. 

Quantum Technology, harnessing quantum physics as a resource, will be as transformational in the 21st century as harnessing electricity was in the 19th. Whether you know it or not, almost every piece of technology you encounter daily – your mobile phone, laptop, GPS system, WiFi network – works because of our understanding of quantum physics. But today’s technologies represent only the most rudimentary control of the quantum world.

In this talk Michael will discuss the nature of the emerging quantum economy and the opportunities and challenges it presents to both incumbents and the local startup scene.



Sacha runs the Hoku Group, a family office combining private investments, early-stage tech ventures and a non-profit foundation. She is the co-host of Refactor and Flounders’ Club (a network for early-stage company founders). 

In this talk Sacha shares what crowdsourced Norwegian subtitles, distributed radio requests, and fair trade chocolate frogs can teach us about building high-performing teams and excellent and ethical software. She may or may not talk about Harry Styles...


Taking it personally — The Powers, Perils and Potential of the Genomic Revolution

A panel discussion about the scientific, societal and ethical impact of life-changing breakthroughs in genomics both on a personal level and for the wider community.

Panel experts:

Kunal Kalro is the founder and CEO of Eugene, a genetics and health startup empowering people with expert, convenient and compassionate healthcare.

Zoe Milgrom is the founder and Director of Clinical Operations at Eugene.

Megan Donnell is the founder of the Sanfilippo Children's Foundation.

Elizabeth Finkel is a former biochemist who now tells the stories of other scientists, as a writer and editor. Since June 2013 she has been Editor in Chief of Cosmos Magazine



prof genevieve bell

Being Human In The Age of AI

As the Director of the Autonomy, Agency and Assurance (3A) Institute, Professor Bell is at the forefront in exploring the ways in which we can best navigate the complexity of cyber-physical systems. In this presentation, Professor Bell explores the emergence of artificially intelligent technologies and systems.

Professor Bell will highlight the opportunities and risks that emerge from the development of AI and its continued presence in human decision-making systems. She also explores whether AI is truly disruptive or whether it represents the beginning of a larger and more complicated transformation of how we think about and utilise computing, especially as it moves from a command and control paradigm to something more situational and contextual.

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LeapFroggers: Understanding the Diverse Opportunity with People & Technology

Chike is an educator, entrepreneur, investor, humanitarian and biomedical engineer who has just announced his candidacy for the Nigerian President in 2019.

In this talk, Chike will be interviewed by Adel Smee about Leapfrogging. The concept of starting with small, incremental innovations, skipping traditional milestones, and evolving radically in adoption. By embracing diversity, we can create inclusive safe spaces that trigger & support creativity and collaboration, the building blocks of leapfrogging. Leveraging on ethnicity, diversity, technology, and radical innovation, builds better people, prosperous businesses, and greater nations.

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Ophelie lechat

Move fast and don’t fuck up civilisation

Nic Hodges has been working, writing, and speaking about data, privacy, and technology for over a decade. As founder of consultancy Blonde3, Nic is currently working on projects for global media brands, crypto startups, and AI healthcare.

This Q&A with Ophelie Lechat will cover our current and future relationship with data, and how we should be thinking about building future technology with eyes wide open to the potential downsides.



Founders in Space - Opportunities For The Coming Space Age

Dr. Held is the CEO of Saber Astronautics, who are building cutting edge technology for both space and Earth-based applications. He has been involved with just about every space startup to come out of Australia in the past 15 years.

In this talk Dr. Held will give an overview of the space industry and explain the disruption to the space market, the exciting Australian Space sector, and tie it in to the opportunities in the future for the potential entrepreneurs or investors in the room that might be wondering how to break in.

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Simon Raik-Allen

The Consensual Hallucination

Simon Raik-Allen is a technology all-
rounder, who bridges business strategy, product design and software engineering.

In the early 1980s science fiction authors predicted two things. The first was the rise of a "cyberspace" - which we now know as the Internet and world wide web. The second was a single, giant, immersive, shared, virtual, 3D world. The technology is not quite there yet for this latter prediction and Simon in his lighting talk will discuss humanity's progress toward this consensual hallucination.

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Connie Kuhlman

The Shit TechCrunch Won’t Tell You About Start Up Life

Fenn Bailey is the co-founder and CTO of Volantio, a travel technology company that works behind the scenes with airlines to help make passengers lives better. 

Perhaps due to self preservation we only pay attention to the successes in the world of startups. Start up news tend to always relate to success stories or challenges faced by successful endeavours. Here are the stories, battle scars and all, of a startup that graduated from Y combinator with AirBnB exactly as the global financial crisis about timing!

Fenn is a seasoned technologist and entrepreneur with a positive attitude to life second to none. You won’t read this in the news.


The Run Down










Welcome To Country

Gus Balbotin, Co-Director Above All Human

Judy Anderson, CEO Startup Victoria





Irene Au - Design And The Self - Why We Need Good Design





Simon Raik-Allen - The Consensual Hallucination





Prof Michael J Biercuk - Starting Up The Quantum Future





The Hon. Philip Dalidakis MLC





Sacha Judd - Superfan





Morning Tea





Daniel Petre & Anil Sabharwal

Lessons Learned: Building Tech Companies While Building A Happy Life





Shuyan Lin - Prototyping The Future Of Democracy





Fenn Bailey & Connie Kuhlman

The Shit TechCrunch Won’t Tell You About Start Up Life










Gary Swart - What I Learned From Decades of Operating in Silicon Valley





Prof Genevieve Bell - Being Human In The Age of AI





Ivan Lim - Becoming Great Founders : The Path Less Travelled





Mina Radhakrishnan - The Hard Thing About Easy Things





Nic Hodges & Ophelie LeChat - Move Fast And don’t fuck up civilisation






Taking it personally — The Powers, Perils and Potential of the Genomic Revolution





Dr Jason Held - Founders in Space - Opportunities For The Coming Space Age





Chike Ukaegbu & Adele Smee

LeapFroggers: Understanding the Diverse Opportunity with People & Technology





Happy Hour 



Above All Human

Wednesday August 29th, Royal Exhibition Building

Above All Human is a technology and innovation conference about driving change and solving big challenges. We bring together all kinds of people for a day of insights and innovation from the world’s most pioneering minds. 

We don’t talk about tech for tech’s sake. We don’t trade off current buzzwords or trends. We foster expansive thinking and new ideas. We carefully curate the experience; we want you to be energised, dig in and get nerdy and maybe come away with an idea to solve a problem that hasn’t been solved yet. 

As humans are at the core of our event, we ask that our attendees agree to our code of conduct.


A rare opportunity for Melbourne’s startup community to reconnect — with global trends and ideas, with each other, and with our own deeper why — on a far deeper, more challenging and ultimately more impactful level than is possible in day to day life.
— Peter Haasz, VP of Corporate Development, Culture Amp

Our Partners


We don’t choose our partners lightly: each one shares our values of innovation and excellence.

If you or your company would like to work alongside us, please contact us at


Major Partner



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Community Partners

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