The Fetch Blog

Curated reads and events for professionals

Three years of The Fetch: a look back with feedback from the community — April 27, 2014

Three years of The Fetch: a look back with feedback from the community

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We recently passed three years since the first humble email digest was sent in Melbourne. The Fetch was just a teeny tiny side-project then with the goal of making it easier to discover all the events happening that the rest of the event and city guides didn’t cover. Since then, we’ve been on a journey, delivering curated goodness to the community week after week – in cities all around the world. Countless hours have been put in by our community of tireless curators, including dedicating our Sundays to prepare so that we could kick off your work week with your local issue of The Fetch. We’re now starting to think about our future. It’s exciting… and scary!

Over the coming weeks, you’ll start to notice many updates to The Fetch – including a new logo, a new email design, the transition to one global newsletter of the ‘Link-love, must-reads’ section, and the launch of a new responsive landing page. From here, you’ll be able to sign-up to reserve a username for the next generation of The Fetch – an app that does a way better job of delivering you events (customized for you, less noise, and more relevancy with social and calendar integration). Most importantly, this platform will allow us to have a better foundation to sustain our activities from – we will be able to spend less time creating and editing The Fetch emails manually – and more time on quality and breadth of content.

We’ve decided that there’s no point in building this app if we don’t have the support of the community we love to serve. After all, if you don’t find it useful or actually want/need it, then perhaps it shouldn’t exist! A good way to understand this support is via crowdsourcing funds so we’ll be launching a Kickstarter campaign over the coming weeks. We hope you back us!

The map above shows a few of the 70-plus requests we’ve had to take The Fetch to more cities. The grey dots are where we’d expand to with the new platform.

In order to get a better sense of what is is about The Fetch that our community values, we’ve asked members from all walks their thoughts:

Avid reader

“I regularly recommend The Fetch to people looking to get involved in their local startup scenes — it’s quick, informative and brilliant. As a weekly reader, I’m a huge fan.”

~ Kathryn Minshew, founder & CEO, The Muse


“Since becoming the Melbourne Curator, my life has changed dramatically in a very positive way. It’s provided me with the opportunity to meet an exciting network of people across the digital/tech/ creative industries who are eager to connect, collaborate, and share knowledge. The sense of community that can be found amongst the Fetchers is unique and one that has developed in such a natural and organic way – it’s been amazing to be a part of its growth.”

~ Kat Loughrey, curator of The Fetch Melbourne

Event organizer

“The Fetch has helped me grow my community, Girl Geek Dinners Melbourne, from 300 to 850 women in one year. Most recently, we advertised Australia’s first all-female hackathon, She Hacks. An increase in traffic to our website resulted, but there were also many people who I bumped into on the street that said they saw She Hacks in The Fetch. I recommend The Fetch as the best place to find out about events for professionals.”

~ Tammy Butow, senior digital strategist, National Australia Bank

City ambassador

“The Fetch has allowed me to invest in my own growth. I have been able to forge new friendships, develop skills and pursue unexpected interests because of what it’s put in my path. As a result of the things I am aware of in my community, I have become better equipped at guiding other people towards the resources they need to fuel their own aspirations and endeavours.”

Jackie Antig, city ambassador for The Fetch

No. 1 fan

“The Fetch has opened my horizons both professionally and personally in Sydney and in places I travel to, such as Melbourne, London, and New York. It’s brilliant for making connections and putting me in the know of what’s happening in the digital and creative scene. I recommend The Fetch to nearly everyone I meet, and they love it. Since the very first issue came out, I have been a fan, the No.1 Fetch Fan in fact. It has changed and enriched my life.”

~ Mark Woodrow, founder, The Galaxy and now at Yammer

No. 1 sharer of The Fetch’s content

“I feel a bit lost when my week doesn’t start with The Fetch. I’m always on the lookout for fresh job opportunities and local events where I can learn and network, and The Fetch’s weekly email is my first port of call to find them. Even on the weeks where the jobs and events don’t suit my needs, I always know there’ll be at least a handful of fascinating articles to read and learn from. I love it.”

~ Neil Fahey, freelance writer, blogger and online comms guy

Email format lover and partner

“To feel the pulse of a city’s tech scene, I recommend subscribing to The Fetch. Regardless of whether you’re making in-roads into creative communities, or wanting to attend a web metrics meetup, each issue will have you both scrambling for your calendar and reading up on new and interesting projects. A hat tip to their team for creating such a valuable newsletter!”

~ Rosanne de Vries, Community Manager, Campaign Monitor

If you’d like to pass on any feedback about where we’re going and where we’ve come from – or to chat about sponsoring or adding to our list of Kickstarter prizes, please email me

Thanks so much and I look forward to hearing your thoughts on our changes over the coming months. 🙂

Kate Kendall

Interview: Melbourne local, Hon Weng Chong of StethoCloud — December 11, 2012

Interview: Melbourne local, Hon Weng Chong of StethoCloud

I was sitting in StartupHQ in San Francisco last week when a couple of familiar faces from Australia walked up… enter Hon Weng Chong and Andrew Lin – the founders of StethoCloud. We’ve been meaning to interview the team for a while here on The Fetch considering the potential humankind impact and mission behing their work – combining health and tech, so the timing was perfect to get a few questions in.


Photo by Business Week

Name: Hon Weng Chong
Twitter Handle: @dr1337

What’s your background?

By day, I’m a recently graduated medical doctor. I’m also a mobile app developer by night with experience developing iPhone, Android and Windows Phone apps. In addition to mobile apps, I also develop for the web.

How did you get the idea for StethoCloud and what does it do?

Having been encouraged by a friend who had participated in Microsoft’s Imagine Cup in 2011, I had decided to enter the competition this year to develop a technological solution that would address a global health issue. At the same time, I had just started my pediatrics rotation at The Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne and had recently learnt about the global disease burden of childhood pneumonia. I was surprised to learn that childhood pneumonia was the single largest killer of children under the age of five (more than measles, malaria and HIV combined) yet the treatment for it was through widely available and affordable antibiotics.

It struck me then that one of the major bottlenecks in reducing the mortality from pneumonia was in its late recognition and diagnosis. If we could help health workers in developing countries who are at the frontline of diagnosing and treating this disease, we might have a chance of reducing the mortality from it.

The idea for StethoCloud came from a brainstorming session that I had with my mentor A/Prof Jim Black from the Nossal Institute for Global Health. We had initially dreamt up the idea of a stethoscope attachment for smartphones that would allow health workers in developing countries to record a child’s breath sounds and have it transmitted to a physician in a hospital or even all the way to the US or Australia for remote diagnosis. Midway through the development of the stethoscope peripheral it occurred to us that another bottleneck in the system was the lack of trained physicians both in the developing and developed world who would be able to perform the remote diagnosis. This realization caused us to pivot the project from solely developing the hardware to also include a cloud-computing component to test our hypothesis that given a large enough data set of physiological data, could a machine learning algorithm learn from diagnostic examples and potentially replicate the thought processes of a physician.

How did you take it from nothing to winning This Week in Startups and getting TechCrunch’ed?

I’m very grateful to have such a wonderful and passionate team. All members of the team are either studying or working full-time and we spent every scrap of free time we had to work on this project in order to turn it from an idea to reality.

It also helps that we’re building a solution that might have a strong social impact. This social aspect is what I believe got us noticed by This Week in Startups and TechCrunch.

What are some of the challenges of innovating in the medical space?

Right now, the intersection of mobile technology and medical space is like the Wild West.

Traditionally, innovations in the medical space have only came from biotech and pharmaceutical giants who were governed by very strict rules and regulations by bodies such as the FDA. Conversely today, the only form of regulatory body that exists in the mobile apps space is Apple’s AppStore approval process. This has resulted in much confusion over the state of regulation of mHealth apps that the industry is slowly trying to solve.

Another obstacle is the fact that medical innovations have a hard time getting funded. An example of this would be Kickstarters refusing to sponsor any health or medical device ideas. This is further complicated by the need for large amounts of capital in order to survive the lengthy process of passing regulatory approval.

Along with regulatory approval, medicine is still quite a conservative industry that requires strong scientific evidence that an intervention works. This results in having to run lengthy and expensive scientific and clinical research to prove to our peers of the safety and efficacy of any innovation.

Who else do you think is doing cool stuff in these industries?

AliveCor have built an iPhone case that turns the iPhone into a portable electrocardiogram and have recently been cleared by the FDA.

Sanofi BGStar have an iPhone attachment that talks to a glucometer to transmit blood glucose levels directly to the smartphone for diabetics.

Max Little’s research amazing stuff if he can prove it works.

What related events do you find rewarding in Melbourne?

Melbourne has a relatively new HealthTech Meetup group run by Dr Pieter Peach that brings together Melbourne’s growing community of health technology entrepreneurs.

Melbourne Hack Nights for Humanity run by ThoughtWorks is a great opportunity for developers to donate their time and work on projects such OpenMRS (a healthcare record system for the developing world).

What’s next for StethoCloud and you?

We’re using the money that we’ve received from Microsoft’s Imagine Cup Grants program to run several research trials at Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital to validate our ideas and to bootstrap our dataset. In the meantime, we’ll also be pursuing FDA approval of our system for sale in the US and EC certification for sale in Europe and Australia. We’re also looking to partner with several other research institutes to use StethoCloud as their research platform.

Personally, I’m going to be spending 2013 working as an intern medical doctor by day while hopefully being able to run StethoCloud by night. Things will hopefully start to get interesting and it’s my hope that we will be able to begin the commercialization process in 2014.

Interview: Melbourne local, Scott Brewer, Art Processors — September 28, 2012

Interview: Melbourne local, Scott Brewer, Art Processors

This week, Jackie Antig interviews Scott Brewer, the CTO and Cofounder of Art Processors.

Name: Scott Brewer

Scott Brewer is the CTO and Cofounder of Art Processors, a company which designs and develops innovative mobile applications and content delivery systems for cultural institutions. The technology they’ve built has completely removed wall labels from the visitor experience. Imagine that!

Their first mobile museum guide app, The O, at the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) in Tasmania, runs on an iPod that is provided to every visitor. The O lists which artworks are near you as you walk throughout the museum, allowing you to decide which object to see next, generating a more exploratory museum experience. Each artwork in the app comes with an extensive bundling of rich content varying between curator commentary, personal emails and interviews with the artists and food-for-thought starters. We ultimately tailor what we learn and discover with what we find engaging and relevant with each work of art.

The O relies on data to feed content about the artworks and to identify where the visitor is within the building. It also generates a lot of information about individual visitor and collective audience behaviour. Scott Brewer talks to us about museum data, technology and of course, a little bit about art.

Museum data usually refers to a museum’s collection. How has Art Processors re-invented data in the museum context?

I believe we’ve made the data a museum has on offer available to the visitor in a way that hasn’t been previously achievable and that’s been our biggest re-invention.  When you go down to MONA (as an example), as a visitor you’re now able to access so much more content about works than is usually on offer in a more traditional setting.

It is strange, but by removing the wall label we’ve actually been able to increase the information available to visitors and make the aesthetic of the museum more focused on the works and less on the content. Win!

What excites you about the potential for this data? Are there things you’re cautious about too?

I think the most exciting thing about freeing this data is that it offers the visitor a more engaging and personal experience. The visitor is free to take in the works and then only seek out the information on those that they want to engage with; instead of being forced to read large wall texts that don’t hold interest, a museum can put that information onto a device for visitors and provide them with more works to view.

Are there plans to translate the personal data visitors kick up from their visit into shareable online content?

Funny you should mention it, we’re currently in the middle of working on improving user feedback within our platform!

The amount of research that takes place in ways to provide this functionality is staggering. Giving the visitor the chance to respond without bias and in a simple and intuitive way isn’t the easiest problem in the world to solve! Then there is the question of what to do with the content the visitor is creating and who owns it all.

So many questions to answer. We’re planning on putting new aspects of our software into beta later this year that will have some of these features, then we can start testing them on a small scale before rolling them out en masse. We are really excited about some of the possibilities that come with great user generated content though so hopefully we’ll get it done right.

Name an art movement or artist whose ideas about creation inspire your own take on building new products.

As anyone who knows me well knows I’m slightly obsessed with Dick Bruna. His use of colour and line just amazes me. His minimalist style is definitely an inspiration to me in most everything I do.

Although a lot of people probably write him off as simply being an author of childrens books, for me his ability to get it so right in such a succinct manner is something that more people should consider (especially in software development!).

Miffy: Dick Bruna’s infamous children’s book character

Learn More: Take a quick glance at the Art Processor’s video about The O for an overview. For a more leisurely stroll through the experience, jump over to Seb Chan’s account of using it first hand.

About our Ambassador // Jackie Antig is a product innovator who doubles as a wordsmith and visual designer. Insatiably curious, data junkie. Works in the trenches. Connect with her on Twitter @jantig.

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