It costs a lot to be this ironic
IN a confusing move, two Australian tech billionaires have used their shiny tech money to buy neighbouring rundown dumps.
Mike Cannon-Brookes and Scott Farquhar are the Hamish & Andy of the tech world. They invented some kind of fancy software and are now rolling in it — this year they were ranked in the top 10 richest people in Australia.
The boys can afford any home they want. As tech billionaires, they should be buying really elaborate homes where everything’s made of chrome and you can ask Google Home to flush the toilet.
But tech billionaires are complex people who love being ironic. Despite having zillions of dollars, they enjoy not wearing proper footwear and looking like they can’t afford shampoo. They ride unicycles to the office and love telling people they’ve never owned a suit.
But Cannon-Brookes and Farquhar have taken billionaire irony to a new level. They’ve bought two old houses, once belonging to the Fairfax family. They’re now best friends, business partners, and neighbours living in homes that smell like old people.
Farquhar snapped up the Elaine estate last year for a breezy $71 million. This week, Cannon-Brookes bought the neighbouring Fairwater estate for a reported $100 million.
Don’t let those eye-watering amounts fool you. While the Point Piper properties look like palaces from the outside, inside it’s as if time stood still. Weird wood panelling clings to the walls and lino peels up off the floor. Wi-fi has never been installed.
Renovations are absolutely necessary and we hope the boys go all out. The carved timber stairs will be replaced by a slippery dip. The sunken living room overlooking Sydney Harbour — which was once used to entertain some of the world’s most high-profile people — will be transformed into a ball pit.
Lady Fairfax would love it.
Scott Farquhar and Mike Cannon-Brookes.