I’m presenting at the New Zealand Software Association dinner on March the 11th in Auckland.
Well into their first year as a listed company Rod will go over experiences to date with online accounting provider Xero, what is happening with Software as a Service, and the experiences of transitioning from a Software Development company to a Marketing company.
Venue: The Floating Pavilion, Time: 6pm - 8.30pm.Broadband solution from Industry
Yesterday I attended a workshop with many of the key people in the NZ Telecommunications Industry to see if the industry could deliver a solution for a step change up in our broadband links to the world.
One of the great things about NZ is that we are small enough to get the key players together and that we all know each other pretty well. It was a vigorous discussion but in good spirits. No consensus but I think it gave a greater focus on what the key issues are and may lead to more research or some further defined options.
I was able to present my strawman on Funding Separation.
The short presentation I used is here: Funding Separation presentation.
The discussion gets reported back to the MED.Â I hope there is a second session.World Class company
I was delighted to win an Award at the 2008 World Class New Zealand event last night.Â The past few days I’ve been privileged to spend with many of my heroes and had many stimulating workshops on how we can make New Zealand better and help businesses get offshore.
The winners from last night were
- Biotechnology â€“ Prof. Garth Cooper
- Information and Communications Technology - Rod Drury
- Research, Science, Technology & Academia â€“ Prof. Margaret Brimble
- Finance, Investment & Business Services - Craig Norgate
- Manufacturing - Maurice Prendergast
- Creative Industries - Phil Keoghan
- New Thinking - Bruce Farr
Peri Drysdale from Untouched World won the supreme award.Opportunity for Nerds
NeedaNerd is a one of many great businesses I’ve met over the last year. They are rapidly expanding and might present an interesting opportunity for someone to get into an exciting, people focussed, business. They’ve asked me to mention they are looking for Franchisees which I’m more than happy to do.
The pitch …
- Need a Nerd is a booming mobile technology support business â€“ franchisees run teams of nerds that visit houses and SMEs and fix all manner of tech problems and sell product â€“ anything from a home theatre systems to a small office LAN
- It was started in Hawkes Bay by Adam Dunkerley in 2004, and has now expanded to Tauranga, Taupo, Palmerston North and Rotorua
- They are looking for franchisees in 55 regions all over New Zeland
- You donâ€™t have to be super techie to be a franchisee â€“ just a manager and motivator of nerds
- The central franchise support system is probably the most sophisticated in New Zealand â€“ all jobs are managed from a centralised 0800 number, dispatched centrally, invoiced by the nerds on the sport. The franchisee neednâ€™t deal with any paperwork.
- People who want to know more can call Chief Nerd Adam Dunkerley on 021 493 390 or firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the website for more info Franchise Opportunities
I’ve had my Black MacBook for over a year now and I thought by now I’d be into something new. But there is nothing to buy.
- MacBook Air disk is too small and 128MB version looks like Q3. That’s 6 months away - no mans land.
- There wasn’t a 13″ MacBook Pro - small machine that drives a 30″ Monitor
- There wasn’t a combined SSD/Hard Disk MacBook Pro
I want the excitement of a new machine but Apple there’s nothing for me to buy. And my MacBook just works. Fast enough, enough disk.
About an hour after my last post on how I wasn’t going to buy a MacBook Air, I was having breakfast with Michael Davies (Mac gadget boy who runs dual 30″s - gush) and he whips out his SSD Air.
Michael loves it and uses a 250GB Portable GDriveÂ for overflow.
With the exchange rate up there at .82 there is a $NZ1360 price difference between NZ and the US.Â hmmmm.BookHabit
Here’s another great little company coming out of the Wellington tech scene.
BookHabit is an online publishing site that enables authors to self-publish works online for free, contributing to an online library of ebooks accessible by readers all over the world.Â Readers can sample a book with a free first chapter before they buy. Full books start from US$2.50 (approx NZ$3.30) to download.
â€œAuthors take a 40% slice of each sale, and can earn more than the typical 5 - 12% traditional publishers might pay,â€ said Bookhabit.com co-founder Clare Tanner.
Should be an interesting one to watch.Stacks in Leopard 10.5.2
Stacks had a bit of an upgrade in the Apple OSX 10.5.2 update that has probably just rolled onto your machine.
Here is a video that shows stacks and a few updates. Nothing earth shattering but will probably make you add a stack for your most used folder in the dock.Let them eat cake
Tony Stewart from Intergen holds himself out there as a pretty handy birthday cake maker. I feel his grip on the title is loosening after this late night effort for my little buddy’s birthday party today. This is my first ever birthday cake.
This years cake is, of course, a response to the challenge the lady of the house made with last years aeronautical effort.
Anyone else got a cake to share?
Update: Robin submits ‘kagemand’, Catherine and Simon (from Xero - woot!) beat us all with Oliver’s racing car cake. That is cool!Constitutions
I’ve spent a lot of time on Shareholders agreements and constitutions and it always feels like ‘this is a lot of time and a lot of money for something we probably will never again read once it’s done‘.
But watching Yahoo’s defensive maneuvering against a potential hostile takeover is a fascinating example of using company and shareholder structures strategically.
I’d never heard of a poison pill before. Also interesting the timing of the Microsoft announcement and how they may seek to captureÂ board seats.
And now the Yahoo severance plans.
Fascinating business lessons being played out.Internet quality is part of our brand
We can talk all we like about New Zealand New Thinking, being part of the global economy, blah blah - but where the rubber meets the road is what overseas influencer’s say about us. That drives investment and opportunity.
While, Tom Coates, back in San Francisco is missing Wellington:
Reliable internet access is a boon, otherwise quite missing Wellington.
Michael Loppâ€™s enjoying having a decent Internet connection:
Sweet sweet broadband
If we want to brand ourselves as an innovative, connected country a concrete aspect of developing this brand is our infrastructure.Â We can’t hide from that.Meet some high value bits
One of the early digital lifestyle books that had an effect on me was Being Digital by Nicholas Negroponte, back in 1995. One of his big points was the value of bits. Some bits are very, very valuable.
That concept has always fascinated me. The latest update of AppleTV provides a very relevent example.
With a New Zealand iTunes account, I can now see TV programs and HiDef movies available in the US.
But if I click through the screens to buy that US TV show I get this message.
The bits that stop me downloading US TV shows are very high value bits.
Somewhere, maybe at Apple in Cupertino, there is an iTunes content administration application where someone who gets paid $US40k can click on a box and deliver the latest TV shows and movies to my lounge.
It might be a single check box.
Those are high value bits.
Our entire broadcast TV industry is protected by those few bits. It’s like a piece of rice paper providing a dam that holds back a raging river. Those bits are holding back a torrent (pun intended) of content and new business models.
AppleTV provides a distribution mechanism direct to global consumers. The terrestrial and satellite networks are bypassed. Significant because they were the gatekeepers for broadcast content. That infrastructure is no longer required as content can be sent down our commodity IP networks.
Since MySky the amount of TV I watch live is minuscule. Anyone with MySky is time shifting and quickly experiences the freedom and mindset change of not being tied to your TV at a certain time.
So I wonder a few things.
1. What commercial agreements protect the status quo? I would imagine that the movie studios sell content to local TV networks with deals probably done just a few times a year. Now that a broadcast network is not required, do ISP’s start bidding for the content as well. Could some other entity in NZ bid for the content rights?
2. What if the studios stopped suppling national TV networks and just billed direct?
3. Under a broadcast based model advertising was required. When users pay per show is advertising still required? Perhaps shows with ads are free? What ‘inject local advertising’ players will appear.
4. What of the future of local TV production. Perhaps it is in even better shape if they can sell direct globally? Who do they talk to at Apple to cut a distribution deal? Are the shorty street people up at 1 Infinite Loop now?
5. Who wins as broadcast TV is disintermediated? Is it the ISPs? Media companies? Studio’s?
What do you think?
Those sure are some high value bits.Council killing cafes
One of the things we’re most proud about in Wellington is our Cafe culture. The horror this morning of seeing that our council has jerked Eva Dixon’s at the Zoo around now as well and they have to exit over the next few weeks.
This follows on from Scorching Bay being bereft of our beloved Chocolate Fish while resource consents are sorted.Â No Cafe over summer.
Now Eva Dixon’s who open early, are kid friendly and have injected some style intoÂ the Zoo and made it cool to go again have been turfed.
Great case of beauracry getting on the way of doing what’s right.
Council, show some common sense.Â Accelerate the Fish and leave Eva Dixons where they are.
Our City owes more to them then they owe to us.Google iPhone usage shocks search giant
Adding to my last point, on AppleInsider.
Google on Wednesday said it has seen 50 times more search requests coming from Apple iPhones than any other mobile handset — a revelation so astonishing that the company originally suspected it had made an error culling its own data.ÂiPhone applications
Great link from Greg on this stunningly simple Starbucks ordering system.
This is a great example of the sorts of applications we should be writing and testing in New Zealand but our expensive mobile data charges inhibit innovation in this space. The guys at Foo last week whipped up a very cool conference schedule in just a few minutes so we have plenty of skills.
Roll on Meraki.
Publishers note: this post does not endorse Starbucks in any way :)Separation
Plenty of commentary in the last week mauling Telecom over its recent results. This Australian article was particularly brutal.
The interesting quote for me was this one on Marko
Recently departed TNZ finance chief Marko Bogoievski did not agree with the way the company’s board accepted the New Zealand Government’s bid for strong internal separation. He said shareholders would be better off with full separation - spinning off the network and wholesale business into a separate company either by sale to an infrastructure manager or the creation of a new listed company.
The argument goes that shareholders get all the downside of more regulation and no upside for a sale of excellent assets.
When Marko left I think it was common knowledge that it was a disagreement with the board over how it deals with Government. But the impression was Marko was pushing hard against the Governmnet driving Telecom. This never made sense to me but this article seems to clarify his position that he was in favour of full seperation rather than operational separation which to me is much more logical and better for Telecom.AppleTV take 2
The Apple TV upgrade is now available for download. It upgraded easily and kept photos and music etc.
With a NZ AppleID you can see the US TV shows and HD movies but when you try to get them a message comes up saying they are not available in the NZ iTunes store. Sigh.
I may have to move my virtual identity to Idaho.Evaluating SharePoint?
Michael Sampson has just released a whitepaper that will be very useful for organisations evaluating SharePoint.
This paper is for CIOs, IT Business Analysts and IT Organizations charged with evaluating the efficacy of SharePoint for team collaboration.
Michael is an international expert in Collaboration, and is based in Christchurch.
There is a lot of useful analysis here and I’m glad to see that Michael is charging a small amount for it. It’s an interesting model for people with particular skills to sell knowledge directly so I’m excited to see how it goes.
SharePoint is one of the massively growing business units at Microsoft and seems like fertile ground for extending and developing add-on products.Xambox
I thought this was a joke but now I want one …Office:mac 2008
I’ve been running the beta’s of Mac Office for the past few months and was delighted when a box with the fully released Microsoft Office:mac 2008 with Microsoft Expression Media arrived on my desk on Monday night.
It’s amazing how long the release cycles are now is for Office. This version replaces Office 2004 for Mac, so it’s been a long time coming. This version is developed to exploit the new Intel chips in Mac’s so we’ve really been waiting for a year.
For me the incremental updates to desktop productivity tools isn’t as exciting as it used to be. Word and Excel are great products but they haven’t fundamentally changed in many years.
In the words of the Spice Girls, what I really, really, want is collaborative editing tools.
For me documents have 5 mins to maybe 24 hours of intensive activity - then they seldom change. In that intensive period of activity you are working over someones shoulder, emailing versions, revise, tweak, revise, tracking changes, waiting for another edit, revise etc, etc.
In these days of Software + Services and with the power of the modern computer Word should be a collaborative writing and editing surface where 1-10 people can be actively working on the same document, at the same time anywhere in the world.
Even 10 people continuously typing can only generate a tiny amount of data. A 1200 baud modem could keep up with that small amount of changes. Normally it’s type, pause, think, type. Maybe 30 words a minute.
How useful would it be to have a few people working on budgets in Excel in real-time?
Yes you can start to do sharing with Google Apps, but with the power of the installed productivity tools we should by now have rich, real-time collaboration.
So I think there still huge potential in desktop productivity software, but we need some real innovation here, not just another incremental update of the same disconnected model.
However, in terms of an incremental update, Office:mac 2008 is a nice bit of software. It has some of the best bits of Office 2007 but somehow seems simpler and cleaner. Entourage is nicer and even though it is mainly just better lipstick it is much, much nicer to use.
There are some weird Mac only bits like MyDay and the Project Center but I’ve found I just turn these off and try to keep things clean.
If you’re a corporate Mac user, Office:mac 2008 is a no brainer and I recommend the upgrade. We run a mixture of Mac’s and PC’s and they play together nicely. I’ve enjoyed my last year on OSX and find a Mac with Microsoft Office is the most productive way for me to work.
The Microsoft Mac Business Unit has done a great job. But my advice to the Office product managers is that the existing model of desktop productivity software is end of life. There is only marginal incremental value to add.Â Software + Services and using the power of the client for sophisticated real-time collaboration is where this product category has to go.MiniMax Message?
A few of our Telecom T3G MiniMax cards showed this message today. Did something just get upgraded?
Without doing anything they still seem to work. Any ideas? I did upgrade to Leopard 10.5.2 yesterday.