#031: Serving up the Salt - Demography & Smashed Avocado - Bernard Salt AM

By Jordan Michaelides
September 13, 2017

Bernard Salt 1

Image:  Bernard Salt

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Bernard Salt AM (@BernardSalt) is a demographer, futurist, author, columnist and business advisor. Bernard is easily one of the most highly regarded demographers in Australia, known by most millennials for the misrepresentation of his famed ‘smashed avocado’ satire piece.

Statistics and raw data that are accurately formulated, provide you a holistic view of what is actually happening in your world (whether it's the economy, an industry, community or family). Too often, people are making decisions on career and business by a feeling, and finding data to support that confirmation bias.  

How many relatives do you find that deny realities like climate change and cherry-pick statistics, - rather than the entire data set - to identify what is actually happening? There are countless examples like this in your life. 

Demographics and forecasting are crucial to making smart decisions, and that’s why I wanted to introduce you to one of the preeminent forecasters with Bernard.

What I like about Bernard, is that he succinctly uses data to narrate a story that integrates realities of the world around us. It’s clear that hearing Bernard speak, or by reading his written work, that sociology and entertainment also frame a crucial aspect of what is happening in our world - to the point where he can describe accurately what our society was like at certain points of time.

My own biases were challenged in this interview. We spoke about the current view of housing, and how migration is transforming how we should navigate the housing market. Those same migratory patterns, Bernards explanation of Australia’s position in Asia, and previous discussions with guests have made me realise that Australia needs to start separating itself from the US and start acting as a neutral power in Asia - it’s our only future.

I think that you’ll really enjoy this conversation and Bernard’s work. Key points we covered were:

  • How and why he got into demography

  • That ‘smashed avocado’ article

  • The current housing situation

  • How he keeps informed

  • Advice to those who wish to be in his space

  • Looking at demography from another perspective

  • How he gets out of his headspace

  • His prediction of megatrends for the future

  • The China focus of a post GFC world

  • If he became PM tomorrow

  • Businesses paying attention to wider demographics

  • Mistakes businesses often make

  • Innovation in Australia - how do we compete against Silicon Valley?

  • The leaders in the field of demography


Enjoy the episode, 
Jordan & Lauren





Show notes

  • How and why he got into demography {07:30}

  • On that ‘smashed avocado’ article {13:05}

  • On the current housing situation {17:28}

  • How he keeps informed {21:49}

  • Advice to those who wish to be in his space {24:45}

  • Looking at demography from another perspective {26:55}

  • How he gets out of his headspace {30:29}

  • His prediction of megatrends for the future {33:55}

  • The China focus of a post GFC world {38:28}

  • If he became PM tomorrow {44:57}

  • On businesses paying attention to wider demographics {48:14}

  • Mistakes businesses often make {50:25}

  • Innovation in Australia - how do we compete against Silicon Valley? {53:55}

  • The leaders in the field of demography {59:52}

  • Music playlist currently {01:02:51}

  • Last three books he read {01:03:30}

  • Lessons learnt from his parents {01:04:42}

  • Something that seems obvious to him, but not to others {01:06:23}

  • If he could have a billboard anywhere {01:06:56}


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