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Gus Balbontin

Gus Balbontin

With a background in investing, advising and founding new start ups, Gus Balbontin speaks on digital disruption, business transformation, business innovation and culture. As former ED and CTO of Lonely Planet, Gus shares lessons learned that are thought provoking and insightful.

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Testimonials for Gus Balbontin

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

Born and bred in the Argentinean Patagonia, Gus dreamt of travelling the world from the age of eight when he first told his family that rather than studying, he was just going to travel.


By the time he was 17, after baking hundreds of cakes in what became a very successful small cake enterprise, he won a scholarship which landed him in Byron Bay.  The year-long trip to Australia would ultimately change his life.


Not only did he meet his future wife and now mother of their three beautiful kids, Gus came to believe that travelling is a state of mind before anything else.


With this belief, a small backpack and dreams of great adventures, he crisscrossed South America racking up 40,000 kilometres without spending a cent. During that time, he spent countless hours talking to travellers and dreaming about helping travel guide companies make better products: 'this content is so old, I can help them fix it' he suggested to anyone who would listen.


Eventually, he returned to Australia picking macadamia nuts, running a tennis school and starting an import export company, but a small ad in a newspaper offering work at a travel company was too good to ignore.


Armed with the quintessential Aussie 'give-it-a-go' spirit and encouragement from his family, he applied.


The odds were against him and on the back of his enthusiasm and travel experience he managed to secure a designer role at none other than Lonely Planet.


As far as Gus was concerned, he had landed the job of his life.


Fast forward to 2014; after eight roles within Lonely Planet, having completed an MBA and spent hundreds of hours on planes, Gus had progressed to leading Lonely Planet with a team as passionate about the businesses place in traveller's lives as he was. Gus ultimately rose to be Chief Technology Officer and one of three executive directors of Lonely Planet before hanging up the boots and calling it a day.

He had done what he set out to do. The team he had led had launched e-books, apps, implemented new company wide software, reset directions in China and India and restructured the business to put it back in the black.  With this team of extraordinary people Gus re-invented the speed of content production, reengineered the product creation process and pioneered a new mindset of collaboration in what was and still remains an amazing travel brand.


Gus has worked closely with some of the biggest companies in the world developing cutting edge technology and products including Google X, Nokia, Apple, Amazon and more.


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

How to create an innovation culture in your business and why it’s critical

Focusing on the critical innovation qualities of curiosity, courage and resilience.

Start-ups within businesses, lessons learnt.

Innovation through acquisition of small start-ups: challenges, pros and cons.


Business Disruption: the stories of business transformation in the ever reinventing media industry

How to focus on the real problem and stay close to the customer through disruption.

How business systems and structures can own you and stop you from transforming and chasing the market.

How investing in people, hiring and developing the innovation culture required to re-invent your business.


Inspiration and career advice

From humble beginnings to leading one of the most amazing travel brands in the world.

How to own your career and invest in the business of you.

Building networks - the art of giving instead of taking.