Leadership and motivational challenges in the Australian IT sector
Date of this Version
Company background and context
In early 1997, two young Australian IT graduates hatched a plan. Instead of working 9-5 in a large IT organisation, they decided they would like to start up their own software development company. After a lengthy period of discussion and planning, the pair began operations in the garage of one of their suburban Australian homes. In order to get the business up and running, they both continued their regular jobs by day and worked on their new business venture after hours. A first milestone occurred not long after the company began when the pair successfully tendered for, and secured, software development work for a major Australian television network. Their work began with the pair programming systems that would run hardware for two popular children’s television game shows. Following their success on this project, the duo then won a second tender from the network to create real-time statistical scoring software for a major international sporting event. At this point they were still a workforce of two.
As the company became more firmly established it became necessary to hire more staff. In particular, an artist and an additional programmer were needed to complete the contract work with the television network. The first two employees to join the organisation were friends and colleagues of the founders. These individuals were a perfect fit within the organisation as they shared the vision of their friends in creating a small but successful IT firm. The two new employees had no issue with working long hours out of a suburban double-garage. The group of four continued to work for the television network but at the same time began discussing their collective desire to enter the game-production market. The owners soon found that they did not have the capacity or the resources to create and build a game on their own, so they began to talk with other small IT companies that were looking to branch out into the same area of software development. It was at this point that the founders visited America and began a joint venture to produce a children’s computer game with another small IT company. The relationship continued for almost four years until the game was published and distributed to multiple international markets; however, despite the efforts of both organisations, the game never reached the level of success that both parties had envisaged.