Week Note 3

November 22, 2012 – 10:02 am


Monday was a big day: I confirmed the hiring of my first employee, and gave a seminar at Auckland University on open research. The employee is my sister (getting back into the workforce after five years out with son; has been helping me out as book-keeper during that time), she’s part-time (four hours a day), and our goal is to have her help me scale the business. I know the events inside out, but Jenine has been much better at process definition and automation than I have. Bree’s job is to help me do for my side of the events (definition, promotion, sales, registration, hosting) what Jenine’s already done for her side.

The seminar is on Slideshare (see the slides here; not recorded, alas). It’s based on a presentation I gave to the University Research Offices of New Zealand earlier in the year: start with open source, move through Wikipedia to crowdsourcing and ‘open everything’, talking about how my industry (built on the web and the Internet) grew and continues to grow despite not having a corporate owner with IP rights and licensing deals and a big marketing budget. This sits in opposition to the traditional University licensing model of success (“we invented something, fuck knows how to make money from it, let’s just patent it and charge royalties for its use”). I challenged the audience members to redefine “success” to include true impact, not just publications or patents.

Then I flew to Wellington for a Silverstripe board meeting. I went in thinking “gosh, coming up to the end of the year, lots of financial statements, not much I’m going to be able to contribute here given the financial expertise of the two other indie directors”, then ended up being the lippy one during the strategy session.

Wednesday, I went to Auckland iOS Meetup at the CactusLab HQ. There were 40-50 programmers, designers, and entrepreneurs. One long session on a last-minute hotel booking app, fascinating for the business behind the app: relationships with hotels, how many in each city, what affects demand (when the Rugby 7s are in town, there are NO last-minute rooms so they have no inventory), and the web tools used to run the company. The big takeaway for me was their use of yammer: they pipe every registration, cancellation, web analytics report, invoices, etc. through the team’s Yammer channel, so the invisible data pulse of the company can be visible. Brilliant! Now I’ve been looking at every company, wondering what data streams could be surfaced and shared.

This week, J was prepping for the Devmob mobile developer conference, held at Albany Senior High School on Saturday and Sunday. Two weeks before the event, I’d been nervous that we wouldn’t crack 100 registrations but the last-minute rush was fantastic:

While mobile was on my mind, I’ve been collecting links like mobile growth, Apple still dominant in NZ, and mobile invading the living room. The only thing that amazes me more than how tricky it can be to design and code web sites that work on mobile browsers is how hard it remains to have a good cross-platform experience with any other technology.

You must be logged in to post a comment.