Gihan Perera

Biography and other resources for conference speaking

On a warm spring day in September 1988, I realised the Internet would change the world.

In 1988, very few people knew there was an Internet. But, as a student studying for my Honours degree in Computer Science at the University of Western Australia, we had access to advanced computing facilities, including the early Internet. We didn’t have Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Foursquare, Groupon or Google, but we had e-mail, discussion groups, chat rooms, and a lot of the things we now call social media.

I clearly remember that day, when I, a lowly undergraduate student, connected by e-mail with Dr. Hans Berliner, the world's leading expert in his area of artificial intelligence research. The connection was made by a mutual acquaintance in a discussion group – the sort of thing we would do with Facebook or Twitter today.

At that moment, sitting at a computer terminal in the Robotics Laboratory in the Computer Science department of a university in the most remote city in the world, my world changed. It changed because I realised the world had changed. I suddenly appreciated the awesome power of this world-wide network of computers we call the Internet – and, more importantly, what it meant for connecting people.

A few years later, when the World Wide Web was born, I saw the business world sit up and take notice. And in 1997, the year after I visited every Web site in the world in a day, I started my Internet consulting business. The Web was young, spam was just a luncheon meat, and Google was just a twinkle in its owners' eyes. I founded First Step Communications, one of Australia's earliest Web design businesses. Since that time, it's grown to include clients in every continent, except Antarctica. I still operate as CEO in that business, while also running my own consulting/speaking business.

In that time, I've worked with some of Australia's leading thought leaders, change agents and entrepreneurs, helping them leverage their expertise, individually and in groups, on and off the Internet.

Over time, I've learned from the masters of persuasion and influence – including professional speakers, trainers, coaches, politicians, advertisers, marketers, magicians, hypnotists, con artists, salespeople, negotiators and business leaders.

I'm an entrepreneur, business consultant, speaker, mentor and interviewer. I love writing, and I've published ten books, numerous e-books and a series of audio programs.

In June 2012, Forbes magazine included me at #5 in its worldwide list of the Top 10 Social Media Influencers in Book Publishing.

My formal background is in science and technology, but I've always been interested in people and the way they communicate. I don't love technology for its own sake. But I do love it when we control and leverage technology to communicate a message and live a happier life. If you want to deliver your ideas, products and services to more people for more impact and more money, I can show you how.

I live in the world's most livable city – Perth, Australia – and enjoy an enviable lifestyle, with my own home, my own business and my own teeth.