About me

Hi, I’m Hugh. I build stuff.

These days I spend most of my time on Sked Social, a tool for businesses to use Instagram. I am also actively investing in startups (more here) and raising a fund (Galileo Ventures) focussed on identifying the best emerging founder startups across Australia and New Zealand.

I originally started my entrepreneurial career with Dialogue Consulting, which provided general strategy consulting services with a focus on digital and social technologies.

Want some more detail?

I’m a self-described “failed medical student”, leaving university with a science degree (the wooden spoon) after realising I was enjoying the entrepreneurial path far more than I would ever enjoy a medical career. I left (via attempting a PhD I never finished) to build and run a boutique strategy consulting company, Dialogue Consulting.

Through a number of projects, I’ve experienced the process of identifying market needs and developing specialist products (including finding the elusive ‘product-market fit’) along with the build, launch and marketing of the subsequent platforms.

I’ve been honoured to be named one of Australia’s top 30 under 30 entrepreneurs two years running, listed in the Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia, and consistently put my mind toward solving people’s problems in innovative and unique ways.

My work has crossed a wide range of sectors, and I regularly draw on my experience in the IT, healthcare, statistics, marketing analytics and risk management sectors. I have worked with brands ranging from federal and state government, healthcare institutions, multiple universities (including RMIT University, Monash University and the University of Melbourne) and private clients including AMP Financial, DDB, Lend Lease and not-for-profits like the Red Cross.

I occasionally ‘cut code’ (node.js / JavaScript / PHP if you’re interested) and know my way around Linux. I sometimes have a proclivity to disappear into R or RStudio to do statistical analysis. I’m often called a nerd, a title I readily embrace.

Bringing this together, what I really love to do is build things, and measure them. Build, launch, test, and iterate.

I love to work with people to build things that are useful to a business or their stakeholders, whether that’s a new communication channel, helpful tools/platforms or something altogether different.

As someone fully involved in the ‘lean’ or ‘agile’ methods of thinking (combined with ‘design thinking’ ideas), it’s vital to measure progress – so sometimes I might be writing something to collect a weird metric in a different way, analysing giant sets of data, or putting together a broad range of sources to work out a solution.

I appear frequently in the media to comment on the latest developments and disasters experienced by brands in the social media space, as well as on broader issues such as entrepreneurship, innovation and how larger companies can develop a “startup mindset”.

I currently mentor students studying entrepreneurship and innovation, and volunteer in my spare time to assist a number of not-for-profits and social enterprises in governance, strategy and startup culture.


Unfortunately I work with a very limited number of clients due to my schedule. Please do get in touch though if you’d like to discuss an opportunity, whether consulting or speaking. If I can’t help, I should be able to put you onto someone who can.



I was honoured to write a chapter in the book Rare Diseases in the Age of Health 2.0, published by Springer in 2014.

I’ve been published in a number of scientific journals, along with extensive interviews and commentary in the media.

Some of my scientific publications:

  • Australian Medical Association, New Zealand Medical Association, Australian Medical Students’ Association, New Zealand Medical Students’ Association [inc Stephens HO]. Social Media and the Medical Profession. A Guide to Online Professionalism for Medical Practitioners and Medical Students. 30 November 2010. Available online at AMA website.
  • Stephens H. Minors, confidentiality and healthcare: What crosses the line? Australian Medical Student Journal. 2011;2(1):8.
  • Mansfield SJ, Morrison SG, Stephens HO, Bonning MA, Wang SH, Withers AH, et al. Social media and the medical profession. The Medical Journal of Australia. 2011 Jun 20;194(12):642
  • Mansfield SJ, Bonning MA, Morrison SG, Stephens HO, Weng SH, Perry AW, et al. Social networking and health. Lancet. [Comment Letter]. 2011 Jun 18;377(9783):2083.


I’ve presented on all kinds of topics, from healthcare, privacy, social media, business, strategy and more. Below are some of my older (this was the highlights of my speaking agenda for 2010-12!) presentations, which need to be desperately updated!

  • “Privacy and Legal Issues in Social Media for Mental Health Services”,Lantern Mental Health 2.0 Unconference, Lantern Mental Health, 25 February 2010, Melbourne Australia. [conference post] [prezi slides]
  • “Youth, Privacy and Healthcare”, Watch This Space Conference, Office of the Victorian Privacy Commissioner, 21 May 2010, Melbourne Australia. [article link] [conference information] [prezi slides]
  • “The Medical Side of HIV/AIDS: Virology, Management and Prognosis”,Youth Pre-Conference to the International AIDS Conference, International AIDS Society & Vienna YouthForce, 14 July 2010, Vienna Austria. [session information] [conference site] [prezi slides]
  • “Youth at the forefront of global drug policy: learnings from other youth movements” (with Aram Barra), 6th International Conference on Drugs and Young People, Australian Drug Foundation, 2 May 2011, Melbourne Australia. [conference site] [partial prezi slides]
  • “Social Media Unplugged: Social Networking from a Policy Perspective” Youth Participation Practice Network meeting, 6 June 2011, Melbourne Australia. [prezi slides]
  • “Tools not Toys: Social Media Spaces, Policy & Strategy” Tools not toys: the use of Social Networking in the Arts, Regional Arts Victoria, 21 July 2011, Melbourne Australia. [prezi slides]
  • “Facebook Can Be A Friend Too”, Australian Teen Expo, 18 September 2011, Melbourne Australia.
  • “Social Media’s Role in the Alcohol and Other Drug Sector”, TurningPoint symposium on the new Victorian AOD strategy,  21 September 2011, Melbourne Australia. [symposium program]
  • “The Benefits of Social Media for Young People – And How to Keep Things that Way”, Lifeline Mid Coast Community Forum, 25 October 2011, Port Macquarie Australia. [prezi slides]
  • Panelist at “Hospital Alliance for Research Collaboration (HARC)  7th Forum: Bringing the Social Media Revolution to Health Care”, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, 9 November 2011, Sydney Australia. [program] [prezi slides]
  • Panelist at Youth Health 2011 Conference public forum “My street, my country, my world” 10 November 2011, Sydney Australia. [conference site]
  • “Using social media strategically and safely”, End Youth Homelessness Conference 2011, 24 November 2011, Sydney Australia [conference program] [PDF notes]
  • “Social Media in Small Business” Moira Shire Council Expo, 6 June 2012, Victoria Australia [prezi]
  • “Strengthening the Global HIV Response Through Social Media: How Health Professionals Can Use Social Media” [panel], International AIDS Conference, 24 July 2012, Washington, D.C. [slides] [program]
  • “Social Media & Web 2.0 to advance Human Rights of Young People & Adolescents”, International AIDS Conference, 26 July 2012, Washington, D.C. [Prezi] [program]
  • “Young People Who Use Drugs: Harm Reduction, Web 2.0 and Political Participation” International AIDS Conference, 25 July 2012, Washington, D.C. [Prezi] [program]
  • “Advocating for an issue that matters to you” Bayside City Council FutureGen Youth Conference, 7 September 2012, Melbourne Australia. [prezi]
  • Plus numerous workshops to various private organizations and groups on social media policy and strategy