If you’re like me and flat out (sorry the blog posts have slowed down) you might get a bit behind in your gmail.
The search in gmail does allow for some structured search commands.Â A really useful one is label:unread.Â That shows you all of your unread mail that you can quickly process and get back to a fully read mail box.
Anyone got any other useful gmail tips?Sean and friend
Sean from MS in Auckland catches up with his great, great, great, grandmanager. Cool.
If you’d like to see what we’ve been busy working on for the past year please come along to the Xero Revolution Roadshow.
The schedule is here … http://www.xero.com/revolution
|1 August||Whangarei||Kingsgate Whangarei|
|2 August||North Shore||North Harbour Stadium|
|3 August||Auckland||Xero Offices, Level 1, 20 Beaumont St, Freemans Bay, Auckland|
|6 August||Hamilton||Quality Hotel Hamilton (Kingsgate)|
|7 August||Tauranga||Kingsview Resort and Towers|
|8 August||Napier||Napier Sailing Club|
|9 August||Taupo||Huka Village Resort|
|10 August||New Plymouth||Waterfront Hotel|
|13 August||Palmerston North||Convention Centre|
|14 August||Wellington||Xero Offices, Level 1, Old Bank Chambers, 98 Customhouse Quay, Wellington|
|17 August||Queenstown||The Crowne Plaza|
|27 August||Invercargill||Stairs Function Centre|
|28 August||Dunedin||Otago Museum Discovery Centre|
|29 August||Christchurch||Heritage Christchurch, Cathedral Square|
|31 August||Nelson||Rutherford Hotel|
Tim dJ just flicked me a note …
Been using the wayback machine recently:
You were blogging back in 2000? impressive
That’s spooky.Morgo homework
During Morgo there were a number of books strongly recommended for TechBiz types. All on Amazon.
- Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion (Collins Business Essentials)”
Robert B. Cialdini - recommended by Alan Nunns in his ‘How to sell to CIO’s” talk
- “The Starfish and the Spider: The Unstoppable Power of Leaderless Organizations”
Ori Brafman - recommended by Wayne from Revera (I think - correct me if I’m wrong)
- “Small Giants: Companies That Choose to Be Great Instead of Big”
Bo Burlingham- recommended by Mike from Atlassian
Did I miss any?
Thanks Jenny and team for another great event.Mike from Atlassian
I’ve mentioned them before.
After doing AfterMail, which was Enterprise software, I’ve been focussed exclusively on SaaS. Atlassian has a very different model in the Enterprise space, which is worth looking at closely.
I define Enterprise Software as software that its sold to an Enterprise and installed behind their firewall. Atlassian sells a few products that include issue tracking and enterprise wiki - software that would normally be installed behind the firewall.
The scaling issues around building an Enterprise Software business include building a global sales force and a professional services team.
Atlassians Enterprise Software model is quite different:
- Sell the product at price that is low enough to be below discretionary spending limits (Say $1-5k)
- It needs to be self installed/self service
- Rather than focus on selling to customers, make it easy for customers to buy
- Invest big in service, using word of mouth as a primary sales channel
- Be very open about where you are at. For example: the bug lists are visible to customers
Another important tip was scale slowly at the beginning. Very relevant to what we are doing now.Â You need to make sure your processes and systems are nailed before you turn on the taps.
Mike is one of those young (sub 30 guys) who completely gets it. Very impressive and they have built a great global company. (Check out life at Atlassian for clever recruiting). They are funded out of revenue so very similar to TradeMe pre acquistion with similar decisions to make. The Atlassian model plays to the strengths of companies in New Zealand and is a model well worth understanding and considering.Idealog Event
The team behind Idealog (Vincent, Martin, Matt, Sarah, Ben and the gang) are really taking a lead in starting conversations as well as celebrating success. They are a valuable voice in the industry and you can support them by subscribing here. Nothing better than receiving that bimonthly package of reading joy.
I spoke about the Xero IPO, our reasoning for doing an IPO and invited people to watch us as a case study of putting the funding in place to do things properly. Hamish Carter of course stole the show and relayed some of his experiences of his first job.
I really enjoyed meeting the people at the event last night. A very stimulating bunch. It was great that people stayed on and networked.
Before the event we heard from the Steinlager Marketing Manager on the thinking behind Steinlager Pure, their new beer. We heard savvy beer insider speak such as ‘the hangover myth’, ‘premium hard men’ and ‘a liquid barrier’. Fantastic. I did sample the Steinlager Pure (several times) and I can report that the dreaded Steinlager hangover did not occur. Success!
The night continued with about 20 of us in Ponsonby. A lot of fun and I’m looking forward to the next event.Hi-Tech Awards - open for entries
The PWC Hi-Tech Awards are now open. 3rd November. Wellington.
This was one of the best events on the technology industry calendar last year. This year it is in Wellington. There are lots of good reasons to enter.
This is the best night of the year for our industry to show itself off so I hope we see people making the effort. Only 500 tickets so you’ll need to be quick.Saffron and SnowPark
Just had first weekend away without the kids. Chasing the sleep in. Fantastic.
Won’t bore you with that but in the spirit of paying recommendations forward (most places I go are from tips on the web) I wanted to post about Saffron Restaurant in Arrowtown. It featured a year ago on Taste New Zealand and we made a mental note to check it out if we were ever in the area.
It was just superb. Great food, excellent service and even the owner/chef Peter poked his head out of the kitchen and had a chat. Definitely one of the best restaurant experiences I’ve had. Very, very recommended. Start with a drink at the Blue Door.
Another big highlight was Snow Park, the new ski and snowboard terrain park up high opposite Cardrona. SnowPark is an hour from Queenstown along the now sealed Crown Range road. Snow Park is a world class set up. It’s run by Sam Lee, John Lee’s son. These guys really have vision and I was super impressed by how they have developed something that is truly special.
From a John Lee interview with Unlimited …
Sam Lee, my 26-year-old son, runs the Snow Park â€” thatâ€™s his company. It is an all-terrain, mainly snowboarding park. Heâ€™s going to make that brand so good that no one will be offended coming on to do commercials because thereâ€™ll be no other brand there but Snow Park. Rip Curl and Billabong did commercials there last year plus several others.
Great facilities and great atmosphere. You can stay up there too. On Saturday there was a 1/4 pipe contest going on which we had a look at. The ramp was a good 20 foot. You could easily walk out and watch.
Part of the complex is Snow Farm, where international car makers have been testing snow tyres for years. There was a few car shipping containers down the bottom that I would have loved to have peeked into. The road is used for the Race to Sky in Easter so is a good drive.
I just love seeing people build world class businesses doing what they’re passionate about.
There is now a a direct Wellington to Queenstown return flight. 90 mins. Out Friday, back Sunday. Perfect.
I did a season in Queenstown when I finished uni - 20 years ago. Queenstown is New Zealands version of Noosa. Too pretty, too pricey, but great for quick break.
Looking forward to Web on the Piste.Software Research and Development
I enjoyed speaking at the launch of the Auckland Centre for Software Innovation (CSI) Extenda program tonight. Extenda provides ICT companies with the understanding and tools needed to exploit Research and Development (R&D) activities in their business.
There was a good crowd in attendance and nice to catch up with friends and colleagues across the industry.
I started off comparing R&D for software companies against the inputs that traditional manufacturing companies require to create goods and services. Traditional companies require plant, materials as well as R&D. In software we donâ€™t really require significant investment in plant or materials. The raw materials for software is R&D. In software:
R&D = Talented People + Time
Another contrast is the relationship between costs and revenue. In traditional businesses:
costs + a reasonable margin = revenue
In software there is the potential for almost no relationship between cost and revenue. For example, is there is no relationship between what the Microsoft Office team costs compared to the worldwide revenues they create.
Investing in R&D provides the opportunity to create this desirable dichotomy.
In New Zealand we seldom give ourselves time to do R&D. You cannot separate R&D from investment.
This lack of investment means that we do not invest in R&D to create digital assets, rather we fall back to capital-light service type businesses where our valuable talent is deployed to simply charge time. This is an inefficient use of our most precious natural resource.
The bottom line is that as an industry we are inexperienced in R&D. The Extenda program provides an academic framework and peer discussion opportunity to accelerate your R&D program. There are only 10 slots and at least 4 have gone so register quickly if you are interested.
A bonus of my evening was meeting Falafulu Fisi - a frequent commenter on my blog who just astounds me and the Xero team with the depth of his knowledge. Great to meet you Falafulu and I hope we see you in Wellington soon. I hope you start your own blog because we all enjoy hearing what you have to say.
Good to catch up with Mark and Owen on the way home doing the late night Auckland to Wellington shuffle. (Fortunately Iâ€™d already learned not to book that last Qantas flight.)Getting a personal email address
Many people and small businesses still have email addresses provided by their ISP. e.g. yourbusiness@yourISP.com. Even small businesses and individuals can have branded email addresses (like email@example.com) and a simple web page at almost no cost.
But, as we tend to do in the technology industry, it is not easy for non tech people to set this up. Over the last few weeks Iâ€™ve set up a couple of friends and you can do it all online and relatively inexpensively. You will need to talk to someone with a few tech skills but here is a bit of a guide to get you going.
Step one is to chose and register your domain.
I use iServe, because they have free domain management services. That means that you can control where your email and website is hosted. The cost of a domain for one year is $38.
Once you have registered your domain you can use the iServe console application to manage all of your domain settings (also known as your zone file for the geeks). This lets the world know where your email server and web site.
The next step is select an email provider. I use Google GMail and with Google hosted domains you can have your own personalized email address.
To sign up for a free email account (that can be your branded email address) go to http://www.google.com/a/
Select Get Started and sign up for a Standard Edition account (which is free). If you are setting up for a friend you can use your existing Gmail credentials. Else you enter in your old email address and create a new account.
Set yourself up as the administrator (e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org), that will make it easy later if you want to set up other accounts for your family or team. (email@example.com)
The first step is to validate ownership of your domain. You do this by setting a CNAME record. This is where you need access to your domain records to configure your domain so that email gets sent to GMail. The instructions in GMail are clear if you are familiar with DNS. This is where it would be useful to use your geek.
The iServe console makes that straight forward to change settings if you are familiar with such things.
The next step is to set up the MX records for your domain. The GMail ‘Activate Email’ screen gives you a set of MX records to enter.
You can also create a nice url for access your mail. E.g. mail.yourdomain.com.
It may take a day or so for your domain information to cycle through.
Once complete you can also use Google Pages to create a simple website. You can create a simple website on the Pages site. Even better you can create a WordPress account and start blogging!
Let me know how you get on and share your tips. Personalised email addresses for all.iPhone Love
Simmsy popped in today with his new iPhone. It is gorgeous! Much thinner than what I thought. The hi-res screen is just lovely.
As a wifi surfing + iPod device it is not too bad. Ordered.
Spark $40k Challenge
I was delighted to speak at the Spark $40k Challenge at Auckland University last night.
Sometimes it’s easy to think that we’re not doing enough from New Zealand but there were 80 entrants with 240+ people involved. That is a great sign.
In my speech I covered 3 things.
- Why it’s important for New Zealand that we foster entrepreneurship. This where a large percentage of new jobs will come from.
- That entrepreneurship should be thought of as a series of steps. Each one building experience and networks etc. There are a lot of internal entrepreneurship opportunities and that it is also important to gain experience inside larger organisations.
- That the journey is rewarding and fun
The team running the Spark program was impressive and have been very generous with their time. Congrats Darsel and Co. A great program.
The twelve finalists were:
Stroke Education : this venture promises a comprehensive education strategy for stroke survivors to quicken recovery and improve quality of life. It has been designed by an esteemed University researcher.
Nerian : a venture by researchers from the School of Biological Sciences to isolate the healthy antioxidants in red wine and put them in a range of value-adding products.
Xchange: a website to facilitate person-to-person private loans, bringing together borrowers and lenders in a secure and social environment, with the ability to choose your own interest rates.
Test Tube TV: an online ‘jamming’ platform for musicians. This venture uses ‘podscope’ to allow users to make music with their favourite artists, as well as other users.
Bacteria Inc : this team has designed a non-chemical system to vastly improve the settling of sludge in the wastewater treatment industry, using innovative software and patent protected bacteria.
595 Lab: an online social network for researchers, allowing interaction and collaborations with like-minded colleagues from around the world.
DoshMob: New Zealand ’s first online marketplace for peer-to-peer lending Borrowers and lenders interact through auctions, with interest rates decided by the marketplace.
Fixen Ltd: Fixen sets out to create healthy chocolate products, giving consumers a rich, satisfying chocolate experience without the adverse effect of over indulgence.
Metal & Steel: this team hopes to establish the gateway for all metal and steel industry sales by setting up a live, online trading environment, allowing businesses to reach global import and export traders.
Meter & Bill: a tool for service providers, such as IT Departments, to map the complexities of their resources and services in order to streamline and improve their value to customers.
Steritech: this team uses patented Pressure Assisted Thermal Sterilisation (PATS) technology to sterilise food and beverages at lower temperatures, with significant nutritional, taste and cost benefits.
I noted two main types of companies. Those that were taking technical intellectual propery and commercialising it, and those that had good marketing and business skills and were looking at importing overseas ideas and models into New Zealand. The second group of people were probably the better presenters - as you would expect.
I’d really like to see those very capable business students reaching out to the internal technology groups around the university and applying their excellent skills to comercialising home grown technology for export. Linking these two groups together would be a powerful thing.
The event was held in the new Auckland University Business School. The $110m project is almost complete and is world class. It did make you want to get involved.
All in all a great event and it made me very excited about the future. Congratulations to the finalists.Just say no to FaceBook
As Peter Griffin writes, FaceBook seems to have hit a tipping point. When your taxi driver asks if you’re on FaceBook it’s hit critical mass.
I have never been to FaceBook, I have never responded to a FaceBook invite. I’m not even tempted to look.Â I do not need yet another social networking site (YASNS). As a buddy said to me a few weeks ago in a FaceBook conversation “why would I want to meet anyone new - I don’t even have enough time to talk to the people I know now.”
I’m on LinkedIn. That’s enough. Although the only useful thing I’ve found on LinkedIn is the ability to find people deep inside competitors and send them friendly emails (hee hee).
So just say no to FaceBook. You don’t need it.
And don’t make me look in case I’m wrong.Why we live in Wellington
With kids, windsurfing has taken a back seat for the past couple of years. This shot of Troy (aged 40) at Plimmy shows the reason that many of us have lived in Wellington for the past many years and gets me excited about October. Just a great shot.
Innovation Series Event 17 July
Troy Purcell, Plimmerton, Wellington, New Zealand
I’m on for this months AUT Idealog Innovation Series event in Auckland on July 17th.
Auckland City Art Gallery, Tuesday 17th July, 6-8pm
I’m planning to talk about the IPO experience. Send me an email if you any specific questions. Hope to see you there.Cunliffe moving up?
Sunday Star Times in the weekend speculated that Communications Minister David Cunliffe might vacate the role this year, possibly with Shane Jones coming in.
That would be a shame. Cunliffe has been a good Communications Minister so far. He has actually gone out and communicated, forming relationships between all the major players and stake holders. He has been very generous with his time and provided fantastic support for industry events. It is a technical and complicated industry that takes some time to get your head around and he’s managed to do that.
The article suggests he may go onto a more senior role. I would have thought the Communication’s portfolio was one of the most important for New Zealand’s economic development. Here is an area that we can actually make a difference. And we are at a time when the industry foundations are shifting and serious investment issues.
Looks like Shane Jones is hankering for the job (Cunliffe fends off friendly fire). Jones seems happy to wade into the issues but it would be frustrating for the industry to start again building the relationship and go through the education process with the new guy and possibly again with a change of Government.Global Experts
Another two Microsoft MVP’s announced today from New Zealand, both of whom I subscribe to
Both Alex and Michael are true thought leaders. Both are global experts in their fields and generously share their knowledge with the community. Great to see them get that recognition.
Nice one guys.Simmsy claims first NZ iPhone
The NZ tech public waits with baited breadth to see if it can be unlocked.