Monthly Archives: April 2019

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Author and Fairfax columnist Sam de Brito found dead in North Bondi home

Author and Fairfax columnist Sam de Brito has died, aged 46. Photo: James Brickwood Sam de Brito’s columnsLeave your condolences mourns for de Brito​The first column de Brito wrote for FairfaxSam de Brito’s final column

Author and popular Fairfax columnist Sam de Brito has died in his eastern suburbs home.

The father-of-one was found dead at a North Bondi address on Monday morning.

Police are not treating his death as suspicious or a suicide.

“The family and friends of the writer and journalist Sam de Brito have been devastated by his sudden death this morning,” his family said in a statement.

“Sam, 46, has revelled in parenthood and was a wonderful and devoted father to his daughter, Anoushka, 5.

“He will also be remembered as a loving son, brother, nephew, uncle, cousin and friend, as well as a distinguished columnist and author.

“His family asks for privacy at this time as they grieve for the loss of Sam and await the results of a coroner’s report.”

De Brito’s career as a writer spanned more than two decades.

He worked in TV, film and newspapers. He also wrote five books including No Tattoos Before You’re Thirty, The Lost Boys and Hello Darkness.

He began writing his All Men Are Liars column for Fairfax in 2006 with his last column published in The Sun-Herald and The Sunday Age on Sunday.

The editor-in-chief of The Sydney Morning Herald and The Sun-Herald, Darren Goodsir, extended his sympathies to the family of de Brito, who had been one of the newspaper’s most popular and respected columnists.

“With his authentic views, and raw, colourful take on life, he attracted a large online audience, drawn to his forthright commentary,” Goodsir said.

“He was certainly not one for political correctness, and had very broad interests – being equally able to match cheek and controversy with empathy.

“Sam was just at home with American sports as he was with popular culture, world affairs and politics.

Goodsir said de Brito’s final column, about his young daughter and his experience with co-sleeping was typical of his “beautiful, intensely personal style”.

US finds recipe for rice export success to China as China loses grain ground

n rice growers want greater access to China. Photo: Kate Geraghty First, the US won a better deal to export rice to Japan.

Now, n rice growers fear their Californian competitors have gained a head start on entering the lucrative and bigger Chinese market.

US and Chinese authorities are believed to be close to agreeing on a phytosanitary protocol to export US rice to the world’s biggest grain market.

n rice growers have tried for the past eight years to negotiate such a deal but have failed to win priority from the Grains Industry Market Access Forum, which co-ordinates export deals, and authorities in Beijing.

Ricegrowers’ Association of executive director Andrew Bomm said selling rice to China would be more lucrative than exporting to Japan because its fast-growing middle-class had a taste for clean and green imported produce.

Mr Bomm said China was also more pragmatic about importing rice, as opposed to Japan where the grain was considered a powerful symbol of self-sufficiency.

It was also among the thorniest issues in hammering out the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal, which the 12 nations around the Pacific Rim struck last week.

“I don’t think there is the same level of romanticism in China,” Mr Bomm said.

“They are more pragmatic and . . . are a significant importer of rice, but not currently from .

“We understand the US is developing a importation protocol. If that occurs, that would put us at a significant disadvantage because our main competitors are Californian medium grain growers.”

The US has lobbied Chinese authorities to allow American rice imports for more than 15 years. In that time, China has switched from being a rice exporter to importing 2 million tonnes or more of long grain rice.

Vietnam has provided most of the Chinese imports because of price, proximity and quality. However, the US and haven’t been able to sell their product because of the lack of export protocols.

Dwight Roberts, president of the Houston-based US Rice Producers Association, said China requested that the phytosanitary protocol for rice be signed in Beijing.

However, a date had yet to be confirmed.

If the agreement is struck, it will be the second time n rice growers have lost out to the US.

Under TPP trade pact, Japan has agreed to create a 6000 tonne quota for n rice and cut tariffs on several rice preparation products.

This is significantly less than the 50,000 tonne quota for US rice exports to Japan.

Mr Bomm said that “trade agreements are inherently political beasts and any political influence that you can exert means you can extract the sort of concessions that you want”.

“I don’t necessarily apportion blame for getting a worse deal because is not the US and can’t exert the same influence,” he said.

“It’s very disappointing that we have a guaranteed access. But, by the same token, it’s better than nothing. It’s a modest gain and we have to give credit where credit is due.”

Mr Bomm said n rice growers weren’t aiming to feed the masses in Asia because it could never produce enough rice.

Instead, he said farmers wanted to leverage ‘s clean image to target the premium market.

“Rather of characterising what we can do as being the food bowl of the world, we’d like to say we’re the delicatessen. It’s providing that really high-end, high-quality product into those wealthier premium markets,” he said.

with Bloomberg

Why Jonathan Barouch killed his big idea at Roamz so Local Measure could live

The wall says it all … Local Measure founder Jonathan Barouch had to admit he had been heading down the wrong path and change his company’s focus. Photo: SuppliedJonathan Barouch was so confident about his social media startup he managed to ignore his clients for months before he had to face the fact that no one was going to pay for it.

Barouch launched Roamz, a mobile app that gathered and showcased tweets and Facebook messages sent out in the same area, in 2011. But he would be forced to completely change the idea within 24 months.

“It was like the moment you realise your baby is ugly. You don’t want to see it but after hundreds of comments you realise you can’t lie to yourself about it any more. To be honest, it felt like I had been punched repeatedly in the guts,” Barouch told Fairfax Media.

Initially it had all the superficial characteristics of a winning idea: it attracted a quarter of a million users, the team raised $3.5 million in venture capital and it was covered by media sites from TechCrunch to Bloomberg and The Wall Street Journal.Business fundamentals

But the real mechanics of a business – keeping customers happy while making money, were lagging. The software was exciting. It collected social media posts and the team sold packages of this content to retailers, hospitality venues and events to promote their products or services.

Roamz was getting meetings and running tens of demos every week, but few were resulting in sales. They were meeting with big brands such as Qantas and Commonwealth Bank of , but many were already exhausted by the pace of change and pressure to embrace social media.

After months of increasingly stressed meetings with his sales team and investors, Barouch realised his company was running out potential clients, and money.

“What we were offering just wasn’t resonating. No one needed it. We just kept getting the same feedback, they wanted to use the data we were collecting in a different way,” Barouch says. What customers wanted

The breakthrough came after one of the United States largest retailers flew him over, listened to the pitch and said they were more interested in the anonymised data set and the insights into their clients and their feedback. Roamz’s potential clients wanted a customer satisfaction tool, not another promotional one.

“I realised I had kept hearing it and just wasn’t listening. It didn’t fit everything we were talking about so we didn’t realise how valuable it was,” Barouch says.

The Roamz promotional strategy didn’t help. The constant pursuit of media attention in lieu of customer validation produced an echo chamber of congratulatory hype that was hard to discount, even in the face of dwindling cash and clear customer feedback. Pivot point

“I hate the word pivoting but we did. We took the technology, the team and completely changed the platform,” Barouch says.

After a few months in development, the sales team hit the streets again and the user base has exploded ever since. The newly rebranded Local Measure now counts six of the eight largest global hotel groups as clients, one of the western world’s biggest shopping mall chains as well as Qantas and Dubai’s government owned tourism company.

The team has doubled to 22 and expanded with offices in Sydney, Singapore, London and the east coast of the United States and Barouch says they are still very early in their development.

“We are starting to get the customer spread and volume of data that will make it possible to identify industry wide trends and benchmarks, which will be another service we can offer to our existing clients as we continue to grow.”

Lisa Sthalekar comes out of retirement to play for Sydney Sixers

Comeback trail: Lisa Sthalekar has come out of retirement to play for the Sydney Sixers. Photo: Peter Rae PMRFormer Southern Stars all-rounder Lisa Sthalekar has come out of retirement to join the Sydney Sixers for the inaugural Women’s Big Bash League.

Sthalekar, who holds the Women’s National Cricket League record for most games played, was part of four n World Cup winning squads and two Ashes winning teams, retired in 2013.

She said she couldn’t miss the chance to play with the Sixers in their first season.

“I’m really excited, the fact that I get to put on this cool gear and to play cricket with my mates again is going to be a lot of fun,” she said. “I didn’t want to give up this opportunity with the Women’s Big Bash. It’s a real credit to Cricket and the state associations for giving the girls this opportunity.”

Sthalekar is one of the best all-rounders in women’s cricket history, becoming the first player to score 1000 runs and take 100 wickets in one-day internationals.

On retirement she moved into coaching and commentary, but said the opportunity to help guide the next generation of players was another reason for her return.

“I thought that I might still have an opportunity to give back to the game, but also work with some of the players that I enjoyed watching develop and grow up, especially in the Cricket NSW programs,” she said.

Sixers general manager Dominic Remond said Sthalekar’s influence and experience would be vital during the competition.

“It is a terrific coup to coax Lisa out of retirement and have her wealth of knowledge around the club,” he said. “Lisa is one of the best female cricketers has produced and will play a vital role in the success on and off the field.”

Sthalekar joins Alyssa Healy, Emily Leys, Ellyse Perry and Lauren Smith in the Sixers dressing room, with the remaining players still to be announced.

Bathurst 1000 race fan incident under investigation

WET: Umbrellas were at the ready on Sunday for race fans along Pit Straight as the wet weather kept sweeping along iconic Mount Panorama. Photos: CHRIS SEABROOK 101115crowd1A bit of everything in the 2015 Bathurst 1000Craig Lowndes claims his sixth title | PhotosPOLICE are investigating after a number of female campers at Mount Panorama were allegedly filmed while in the shower.

The incident was one of only a few to occur across Race Week among an otherwise well-behaved crowd, according to Chifley local area commander Superintendent Michael Robinson.

This year’s race drew the second-highest attendance in the event’s long history, attracting201,416 fans on the Mount across the four days.

Supt Robinsonsaid Saturday night’s incident in the Mount’s shower facilities was being investigated by detectives.

He added that it was a mobile phone that was used for the filming.

The offender allegedly placed the phone under the door to capture the footage.

Otherwise, only a number of minor anti-social issues were dealt with by police during the race festival.

“Generally, the behaviour of crowds has been exceptional,” Supt Robinson said.

He added that the command received approval for local Chifley officers to work additional hours across the week, rather than requesting higher numbers of out-of-area officers.

He said this was due to previous public feedback and the local understanding and familiarity that Chifley officers have with the region.

V8 Supercars chief executive officer James Warburton said this year’s crowd attendance over the four days was up three per cent on last year’s crowd of 195,261.

“This is one of the biggest sporting events in and one of the world’s iconic motor races and to crack the 200,000 mark is a great endorsement by our fans,” he said.

He said he also wanted to acknowledge “all our teams, drivers, officials and volunteers who make this event what it is”.

Mr Warburton said he was pleased with the growth in crowd numbers for the V8 Supercars.

“Our crowds continue to grow with over a million fans attending V8 Supercars events so far this year and millions more watching on television around the country and the rest of the world,” he said.

Western Advocate, Bathurst