Richard Harrison – CTO – BUENO Systems

 

In your own words, can you introduce your company and yourselves?

My name is Richard, and I’m the CTO of BUENO Systems, as well as being a step-dad to 4 kids and a keen nature and sailing enthusiast. In a nutshell, BUENO Systems is a small company based in Melbourne that utilises data and smart analytics at scale to help enterprise businesses reduce the environmental impact of their buildings.

What problem are you solving?

Humans are destroying our world with our relentless consumption of natural resources, and the built environment is responsible for roughly 40% of the world’s GHG emissions. In addition, COVID has meant that indoor air quality is more important than ever for fostering a healthy work environment for staff coming back into the office. BUENO helps with both of these problems by continuously collecting and analysing sensor data from our customers’ buildings, and providing insights that help reduce energy consumption and make buildings healthier and safer for everyone.

The great thing about what we do is that we’re able to save our customers significant amounts of money, while helping both people and planet.

What are your plans for the next 12-18 months?

The last couple of years have been challenging for us (and many others), but now that the world is opening up again we’re looking to grow overseas and broaden our impact worldwide. We also have some interesting technical challenges to solve in scaling our underlying analytics engine, and figuring out how we can connect our data and insights to more people within an organisation.

Any thoughts on the Digital / Tech Melbourne ecosystem and community? What has been your own experience of this over the last 5-10 years? How has it changed in recent years? More support? More investment? More opportunity? More competition to talent?

The biggest change I’ve seen in recent years is the steady rise in competition for great technical talent in Australia. This has been exacerbated in recent years due to a combination of the lack of immigration, the widespread acceptance of remote working (opening up Australian talent to offers from the US), and people’s increased willingness to seek out a change of jobs.

This has been great for employees in a way, but I wonder whether the massive increases in wages being offered have lured people away from work that they may find more meaningful, fulfilling and better from a work/life balance perspective.

What’s the biggest challenge for Australian start-ups in your opinion?

Making the leap into the international market is tough from Australia; timezones, distance and cultural differences all work against you. It’s expensive, time-consuming and incredibly easy to get wrong.

What technology are you most looking forward to becoming mainstream in the next few years?

I’m hoping that the decentralisation of energy production and storage becomes mainstream; solar panels on every roof, with a battery to store excess energy from sunny days. We’re getting there slowly but batteries are still very expensive and difficult for the average household to afford.

Do you have any tips/insights on building successful/cohesive teams?

I think the key is to get everyone in the team to understand and buy into what you’re trying to achieve at a high level, then empower them to figure out how to make it happen themselves. In addition, fostering a culture of continuous improvement, understanding and learning from mistakes rather than punishing failure will ensure your teams continue to deliver better and better results over time.

What’s on your record table/ Spotify at the moment?

When I was young my Mum used to play on her piano almost every night, probably to drown out the noise of my sister and I bickering. I recently discovered the music she played was almost all Chopin. Listening to his piano concertos have been a trip down memory lane and a great playlist to help me focus while working.

What’s your Favourite cocktail/drink?

I love a good Bloody Mary, but you’ll usually find me trying to find the most hipster IPA on the menu.

What are the three most valuable/most-used apps on your phone?

Insight Timer: I’m a big believer in meditation and mindfulness, and am part of a group at work that does a daily 20-minute session after lunch. Insight Timer is a free app that features an enormous library of guided meditations and talks from the world’s leading teachers.

iNaturalist: When you’re out and about in nature, there are a stunning variety of plants and animals and I usually have no idea about any of them. iNaturalist is a crowdsourced app that shows the wildlife people have spotted in the area you’re visiting, and you can take photos of things you find for others to help identify. It’s a wonderful tool to help you understand and connect more deeply with nature, no matter where you are.

Lichess: Completely open source and free chess games and training for all of us wannabe Grandmasters, all developed and run by a single person.