Hope to see you at our final Xero Summer Seminar for SoT2010, lunch at Macs on 11 February! Please RSVP over here!

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

The final seminar in the series, and this one’s a little bit different – we’re partnering up with CloudCamp and the Summer of Tech Seminar doubles as the warm-up act for the main event!  CloudCamp Wellington is an “unconference” for all things Cloud Computing.  If you want to stay on for CloudCamp proper (1pm-5pm+), please make sure you register over here.

Thanks to everyone who’s attended our seminars this year, it’s been a great opportunity to develop & connect the top talent of and the top employers of Wellington.

Here’s the details for our 11 February #xsss:

CloudCamp Kickoff
2011 is set to be a landmark year for cloud computing, and a local Wellington company (with customers in 70 countries) is delivering game-changing productivity: the kind of performance that can potentially match traditional grid computing, all at the push of a button.

Intergrid’s Chris Teeling (COO) and Dave Fellows (Head of Development) will reveal how their company is leveraging cloud computing, in a way that allows the common software user to easily access super-computing power whenever they need it. InterGrids’ GreenButton is the user-friendly front end for high performance Cloud Computing. The GreenButton, simply allows your system to access massive computer processing power, large storage and high speed network infrastructure that would normally be outside the budget of all but the wealthiest institutions. This is what the internet and on-demand computing is all about!
When… 12pm-1pm, Friday 11 February 2011
Where… Upstairs, Macs Brewbar, 4 Taranaki Street, 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! lunch! awesome networking with the Wellington IT community!

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

Thanks for making these events possible.


Hope to see you at our Xero Summer Seminar on the EVENING of Tuesday 8th February! 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.

STOP PRESS! Yes, we know there’s another awesome event on in Wellington on the 8th Feb.  Sorry for the double up… February is a scarily busy month.  We will make sure that our presenters wrap up by 7.30pm, so that you have time to get some pizza in you before you hot-foot it down to The Paramount Theatre to hear the Ignite Wellington speakers at 8pm.  Sound fair to you?  Haven’t heard about Ignite Wellington?  Check it out over here!

Here’s the details for our 8 February #xsss:

Mobile Developers’ Panel
Seems like there’s a mobile app for just about everything these days, and we know a bunch of SoT interns scoping out opportunities for app development roles, teaching their grandmas how to use their smartphones, or dreaming of following in the footsteps of @majicdave

This seminar brings together some gurus who have built mobile apps, and they’ll share their experience across different platforms.  There will be plenty of time for discussion & networking, too!

Chris Klug is a senior developer at Intergen. Originally from Sweden, Chris has been working as a developer for almost a decade, and has worked with a wide variety of companies in a lot of different areas, such as on-line sports betting, professional sail racing and charity organisations. Chris is a Microsoft Trainer and has recently run sessions for people on building applications for the Windows Phone 7 platform.
Nick Parfene is a developer at Trademe by day, and spends most of his spare time building mobile solutions for a small start-up called Tmro.  Born in Romania and emigrated to NZ in 2005, Nick is the creator of popular Wellington bus schedule app WelliBUS, and will be representing iOS on our panel this evening.
Sam Stephens is a senior developer at Kiwibank.  He currently codes C# and ASP.NET by day and Ruby on Rails for his personal sites.  He has been investigating the Android platform for Kiwibank and for his own interest, and blogs at http://blog.samstephens.co.nz.
When… 5.30pm (for a 6pm start) – 7.30pm, Tuesday 8 February 2011
Where…
level 3, 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! lunch! awesome networking with the Wellington IT 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.


Hope to see you at our Xero Summer Seminar on Friday 4th February! 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 4 February #xsss:

Intern Lightning Talks
So what did YOU do this summer?
This week we’ll hear quickfire presentations from a bunch of our Summer of Tech 2010 interns about what they’ve been up to during their internships.  While their contemporaries & classmates were at the beach, 70 highly skilled & passionate young professionals have been honing their skills working for some of Wellington’s most innovative companies.  Some of them have stepped up for “show & tell”, to talk about their projects, products & services they’ve been contributing to, and what’s next for their careers!

The lineup:

Janella‘s been coding up a storm at Xero, working as part of the world-class development team that keeps the accounting engine of the internet humming.

Nick and Amanda have been hanging out at Southgate Labs this summer.  They’ll talk about their award-winning Mix & Mash project.

Liam‘s been working at Run the Red, brewing up technology, creativity and big ideas in mobile marketing.

Mridul has been part of fast-growing startup MyInfoSafe, a personal information management service on a fast-track to global markets with the help of CreativeHQ.

Koshy and Jonathan spent their summer at Kiwibank.  It’s been a HUGE summer for these guys, in between helping host the summer seminars, they’ve been part of a team who are finalists in the Imagine Cup.  Oh, and working hard as interns on the Kiwibank IT team, too!

Cameron‘s been working with Abletech, and his intern project has contributed the Streets Alive website (which went live on 31 January).

 
When… 12.15-1.30pm, Friday 4 February 2011
Where…
Kiwibank, level 6, Radio NZ 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? inspiring & informative speakers! lunch! awesome networking with the Wellington IT 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.


Calling all growing IT companies, entrepreneurs and anyone curious about protecting the value of their ideas, product and business!

The fine folks at Baldwins are offering Summer of Tech participants a great opportunity to learn more about the ins and outs of IP, with a special focus on IT companies.  If you’re a startup (or even established business) curious about how Intellectual Property works, if you’ve been thinking of trademarking but didn’t know where to start, if you’re a Designer want to know how copyright & design registration can help you protect your creative output… read on!

“Intellectual Property in Information Technology Seminar” presented by Baldwins Intellectual Property

This presentation will share insights into the opportunities and risks associated with trade marks, trade secrets, registered designs, copyright, and patents as well as offer commercially practical tips to succeed and grow your IT business. Baldwins Intellectual Property has a number of professional advisors having IT-related qualifications and expertise in assisting local and global IT companies achieve and maintain their commercial advantage.

You will also be able to book a half hour private discussion after the seminar, to learn more about how YOU might be able to maximise the value of your IP – at no cost and at a time that suits you.

What: Baldwins “Intellectual Property in Information Technology” Seminar
When: 1pm-3pm, Tuesday 1 February
Where: Level 14, Baldwins Centre, 342 Lambton Quay
Rsvp: is compulsory, please sign up over here, before 28 January (space is limited!)


Hope to see you at our Xero Summer Seminar on Friday 28th 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 28 January #xsss:

Unleashing API’s
2010 saw a remarkable number of API’s unleashed by Wellington ICT companies, opening up all sorts of opportunities for developers to add and enhance functionality, and for new services & partnerships to bloom.  What are the risks & opportunities around launching an API?  How does it work from a technical and community perspective?  Lets hear it from some who’ve been there, done that:

Richard Rowley is a Developer at Trademe who, following considerable in-house philosophical debate, unleashed their API on 30 Sept 2010. 
Dan Lee is Managing Director at YouDo, and has recently been involved in the Powershop and Beetil API’s. 
Owen Evans is a Developer at Xero.  The Xero API launch has already enabled a deluge of opportunities & wish-lists to be fulfilled. 
 
When… 12.15-1.30pm, Friday 28 January 2011
Where…
level 3, 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! lunch! awesome networking with the Wellington IT 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.


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

The Xero Summer Seminar Series had a relaxing start to 2011 with an evening event at a new venue, NZPost House.

We heard from 2 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.  Here’s what our first speaker, Dave Moskovitz from Webfund shared.  (Notes from Melissa’s talk are in part 2, over here)

Dave Moskovitz talked about starting a business in Wellington, and his advice to entrepreneurs is to Think Big, Start Small & Scale Fast!  There’s a great series of videos on Dave’s NZAngels blog, entitled “Advice for Entrepreneurs” if you’re after more of his great tips, too!

Here’s some of what he shared on Tuesday:

Wellington (and NZ) = Great place to start a business!
Dave rattled off an astounding number of GREAT reasons why Wellington (ok, and the rest of NZ, to be fair) is an awesome place to start a business, first up, the business Environment: including the ease of doing business (3rd in OECD), registering a company, protecting investments, access to capital, being in good company (is it true “Company Director” is the most common occupation declaration for NZers??)… and we’re one of the least corrupt places in the world, according to “Transparency International“.

We have a world class Talent pool, including a large number of skilled migrants, and fantastic education system.  The raw talent coming out of our computer science programmes is astounding (just look at our Summer of Tech interns, for starters!)  It’s a great place to have bright ideas, to test them, and to make the first steps of turning them into a successful business.

The business Community in Wellington is very active, with networks such as Summer of Tech of course, but also the Chamber, Grow Wellington, Unlimited Potential, Lean StartupWebstock, Ignite, Nerd Nite (not to mention all the user groups & virtual communities mentioned in our first Xero Seminar for 2010)

There is LOADS of Support available for Startups in Wellington. business incubators like Creative HQ and Webfund, Co-working spaces, the investment community, and TechNZ, to name a few…

Start with the end in mind
Think big!  And make sure you have an exit strategy from day 1.  Investors want to know what the end-game is, but it’s a valuable conversation to have with partners and collaborators, to make sure you’re on the same page.  The most common exit is a trade sale, so keep your eye on potential customers from the get-go.  The key to a trade sale is to build an asset that’s greater than the sum of its parts.  Your value might be in your product, in which case look for someone who would find it easier to buy you than reinvent you.  Your value might be in your customer base, so your acquirer might be interested in buying your database?

As a balance to his first topic (Wellington = Great place for Startups), Dave talked about growing a business and international scale.  There’s no getting away from the fact that NZ is a small market, conveniently located about 36 hours away from a big customer base.  Growing globally might entail a lot of time on aeroplanes, or offshore partners/offices.

People are your greatest asset
The team is the most important factor in a startup business. It takes a bunch of different talents & skills to execute a great idea, and the acceleration from idea to product to successful business is all about people.  Your first team does not have to be people who think like you.  In fact complementary skills are more important, and passion and infatuation about a new idea can cloud decision-making.  Make sure you do due diligence on your partners (in a tight community like Wellington, that’s easy).  Remembers that investors will back the jockey rather than the horse, so you & your team are crucial to ongoing success.

If you’re a technical founder, be aware that your venture might outgrow you.  Match your talents to the role (maybe you’d be best as a CTO rather than CEO?)  Beware “founderitis“!  One of the first skills to invest in for your startup is sales.  Find or train an outstanding sales team and your business will thrive.

HUGE thanks to Dave sharing his tips!  Check out what our 2nd speaker talked about over here.  More information about our speakers can be found here.

(You might also be interested in the writeup from Rowan Simpson’s Xero Summer Seminar focused on Startup Lessons, held back in December)

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.


We heard from 2 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.  Our 2nd speaker was Melissa Clark-Reynolds from Minimonos.  (Notes from Dave’s talk are in part 1, over here)

Melissa Clark-Reynolds

It is my belief that the purpose of the start-up phase of every business is to work out if your brilliant idea has “legs” – in other words is there a market? Can you get to it? Is there a real problem you solve? Can you really solve it? Will customers pay to have you solve their problem? Can you make money along the way?

Melissa talked about 4 Startup Mistakes and distilled some valuable lessons from them!  Her “Diary of an Entrepreneur” blog post today has much more detail, so definitely check it out over here.

Here’s some quick highlights:

1. Pick the right business partners
It’s all about people!  Having the right team from the start is essential, and it doesn’t necessarily mean someone who’s just like you.  Make sure your co-founders, investors & employees share your values.  You need to have the tough conversations with co-founders about money, about vision, about values.

Minimonos has recently extended their Employee Share Scheme (Melissa talked about that in an earlier blog post) and keeping the right team means they share the company’s vision and are motivated to achieve it.

2. Make sure you have a (big) market
A great idea is not the same thing as a great business.  The judges of your business are your customers, and they vote with their wallets.  If people won’t pay for your product, you don’t have a market.  If you don’t have a market, you don’t have a business. There is no virtue in being ahead of your time, or first to market… at the end of the day, they key measure of a successful business is SALES.

3. Focus on the business (not just the technology)

When we fall in love with our product and not with our customers, we are in deep trouble.

There’s a lot of buzz about innovation and inventions and the “new” leading edge R&D.  Beware!  See point 2 above, if you’re ahead of your customer, you don’t have a business.

The F&P Smart Drive Washing Machine is a beautiful piece of engineering.  It has smart electronics and intelligent agitators and all sorts of fabulous technology.  However, if yours is broken, the only thing you want it to do is WASH YOUR CLOTHES.  If it’s not achieving that basic goal, the revolutionary nature of the direct drive motor doesn’t matter one bit.

Melissa talked about cranking money out of existing technology, being customer focused and creating a global business that uses technology as a tool to meet a customer need, rather than having the technology as the main focus & driver of the business.

It’s kind of ironic, however, that one of the top returns on Google is a website explaining how to turn your smart drive washing machine engine into a wind turbine generator.  Maybe that’s a better use for it, after all…

4. Know your competitors
If you’re going into competition with a big organisation, like the government for example… beware!  If your competitor has big resources, or sets the rules of the market, then your business will have a tough time.  Examples include health insurance and education.  This lesson can be expanded to other industries, the main thing is not to underestimate your competition!

HUGE thanks to Melissa for a great talk!   More information about our speakers can be found here.

(You might also be interested in the writeup from Rowan Simpson’s Xero Summer Seminar focused on Startup Lessons, held back in December)

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.


Hope to see you at our Xero Summer Seminar on Friday 21st 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 21 January #xsss:

Open Source – What? Why? How??

One of Nat Torkington’s hot tips for up-coming IT professionals went something like this:  GET INVOLVED in open source projects! It’s a great way to get experience, build your portfolio, and show what you can do.  More tips from Nat over here.  This week, Francois Marier presents an intro to Open, including What it is, Why you should care, and most importantly: How to contribute.

This session will show you how you can join an existing Open Source community and help on a project, and give you tips on starting your own project. Most people will be exposed to Open Source in their careers and participating in a community is one of the best way to prepare yourself for it.

Francois Marier has been involved in Open Source communities for more than 10 years. Currently a senior software developer at Catalyst IT, he is a long time Debian Developer and has worked on commercial Open Source projects for most of his professional career.

One of his most recent contributions to the New Zealand Open Source community was linux.conf.au 2010 where he sat on the organising committee that ran a successful technical conference which brought almost 600 delegates to Wellington. He blogs regularly about Open Source related topics at http://feeding.cloud.geek.nz

When… 12.15-1.30pm, Friday 21 January 2011
Where… level 3, 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! lunch! awesome networking with the Wellington IT 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.


Internships are go, go, go!  Thanks to the amazing support of employers, we currently have over 70 interns undertaking paid summer work experience as part of Summer of Tech 2010.  There has been a very positive response to our new “Design” stream, as well as a surge in demand from Palmerston North employers.

We’re getting some great feedback about the interns’ work on projects, if you’d like to share some info about what your interns are doing, please let us know!

Numbers are up on last year, and the stats for SoT2010 so far look like this:

450 students registered for Summer of Tech
30 technical bootcamps presented by employers during 2010
4 communications workshops to help with CV’s and job interview skills
500 speed interviews
40 companies hosting
72 interns placed (+ a few more employers still hunting for interns/employees!)

…but it doesn’t end there..!

Connections with industry and the wider Summer of Tech community is ongoing!  We’ve been getting a record turn-out to the Xero Summer Seminar Series, with entertaining & informative presenters, lunch and networking opportunity that is part of connecting interns with the wider tech community.

The 2011 events kick off on Tuesday 11th January, and we’d love to see you there.  RSVP here.

Opening Doors to future careers is a big focus for us throughout the programme, and this year we’ve continued our great relationship with Webstock and Weta, 2 fine examples of Wellington technology success!

Opening doors to Webstock: Interns have been given a superb opportunity to attend Webstock, and a number of alumni/supporters have offered to sponsor students.  If you can give a little to this great cause, it’d mean a lot!

Opening doors to Weta: The nice people at Weta Digital have once again opened the doors to their datacentre, and Interns will be treated to a behind the scenes tour (including a glimpse at Park Road Post and some Avatar clips).  Interns need to contact us directly for more info about this one.

Thanks to everyone who’s supported SoT2010, we hope to see you at an upcoming event – ALL WELCOME to the Xero Summer Seminar Series!