Sunday, May 31, 2009

Absence of Evidence is not Evidence of Absence: Melbourne next Silicon Valley or an Immigrant Unfriendly City

I was in Melbourne during 18 - 23 May, a week before infamous attack on Indian Students.

This was my maiden visit to Australia. I must say , of all the countries I have visited so far (Americas, Europe, Asia, Middle East) I was most impressed by Australia. My first impression was that Australia is one of the best and safest place for Immigrant Indians. You find every fourth person Indian , more North Indian restaurants in Melbourne than in Bangalore or Kuala Lumpur, Cricket Bars, Melbourne Cricket Ground and an average person can be engaged in cricket conversation etc.
My Australian colleague told me that Melbourne has largest number of
immigrants in Australia and is most immigrant friendly city in Australia. Not only Indians, there is significant presence of other nationalities too in this city. A Case in point is Greeks (third largest Greek population in the world after Athens and one more city in Greece). Similar statistics for other nationalities too..

I found average native Australian walking on the road more friendly and approachable than most of the other western countries. Asking for photo click led to a short conversation and smile...Are you on a holiday? Should I click one more pic with different background? Have you visited MCG? Are you tracking IPL?

For a moment, I was comparing Melbourne to Silicon Valley. Having done extensive work on Cities and Clusters of Competitiveness in my earlier role, I was tempted to think about the possibility of Melbourne as next Silicon Valley ? (That was my to do list to study more in detail)

Little I felt that I will be turned wrong by destiny of events in the next week itself. It is like Taleb mentioned in "Fooled by Randomness", Absence of Evidence doesn't mean there is Evidence of Absence. Absence of evidence of racial related crimes doesn't mean that there is evidence of absence of racial related crimes and this a safe city. A single event ( Black Swan ) is enough to turn hypothesis of Melbourne most immigrant friendly city and next Silicon Valley wrong.

Irony is that I was staying in a hotel on Spring Street opposite to Victorian Parliament and was thinking about competitiveness of Melbourne -- the same place where Indian Community led their agitation rally today i.e. a week later...