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The Frustrated State will be the first in-depth book examining how Australia’s political sector is mismanaging technology policy.
The Frustrated State will be the first in-depth book examining how Australia’s political sector is mismanaging technology policy.
660 backers pledged AU$ 33,360 to help bring this project to life.

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The Frustrated State

AU$ 33,360

660

The Frustrated State

How terrible tech policy is deterring digital Australia

About the book

Australia is currently facing an unprecedented wave of change driven almost entirely by highly disruptive technological innovation. 

The incredible growth of the Internet has spawned a huge clutch of start-up companies which are challenging the basic operation of every business model. New technologies are flooding into Australia and revolutionising the way we live our everyday lives. Successfully managing this change has emerged as one of the biggest issues in our lifetimes. 

And Australia’s political leaders and policymakers are getting it completely wrong.

The past decade of technology policy development and implementation by the political sector has been catastrophic for all concerned.

The broadband sector is in chaotic disarray, following a decade of poisonous political warfare on how best to upgrade Telstra’s ageing copper network. Australia’s video game development industry has virtually collapsed; our most successful IT startups are deserting our shores in droves; our Internet is now comprehensively controlled and monitored by law enforcement, and our emerging renewable energy sector has just been handed a death notice.

And let’s not even get into the billions being wasted on failed government IT projects.

The Frustrated State will be the first in-depth examination of how Australia’s political sector is systematically mismanaging technological change and crushing hopes that the nation will ever take its rightful place globally as a digital powerhouse and home of innovation.

It will also humbly offer a few basic suggestions to resolve the situation.

Details

The Frustrated State will be written by one of the few voices to have been on the front lines of Australia’s technological revolution for the past ten years: Experienced technology journalist Renai LeMay, the founder of independent tech media outlet Delimiter and former Financial Review and ZDNet journalist.

Renai is currently close to completing a 12 month contract as an advisor to Greens Senator Scott Ludlam on telecommunications, defence and nuclear policy, based in Parliament House in Canberra.

If The Frustrated State is successfully funded, Renai will start working full-time on this book from mid-July 2015 and aim to publish it about nine months later, around the time of the 2016 Federal Budget.

Note that no work on this book will take part during the time of Renai's employment with Senator Ludlam (which finishes at the end of June). And obviously, all of Renai's experiences behind the scenes with Senator Ludlam will remain confidential -- they won't be part of the book.

This Kickstarter strictly only covers the resources need to developed the book itself. However, a related benefit to readers will be that if the book is funded, Renai will also take his separately funded web site Delimiter out of cold storage and seek to become a Press Gallery journalist, reporting from Parliament House, Canberra on an ongoing basis. His efforts with the book and with Delimiter will complement each other.

The Frustrated State will be a detailed book of several hundred pages. It will examine the following issues, among others, in an in-depth fashion:

  • How the critical National Broadband Network project has been torn apart by poisoned infighting between political parties, leaving Australia languishing in global broadband rankings
  • How successive Governments' failure to structurally separate Telstra has led to almost two decades of regulatory instability in Australia's telecommunications industry
  • How Australia's Internet has become subject to comprehensive Government censorship, control and surveillance
  • The almost complete disintegration of Australia's video game development industry
  • The failure of successive Australian Governments to address core issues in the tech startup sector, leading to our most successful companies leaving Australia for fairer shores
  • How a complete lack of copyright reform has left Australia languishing behind the rest of the world in the new world of digital content
  • How state governments are actively hamstringing disruptive new industries at the behest of powerful interest groups
  • How the Government killed new investment in renewable energy infrastructure almost overnight
  • How a series of catastrophic failures has left public sector IT systems locked in the stone age

To deliver The Frustrated State, Renai will conduct dozens of new on- and off-the record interviews with key players in the political, private and non-profit sectors, going behind the scenes in the corridors of power to tell stories which have never been completely told before.

The Frustrated State will weave all of these disparate threads together into a grand narrative spiked with Renai's trademark insight and deep analysis. It will serve as a wake-up call to our political leaders and as a series of case studies documenting two decades of mismanagement of technology policy.

The foreword

The foreword to the book will be written by Matt Barrie.

Barrie is widely regarded as one of the most influential figures in Australia’s technology sector. A computer scientist and electrical engineer by training, Barrie went on to become a successful venture capitalist and entrepreneur. He is best known for founding online freelancing and crowdsourcing marketplace Freelancer.com, which listed on the Australian Securities Exchange in November 2013 at a market capitalisation of $1.1 billion.


Stretch goal

The book's initial funding goal will be $25,000. However, if the book reaches its stretch goal of $35,000, physical copies will be sent directly to:


  • Every Federal MP and Senator
  • Every State and Federal Minister and Shadow Minister who deals directly with issues of technology policy
  • Key senior executives at pertinent departments and agencies such as the Department of Communications, ACCC and ACMA
It is hoped that the book will act as a stimulus to changing the understanding which such key politicians and policymakers have about technology policy.


Risks and challenges

The main risks for this project consist of production delays. I have the contacts, the insight and the background knowledge to pull this project together. However, writing and research takes time, and in the worst case scenario this may delay the eventual publication date. I'm a bit of a workaholic, however, so I consider this unlikely.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge AU$ 5 or more About US$ 4

    You bought me a beer!

    Thanks for helping to fund my book. You have contributed to technology policy development in Australia and have my gratitude. You'll also receive Kickstarter campaign updates.

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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge AU$ 20 or more About US$ 14

    The eBook copy!

    Thanks for chipping in to help fund my book. You will be emailed links to download copies of the book in a variety of DRM-free formats as soon as it's published. We'll be supporting .mobi, .epub and .pdf formats, meaning you'll be able to read The Frustrated State on whatever platform you wish.

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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge AU$ 32 or more About $23

    The print copy!

    Thanks for chipping a bit more to help fund my book. You'll be able to cart it around with you in the most convenient physical copy. I recommend you conspicuously read it in trendy urban cafes while drinking soy lattes for the best experience.

    I'll also send you links to the eBook versions.

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    193 backers
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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge AU$ 50 or more About $36

    Bonus content!

    Not only will I send you eBook and physical copies of the book, backers at this tier will also get exclusive access to a bunch of bonus content that will be limited to backers of this tier and above. This will include a 'Making Of' pack with lots of insider photos and background info about the development of the book, audio interviews with high-profile Australian technology figures, and an extra, separate essay looking at my predictions for how the Australian technology scene will change in a policy sense over the short to mid-term.

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    103 backers
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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge AU$ 75 or more About $54

    Help shape the book!

    If the Kickstarter is successful, I will contact backers who contribute $75 or more, with a detailed plan for how The Frustrated State will be developed. I will include a chapter listing, including a projected overview of each chapter, details of individuals who I plan to interview on the record, and as much more detail as I can.

    I will then ask for your feedback. Who do you think I should interview? How should the book be structured? What issues and situations should be examined? What line should I take in each chapter? How should each chapter be structured? You'll get the chance to comment on all of this.

    Halfway through the book's creation, I will update this document with the current state of the book and conduct this exercise once again -- thus, you'll get a second chance to help structure the book as it's being developed.

    Plus, I'll thank you personally on Delimiter and in a special page of the book for contributors who have done a lot to help get this book published.

    And I'll also send you print and eBook editions of the book once it's published.

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    12 backers
    AU$
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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge AU$ 100 or more About $72

    Influence my writing!

    If the Kickstarter is successful, I will set up a private Internet forum open only to backers who contribute $100 or more. Every time I finish a chapter (about once or more per month), I'll publish it in full in this private forum for peer review.

    Backers will then have a week to discuss and critique that chapter, engaging with each other to analyse my writing in detail in community fashion. I will take that feedback into account when finalising the chapter.

    Backers at this level and above will get my detailed attention. I want to know how you see this book shaping up in detail. You will be my inner council of wise voices, and you'll get the closest levels of exclusive access.

    Plus, I'll also send you print and eBook editions of the book once it's published, and you'll get all the rewards of the $75 tier.

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    91 backers
    AU$
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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge AU$ 200 or more About $144

    Let's talk!

    I know a lot of people have burning issues about technology policy that they'd like to get off their chests, and also a lot of people have questions they'd like to ask me personally about a range of issues. Some people may like to make me aware of points or issues that I haven't investigated.

    So I'll commit to having an extended 45 minute telephone discussion with anyone who backs The Frustrated State at this level or above. It'll probably go longer, because I love talking about this stuff ;) This will give you the chance to influence the book, mine my brain and have a detailed chinwag with someone who cares about this stuff deeply.

    Plus, you'll get all the rewards of the $100 tier and below.

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    9 backers
    AU$
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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge AU$ 350 or more About $251

    I'll tell your story!

    A lot of Australians care about technology policy not because it's an abstract concept, but because poor outcomes in this area have affected them or their organisation at a very personal level.

    It might be the crappy broadband to your house which drops out when it rains, it might be how you lost your job after funding was cut to the video game development industry, or it might be how your organisation has been sharply disadvantaged by poor technology policy choices by politicians.

    Let's have a phone conversation, and (subject to my editorial discretion) I'll commit to writing a 1,000 word article to be published on Delimiter and distributed to all readers through a special additional small booklet with both print and eBook copies of The Frustrated State.

    Your problems and your message will get out there through these high-profile platforms, which will be read by very influential people.

    Plus, you'll get all the rewards of the $200 tier and below, and I'll throw in an extra physical copy of the book.

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    4 backers
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  9. Select this reward

    Pledge AU$ 600 or more About $431

    I'll present to your organisation!

    I'll reward backers at this tier by committing to a lengthy presentation to their organisation via Skype or FaceTime. I'll give a presentation on how terrible Australian technology policy is and how it can be fixed, and take questions from the audience for as long as they have them. I'll give insight and context to the situation and leave the audience much better informed than when we started.

    It may be possible to do this in person for some organisations, upon arrangement.

    Plus, you'll get all the rewards of the $350 tier and below, and I'll throw in three extra physical copies of the book.

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    0 backers
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  10. Select this reward

    Pledge AU$ 950 or more About $682

    I'll physically present to your conference!

    Wow. If you back The Frustrated State at this level, then you really care deeply about technology policy in Australia. You have my deepest thanks, and the thanks of all who are frustrated by ongoing Government mismanagement of this area.

    Backers at this level will get all of the previous rewards, plus I'll throw in an extra half-dozen physical copies of the book for distribution as you see fit. In addition, (subject to helping me out with travel costs -- which we'll negotiate), I'll commit to coming to your conference or organisation in person, presenting in detail on this topic, taking questions from the audience for as long as they have them, and then spending a chunk of time meeting with other conference attendees and representatives of your organisation to discuss these issues.

    Backers at this level will be the premiere gold class of this production. You can be assured that I will pay a great deal of attention to you and take your input into the book very seriously. I will do what I can to help you out -- as you have really helped me out in publishing this important book.

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Funding period

- (30 days)