What’s the DIF? Vic Gov’s Digital Innovation Festival

On Friday I managed to get to a panel event featuring one of my favourite speakers debating the issue of whether or not there is a skills shortage in cyber security in Oz or not, at one of my least favourite hours of the morning.

(Before business hours is never my cup of tea but Di Fleming most certainly is.)

Imagine my surprise then, when I discovered that Friday morning’s breakfast do was actually the opener for a State Government sponsored festival that hitherto I hadn’t even heard about, despite actively looking for tech stuff in Melbourne to write about. I was even more surprised to hear that will have over four hundred events.

Geez. They could have invested in some advertising…

I hit the festival website and lo and behold. No calendar interface. Just a PDF download labelled “June 2018“.


One web-dinosaur expedition into manual transposition from page to calendar it is then.

I read further. It seems to me that the DIF is taking a leaf out of the City of Melbourne’s ‘White Night’ playbook, in which you borrow the brand from somewhere else, (Russia, for example, where they actually have a white night for people to stay awake throughout and do stuff) and you apply a bit of marketing budget to create a hollow shell of an idea and ask the private, education and NGO sectors to fill in the blanks with events and activities that already existed in many cases; that you didn’t fund, and don’t necessarily endorse.


This would explain the claim to be hosting more than four hundred events, without sending the state broke… What it doesn’t explain is why I had no idea about any of them.

Did they know they needed to spend money on advertising?

As you know, ‘Tech and the City’ showcases free and interesting tech, data and cultural events in Melbourne, and whilst the are free events included in the program, (noted below) it looks as though there are plenty of standard issue paid talks and sales fronts of the kind that charge money to hear a digital nomad using hullaballoo and bluster to forcibly get you to buy into a lot of unbeareable, neuro linguistic programming premised ‘woo!’ (or ‘woot!’).


I Simon Cowell these type of situations, as in: “it’s a No from me.”

For the record, the vast majority of what I was exposed to as an advisor to a Shadow Minister restated the same thing others had already said, in some one way shape or form. It’s the reason that I’m focussing on free events.

On a more personal note, if I wanted to wilfully expose myself to NLP, I’d date someone who’s been to one of those INCEL sponsored ‘What women really want” courses that teach men how to perpetuate the patriarchy.

Double Yuk.

The Digital Innovation Festival event program doesn’t seem to include very many of the aforementioned 400 events… I note that some of the webinars pre-date the festival, so that’s curious.

From what I can see, I’ve already inadvertently signed up to at least three of the five very interesting free events on Eventbrite without knowing that they were part of a festival. As in, they’re not branded terribly well. I reinterate my earlier point, State of Victoria, did we read the full detail of how White Night works?

All of them are in the Tech and the City blog Google calendar.

You can sign up to Pearcey day (and hopefully the Pearcey oration) here.

Fun Fact

Did you know at least fifty percent of people who have RSVPd to free events in Melbourne are no shows?

This means that if you miss the cut off date, as I’ve done with this event and for some reason you can’t pull strings, can’t contact the organisers or go on a waitlist, and you’re just determined to bluff your way in, just showing up is not the worst idea in the world.

If you have the risk appetite and the time to kill, why not try it?

I will see you at “the future of brain-computer interfaces and challenges they present” if you dare.





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