WDTAD [What Do They Actually Do?]

Company / Person: Atlassian Corporation plc


WDTAD is not really a legal series of posts. It is more the result of me wondering what a particularly company or person, that seems to get a lot of media and business attention, actually does in reality.


Today’s business is the recent NASDAQ-listed, Australian born, Atlassian Corporation plc. Here is their Sydney office. Kinda understated, huh?

CornX closeup

If you do a search on the Australian Financial Review website for ‘Atlassian’, you get (as of today’s date) 312 articles. They’re also mentioned in less pretentious media sources as well, usually with respect to them having this ‘no bulls$#@’ policy and being the best employer in Australia with a cool office and great staff benefits.


All of this is true, but one thing I have always struggled to figure out is exactly what it is that they sell, and who they sell it to. Where is their reported $7 million of net income for financial year 2015 coming from?


I’ve read their prospectus for their recent listing on NASDAQ in the United States and I think I have some idea now, and thought others might be interested as well.


They design, program and sell software.


Cool, huh. Not like anyone else does that.


They like the buzzword ‘teamwork’ too, so much that their ticker on NASDAQ (that is, the code that flies past the bottom of the screen when you watch exciting programs like CNN) is ‘TEAM’.


So, they make software for teams. Now we are getting somewhere.


They want this software to make teams work better and more efficiently together. Apparently conversation and selecting the right people for the job is beyond our natural abilities so we need lines of code to tell us how to do it. Hey, I’m not judging – I used text messaging to wish my parents a happy Christmas and caller ID to screen their calls, so I am a big fan of using technology and software to get the right outcome.


So, when it comes down to it, Atlassian makes software that is meant to make it easier for teams of software developers (‘nerds’) to work with non-developers (‘notnerds’). There must be something in this given how profitable and successful they are.


I won’t go into the way their software works, as there are all types of different programs for different purposes. But at least we’ve kind of answered the question as to what they do – build a better world by helping people avoid face-to-face conversations by using software to do it for them. And if it’s good enough for NASA to design that cool Mars Rover, that’s good enough for me.

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