Friday, 08 November 2019 11:13

VIDEO Interview: John McAfee will speak at StartCon 2019


Yes, that John McAfee, the famed security pioneer, libertarian, keynote speaker and independent US 2020 Presidential Candidate, will speak at StartCon 2019 and we have a video interview with him.

US 2020 Presidential Candidate John McAfee will be a keynote speaker at StartCon, billed as "Australia’s leading technology, startup, corporate innovation & growth conference" to be held at Royal Randwick Racecourse on Friday 22nd and Saturday 23rd November 2019.

At StartCon, McAfee will speak live video on the topics of freedom, privacy and technology including cryptocurrency, computer security, blockchain and his new decentralised currency exchange McAfeeDex.

Freelancer CEO Matt Barrie to interview McAfee on his political campaign and how innovation can win back privacy and freedom.

McAfee will join over 55 global leaders in technology including Australia’s 29th Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and experts from eBay, Lyft, Airbnb, Airwallex, Uber, The Iconic, and more, during the two day event, with 4000+ attendees, 160 exhibitors and hundreds of startups in attendance.

A lifelong advocate of personal freedom, StartCon reminds us that "McAfee now applies his passion, energy and vision to evangelising blockchain and cryptocurrency adoption. He uses his reach to encourage individuals to look beyond investing at all of the positive social change made possible by the blockchain.

"In 2016 McAfee ran for President of the United States on a platform of Freedom, Privacy and Technology. He is running again in 2020, this time to draw public attention to the blockchain and cryptocurrency revolution."

McAfee said: "Cryptocurrencies will either free us or further enslave us depending on the choices that we make now," he says.

Matt Barrie, Chief Executive and Founder of says, “John McAfee is a world renowned technology entrepreneur, having founded McAfee Antivirus. His fame has only grown since then, running as a US Presidential Candidate and he is now universally known as a vocal activist for privacy and freedom through technology. John’s tweets constantly hit global headlines and move entire markets.

I look forward to debating the escalating battlefield for privacy and freedom as technology facilitates both a creeping infringement and increasing ability to protect one’s rights, and new missions including his presidential campaign and McAfeeDex, with John at StartCon.”

Here's the video interview with John McAfee, followed by a transcript, which is then followed by more info on StartCon and even more speakers:

Transcript of interview (done by and lightly edited by me, apologies to John if some words are mangled but the video is directly above) - the article continues below!

Alex: Well, thank you for joining me for another iTWire and Alex on Tech video. I'm joined today by John McAfee, famous computer security entrepreneur, libertarian, keynote speaker, and independent US 2020 Presidential Candidate. Welcome to the program!

John McAfee: Thank you very much, Alex.

Alex: So I thought the first thing I wanted to clear up is your name pronounced MAC-a-fee or mac-A-fee, you know, where's the emphasis placed?

John McAfee: Well, my parents told me it was MAC-a-fee. Yeah, but I mean, they did lie to me. Other things like Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny. So, you know, call it what you like.

Alex: Now, IT security has never been more important today, and incredibly, plenty of people are still completely clueless about it. So what was the idea that sparked your desire to create McAfee back in 1987?

John McAfee: Well, I mean, for the first time, a new software technology emerged called computer virus programs that could replicate themselves like living viruses, move from machine to machine and do all sorts of devastating stuff, or sometimes humorous stuff.

The first one came out, it came out in 1987. I got a copy of it. As soon as I looked at it, I realised how it worked. And I also realised how to stop it. And so I just wrote a little program to stop it. Put it up on my bulletin board system. We didn't have the internet back then. And the next thing you know, millions of people were using it!

Alex: So, you famously made a video that talks about how to uninstall the more modern versions of McAfee, or McAfee sorry, oh, I always say McAfee [the emphasis on the A]. But what's your view of the security today? Yeah. What's your view of the security landscape as we hurtle towards 2020 and the new decade that entails?

John McAfee: Which landscape do you mean?

Alex: The security landscape. Given your history, you know.

John McAfee: The truth is that we don't have much computer security anymore. I mean, hackers have shifted from a playing field of technology where they write programs or break into systems through other systems and to a paradigm of social engineer.

Why bother trying to break into somebody's system where you can find out who the IT bosses secretary is.

You can follow her for two weeks, surreptitiously find out what sort of men she likes. Make sure that she meets that right man and maybe two months later, she's doing things for someone she's falling in love with. That's an extreme example.

A less extreme example is just calling and saying hi. You know live with the IT managers from Central. Hi, John McAfee here. You know, I got a comment from the IT manager, my secretary and he did not write his name down, please. I'm so embarrassed. What's his name?

Give him like that. Oh, that's James Smith. All right, James, thank you very much I'll call back. That's how it was done. Why bother writing code when people are so flawed in their own security and understanding of what's expected of them?

So, I don't know. I don't know the answer. I mean, which is one of the reasons I'm no longer in that business. I don't have an answer. I don't think and I know we have no security and we certainly have no privacy.

And I was like in Australia, but you want a street corner. In any city in America. You got 25 cameras, from rooftops and corners, looking at you watching you walk in public building their science going, everything is recorded in this building. Good God, all mine. We have privacy. I have not. And Google was cooperating with the federal government to give them all kinds of what they think is innocuous information like where you are. Once you're doing what you're buying as if excellent.

Well, to me it is. I don't want anybody knowing where I am and what I'm doing now because I've got something to hide, because it's nobody's fucking business but mine. So I'm security, you know, I think who wants to know and I don't know what the answer. That's why I'm in the blockchain. blockchain is an immutable record off truth, which I love. And it is a paradigm that is going to change this world.

Alex: So, can you give us a sneak peek on what you'll talk about during your keynote and in conversation with Freelancer CEO Matt Barrie in a couple of weeks?

John McAfee: Yeah, primarily want to talk about the sovereign individual's relationship to government, and how crypto currency has already changed that. And we'll change it dramatically in the future.

And I'll talk about what I anticipate government's reactions are going to be, which will not be pleasant. We're going to have a lot of laws against cryptocurrency and the individuals responsibility to themselves to both understand this technology and apply it to their lives to free themselves from the financial control of governments, banks and financial institutions. That's basically summing it up.

Alex: I know that we're very short on time, but if you could just as a final question to share what you what might be the best advice you've received in life, to help you get where you are today?

John McAfee: Yeah, that's from my grandfather. And the advice is, do what you love, and nothing else. And whatever you're doing, if you stop loving it, stop doing it immediately and do something else. That's the best advice I've ever had. And I live by that. I'm happy to pass along to anybody with the right set of ears to hear.

Alex: Well, John McAfee, thank you so much for your time. Looking forward to seeing your speech with Matt berry during start con. So thank you and best of luck with the rest of your interviews today.

John McAfee: Thank you. Thank you. Goodbye.

Note: Transcript of interview (done by and lightly edited by me, apologies to John if some words are mangled but the video is directly above if you want clarity) - the article continues below!

You can follow John McAfee on Twitter here.

StartCon reminds us that it "brings together the world’s best experts to provide actionable insights into how to start and growing world class technology driven businesses. Whether you are an entrepreneur, corporate innovator, working at a startup or are thinking about starting a business - if there is one event you must attend this year - it’s StartCon.

"StartCon 2019 will feature expert workshops, a tech expo, hackathon, masterclasses, a FinTech stage, a Disruption stage, VIP lounge and an artificial intelligence (AI) stage. Guests can also attend networking events, experience live gaming and visit a startup alley that includes some of the most innovative businesses in the local market and across Asia."

Joining John McAfee at StartCon 2019 on November 22-23 will be speakers including:

International Speakers:

  • Malcolm Turnbull, 29th Prime Minister of Australia
  • Jenny Arden, Director of Design @ Lyft, formerly AirBnb
  • Joe Fahed, Global Products Operations Manager @ Uber
  • Tony Aug, CTO & VP, Technology & Strategy, Digital @ Arrow
  • Petra Hofer, Technology Leadership Advisor, fmr eBay Director of Technology
  • Dan Lok, Founder, Influencer @
  • Eric Siu, Owner and CEO @ Single Grain
  • Alberto Antinucci, Digital Innovation Strategist & China Expert @ Antinucci Consulting
  • Katie Burke, Chief People Officer @ Hubspot
  • Amy Peck, Senior Director of Enterprise Content @ Vive Studios
  • and more!

Local Speakers include:

  • Fred Schebesta, CEO & Co-founder @ Finder
  • Ashik Ahmed, CEO, CTO & Co-founder @ Deputy
  • Vivek Bharadwaj, Marketing Science @ THE ICONIC
  • Dr Jemma Green, Executive Chairman & Co-founder @ Power Ledger
  • Chris Smith, Founder & Director @ BIG Esports
  • Craig Rees, VP & Head of Engineering @ AirWallex
  • Taryn Williams, CEO & Founder @
  • James Spencely, VC Investor & Mentor @
  • Greg Cross, Serial Entrepreneur @ Soul Machines
  • Alex Moss, CEO & Head Designer @ Canaria
  • Daniel Wearne, Head of Design @ Up Banking
  • Alex McCauley, CEO @ StartupAus
  • Sarah Tang, VP, Enterprise @
  • Helen Souness, CEO @ RMIT Online
  • Randall Noble, COO @ Hive Gaming
  • Dr Michelle Perugini, CEO & Co-founder @ Presagen
  • Simon Banks, Managing Director & SVP @ HyperWallet
  • Ali Anderson, Manager of Outreach Programs @ Australian Institute for Machine Learning
  • and more!

More StartCon 2019 speakers will be announced in the coming weeks.

StartCon 2019 features multiple tracks for startups, marketing and growth professionals, designers, engineers, tech experts and corporate innovators and is jam-packed with:

  • Expert workshops
  • Tech expo
  • Hackathon
  • Masterclasses
  • FinTech stage
  • Disruption stage
  • Artificial intelligence stage
  • VIP lounge
  • Multiple networking events
  • Live gaming
  • Kids coding camp
  • Startup alley that includes some of the most innovative businesses across Asia

More details here



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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.



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