Archive for the 'Blog' Category

The Dumb Pipe Analogy, what we can learn from it

I enjoyed this article Bringing the dumb pipe metaphor to email: Why Google wants to replace Gmail, talking about how email is a blunt service. As in it is a delivery mechanism.

The term dumb pipe analogy comes from networking lingo, it’s where someone provides a connection from A to B but don’t layer any services on top. The telcos that power our iPhones make a great example, as Apple controls that device whereby the telcos are restricted to just providing the data & connectivity for it to work.

The problem is email’s over-used and misused everyday. From transactional data, to communication to collaboration, so Google is working on putting a layer on top to make it more actionable. A Facebook newsfeed for email.

It’s a good framework to think of, in any industry the first challenge is building the pipes, it’s what we’re doing with Nudge building out the measurement, the second challenge once the pipes are in and well used is layering the intelligence on top for heavy users.

The third layer? Opening up an eco-system so others can build on top of that.

October 29th, 2014

Fingerprints are usernames, not passwords

I’ve been thinking about this a lot, fingerprints as passwords.

The rise of the Apple Touch ID which uses your fingerprint to unlock your phone and now process transactions with Apple Pay. Which in the system of the phone and the user, verifies the owner is present but isn’t a password. But you would think it is.

The iPhone doesn’t store your actual fingerprint -> but you have to reasonably expect, that if you digitally store your fingerprint (and chances are if you’ve been through customs it is already sitting in multiple databases around the world) it’s going to be compromised at some point.

This post by Dustin Kirkland from 2013 digs into it a bit more, saying that yes fingerprints are great as an identifier but not as a password.

Makes a heck of a lot of sense.

October 25th, 2014

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

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