BNZ Start Up Alley

I was always going to write something about this, but – even though I didn’t get a pen- it was a presentation by the speaker Michael Lopp ( that has encouraged me to do this. Get it written.

So I did it. Got up on stage in front of 200 people. That’s a complete guess, based on what I was told of last year’s attendance. StartupAlley

You probably can’t see my comfort zone in this image as it is not very close. It’s probably hidden by the curvature of the earth.

The waiting was stressful, but there was a pretty good camaraderie among the gladiators. That was possibly because the enemy was the judging panel rather than the competitors. Well, for some of us.

Nonetheless it went well. I didn’t swear or mock the judges (pretty much) and actually seem to have improved the understanding of some people about what I’m trying to do. I was awarded a Red Peak flag as a “thanks for coming.” I’m taking in the spirit in which I believe it was meant, in that the judges felt my business wasn’t ready for this competition even if the selectors did. That certainly made waiting for the announcement of the winners a lot less stressful than it might have been.

It was a great learning experience. I know much more viscerally that the message has to be explicit and early for my particular project. This is not a traditional “monetise pain” entrepreneur plan or “find a business idea to match my tech” engineer plan or “leverage a social movement” opportunist plan. The aggregated societal pain from charities struggling for funds in a low tax world is massive, but the individual pain is not.

I learned that, even if I explain what this is, many people will still be incredulous that there might be a reason for not maximising revenue. “If they can pay, then they should.” There’s a big picture behind all this, and I haven’t encapsulated it at all. I see it, and there are those who get facets, but there is a massive variation in perspective based on who and where everyone is. Like this (taken from @katgreenbrook at the SUNZ conference).


To quote Elly Arroway from the wonderful Contact movie: they should have sent a poet. I know now to leave the words and images in the hands of more capable people than me. I know them. I just have to (forgive me) show them the elephant. And I have to accept that some people will still look and say “it’s just a horse.”

When someone believes they have been perceptive and insightful, you have to carefully show when it isn’t. I didn’t get that right.

Even the smallest appreciations are wonderful. But that’s because of who I am. Some people don’t need thanks, or a pat on the back. Some actively don’t welcome them. Me, I’ll take them, although I may be too surprised to be gracious. (Sorry about that)

The biggest lesson is that I need to do this a whole lot more. And a whole lot better. This will have to become my comfort zone.

A big part of me is relishing that.

P.S. I’d love a pen if there’s still one going.

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