About Stilgherrian (2008 version)

[This page is currently a year out of date but the basic facts are the same. Just skip the bit which talks about my plans for 2008, because they make it all look like a failure. However the photo is current.]

Stilgherrian: photo by Trinn (’Pong) Suwannapha, January 2009

I’m a Sydney-based consultant working at the intersection of the Internet, media and information technology.

Yes, I only have one name — a single given name with no surname — and it’s pronounced like this: [Quicktime .mov] Most people call me “Stil” for short.

I’m particularly interested in how new social networking and communication technologies are changing the way we work, play, socialise and organise our societies. Yes, I’m a geek — รƒยผbergeek, some have said — and I majored in computing science. But I’m not that interested in technology itself. I’m more interested in the social questions.

What does it all mean for your life? Your family? Your business? Your community? For the law and politics? How will it change the very core of what it means to be human?

Two projects dominate my working life at the start of 2008.

My new consultancy business Skank Media will be launched this year. It’ll be an umbrella for work like my writing for Crikey, New Matilda and hopefully others — but the main focus will be some brand new projects. Stay tuned for details.

Meanwhile my IT business Prussia.Net continues to pay the bills.

Despite my nerdy background, for much of my working life I’ve been a media professional — as you can see in the complete list of my media output.


I share a home in Enmore in Sydney’s Inner West with photographer Trinn ’Pong Suwannapha and 1.95 cats. I read voraciously — mostly online, but also magazines, non-fiction books and cyberpunk novels — and dabble in photography.

Good food and wine continue to emphasise my waistline. Two sessions at the gym each week don’t seem to be helping.

Overall, I guess I’m just your average Stilgherrian.

The Back Story

Originally I’m from South Australia. I was born in Gawler, just north of Adelaide, but spent the first decade of my life on a dairy farm about 60km south of Adelaide at Mount Compass — a town whose only claims to fame are that it holds a cow race every year and that it’s half-way to places you might want to visit if everywhere else was closed.

I was educated at Prince Alfred College, not because we could afford such an elite school but because I won a scholarship. The experience sharply focussed my understanding of hypocrisy and the arbitrary nature of power and status.

I studied Computing Science at the University of Adelaide, and got straight distinctions in those subjects — someone even said I topped the course, but there’s no official confirmation. I would have rounded off a BA in Computing Science with a second major in Linguistics except that the course was killed in a budget cut before I could complete it. So I left without a degree. It doesn’t seem to have made much difference to my life.

After a couple of years working in the public service, I ended up becoming a broadcaster, first with community broadcaster Radio 5UV (now called Radio Adelaide) at the University of Adelaide, and then with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). Most of it was as a producer of daily talk radio with what’s now called ABC Local Radio, though for one year I also presented a somewhat popular dance music program on Triple J called “Club Escape” which went to air only in Adelaide.

I left the ABC when it became apparent that “progress” there meant doing the same kind of work at different hours of the day or moving into middle-level management. Stuff that.

Instead, with a partner we started a weekly dance music magazine called The Core, which soon built a cult following and destroyed our relationship. But we successfully published it every week for two years before the toxic interpersonal atmosphere brought that to an end.

I was station manager at community broadcaster Three D Radio for a year, and did some other bits and pieces before moving to Sydney in 1995 when I was headhunted for the dot.com madness. The company I worked for spent a lot of money with very little result before it imploded. I learnt a lot, built some great friendships, and reinforced my sharply focussed understanding of hypocrisy and the arbitrary nature of power and status.

I’ve been doing freelance things ever since, mostly with the IT and Internet business which evolved into Prussia.Net, but also some corporate media work for little family businesses like Telstra and IBM.

And apart from that listing of what we could laughingly call a “career path”, I’ve had a personal life.

It was on a Wednesday, if I recall correctly.

[The 2006 version of this page has plenty of comments from friends and strangers, but feel free to add your own below. Be nice. Main photo: ร‚ยฉ2009 Trinn (’Pong) Suwannapha.]

35 Replies to “About Stilgherrian (2008 version)”

  1. Wow, I followed this little spat via Crikey, and look how it plays out. Telstra subsidising the competitors. Now I’ve heard everything. How about the taxpayer subsidising Telstra to position them into this strong-arming overlord who keeps Australia in the Dark Ages. And in return, we don’t get cheap, quality privatised service. Just privatised.

    Now let me be clear. If I was Telstra, I would do exactly the same. But to send in a terrier spinner to try and make a case that Telstra are the champions of quality infrastructure in Australia is just cynical and no-one buys it. You’d be better off just saying ‘this tactic is in the interests of our shareholders’ and leaving it at that. No-one buys this dribble that Telstra are really the good guys. Not a soul. Not even Grandma, who just keeps ‘Telecom’, despite the kids trying to get her to move, since she’s been a Telecom booster since her nephew, Phil, used to work on the lines.

    But you kids play nice, now. Play the ball, not the man. Telstra’s days are numbered anyway. Grandma will die, companies will figure out their blind loyalty makes no sense whatever. More money for less service never wins as a business model in the end. Telstra might get into plasma TVs or this new fangled woireless stuff, but Australia must get off this drip feed, and Telstra has to stop whining. But at least it’s amusing for now.

    And for the record, this is the first time I have ever sided with anyone who ever mentioned anything to do with D&D. I am mellowing.

  2. @Rod Bruem: Thanks for your reponse — especially after my playful but still rather savage attack in Crikey yesterday. As I mentioned in our private email, I’ll bump your comment over to a new message thread so it’s all clearly about Telstra and not tagged onto profile where people are less likely to find it.

    @Wes: I’ll move or copy your comment across too. But hat’s this D&D thing of which you speak? I don’t know what you’re talking about. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  3. I’ve read both this version, and the 2006 version, and I would like to know how you got the name stilgherrian.

    Imaginative parents?

    I know you’ve said it’s boring, but, please humor me. ๐Ÿ˜›

  4. @posty: I’ve just added this explanation to the Only One Name category of posts:

    It’s not the name my parents gave me. It’s one I adopted when I was in my early 20s. I was, it must now be revealed, part of a nest of Dungeons and Dragons players at the University of Adelaide. One of the people I knew there coined the word “Stilgherrian” as a name for me รขโ‚ฌโ€ me personally, that is, not one of the game characters. It kind of stuck, and for various reasons I decided to adopt it legally. It doesn’t mean anything, it was just intended to “sound right”.

    It’s globally unique, which is either wonderfully convenient personal branding or an insanely dangerous privacy risk. Or both.

  5. ta Stil for explaining.

    you giant nerd. ๐Ÿ™‚

    although, I have people that I’ve known for years, some before I was really active on the internet who call me ‘posty’.

    but changing it legally, wow. ๐Ÿ˜›

    yeah it must be pretty damn easy to track. ๐Ÿ˜€

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