Michael Cannon-Brookes snr, father of the Atlassian co-founder with the same name, features in an amazing profile in the Australian Financial Review today.
It’s titled “How I raised a son who became Atlassian billionaire” and details the father’s impressive career in the finance sector in his own right, having launched Citibank in Australia more than 30 years ago when then treasurer Paul Keating deregulated the banking system.
Mike snr worked with the best, both here and overseas, from Freehills to Westpac under Bob Joss and IBM, so you can see that the apple didn’t fall too far from the tree in his son’s case.
The profile details how Michael jnr grew up pretty much an only child because his older sisters were at boarding school in England.
He went to Cranbrook, the private school in Sydney’s eastern suburbs that educated both James and Kerry Packer, David Gyngell, James Fairfax and Rodney Adler, before studying business information at the University of NSW, where he met co-founder Scott Farquhar.
While his father raised his children to deal with a “multicultural, multinational milieu” so that “whatever nationality you’re with or dealing with, to them it’s not even a question, they’re just used to it”, his son did not want Mike snr’s peripatetic life working for global companies.
But the most fascinating insights of the profile explain much about the culture at Atlassian.
As the AFR’s Joanne Gray says:
He and his wife taught their children to be humble and treat everyone equally, regardless of their station in life. This is reflected in Atlassian’s laser focus on being the employer of choice, its charitable foundation and values of “no bullshit” and “don’t f— the customer”.
And dad’s advice on raising successful children is advice everyone should take to heart:
“The only lasting things that you can pass on to your children are not assets, but your value system, and yourself as the best role model you can be.”
You can read the full AFR story here.
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