iPad? iDon’t, says Jack Gray Conexus Financial – the publisher of the bundle of dead trees you hold now in your hands – also has its finger on the pulse of cutting edge media technology. At last month’s Fiduciary Investors’ Symposium at the Manly Novotel, we thought we had a lucky door prize guaranteed to wow delegates – an Apple iPad, just two days after its release in Australia. Interestingly for us, however, the prize was won by Jack Gray, the former GMO contrarian for whom a phrase such as ‘finger on the pulse of cutting-edge media technology’ is a cue to stick his fingers in his ears. Unbalanced had caught up with Gray that morning, after he’d walked out of a presentation by digital consultant Anthony Bertini, entitled ‘What’s changing the world – technology and more technology!’. “What a load of crap,” the funds manager was heard to grumble, taking particular exception to Bertini’s evangelising of, ahem, the Apple iPad. Gray assured us he thinks the internet is wonderful, but hates the “hype and bullshit” that has become a hallmark of the online age, particularly when every “latest gizmo” is hailed as making all before it redundant.

“Generally, we overestimate the impact of technology in the short-run and underestimate it in the long-run.” Gray certainly isn’t overestimating the usefulness of the iPad. He confirmed he put his prize straight on to eBay, and plans to replace it with Amazon’s Kindle. So why is the Kindle any better than Steve Jobs’ latest jobbie? Gray likes the fact that the Kindle does just the one thing, but does it well. However, he’s confident that in much the same way cinemas have survived and co-existed with television, books and magazines will be around for a long while yet. “You can’t spill coffee on a Kindle,” Gray pointed out.

Cold hospitality for HOSTPLUS chief We thought performance was looking better for super funds, so why was HOSTPLUS chief executive David Elia spotted sleeping rough in Melbourne last month? Turns out the fund exec was taking part in the St Vincent de Paul Society’s annual CEO Sleepout, which was held in capital cities around the country on the night of Thursday, June 17 and raised over $2.6 million for Vinnies’ services to the homeless. Elia hunkered down on the concourse of Etihad Stadiium, which he describes as a “concrete wind tunnel”, but he was thankful that at least it wasn’t the night before, where the mercury had plunged to minus 4 degrees Celsius. Elia and his fellow CEO sleepers, which included his mate Eugene Arocca from North Melbourne Football Club, had to contend only with 6 degree overnight temperatures. The HOSTPLUS chief, who’d been in the northern hemisphere summer only days before on the CMSF ‘Global Dialogue’ program, said he’d arrived at the Stadium “looking like the Michelin Man”, with thermals plus three of four layers, and even a couple of beanies. “The guys who’d shown up trying to make a fashion statement soon regretted it,” he said, particularly at about 10 pm, when “all of a sudden you could feel the temperature just drop”. Elia doesn’t think anybody got much sleep, particularly as the CEO Sleepout version of a mattress was a couple of pieces of cardboard to pop beneath your sleeping bag. “The whole experience certainly brought home how unfair it is that anybody is homeless,” Elia said, adding that he was still “feeling the cold” four days after enduring the night at Etihad. By the way, those who believe the financial services industry is greedy should take note: as of the 21st of last month, Elia’s night under the stars had been sponsored to the tune of $16,000, and this was with only a couple of days’ notice before the event. Great effort by the industry partners of HOSTPLUS. We should point out, by the way, that David was somewhat taken aback when Unbalanced phoned him about CEO Sleepout, having not wanted any publicity for his participation. We found out about it through that most modern of methods – a tweet from HOSTPLUS’ marketing department, congratulating the boss for being among the top four fundraisers in Melbourne.

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