Drury on ICT and Internet Party

July 26th, 2014 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

IT Brief reports:

As the political heavyweights debated the future ICT roadmap for New Zealand last night, sat shaking his head in the crowd.

Taking the stage amidst the backdrop of Auckland’s evening sky, key political figures debated long into the night about the future of New Zealand’s ICT sector.

Chaired by the New Zealand Technology Industry Association, CEO Candace Kinser orchestrated discussion with technology representatives from National, Labour, the Green Party and the Internet MANA parties.

But as the opinions flowed and policies were outlined, Xero’s charismatic CEO reawakened a conversation which, in the eyes of the entrepreneur, drifted widely off the overriding issue.

“I find this really depressing but I’ll try to be positive about it,” he said, in his typically outspoken manner.

Addressing leader Laila Harre first, Drury told the recently elected head of the Kim Dotcom funded political party: “We’ve been in the industry for 20 years and you don’t speak for us, Kim Dotcom should go away and it’s kind of insulting to hear what you speak about because it doesn’t take into account the hard work we’ve done for the last 20 years.”

Rod is never shy about saying what he thinks. His view on this issue, is widely shared I must say.

According to Drury, panelists Harre, Amy Adams, Clare Curran and Gareth Hughes spoke about “incremental stuff which everybody else is already doing”, branding the discussion “boring.”

National had the big bold vision in 2008 of fibre to the homes of 75% of New Zealanders. I’m pretty comfortable with keeping the focus for now on the implementation of that. But we move towards the completion of that, we do need to get some thought leadership and vision on how we use it.

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19 Responses to “Drury on ICT and Internet Party”

  1. OneTrack (3,089 comments) says:

    Did anybody ask the pollies what they were going to do with an out of control Commerce Commission with its agenda to bring down Chorus, stall the Fibre rollout and leave everybody else stuck on ADSL? All because they think New Zealand is somehow like big cities in Scandanavia and everybody needs a few dollars cut from the copper charges, which won’t be passed on to end users by the ISPs anyway.

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  2. mister nui (1,027 comments) says:

    Agree with Rod entirely on this, but, I believe he is ultimately still pushing for his CTO role that he brought up about 6 weeks ago. I prefer the government to keep out of it and just make policy settings that allow business to grow as they see fit.

    Oh, and on Rod and criticism; it seems he is good at dishing it out, but certainly doesn’t like it when someone says it like it is about his seriously deficient software.

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  3. Nostalgia-NZ (5,195 comments) says:

    “we’ve been in the industry for 20 years” has a petulant tone to it.

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  4. prosper (164 comments) says:

    I wouldn’t worry about the commerce commission. They are virtually useless. We have duopoly in supermarkets and the highest food prices in the OECD. They have done nothing. The same applies to building supplies. The average 17 year-old would know more about ICT than Harre Hughes and co.

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  5. Alan (1,087 comments) says:

    We need to grow companies out of our universities, we can’t make “things” so we’re left with software and IP. We should be investing in business incubators at Otago, Vic and Auckland universities. Google came out of stanford, Facebook from Harvard.

    Build a campus with shared office space and services. Even better, we should be creating a “freeport” scenario in the universities where a company could grow for a maximum of 24 – 36 months free of all regulations and taxes (I mean everything, no gst, no payroll, no employment law beyond health and safety). 95% of them will fail, but the cost will small, it only takes one or two to succeed to make it worthwhile.

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  6. WineOh (630 comments) says:

    These folk should sit up & take notice.

    Drury is not only a business visionary but also has a firm grasp on the technical side of the ICT infrastructure and the nuts & bolts of the internet industry. You don’t get to where he is in the industry without knowing what the heck you’re doing.

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  7. mister nui (1,027 comments) says:

    Alan, why does the “freeport” have to be exclusive to the university and any companies that evolve out of it? Guaranteed, a structure such as this will create so many perverse incentives, that it will make Klark’s gummint’s stupid policies look sensible.

    Why can’t ALL business benefit from lower taxes and less bureaucratic bullshit?

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  8. prosper (164 comments) says:

    Our universities are socialist in nature and business incubators or any other slightly capitalist enterprise is an anathema to them.

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  9. Deane Jessep (73 comments) says:

    Interesting article, wanted to get to that but working a week of all nighters on a couple of large projects got in the way.

    Challenging you a little though David, my view is that Fibre to the Home is exactly the kind of boring incremental that everyone else is doing Rod spoke of. It always has had a political branding that plays well but means bugger all to those of us who work in IT and Communications. There are lots of fast ways of doing last mile with a well debated path, and most countries are addressing it.

    The real heavy weights I am sure Rod is talking about are areas of incubated and funded demand generation. Platforms and services designed to drive uptake amoungst the critical markets of home and SME. The how and when is boring. Lets get focused on the why and where.

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  10. Alan (1,087 comments) says:

    Because Mr Nui, it’s blatantly picking winners and supporting them in the hope of getting one or two world class success stories.

    Universities are the logical spot for this.

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  11. RightNow (6,994 comments) says:

    Alan: “We should be investing in business incubators at Otago, Vic and Auckland universities.”

    http://creativehq.co.nz/

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  12. Alan (1,087 comments) says:

    I know about that, but we need more.

    Rolling fibre to homes so people can torrent game of thrones faster isn’t going to help our economy.

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  13. Dave Stringer (188 comments) says:

    Xero is our most successful IT service company so far! and if you trace it’s history back 20 years, you will see it gestated in that bastion of non-profit enterprises (tongue firmly in cheek,) Ernst & Young.

    More “angels'” investing in startup, high risk high reward, visions is what this country needs. Unfortunately we will have to wait until the current successes (Xero, Trade-Me, etc. ) have created sufficient wealth for their founders to make a viable market. Yes it’s already happening, but just wait till those men get to the billions mark and see what they do with their intelligence and market savvy.

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  14. ShawnLH (5,008 comments) says:

    “Addressing Internet Party leader Laila Harre first, Drury told the recently elected head of the Kim Dotcom funded political party: “We’ve been in the industry for 20 years and you don’t speak for us, Kim Dotcom should go away and it’s kind of insulting to hear what you speak about because it doesn’t take into account the hard work we’ve done for the last 20 years.”

    Nicely said. I will happily predict that the IP will mostly just take votes off of Labour and possibly the Greens. It’s supposed appeal to “youth” and people in the IT industry will be close to nil.

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  15. hmmokrightitis (1,590 comments) says:

    What he said re the fat german. I dont begrudge his millions, but I suspect he will spend some serious poky time soon as a result, richly deserved. But lets not confuse what he did for cutting edge IT. Its not, its storage. Yawn.

    We are, I think, seeing a serious play develop here in NZ around future state IT, and I think in 20 years NZ will be leading the charge when it comes to state of the art systems delivery globally. And that brings huge value. When I can get a senior systems engineer out in Bangalore for $USD 13 per hour, that means I can drive fundamental change to how the world consumes IT. Brains here in NZ, cheap resource at the end of the pipe.

    Government, simply get out of the way. You really cant pick winners, and you cant do anything other than make sure you enable this to happen – it happens, and is happening way too fast for any government to comprehend.

    And as for the genesis of this coming from EY 20 years ago – yup, the development lab on the bottom floor of our building in Shortland Street was where we learnt our trade, and had a shit load of fun doing it :)

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  16. Nigel (514 comments) says:

    Damn, I don’t believe I’m defending KDC, but I think hmm you’re wrong, whilst you are right on the pure storage side small scale, the scale KDC achieved was impressive, running a web site chewing that much international bandwidth is not easy, not even close. I also think you’re on the wrong end of the trends employing guys in Bangalore, from where i’m sitting the trend is away from offshoring & fast ( to be fair I had been told by an Indian mate that it was flattening off in India 5 years ago, but now it’s accelerating ).
    Having said all that, I am with Drury & I think KDC is not only bad for NZ’s reputation, he’s doing nothing for the IT reputation in NZ either.

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  17. Kimble (4,438 comments) says:

    Nigel, he wasnt the first and he wasnt alone.

    Do you think NZ IT entrepreneurs look up to Dotcom to the extent that they would vote for him to lead a party to look out for their interests? I doubt it.

    They certainly wouldnt vote for Harre as leader, and sure as anything wouldn’t vote for an alliance with Harawira.

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  18. wrightingright (143 comments) says:

    > “When I can get a senior systems engineer out in Bangalore for $USD 13 per hour,”

    LOL LOL, a “senior systems engineer”

    Riiiight

    Just because you call yourself one, doesn’t mean you are one.

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  19. Nigel (514 comments) says:

    Agreed to all those comments Kimble, with one caveat, he was the biggest and by a decent margin, if I recall right 15% of global traffic.
    I don’t believe it professionals will vote for him en masse, but people with lesser knowledge are sucked into believing kdc speaks for tech and he does talk well, can’t back it up, but that is never a barrier for electoral campaigning, just ask Kevin Rudd or Tony Abbot.
    The issue is i don’t see anyone in tech in nz anything close to kdc in ability to speak and create media profile, the question is will he get specific enough for the likes of Joyce can expose his abysmal arguements, I doubt it, he’s a lot of things but he is definitely not unintelligent and he’s definitely media savvy ( though he’s going backwards there it’s still a huge profile ).

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