I’ve gained a bit of experience in building up teams for Product development and noticed that the equivalent jobs don’t normally exist in a Services based model.
As we don’t have a lot of Product development experience in New Zealand we need to think about where the people will come from to fill these new roles. Conversely that means that new opportunities open up for people with good Service model experience.
I put this diagram together to make the point …
This model highlights that Business Analysis skills are very useful in the Product development world. BA’s have a lot of the skills required for Product Management, mapping Sales Operations and even pre-sales. For up and coming technology people developing those BA skills gives you a great foundation to take your career in many directions.
Product Management could be an exciting move for BA’s and Project Managers that want to get more involved in the commercial side of business.
What’s also cool about Product development is you bring in a lot of non technical people. Customer care, marketing, sales, subject matter experts, trainers, designers, writers - even the odd accountant - to name a few. It is really stimulating to have those broader skills in the team.Telecom 180s and goes deeper into Oz
This is more exciting. Rather than selling troubled AAPT Telecom are buying PowerTel and consolidating the Australian telco scene.
This is much more aggressive. That they are willing to invest here speculatively and divest the solid Directories business is puzzling. Let’s see what the analysts say tonight.Plus SMS debacle continues
Bryan Gaynor on ASB Business covers the latest developments at Plus SMS from 6:48. “Absolutely farcical” he says.
Also partially covered in the Herald last week. Storm gathers over $14m Plus SMS stake.
I do not understand why the regulators tolerate this sort of behavior. This company is making a mockery of the market and giving technology stocks a bad name, screwing it for real growth opportunities that may come later.Video Blogging in Wellington?
Does anyone have video blogging production facilities in central Wellington. e.g. to produce shows like rocketboom
Would be a great little business for someone. We’d signup for a spot a week. Be great to be able to book a slot, take some vid, have it edited and then files dropped in all the usual formats.
Email me if interested. Possible funding available if someone wants to set up.Wellington 2.0 Update
Following up on the Wellington 2.0 concept it was exciting to read in the paper this morning that Wellington Mayor Kerry Prendergast is making broadband a local body election issue.
There have been a lot of passionate people, over many years, lobbying council (and Kerry) to understand that broadband is a competitive advantage to a city.
Myself and Sam Morgan spent time with Mayor Kerry and CEO Garry Poole last week and were impressed that the council team do get why broadband is so important for us to attract new business into Wellington - as well as continue to enhance the vibrancy of Wellington and the opportunities around social responsibility issues. They also understand the need to Wellingtonians to be able to communicate with the rest of the world leveraging new technologies such as VOIP.
I was impressed by the quality of council staff that are looking at this issue. They are passionate and capable people.
The fact is ICT strategies at the local body level are complex. There are many with a vested interest and the technology changes frequently. Myself and number of industry people have offered to assist the council with a pragmatic strategy and as a strategic sounding board moving forward.
Normally dealing with councils can be soul destroying but I was optimistic that the timing is right and top level support is there - making this an initiative worth putting time into.
So, so far, good one Wellington City Council and Kerry. Lets make 2007 a year when things happen.
Roll on Wellington 2.0.Rex the Beagle Cat
Blogging solves a 20 year old mystery and exoneration of the Beagle Blokes from the Hamilton Easter Tourny Rugby Post incident.
I managed to dig up an old photo of Rex (Beagle 1000).
We miss you buddy.Future of Small Business
Intuit are publishing some excellent papers on the future of small business.
The first installment looks at demographic trends. Good stuff on “Mompreneurship”, the Rise of Personal Businesses and Coworking.
It amazes me how much the nature of work is changing and the opportunities that arise from this transition.Sales Operations
One of the things I learnt from being inside a large US software company was the importance of Sales Operations. The systems and processes for selling your solution.
Under a Software as a Service (SaaS) model, SalesOps is even more important as many of the scale inhibiters flow from customer acquisition and provisioning.
SalesOps includes things like:
- Driving leads from the web to sales and partners
- Online Demo administration
- Sales pipeline management
- Customer Care
- Sales reporting
You would expect most analysis, design and development energy for SaaS vendors is in their application, but you quickly find out a significant investment also has to be made in Operational Support Systems (OSS). As part of organizational design for SaaS it’s therefore important to budget for SalesOps.
SalesOp’s touches a lot of systems (like the app, CRM, Accounting, Marketing WebSite) and may use a lot of components (like LiveMeeting, Flash and Email Gateways).
You can also see a new sub profession developing. SalesOps people need to have great analysis skills, understand and challenge the sales process as well as keeping in touch with technology developments to keep those leads coming in. It’s nice step for Business Analysts with an interest in technology and sales.
As vendors realize that all the SaaS providers are rolling their own OSS’s we’ll probably see a market created here as well.That first sale
Had some nice feedback today from the CEO of a tech company who had a few team members came to an event I spoke at in Auckland last year.
I made what I thought was a fairly simple point that your first sales are about getting some runs on the board and some reference sites. Rather than say - our software is worth $20k so that’s the price - do what you have to do to get those first few sales. Treat your first year in business as a fixed cost so any money that comes in is a positive contribution, but more importantly, a reference.
The CEO’s feedback was they were a bit hung up on the pricing for their first deals. They changed their strategy to get some wins and after a couple of months were doing a number of full priced deals based on the reference customers.
A very simple perspective change and they’re off and running.
I thought that was cool.Rankr
This is interesting.
Background here: Introducing Rankr5 Things
I’ve resisted the “5 things you didn’t know about me” thing for a few weeks but it’s a slow news day so here goes…
- I was an extra on the 80’s not a smash hit movie Shaker Run starring Leif Garrett (who was never on set when I was on). I remember the food was good. There must have been great tax breaks for films in ‘85.
- I was also the middle boxer in the first Mitsubishi Chariot commercial.
- I stuttered badly through school and into my early 20’s and was completely scared of the phone. I can’t remember how many times someone would yell down the line at me thinking I was a crank caller but I was just trying to get ‘hello’ out.
- I don’t drink much anymore but I was in the Victoria University Beagle Blokes drinking team (I was Beagle #2001 of course) and was told to leave town by the shortest possible route by a Waikato constable one Easter tourney.
- The main reason I did Information Systems (as part of an Accounting degree) was because the papers were internally assessed and I could get to the mountain earlier. I worked on Coronet in ‘87. The first time I had been in the snow.
Everyone I know has been tagged 30 times.Glimpses of the future
JoeB from the UK sent me a couple of good links over the weekend.
Firstly a YouTube demo of Jeff Han’s Multi-Touch Sensing. This was recorded in Jan 2006. Aspects of the interface appear in that Apple Phone thing you may have heard of.
The second link was to Seth Goodin’s vision for the web. I’ve heard this message several times before but this is a great post that covers a bunch of scenario’s pointing to how much more we have to do and how much more opportunity there is. Very motivating.Office Phone Decision
Thanks for your suggestions on an Office Phone System.
Open Source PABX software Asterisk seems to be what the smart people are using and has the sort of characteristics that we expected out of a phone system in 2007. As we’re all about SaaS and the power of the Internet we want to practice what we preach.
Jamie from FX Networks is the guru and FX are setting it all up for us and managing the service. We’re ordering Linksys handsets and there are also adapters so that we can plug in those high quality Polycom conferencing phones. There are several good softphone applications available. Another great feature is that Asterisk has Teleconferencing, so we can set up an additional ddi and have many people dial in. Much better than a service where you pay for all legs.
As FX spreads their network out in NZ and links to other providers overseas we should see our call charges drop further. “A Race to Zero” as Jamie says.
It’s important that New Zealand businesses know about these types of services and products. The promise of the IP world is that we can operate globally. A clever communications system is a great way to get close to your global customers.
The costs are a fraction of what the traditional suppliers were talking. We’d rather spend our money on our smart people.Marriot Blog
Just thought you would be interested to see the quality response Bill Marriott has received since his blog site went live on Tues 16Jan.
See http://www.blogs.marriott.com/ then flip to the comments - fabulous, person to person, he’s “management by walking around” Man & they get it, C2B in action.
I am totally impressed with the initiative, link to consumers & feedback from readers (Marriott guests).
Bill has captured a great audience (as he says he makes notes on all his trips now he aims to display them & get feedback - not a PR ploy). Me for one am impressed big time. It’s a reality check as to the power of technology as a tool. It works.
This is like an inside running to the boardroom (maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration!!).
I hope other big company CEO’s see Bill’s reception.Living the dream
Just had an email conversation that I thought was worth sharing …
From: Rod Drury
Date: Thu, 18 Jan 2007 21:57:46 +1300
To: Ernie @ TUANZ
Conversation: An interesting question
Subject: Re: An interesting question
Ummm, actually I am at the beach in Hawkes Bay on my 4MB AirNet Fixed Point Wireless Connection after having a surf and spending all day with the family.
Made even more satisfying now you raised the issue!
On 18/1/07 9:48 PM, “Ernie @ TUANZ” wrote:
Given that the technology that you and I both work in is supposed to make our lives easier and deliver us more leisure time, why are we both on line at ten o’clock in the bleeding evening when sensible people are still on holiday at the beach?
See you next week.
Repost from SpareRoom because this is so good. Looks like the BlueBridge.Bio
Rod is an experienced entrepreneur and early stage investor passionate about software development and building value.
Angel investments include PlanHQ and a number of number of SaaS startup’s in technology build.
Prior to this Rod was CTO of Advantage Group where he spent significant time in the USA working with leading international technology companies.
In 1995 Rod established Glazier Systems, one of New Zealand’s leading software development and consulting companies. Glazier Systems was acquired by Advantage Group in 1999 and continues today as Intergen.
In the late 80’s to early 90’s Rod worked primarily for Ernst & Young/Arthur Young, as well as spending several years working on telecommunication billing systems both in New Zealand and the USA.
Through his career Rod has maintained a close relationship with Microsoft and was selected as New Zealand’s first representative on the Microsoft MSDN Regional Director program, holding the role from 1997 to 2000. Rod achieved Microsoft MVP status for his work in the early days of Active Server Pages.
Rod was an Independent Director of TradeMe, New Zealand’s most successful eCommerce Internet site when it was recently sold to Australian Public Listed Company Fairfax. Rod continues on the TradeMe Advisory Board. Rod joined NZ Trade & Enterprise Beachheads Program Advisory Board in August 2006 and is a member of the New Zealand Institute of Directors.
Rod has a Bachelor of Commerce and Administration (BCA) from Victoria University of Wellington majoring in Accounting.
Prior to children, Rod enjoyed windsurfing, surfing, mountain biking and snowboarding. He still enjoys living in Wellington, New Zealand.
Thanks again to Andrew for speedily making changes to my WordPress site.
I’ve done a bit of a page reorg as (very) often your comments are more interesting than my own rantings and there has been some useful discussion over the past few weeks. So you can now see Recent Comments (——-> over there).
In 2006 I somewhat achieved my shameless self promotion goals so my bio comes off the front page into the site navigation bar. (The reason for the personal brand pumping will be obvious soon.) These pages are just ‘Pages’ in WordPress and managed just like Blog Entries.
For those not familiar with Trackbacks, these are where people have linked to a blog entry from their own site. You can go and see what they say.
For those of you wanting to deploy Recent Comments the plugin information is here.
Next big release of WordPress is due on January 22. Looking forward to seeing what’s in there.Herald Web 2.0 article
Just noticed another good Web 2.0 article in the Herald on Saturday from Peter Griffin.
It’s exciting the message is getting out there and the growing awareness of our industry. With all the things currently on the boil 2007 should be our best year ever.
Couple of things that Hi-Tech CEO’s should be thinking about now include:
- What conferences trade shows to attend. If you’re at all in the Microsoft space then US TechEd is the biggie. Also there are a number of great events like Demo and insider events like the Gnomedex. Try to do at least one overseas event every year. Please share in comments any international events you can recommend.
- What awards to go after. All NZ companies should start looking early at the Hi-Tech awards. Winning an international award should also be in your plan.
We need an office phone system for 20-50+ people. I’ve used Comverge from CallPlus before and that seemed fine and had good call charges for Australia and the UK. They also offered 0800 services etc.
Some of the hosted VOIP based solutions we’ve seen are more expensive than drip paying a PABX. Having hardware on site seems so 2006 - preference is a hosted solution.
No one seems to have embraced a Live Communications Server hosted solution yet - though I’m sure that won’t be a great experience for the Mac users in the Office.
It’s a clean install, new office, on CityLink. We’ll have offices in other centres as well.
Has anyone any recent experience with selecting an Office phone system?