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Panel Discussion

YOW! CTO Summit 2019 Melbourne

Simon Raik-Allen will chair a revolving panel discussion on topics ranging from strategy to ethics

Douglas English

Founder and VP of Engineering

Culture Amp


I spent the first decade of my professional career climbing the corporate ladder in consulting companies and large financial institutions. At a certain point I found myself in the unenviable position of not enjoying my job, but for the first time in my career having the foresight to realise I would enjoy my boss's job even less! Pub drinking sessions with a friend moved from complaining to imagining what ifs, and before we knew it we'd both agreed to quit and try our hand at building a startup. 2 companies and 3 failed products later I've found myself now riding the fast growth tech company journey we first imagined, and loving (almost!) every minute of it. Along the way I've met and collaborated with some amazingly smart and passionate people, learned a whole heap of new languages, approaches and business domains, and broadened my knowledge far beyond technology into the realms of marketing, sales, finance, and business development.

Goran Stefkovski




Goran had an early start in e-commerce when he built a web design business while he was attending Melbourne High School. This showed his passion for technology, design and entrepreneurship, which carried on to college where Goran completed a combined degree in Law and Engineering (Software) (Hons) at the University of Melbourne.

Before joining, Goran worked at companies such as Rio Tinto, Coffey International, and as a solicitor at HWL Ebsworth Lawyers. His valuable years of experience in technology and e-commerce has secured him seats at ZDNet's TechBuzz series in 2013, Keynote speaker at Rackspace Solve (2015), SydStart (2015), AWS ReInvent (2016), Dropbox Melbourne Business event (2016) as well as numerous other panellist and speaker roles.

A firm believer of personalisation and data analysis to improve shoppers' experience, Goran ensured technological excellence and innovation in Kogan across all business lines and received the CIO of the Year award in the Consumer sector for the Kogan development team's achievements in 2017.

James Ross




James has been leading agile development teams to get things done for well over a decade and has long since stopped believing that agile is the point. He has played consultant, architect and senior management roles at various organisations. His interests of late have been the Theory of Constraints, systems thinking, event-based systems and sustaining conversations with business people that the business people find interesting. He thinks he still has a lot to learn :) 

Kruti Patel

Chief Technology Officer

Shebah Rideshare


Kruti has more than 11 years ion experience in mobile technology development and has managed development teams at various product companies. She is also a founder of "YoungCodersAU” a not-for-profit organisation. She is passionate about increasing the number of women in technology as well as teaching our younger generation coding to increase their interest in technology, hence she started "YoungCodersAU”. With this initiative she aims to share her knowledge and expertise within the community & beyond. Her track record in delivering engaging tech talks and workshops include Pause Festival, Future Assembly and Google Developers meetup just to name a few.


Nicola Nye

Chief of Staff



Nicola serves as Fastmail's Chief of Staff, providing executive-level oversight for cross-functional teams and projects. Her professional background spans the full range of technical experience as she has been a programmer, project manager, technical writer, tester, support manager and an open source community manager. Nicola is passionate about literacy for all ages and works part time at her kids' school library.

Simon Raik-Allen

Founder & CEO

The Big Crunch


Simon is a hands on technology professional. He has worked across a varied array of industries and technologies such as trading exchanges, instant messaging, ecommerce, and IPTV with companies such as Sony, eBay, and AOL. Recently he was CTO at MYOB for 7 years and has since founded a start up called The Big Crunch. He also likes to dabble in the future.

Tim Bray




Tim has spent a career building products. Mostly focused on engineering, but happy to take on anything that results in a better outcomes. Currently CTO of Sitemate. Previously cofounder & CTO of Spritz, a startup helping businesses manage their spending, and CTO of StarRez, a global leader in student accommodation software. Startup advisor and part time mentor. He's known as a jack of all trades, master of none.

Tomas Varsavsky

Chief Engineer

REA Group


Tomas Varsavsky is REA Group’s Chief Engineer. He’s responsible for setting the strategic direction for the company’s engineering teams across Australia and Asia. Tomas leads centralised teams around data, security, enterprise technology, infrastructure and architecture.

Tomas has more than 17 years’ experience and prior to joining REA Group, was a Principal Consultant with ThoughtWorks where he worked with many iconic organisations including AXA, Lonely Planet and ANZ on areas such as agile methodologies, Software Development, IT strategy and IT architecture.

Tomas lives in Melbourne with his family and is a keen cyclist and tennis player. He holds a Bachelor of Computer Science and Honours in Computer Engineering from the University of Melbourne