Daniel McKinnon is inventing new tech for healthier lives
This is Me: A regular insight into Sunshine Coast personalities...
Daniel McKinnon is the director of Appfactory, the longest running specialist mobile and now voice software company in Australia based in Mooloolaba.
He has spent over 20 years developing innovative technology solutions both here in Australia and in the UK.
He is now focused solely on building technology that makes people happier and healthier and does a happy-dance every time someone stops staring into their phone screen. You can catch him swimming The Spit to Mooloolaba most lunchtimes.
1. Favourite time of day and why?
Early morning. Whether it is a crack-of-dawn ocean swim, one-on-one time with my early rising 6-year-old girl, or a focused start to the working day, it's when I feel most engaged and active. My 20-something self would never have believed it.
2. What excites you?
Watching people use our technology to help them achieve things they thought were previously impossible. The day we made it possible, through a world-first app that linked a braille machine and a conversation relay officer, for a deaf-and-blind lady to independently phone and talk with her Mum for the first time stands out.
In my personal life it's swimming out the back in big surf. An All Blacks try from 60 metres out. Hearing a new song that grabs you by the heart.
3. Favourite sport? Player or spectator?
Okay I've given this away: as a spectator it is rugby and the All Blacks all the way. For a Kiwi, that obsession with the black jersey never leaves you. As a player, I love squash and the individual challenge that it provides - but it is a very hot sport to play in Queensland!
4. Best childhood memory?
So many. I never forget walking down to the beach in Auckland through the horse paddocks and letting the horses lick the salt off my polystyrene surfboard. As an older kid, I have fond memories of sitting on the hill at Ballymore Stadium in Brisbane watching the rugby on a Sunday afternoon.
5. Where were you born?
Yep - Auckland, New Zealand. I have been fairly nomadic since then. We left NZ when I was 12 and moved to Brisbane where I finished high school and studied I.T. at Griffith University, right before the dot.com boom. Straight after that my (future) wife and I moved to London for eight years. Then we moved to Sydney for another eight before making the move to the Sunshine Coast before the arrival of our second child.
6. Where would you like to holiday?
Anywhere I haven't yet been... with the exception of a few old favourites. The favourites to return to include Italy, South America, Colorado USA, and always New Zealand. Somewhere with good snow always helps.
7. Cats or dogs? Do you have a pet?
Cats. Although the cats I had growing up were more like dogs. We have no pets now due to our travel schedule and some family allergies. The PrePet pet-challenge app that Appfactory developed (with a couple of local families) is the closest our kids have managed to get - much to their disappointment.
8. Who are your heroes?
As an old skateboarder and tech-guy I have been inspired by Rodney Mullen all my life. He is the godfather of street-skating who epitomised what can be achieved through purposeful practice. He is now an influential speaker and his Ted talks are brilliant (even for non-skaters). I've sent his agent an enquiry about getting him to come out to Australia and speak but no response yet! I might need some fellow skaters to help me with the speaking fee.
9. Dream job?
I love my job and the work we do so am loathe to say otherwise. However, if someone offered me the chance to be a formula-one driver I wouldn't need to think for too long. I'm not a rev-head but I love the combination of speed and precision required on a racetrack.
10. What will you be doing in 10 years?
I'll still be building technology that makes people happier and healthier. I'll be laser focused on one project at a time. The kids will be teenagers so I might spend a lot of time worried and confused. I'll be swimming in the ocean and kissing my wife every day.
11. What's the best thing about living on the Sunshine Coast?
The attitude of the people here. I am constantly amazed by the positivity and "get-it-done" approach of our community. This region has a big future and I encourage everyone to be part of shaping it. And, of course, being able to jump in the ocean everyday - the cure for any ailment.