If an SOE brought Telecom’s Network Business off them. What would be the price?
I’d say $1.
Why? Because Telecom’s Share Price would go up.
- The SOE would then be responsible for raising the long term investment to develop world class links between our cities and between NZ and the world.
- It’s well known that parts of the network have suffered from under investment, therefore this obligation for future remedial spend must be priced into Telecom
- There would be less need for regulation and more certainty
- Telecom are best placed to inject high value services into the new network
The Government already has SOEs with an investment in fibre networks. Kordia (ex BCL) and apparently Transpower is building significant fibre capacity. There is also the railway lines which provide a lower cost path for laying fibre to most cities.
A basic bit of research that needs to be done is the question: what is the total govt spend on internet connectivity? In these days of big government I suspect we spend a reasonable chunk of the Capex required for national economic transformation each year as Opex.
The model is broken. Big connections to world improves all facets of New Zealand. Let’s make the investment to be the most connected country in the world.
It’s easy to confuse SOE management of Broadband with fashionable Telecom bashing. But the point of my paper is that Telecom has acted as would be expected when you have shareholders that naturally demand a certain return.
Now, if I may be fashionable.
The Yellow Pages sale just continues to stun me. Before the ink is dry the, far cleverer than us, Canadian Teachers have said they may release the value of YP via an IPO. Directory float possible.
What does this say about the Telecom management? Clearly there is value there that Telecom couldn’t extract. Directories is one of their few content assets and a formidable platform for high value economic commerce. They didn’t even do the basics.
I think their strategy was 180 degrees wrong. They should have sold the Network (which may be worth nothing if my point above makes sense) and kept Directories. Worse is the hospital pass to the incoming management.
You can just hear the sucking sound of value leaving the country. The sale of YP just simply says, we don’t know how to monetize this, lets just give you back you money. Weak. A complete reversal from the promise of what you can do by blurring communications and technology. And they’ve created a competitor.
This would be my action plan for Telecom:
- Sell the network to Kordia/Transpower for $500m dollars. (Grin that you got a great deal because it’s only worth a $1)
- Separate Directories into a different entity and list separately. Telecom shareholders keep ownership but find some Internet generation managers (that means no one from Ferrit)
- Oh heck, why not spin out Mobile as well
- Hire David Kirk (pay him like MarkW). David is one of the few people that could flip Telecom’s brand and culture around quickly
A startup I’m involved with, based in the Icehouse, is looking for a full time User Interface Specialist.
This is a fantastic opportunity in a start-up SaaS company where stunning design and excellent UI is a key to success. You need:
- HTML and CSS Expertise
- Knowledge of Java Script Libraries such as Prototype and Script.aculo.us
- A passion for stunning design
Small team, lots of room to grow, in a great environment. Contact Steve.Kate’s guide to the apostrophe
David has had me on about how I murder apostrophes.
With Kate (an ex-journo) on the team I have asked her to locate a guide to, our friend, the apostrophe.
(1) An apostrophe is NEVER used to make a word plural (plural means more than one).
Eg. (These examples are correct):
- One friend, two friends
- Once office, two offices
- One guess, two guesses
- One Helen, two Helens
- One Xero, two Xeroes
(2) To make a word into its possessive (possessive means belonging to) form, add ’s to the end. Eg. (These examples are correct):
- Rodâ€™s (belonging to Rod) car, Rodâ€™s BlackBerry, Rodâ€™s MacBook
- Tineke and Hamishâ€™s son Jack, Hamishâ€™s phone
- Peopleâ€™s Republic of China
- The NZXâ€™s Mark Weldon
NB. If the word is in its plural form (three dogs, two buildings) that you want to make possessive and finishes with an S already, only add an apostrophe to its end, not another â€˜s. Eg. (These examples are correct):
Three dogs’ breakfast (breakfast belonging to some dogs â€“ the breakfast of the dogs)
Two buildingsâ€™ rates (the rates of the buildings)
(A trick to check that you are right in an apostrophe situation is to read the sentence backwards and see if it is â€œof theâ€ eg. Breakfast of the three dogs means it needs an apostrophe.)
(3) If a word ends in S in its singular form (James, Thomas) and you wish to make possessive form (eg. Jamesâ€™ breakfast) there are two schools of thought, so you can choose how you want to deal with it: e.g. James’ breakfast (belonging to James) and James’s breakfast are both correct.
The only exception is with classical names, like Socrates or Jesus, where the single tailing apostrophe is used:
Jesus’ disciples (belonging to Jesus)
(4) Some words are THEMSELVES possessives and need no apostrophe. For example:
- his, hers, its, their, whose
- His dog
- The dog is hers
- No it is their dog
- Whose dog?
(5) Where you are using a word that is a contraction of two words, put an apostrophe where the missing letters are. For example:
- We’re (we are - A is missing)
- haven’t (have not - O is missing)
- Canâ€™t (can not â€“ O is missing)
- Howâ€™s that? (how is that? â€“ I is missing)
(6) You DO need the apostrophe to make a plural if you are writing a symbol: Eg. 1’s 2’s
The apostrophe seems difficult to use because we speak in a manner that is different from how we write. If in doubt, rephrase or expand the contraction you are attempting to write. Written English does not necessarily read better if it is written as you would speak it. Adopting a more formal style can be clearer.
Particular pitfalls â€“ these are correct:
- Its colour â€“ has no apostrophe, means the colour belonging to it
- It’s a success â€“ means it is a success
- Theirs â€“ no apostrophe, means belonging to them
- There’s no need to panic â€“ means there is no need to panic
- They’re on their way â€“ means they are on their way
- Their house â€“ means the house belonging to them
Busy few days of travel but a couple of good links emailed in today
Paul: How to beat Google
Robert: Coder to Co-FounderTwo Helen’s, a Chris and a Steve
Great photo posted by ChrisJ of Helen Robinson (MSNZ), the PM, Chris Liddell (MS CFO) and Steve Balmer (MS CEO).
It’s always easy to have a go at Microsoft but it’s hard to think of a company that has done more for the local New Zealand IT industry than Microsoft.
Since about 1994 I’ve based my career around Microsoft technologies. Originally at Ernst & Young and then Glazier. We’ve created hundreds of local jobs over the years based on partnering with Microsoft. For many of our developers, TechEd and hands on learning of each new Microsoft technology has been the basis for ongoing technical development. Intergen, Provoke, Synergy, Datacom, Simple, Gen-I are all examples of local companies with passionate teams that have grown up alongside Microsoft over the last decade.
What Microsoft does really well is build communities, and provide lots of opportunities for partners to create value. What I like most about Microsoft is how they completely understand the power of partners and work hard to make partners succesful. It’s hard to imagine the NZ IT scene without Microsoft.
Great coup for Helen Robinson (standing) to leverage her relationship with Chris to get the PM and Steve Balmer together.
So, look forward to the enivitable flame comments, but I’m thrilled that Helen was able to pull this meeting together.
Very bloody cool!
Update: Juha is running a caption contest.
Comment by Sycophant, on 26-MAR-2007 11:58
Ballmer: “Prime Ministers, Prime Ministers, Prime Ministers, Prime Ministers, Prime Ministers, Prime Ministers, Prime Ministers, Prime Ministers, Prime Ministers!!!!!”
Ballmer: “WHO SAID SIT DOWN?!?!!!”
In ref to this famous moment in IT history.Australian Broadband discussion
Thanks John Humphrey for your summary of what the Australian Government is talking about regarding their national infrastructure.
I’ll repost here …
SaaS and the long tail of decision makers
Some of the recent events in Australia highlight possibilities for similar action in New Zealand.
Broadband has become an election issue in Australia (could it do so here?). The opposition has decided to spend AUD 4.7 Bn to â€œbuild what it describes as a national broadband network in concert with the private sectorâ€. Of course Australia has this level of funding available from the sale of Telstra. See http://australianit.news.com.au/articles/0,7204,21420928%5E15442%5E%5Enbv%5E15306-15320,00.html
An article today says that Telstra would be the big loser under this plan. http://australianit.news.com.au/articles/0,7204,21424432%5E16123%5E%5Enbv%5E,00.html
Another article today points out that studies show that the Australian economy would increase by up to $30 bn pa if â€œnext generationâ€ broadband was widely available.
â€œThe federal Governmentâ€™s Broadband Advisory Group, which has set the template for the development of private sector, government and Labor policies over the past three years, said the major themes to emerge from its research was â€œthe great potential of broadband to boost economic growth and the importance of a coordinated national approach to broadband connectivityâ€.
The group estimated the next generation of broadband could produce economic benefits of $12 billion to $30 billion a year if broadband becomes as common as the telephone. The advantages for small business are regarded as considerable, in a world where global supply chains mean that access to broadband is essential to sell products and ship them to intermediate and final producers.â€
Based on a crude GDP ratio between Australia and NZ means this would have an approximate effect of $2 to $5 bn pa to NZâ€™s GDP. Spending say $2 or $3 billion to have a return of $2 to $5 bn per annum produces a very good IRR!
This is backed up by Telecomâ€™s own figures. If you download CFO Marko Bogoievskiâ€™s March 14 Analyst Briefing shows on slide 17 that a $2 bn investment would give 90% of NZ receiving at least 15 to 20 Mbit/s. The use the other billion to give us another fibre route to the US (more on this in a later post).
The interesting point to me is the existence of the Broadband Advisory Group, the likes of which we have no equivalent in NZ. Examining the â€œBagâ€ more closely, it is funded by Government and have an independent role in directing research into broadband issues and making recommendations. More detail is shown at:
New Zealand needs such an independent group to develop some hard information and advise Government, industry and the people of NZ with advice on what is a number of complex issues.
Preeti Bajaj from Vision Software said something to me yesterday about Software as a Service (SaaS) that hadn’t occurred to me before.
There are many Line of Business applications that are very useful to business units but are not high enough priority to get the attention of the CFO for funding or get through IT for implementation. Both of whom are often gatekeepers to a software licencing deal.
From a technical point of view the SaaS delivery model may allow business units to obtain solutions with minimal involvement from IT and at a cost that may be under business unit discretionary operating expenditure.
Therefore this opens up a ‘long tail’ of opportunities that would just not get off the ground under the traditional enterprise installation model. Under a SaaS model, many more applications are viable and the markets are much larger than in an enterprise installation model. There are many more niches.
That’s exciting.Farrys Lambton Quay, Mr President
Sometimes I just love New Zealand …
The Prime Minister said some stuff but it’s our man Duncan that makes an impression with George W.
Watch to the end.Wireless Data Forum tonight (Auckland)
I’m on that the WDF tonight.
Lets have the Broadband debate. Should be fun.Ponoko
Great website design. Love the How Ponoko works graphic …
My understanding is you can design stuff digitally and then they make it for you. I saw a 3D plastic printer a CeBit a few years and thought that might be fun.
It’s pretty cool seeing some of the ideas coming out of New Zealand now and the quality of design and brand is really lifting.Building Intellectual Property
One of the people on the US Beachheads that I really enjoyed getting to know last week is Alan Nunns.Â Alan had a huge career in the energy exploration area, retiring last year as Manager of Technology and Strategy of Chevron’s Global IT function. (Andy Lark tells me Alan now drives a Prius.)
In my Beachheads talk on Thursday I mentioned that a very small proportion of our IT resources are used to create intellectual property.Â Our industry spends most of its effort charging time.Â Alan pointed me to these OECD figures on patents. This graph shows patents per country normalized by GDP.
It struck me during the week that many New Zealand technology companies seek funding really just for cashflow purposes.Â To expand to a new markets but really just doing the same old thing.
We need to ask ourselves, ‘what would we do if we had $5m dollars in the balance sheet?’ I suspect the answers would be completely different from current strategy and that we would take more time to invest in intellectual property for sustainable competitive advantage.
This of course leads into the chicken and egg funding issue, savings and creating an economy that encourages business investment.
In ICT we get such a huge reward from real research and development. We must introduce sufficient capital into our businesses, to buy the time, to do just that.Valley of Death
Fantastic week in Auckland for Beachheads. More on that later. One of the many gems of the week was a point from Michael Davies that was so obvious once he said it I canâ€™t believe I hadnâ€™t thought of it before.
If you are a company based in Massachusetts, you have a large local market. To expand into another large market you can go a bit further down the road into Connecticut, then New York etc. You have near linear access to new large markets.
From New Zealand, once you have saturated the local market, you then have a massive transformational change to address another market. You may need to introduce capital, add new staff, learn foreign rules â€“ the list goes on.
For us to take almost our first step of expansion, to enter only our second market â€“ we bet our businesses.
Iâ€™m calling this â€“ the Valley of Death.
The Valley of Death is this massive gap we have to cross. From a New Zealand perspective we just know that exporting ICT is hard. From Michaels Boston based perspective I see now that this step is not the same as a US based company and perhaps this explains, in part, some of the characteristics of our industry and the challenges we face.Go AirNet!
Hawkes Bay ISP Airnet is currently New Zealand’s fastest ISP.
Good one Sam, Cecil, Ben and the team.
I was asked last night what is the the impact of some of the technologies we’re seeing. Maybe it’s because I’m a dad but one impact that I’m seeing is a resurgence of the provinces. Our first Hawkes Bay Xero, Louise, started last month as part of our test team working remotely over an Airnet connection.So far yet so close
The NZ Institutes latest paper that talks about the weightless economy was released today. Really ties into the themes we’ve been talking about over the last month.
It’s a good read covering broader issues such as shipping and air links. Was on Radio Live with David Skilling commenting at lunch time today. It’s pretty neat to see the discussion being picked up.Sam @ TED
Another cool thing about selling your company for half a billion US dollars is that you get invited to speak at big events.
Check out Sam at TED in Monterey. http://ted2007.vox.com/speakers/. Doesn’t that swell your New Zealand heart with pride. Just awesome.
I had to ask him what famous people he met … “Tracy Chapman, Jeff Bezos, Cameron Diaz, Pierre Omidyar, YouTube guys, etc, etc”.
How cool is that!!!Fuzzie Movie
The first movie this year that looks worth spending the $30 for tickets and $40 for the sitter looks like Hot Fuzz which had a preview in Wellington last night. I really like Simon Pegg. If you haven’t seen the Spaced series yet, grab the DVD.
The had a pretty good interview with Kim hill on National radio this morning. If you liked the Swedish song they played first (I did) it’s called Young Folks by Peter, Bjorn and John, off the album Writers Block. Not on iTunes but you can catch it on their MySpace page.On Trade Sales
I know how Peter Maire must feel.
Like Juha I heard recently that the AfterMail Wellington Office is scaling down with development possibly moving to Wisconsin.
In Fry Up it’s characterized as a US company coming in and closing it down. Itâ€™s an unfortunate fact that often when the founders leave that there will be a few speed wobbles, and after the honeymoon, any business needs to look at its operations.
Itâ€™s always difficult to manage remotely and in this case with Questâ€™s technical messaging specialists in Madison I believe they have decided to consolidate. We always had difficulty recruiting Messaging experts in New Zealand. They have an excellent team there in Madison and from a Quest point of view it makes sense.
Quest are a fantastic company and have provided great opportunities and experience for our staff. The reality is that we live in a global market and over time the New Zealand operation probably did not stack up. Attracting technical staff, communications, time zone, currency are all factors that make it tough. I tell you, the travel, frequent early and late calls - are hard.
There are many positive outcomes from a sale. Obviously the capital injection back into the local economy. A Trade Sale is a big export. In many cases a substantial portion of the sale proceeds are rolled forward into further investment. But the international experience gained by staff is even more valuable. I probably learned more after the deal than I did building a small company. We sort of knew what we needed to do to build a small software business up to a Trade Sale but experiencing how a world class company operates a global sales model was all new and just a fantastic experience.
Companies come and go, it’s the people that carry the knowledge and experience. The Quest experience will benefit our local industry for many years.
Further, Trade Sales are a sign of the health of our local software industry. Companies in our industry should be distributed in something like the diagram on the left below. However I suspect our industry is more like the diagram on the right.
We aren’t seeing enough moving through the pipe. Where are the next Trade Sales coming from? We should be doing 10 a year!
There are some sectors of our Industry that suit a Trade Sale. In the Enterprise software space it is very difficult to grow a sustainable business from a rock in the South Pacific. Say you do nail a big deal with Luftansa. We just don’t have 30 consultants to parachute in. It is hard for us to build global sales team from New Zealand. In the Enterprise software space acquisition is therefore often the natural outcome of success and a great result for our tech companies. Many public companies rely on R&D by acquistion. It’s the model.
I’m excited that the SaaS space is an area where we may be able to grow long term businesses that stay New Zealand owned (and we can keep living on our very inhabitable rock)..Net Forum suggestions?
Does anyone have any recommendations for open source .Net & SQL Server Community Forum software that we can integrate into our application?
A key requirement is the ability to have single sign on from our application to the forums. Simple is good.
If someone is working on something similar, or wishes to build a product we’d be interested in working with you.Operations Opportunity
We’re looking for a Technical Operations Manager to join our team. (You don’t need to be an Olympic Gold medalist, a Commonwealth champ would do).
We’re looking for:
- Currently or recently in a significant IT operations management role.
- Demonstrated experience in enterprise-scale production system operations, particularly web application hosting infrastructure and Internet connectivity.
- Demonstrated understanding of support delivery (help desk, incident management, problem management, configuration & change management), and service delivery systems and processes (service-level management, capacity management, availability management and disaster recovery planning)
- Proven track record in the leadership of technical support and operational teams, including management of outsource teams/functions
- Career background in systems administration type roles (DBA, web infrastructure administration, Unix/Linux/Windows server host administration)
This is a key role for us. If you’re interested, email your details to us at firstname.lastname@example.orgHamish Carter
Several months ago we were thinking who would be our dream person to get on the team. Someone that our local customers and partners would admire but alsoÂ global enough to be known in our target markets.
We wanted someone who could relate to small business owners. A great communicator, smart and inspirational.
Easy. Hamish Carter.
I’d met Hamish a few times at Cap Gemini functions and I was impressed with how he enthralled a room and how he related his experiences to business.Â I’d bumped into a Hamish a few times as well in the Hawkes Bay so knew he had good taste.
We figured Hamish would be looking for a career after sport, and just felt that our opportunity might be something that would light his candle. As a professional sportsman Hamish is a small business.Â The demographics of his sport means that he is talking to our target customers every day.
The Hamish Carter brand is very aligned with ours.Â What Hamish has achieved in sport translates to what we’re doing, and how we want to help our customers. Big Vision, Goal setting, Use of Coaching, High Performance, Celebrate Success.
We are just stoked that Hamish has joined our team.Â It’s a big responsibility. Hamish is golden. He leaves the first part of his career on a high. We need to make sure the second part of his career is equally stratospheric.