Day 9: First Computer Conference

November 25, 2005 – 7:00 pm

I think I’m probably doing it a favour calling it a conference: Convergence
was a Wireless Forum sell shop, an expo hall with a room
featuring the biggest exhibitors. Everyone’s Powerpoint deck was
focused to their own product story. Good thing it was free 🙂

The expo hall was interesting, though. The usual big boys were out
in force (I missed the Telecom and Vodaphone Big Name Speakers because
I arrived after they did their thing) but there was an interesting mix
of independents, VARs, and importers. I was particularly taken by
AnyData, Aangel, and Minimax. I’ll write them up
on my Radar blog.

I started to get a feel for the business dynamic here, too. With
only 4M people, >shitty
broadband penetration
means that net-based apps are going to
struggle for an audience. Even in mobile, where penetration
is 80%
(putting NZ 9th in the world), companies are looking to
overseas markets. Obviously they turn to Australia first, but they
eye Europe, India, and China often too.

That said, I did see small development shops doing well. Find a
niche, make the customers happy, make enough money to support
yourselves. That seems to be viable in New Zealand, where E’s
definitely tend to be S rather than M. (I heard an Indian Kiwi at the
conference say “try to take on the SME market” and I heard SME as
“smee”, like the character from the Disney Peter Pan and was very

For making big bucks, I think the opportunities probably lie in
servicing the lucrative markets (UK, Europe, America, China) with web
apps built here. I’ve started to find people in NZ doing Web 2.0
style things (see the
mailing list I created
) and I’m hoping that we can find a few
successes to get the idea out there that this is, in fact, not an
impossible way to live.

Raining today. I love the sound of rain on a corrugated iron roof.
Nothing like really knowing it’s out there while you’re snuggled up
warm under the covers. I wish NZ houses knew about central heating,
though. Our bathroom has a radiant bar heater mounted on the wall to
warm you while you’re bathing, which is good, but I can’t see that
scaling to the rest of the house. I’m trying to figure out how to do
some kind of mickey mouse heating duct system to push hot air around
the house from the chimney a-la the Roman hypocaust,
but I can’t see the local council giving permission for anything that
exotic without an ocean of paperwork and consents.

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