Digital whiz kid inspires others to use technology
Scott Millar has achieved more than most people his age. This busy 17 year-old is the CEO and founder of his own business, runs STEM-maker workshops to get people involved with science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM), and juggles study for grade 12 exams.
As CEO and founder of Brisbane-based startup, BOP Industries, Scott provides holographic entertainment to companies around Australia. His passion for sharing technology has also earned him the role of (one of our youngest) Advance Queensland Community Digital Champion.
What inspired you to start your own business at such a young age?
I’m a member at Little Tokyo Two coworking space and I find inspiration every time I visit. Seeing members from all walks of life collaborating to achieve amazing things is great motivation to achieve amazing things myself.
It’s a cliché, I know, but my family has also been a massive influence on my journey. My father and grandfather both run their own businesses and my mother has an inspirational work ethic.
I am constantly inspired by our workshop participants. Every time I see their eyes light up as they see themselves as a hologram, or gasp when our artificial intelligence boxes respond to their questions, I am reminded why I do what I do. Hearing their own awesome ideas and receiving emails about how they’re using technology motivates me to keep innovating.
What excites you about the work you’re doing?
Digital is such an exciting space to work in at the moment. Technology is advancing so rapidly that there is always something new to try. I am constantly pushed to do better, dream bigger and perform higher to ensure we are the best company we can be.
In the long term, what do you hope to achieve with your business?
Holograms are just a starting point for what I hope to do. I’m using holograms to make new and emerging technologies accessible to all, bridging the gap between the ‘techies’ and everyone else. I hope to show people that no matter what their background, they can use these technologies
I made my first hologram display in my room late at night using cut out CD cases. It cost me all of 50 cents and one free YouTube tutorial. I don’t have a background in tech, so it really goes to show how much you can learn if you have the desire to do so. There is so much free content online these days, the sky is the limit.
What motivated you to become an Advance Queensland Community Digital Champion?
What I hope to do as a Digital Champion is make technology fun, creative and easy to understand for people of all ages. So often people think of technology as writing hundreds of lines of code in complex languages that takes years to master. While that’s one part, I want to show people that technology doesn’t have to be so complex. Technology can be used to create beautiful things and unlock all sorts of potential for people from all walks of life.
What drives you to want to make your home town, Brisbane, better?
The work Advance Queensland, Digital Brisbane and Minister Leeanne Enoch are doing to promote technology and innovation is fantastic. Queensland is really becoming the place to be for startups and innovation in Australia and I am so glad to be a part of that.
What does digital literacy mean to you?
Bridging the digital gap between generations is very important to me. While students are learning about all sorts of new and exciting technologies, other people are getting left behind. I want to make new technologies available and easy to use for all.
What is your advice to people who want to improve their digital literacy but don’t know where to start?
Don’t be afraid to ask your kids, grandkids or the local librarian to help you learn some new skills. Ask them to show you how to make a basic website, or how to use Facebook and they will be more than happy to help.
There are a range of online tutorials and videos that can help you learn all kinds of digital skills. You can also look online to find digital skills workshops in your local area. Go along and don’t be afraid to ask questions.
What is the best advice you’ve received?
The best advice I have ever received was from my grandfather, who ran his own furniture shop. He said, you have to sell yourself before you can sell anything else. If people like you, they will buy whatever you are selling. No one wants to do business with someone who is only there for the sale, they want someone genuine.