SO WHAT DO YOU WANNA BE WHEN YOU GROW UP?

As always, the lunch hour was well invested at last Friday’s Xero Summer Seminar, when Nat Torkington shared his perspective on today’s technology career.

Before honing in on Getting a Job & Keeping a Job, Nat considered what a “Career” looks like these days, in this fast-moving technology world, and what “Choices” are available to tech professionals.


Widely considered to be *the* web event of the year, Webstock brings international experts to Wellington and presents a fantastic opportunity for web professionals to connect with the latest thinking, techniques, trends and personalities in the global web industry.  Attendance at Webstock has been scientifically proven to be beneficial & kick-start many a web career by delivering inspiration, education and connections.

Our interns are seeking a career break. Can you help us to help them attend Webstock in 2011?

The awesome people at Webstock have are doing everything they can to enable Summer of Tech interns to attend in 2011.  We’re asking other fine members of the local business community to help us out too.

Summer of Tech is seeking financial support from the wider Wellington web industry on behalf of poor (hard-working & deserving) students.  We’re raising $ via a Givealittle cause (here’s a link), and will allocate the funds raised to the most deservingest interns at the end of January, to support the cost of attendance of the Conference and/or Workshops at Webstock in 2011.

Summer of Tech 2010 Friends & Sponsors:

Are you ready to invest in the future of Wellington’s web talent? Giving a little to this cause translates into giving a BIG career break to a deserving young person!  If you’re lucky enough to be going to Webstock yourself, if you’re unable to attend in person but want a motivated delegate to attend on your behalf, if you’ve had a great 2010 and are looking to give back to the community, if you’re looking to pay it forward or sprinkle some fairy-dust out there into the universe… We’d love to have you on board!

No amount is too small to make a difference! We reckon Webstock is great value, but even local world-class conferences are beyond the means of those at an early stage in their web career.

Please give a little to this GREAT cause: HERE

If you have questions or would like some more information about sponsoring, please contact us directly

Summer of Tech 2010 Interns

If you want financial assistance to go to Webstock, you will need to make a pitch as to why you deserve it, and email to Summer of Tech before 8pm on 21st January 2011.  Summer of Tech, in discussion with the Sponsors, will allocate the funds based on your pitches.

Some things to think about when preparing your pitch:

  • Your pitch is the opportunity to demonstrate why you deserve to go to Webstock in 2011
  • Why are YOU a good investment?
  • What will you get out of it?
  • What will your sponsors (& Wellington & the wider web industry) get out of it?
  • Be creative ;-)

Hope to see you at our Xero Summer Seminar on the evening of Tuesday 11th January! Please RSVP over here!

YOU are invited, yes, that means YOU! SoT2010 Interns, Mentors, Colleagues, members of the UP and wider Wellington Tech community!

We’d love to see you at our summer seminars, supporting & developing & connecting the top talent of Wellington and the top employers of Wellington. Here’s the details for our 11 January #xsss:

So… what does it take to start, run & grow a technology company in Wellington?

Following on from Rowan Simpson’s Startup Lessons, we’ll hear from 2 other successful Wellington tech entrepreneurs, sharing wisdom and learning about how to execute a great idea, how to get it from the garage to the market, and what the key ingredients are to building a successful enterprise in Wellington, NZ.

Melissa Clark-Reynolds is the founder of minimonos.com, a virtual world for children focused on growing good kids, not good consumers. In December minimonos had over 60,000 kids registered in its beta. Melissa has a string of entrepreneurial experiences (including being CEO of 2 other software companies and selling her first company to Southern Cross). She has raised capital for minimonos in Wellington, and loves living here.

Dave Moskovitz is an experienced entrepreneur turned angel investor, having co-founded one of Wellington’s early web development companies, and taken it from the garage to strategic trade sale. He’s part of the Webfund team, and leads the board of MusicHy.pe. Dave is a great communicator and collaborator who brings out the best in the teams he works with, as well as a dab hand at coding and general sysadmin geekery. He’s been a member of the Institute of Directors since 2002, and believes good governance is central to building strategic value.

When … 5.30-7.30pm (for a 6pm start), Tuesday 11 January 2011
Where …NZ Post House, 7 Waterloo Quay, Pipitea, Wellington (here’s a map)
Rsvp …is essential!! please do this over here on the groovy lil’ regie platform.
What …are you waiting for? inspiring & informative speakers! refreshments! awesome networking with the startup & business community!

HUGE thank-yous to Xero for being our fantastic sponsor of the seminar series. And to Kiwibank for being our venue partner.

Thanks for making these events possible.


HOW TO BE A GREAT GAME DEVELOPER

Stu Sharpe, Technical Director at Sidhe Interactive wow-ed us with some demos, gave an update on the games industry in 2010 and set out a step-by-step pathway to becoming a great game developer.  He’s kindly shared his slides, which speak for themselves, really!

Here’s the highlights:


Hope to see you at our Xero Summer Seminar on 14 January! Please RSVP over here!

YOU are invited, yes, that means YOU! SoT2010 Interns, Mentors, Colleagues, members of the UP and wider Wellington Tech community!

We’d love to see you at our summer seminars, supporting & developing & connecting the top talent of Wellington and the top employers of Wellington. Here’s the details for our 14 January #xsss: 

YOUR AUTHENTIC BRAND

Paul Soong will share his thoughts, sprinkle some fairy dust and ask some hard questions about who you are, what you stand for and why you should care.  Authenticity in a socially networked, transformational world can come to define who you work for, how far you can go and if you actually enjoy the journey.

Paul is a thinker, dreamer and doer. After starting his career in advertising with Saatchi & Saatchi, Paul founded The Church, a socially responsible design agency which mentored design graduates into employment. He is also responsible for bringing to New Zealand, what is now our largest design and creative conference, Semi-Permanent.

When … 12.15-1.30pm, Friday 14 January 2011
*** NOTE CHANGE OF VENUE!!!! ***

Where …NZ Post House, 7 Waterloo Quay, Pipitea, Wellington (here’s a map)
Rsvp …is essential!! please do this over here on the groovy lil’ regie platform.
What …are you waiting for? free lunch! networking! inspiring & informative speaker!

HUGE thank-yous to Xero for being our fantastic sponsor of the seminar series. And to Kiwibank for being our venue partner.

Thanks for making these events possible.


Today was the day of the announcement of the winning entries to the Great NZ Mix & Mash Competition!  The organisers and supporters of the Mix & Mash initiative deserve a medal, it’s been a great way to get people to use, re-use and mash-up open data.  Congratulations to everyone who entered… and a HUGE Summer of Tech shout out to the winners of the “Best Newbie Mashup”, the Tax Receipt 2010 mashup, Amanda Dorrell and Nick Malcolm (interns at Southgate Labs)!

Also, special congratulations from us to the whole Southgate Labs team, winners of the Best Open Government Service Award for their MPs Playing Cards iPad app.

and to Cameron Prebble (Summer of Code Alumni, not to mention awesome volunteer filmer of Summer of Code & Tech bootcamps and seminars for many years) for his 2 awards:  “best use of Google cloud computing services” and ”Outstanding mashup” for the Mashblock.

Again, everyone who entered: You Rock!  We look forward to experiencing your mash-ups and look forward to more of the same!


Hope to see you at our Xero Summer Seminar on 17 December! Please RSVP over here!

YOU are invited, yes, that means YOU! SoT2010 Interns, Mentors, Colleagues, members of the UP and wider Wellington Tech community!

We’d love to see you at our summer seminars, supporting & developing & connecting the top talent of Wellington and the top employers of Wellington. Here’s the details on our 3rd #xsss: 

“WHAT’RE YOU GOING TO DO WHEN YOU GROW UP?”

Veteran observer Nat Torkington will talk about how to get a job, how to keep a job, when to get the next job, what a career path looks like, and what your choices are. And who said you *have* to grow up?

Nat Torkington ran the first web server in New Zealand, cowrote “Perl Cookbook”, and while in the US ran conferences on topics as diverse as bioinformatics, Internet mapping, and open source software. He is advisor to a number of startups. He lives and works north of Auckland, where he builds communities of innovators and helps corporates fail to suck.

When … 12.15-1.30pm, Friday 17 December
Where …Kiwibank, level 6, Radio New Zealand House, 155 The Terrace (here’s a map)
Rsvp …is essential!! please do this over here on the groovy lil’ regie platform.
What …are you waiting for? free lunch! networking! inspiring & informative speaker!

HUGE thank-yous to Xero for being our fantastic sponsor of the seminar series. And to Kiwibank for being our venue partner.

Thanks for making these events possible.


Due to popular demand, we are making some of our extremely cool, and extremely limited edition Summer of Tech Swag available for purchase.

Show your support for Summer of Tech, become the owner of a styley laptop bag!  These are high quality canvas bags, equipped with straps, buckles, pockets.  Charcoal Grey in colour.  SoT2010 Bags are available for the amazingly low price of NZ$50.00

To place your order, please email us

If you’re interested in a t-shirt, a cap or some retro Summer of Code gear (pre-2008 bags), we do have a very limited quantity of these collectors items available – please contact us to enquire about price & availability.


STARTUP LESSONS

Following on from our awesome User Groups talk, the presenter at the 2nd instalment of the Xero Summer Seminar Series was Rowan Simpson (who probably needs no introduction, but a bit more background is here, and you can find his blog here, and follow him on Twitter here).

Here’s my notes from his seminar, but stay tuned for the video, we’ll post it to this blog asap.

Startup Myth-Busting with Rowan Simpson

The mythical startup model involves a lone hero having a “eureka moment” in a shed.  Next thing, they’re inundated with customers, the business grows, is sold to an investor for a gazillion $, and the inventor retires happily to a bach (with a boat & beemer parked nearby).

HOLD IT!  Reality-check, people.  Rowan knocked off those myths one at a time:

1. Inventor Team

In spite of the “lone hero / inventor” myth, the reality is that it takes a wide range of skills to build an idea into a product, and a product into a business. Developers, designers, marketing experts, leaders, strategists, operational folks.  Surround yourself with the right people for you and for your venture.

2. Eureka! Iterate

That amazing lightning flash moment of inspiration and invention?  Sorry, its a myth.  Most startups iterate, so be ready for your Big Idea to evolve.  What makes a successful product might not being the same as your startup idea.  Trade Me set out to replace free classifieds, but moved rapidly from computer parts to womenswear to real estate. Flickr started out as a tool for online gamers, Paypal was a virtual currency for palm pilots…

Build it, launch it quick, get people using it…  remember:

‘If you are not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late.’

(Reid Hoffman, founder of LinkedIn)

Observe & listen to your customers.  A successful product is something people need/want/remember and will pay for!

3. In the Shed Executed & Networked

Isolation and secrecy have no place in the successful startup world.  Your idea doesn’t have to be original, you don’t need to run around with NDA’s, you just need to have a compelling product or service that solves a customer’s pain.  Get it out of the shed!  Use your networks!  If you have a remarkable solution to a real need, it’ll go viral, and that’s the best way to ensure:

4. Massive uptake Build Momentum

Um, well, be ready for this to take longer than you think.  Trade Me’s “overnight success” took 7 years.  (For more on this, check out this series of posts, a.k.a.  “The Trade Me Manifesto”).  Remember that your early audience may be different from your mass market.  Again, be ready to adapt your business & product to meet market needs.

The key thing here is to get early sales, and continue the growth momentum.  One approach is to set clear goals – have a number to obsess about.  Measure the right things, and focus on optimising everything about your startup.

Execution is everything.  Build your product, then prove it by getting customers to use it.  Then turn it into a successful business by getting even more customers to buy it!

5. Sell it Smart Money

Yes, sometimes a buyer comes along with a big chequebook… but it’s a tough journey for lots of entrepreneurs.  The key is to find an investor that recognises the value of your business model and the growth trajectory, and that you’ll add value to their business or investment portfolio.

Another reality check: it’s very rare that a pre-momentum idea would be worth anything near the $1m pricetag most startups seem to feel is appropriate.  Why not re-think capital-raising… how about giving away as much equity as you need to in order to get the right investors onto your team?

6. Retire Stay Passionate

Or… keep working on what you’re passionate about!  Don’t rest on your laurels!

How’s this for a reality check:

This is really just a quick run-down of my take-aways from what was a very insightful and enlightening talk in which Rowan Simpson shared lessons for NZ startups.  Feel free to add your lessons in the comments, and hang in there, we’ll get the video up soon!

Thanks Rowan, and thanks all of you who joined in the q&as and discussions.  Wellington’s a great place for tech startups, and we’re lucky to have people willing to share lessons like these!

Reminder: Snapper API Challenge
Last week, Snapper announced the SoT2010 API Challenge!  More info is up on their website here, and did you see there’s a MacBook Air and iPhone up for grabs? All you’ve got to do is come up with the awesomest API plugin to interact with the  Snapper smartcard.  They’ve opened up the source code for MySnapper, and its up to YOU to build stuff on it.

We’re working on getting the videos uploaded asap, so those of you who weren’t able to be there will get a chance to share the learnings.  Hope to see you ALL next week for XSSS-03, don’t forget to rsvp here!

Thanks to all our speakers, and our fabulous sponsors Xero.
Thanks to Kiwibank for hosting us, too!