So, why not Australia?

This is often one of the first questions from kiwi entrepreneurs, and it’s an interesting one.

Firstly, of entrepreneurs as a class the ones we often look up to don’t have to deal with this challenge. The challenge of conquering a market other than the one you grew up in.

Elon Musk – smashed it, in America.

Richard Branson, dominated for 20 years in the UK (now global).

Kiwi entrepreneurs have to crack that from very early on and come from a smaller market. The american mindset is any market outside of the US is smaller than home base, kiwis are the opposite every market outside is bigger – it is highly unlikely going to another market will have less opportunity. The challenges of this process are numerous:

1) Everything is different.

2) Different taxation, business law.

3) Cultural differences (even in English speaking countries)

And underpinning that is building a new network, brand, reputation, all of which takes time, at least 4-5 years in my experience. Why that long? It just takes that long to establish any business.

Thus, as a kiwi entrepreneur you’re always conscious that you do have to get in to different markets which is an additional challenge. On top of carving a business out of nothing.

But back to, why not Australia?

It’s often the first port of call, the idea is to not stretch yourself too thin and closer to home. In reality what I find is that people take it less seriously. They think send over one guy, the thinking is ‘we can fly over if need be’ have a meeting or two, and then if they hit a rocky road they just stay in NZ more.

If you’re going to take it seriously, you need to commit, setting it up so it’s safe to return home is almost preparing it for failure before you’ve started.

I’m all for caution but if you’d done your diligence and know you can make it a success don’t dilly dally around!

Whilst setting up hasn’t been easy, if we were close to home I’m sure someone would have decided to call it quits by now. It is hard. It should be for all the reasons above. However if you want to commit, do it properly.

Going further afield makes the organisation take the change more seriously and treats it as such.

Having a co-founder step out of day to day is quite a process, we worked with the team to find out what intangibles I provided, then sought to cover those through a more balanced leadership team (and in turn balancing the personalities of the team).

All of which I’m not sure we would have done was I just popping across the ditch.





October 7th, 2014

This is a post about no posts in a while and how I got started in New York

There has to be one right? This is it.

A few friends & readers have been prodding – where are the posts? What’s been happening.

So, lets get up to date.


15 August 2013

My wife Esther & I shifted to New York, to help establish an offshoot of Young & Shand, our product division. Our long term focus has been to build a global business from New Zealand. To do that, you need to find scalable intellectual property. So as Y&S has grown, where we couldn’t find off the shelf products we’d build them.

Long story short, Nudge was our first that had momentum. So, that was my focus.

Arriving up here, the aim was to get meetings, get the product in front of it and sell it. Boom! Then golf.

Well not really – but so I did the first 100 or so meetings, we got mainly no, a few yes. Those that said yes we went into a few campaigns but they fell apart, for a number of reasons. The key thing was, in a more specialized highly scalable market our product was doing too much. We had too many features and then by consequence not enough impact.

So we had to slim down the product, so we did that, finding a feature which was innovative yet untapped in the US. So we built a very lite (and ugly version) to prove the case. Upon doing so, the pitches began again, rustling up meetings. We got our first case study.

This helped us validate the feature set, the use case, and off we begun iterating, since then we have narrowed the focus down further and further, whilst removing features increasing impact, focus and value.

So that’s what I’ve been doing – tearing down obstacles. It’s been a big adjustment, doing business in the US is as culturally different to New Zealand as doing business in Thailand, as an entrepreneur I’ve had to adapt; change focus, had to start from scratch – building a brand, a network, a new way of doing business. As well as uprooting my personal life, meaning new habits (new food), social life.

In short an incredible year of change.

And now it’s time to share some of those learnings, adjustments and what we’re up to now. So I’ll keep them coming through. And if you’re on Medium, here’s one long post [17 min read time], on my big goal this year.

Talk soon.


October 3rd, 2014

Where will it stop?

It won’t.

Change will keep going.

Like Marc Andreessen shares in this great post This is Probably a Good Time to Say That I Don’t Believe Robots Will Eat All the Jobs … as long as our ability to change our horizons keeps up, so will our horizons.

Kevin Kelly talks about this in his book What Technology Wants – and that’s to keep evolving, it’s a very philosophical take on the growth of technology.

BusinessInsider touches on this too – The Next 20 Years Are Going To Make The Last 20 Look Like We Accomplished Nothing In Tech.

All good reads.

It’s an interesting thing to think about.  An exciting time to be alive.  An even more exciting time in the modern day to be able to influence and contribute to that change!




June 25th, 2014

The best book on management

And not management frameworks & structures.

Just tangible things you can do today to promote excellence.

The Little Big Things

I read it when it came out and just keep quoting it over and over.  We even use it to help people who are growing into management roles, to help show them things they should be doing, and it helps them get started.


June 4th, 2014

Pressure creates diamonds

That is, pressure forces change & innovation.  A time to rethink things.

I love this JP Morgan quote:

Go as far as you can see; when you get there, you’ll be able to see farther.

Which is the same, go there, stretch yourself.  Then see what you can see.



May 30th, 2014

Walking Increases Creativity

When I have a problem that I’m chewing on, I’ll go for a walk.  Typically by the end of a walk I’ve cracked the problem or figured out what the next step to getting to the solution is.  Its simple and it works.  Stanfords recent study mirrors this by  showing that walking increases creativity.

A person walking indoors – on a treadmill in a room facing a blank wall – or walking outdoors in the fresh air produced twice as many creative responses compared to a person sitting down, one of the experiments found.

Crazy – even walking indoors in a room with a blank wall, aka no external stimulus other than walking did it.

I’m also reading Daily Rituals of Artists, one thing that stood out for me is how much time they dedicated to just going on a walk.  Often up to 90 minutes giving their mind time to roam, to relax and enjoy life.

Steve Jobs was noted to instead of having a meeting go on a walk with whoever he was meeting with.

Why? That’s yet to be fully established – and as to whether other physical activities increase or decrease the effect has yet to be proven.

But that’s enough for me.  Get some more walking into your daily rhythm.  I’m definitely going to.

May 29th, 2014

Why tip on the spot?

Why not, a delayed tip, if you’re still happy in a couple of hours you will tip a bit more, or if you’re not happy you’ll tip a bit less.

For hairdressers – that makes sense.
For things like massages, not so much.
Car service – makes sense.

It’s something to think about.

May 28th, 2014

What are you doing all the way down here? You could:
- View my about page
- Or for first timers the New Here? page
- Or maybe email this to a friend
- Or subscribe to get blog updates