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Gus Balbontin

Gus Balbontin

The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do. Former Executive Director and CTO of Lonely Planet Gus Balbontin is one of them. He’s an investor, entrepreneur, founder and explorer who has spent two decades helping businesses adjust strategies, products, services, culture and individuals to better deal with rapid and regular changing markets.

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Testimonials for Gus Balbontin

Gus was amazing – many people said he was the best presenter we have ever had!

Marshall White Real Estate

Gus is so compelling as a speaker.  His message is quite simple but the effective way he delivers his message of adapting to change and disruption is such a strong takeaway for our delegates.  Everyone has commented on how great his keynote was and we are always looking for an excuse to have him back!

National Vet Care

Gus was very accommodating and went out of his way to keep me updated with the flight delays from the Sydney weather. He made every effort to get there as soon as possible. His presentation was excellent and our key stakeholders and the delegates themselves thoroughly enjoyed it. The verbal feedback from delegates throughout the day following his presentation was nothing but fantastic. I’ll definitely be recommending to our team to use him for other events.

Lucy Bartram, BT Financial Group


Your presentation and then the workshop went brilliantly thank you. Your key messages were very relevant to an organisation in the midst of major transformation and they flowed freely from all delegates throughout the remainder of the conference. We received feedback from Managers and everyone that we spoke to found you engaging and inspirational. I am therefore confident that we will be seeking you out in the future to do more work together.  We also undertake an official feedback survey after each Managers Conference so I will pass on the survey  results when they are to hand. Again, thank you very much!

Steve Scholefield, Queensland Country Credit Union


Gus was down to earth, interactive and had some good new ideas / concepts that were presented in a new way. We appreciated his willingness to be fully engaged in the event, spending time with participants, offering assistance and generally being wonderful. We love presenters who are fully ‘there’ for us and Gus was definitely one of them.

Helen Black


Gus was fantastic! Highly engaging and lots of energy. We had many comments on the day about how interesting and engaging he was and also how his presentation was so aligned with our strategy and how much his messages resonated throughout the team. The examples and real life experiences he told really brought to life his key messages.

Lynne Machin, BT Financial Group


I spoke with Leanne from ICMI shortly after our event to advise her how pleased we were with your presentation. The feedback we had was overwhelmingly positive for your speaking spot. In fact, you were the most popular speaker from the entire event, with some delegates even saying they would hear you again next year! You really did a great job for us – thank you!

Head of Corporate Marketing & Communications, Indue 2015 Leadership Forum


Intelligent, Interesting, Inspirational. A great partner to our process that has help broaden our thinking and engage people in debating the opportunities contained in diverse opinions. We will definitely work with Gus again and use him to help sharpen our view of our own potential and refine the possibilities of the market place.

Phil McKenzie, WIDEX

Gus Balbontin Travels from VIC
Fee Range: :$5001 to $10000

Gus Balbontin's Biography

The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do. Former Executive Director and CTO of Lonely Planet Gus Balbontin is one of them. He’s an investor, entrepreneur, founder and explorer who has spent two decades helping businesses adjust strategies, products, services, culture and individuals to better deal with rapid and regular changing markets.

As the former Executive Director and CTO of Lonely Planet, Gus led one of the most loved brands in the world through significant disruption. Easier said than done, trust me. Gus remains heavily involved with the startup scene around the world as a founder, investor and advisor. In his spare time, he’s the Entrepreneur in Residence at Victoria University.

Gus will delve deep into the digital transformation of the past two decades, sharing stories of how so many companies mishandled this seismic shift and how today’s business leaders can capitalise on the disruption that’s still occurring today.

Born and bred in wild Patagonia, Gus Balbontin never allowed his small town and humble beginnings get in the way of his big dreams. A healthy disrespect for authority and a severe case of fomo (fear of missing out) landed him in Australia at the young age of 17.

By the age of 22 he had dropped out of uni, hitchhiked South America, set up his first business and landed his dream job at Lonely Planet. Fast forward a few more years and he was leading the company globally, working with companies such as Google X, Nokia and Amazon on the latest technology, creative cultures and high performing teams.

Seeking a change from corporate life, he hung up his boots as the Executive Director and CTO of Lonely Planet and decided to move back to his entrepreneurial roots, becoming an investor, founder and mentor across the start-up ecosystem in Melbourne. He loves sharing a story, but loves even more, knowing those stories make a difference to people, helping them in their own business and life.

Over the last 3 years Gus has presented to audiences of 10 across regional Australia and New Zealand, to audiences of 10,000 across North America, Europe, South America and Asia. To him there’s no difference. Small, large, private, public, board room to mail room, his lessons hit a chord, his simplicity disarms you, his energy infects you and his counterintuitive way of looking at the world will motivate you to do things different.

Often thought as futurist, not because he predicts the future, but instead because he helps you focus on what you can control to deal with any future. Still want to talk trends? Sure! He loves as much as the next person trying to imagine a world run by AI, but he warns that getting too distracted with future guesses will only take time away from you and your company to actually do something about the future.

He will blow you away with energy and insights into the transformation, struggles and successes of one of the most loved brands in the world.

Speaking Topics Include

Cultures of trust and accountability

Cultures of trust, psychological safety, autonomy and action. What does it take to treat everyone like an adult and feel responsible for change.

The fabric of team building and how to achieve high performance.

The leadership traits needed to harness the collective power of individuals and help them collaborate and cooperate in uncertain circumstances.

The importance of understanding self and how businesses start with each individual.

If we can hack the way our brain works and how we respond and behave we can change the culture of a place. After all, it is the sum of our behaviours and decisions that forms the performance of a business or a team.


Unlocking agility and adaptability

The challenges of corporate momentum and how to break traditional, repetitive business processes in favour of agile and more entrepreneurial models.

How to create structures and systems capable of supporting established AND emerging business models simultaneously.

Transforming industries, businesses, departments, teams and individuals to become more adaptable and succeed in rapid changing markets.


Customer focus and activating innovation

The importance of focusing on the customer and not business problems and the dangers of falling in love with your product and service

The power of simplifying innovation to its core: moving from an unsolved problem to a solved problem.

Practical tools to help turn the often vague concept of innovation into immediate action and how to involve everyone across the business or industry in the process.  -  We all have a role to play.

How our brain has evolved primarily to hunter-gather and not for current speed of advancement. We are at odds with our own instincts. Gus will help you love change and become aware of your instinctual rejection to change.


Future trends

Discussing future trends with an emphasis on what we can do now rather than what we could do later.

Spend less time guessing and more time doing something about the future. Talk is cheap, action difficult.

Gus comes from the future which helps!!!