The Nifsan Affair

There was never a Nifsan Affair. That is actually the whole gist of this little story.

In 2000 Bond University was approached by Nifsan, a property developer. Property development in Australia is big money and since IT was extremely promising at that time, Nifsan decided to invest into a potential Internet-related product, possibly a start-up.

So they rang up Gopal Gupta, the Dean of the IT faculty at that time and he arranged a meeting. For Nifsan alone 6 people turned up demonstrating that they were rather serious about this. One of them presented the product they had in mind and we were asked for an opinion.

I gave them an instant (probably horribly incomplete and misleading) assessment what they might realistically expect but they seemed quite happy with it. At the end they suggested that we from Bond should come up with a handful of business ideas and that we should talk further.

So I spent a couple of days researching and writing business cases and product and service descriptions. Gopal had his own pet project - some administration software for local GPs (general practictioners) - so I embroidered it a little and added it too. Gopal passed this on.

Weeks later I was reminded of Nifsan and asked Gopal whether he had heard any news from them. In his unrivalled way Gopal waved a lot with his hands dismissively. Which always told me that he has messed up something, but would rather have preferred not to discuss it.

Yes, they wrote back and were interested. Actually, they wanted one or two people working on some of the proposals full-time.
  • Very good! And?

I asked.

Look Robert, ...

Here it comes.

.... I cannot spare you or someone else one minute. You have to do the teaching.

This was sooo unsmart on sooo many levels. It was as if one would say in an interview (also attached):

In fact, the mentality there (at Bond University, ed.) is very much like the public sector of the 1980s and not very enterprising,...

Oh! This was Gopal himself!

That moment I decided to take private notes. Only 279 stories more to go.

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