Business Is Boring

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The man who produced Evil Dead and Zena on the art of producing

What do The Evil Dead, Zena, Spartacus and an immersive 80s extravaganza live theater spectacular have in common? If you guessed Rob Tapert, you've got the chocolate fish.

It's very exciting to get a chance to talk to a person who's brought about a billion dollars of overseas investment to New Zealand; jobs, he's helped build an industry careers and inspiration for local film and TV.

Which is no mean feat, especially when you're doing it on the other side of the world from his native America. that's the kind of extra challenge that Tapert has thrived in and had a track record of pulling off and the latest of these is Pleasure Dome. To find out about what that is and about show business, Rob joined me in conversation in a secret location in West Auckland.


If you think your organisation doesn’t have a gender pay gap, you’re probably wrong

Today we're talking action. The debate is over, it is just fact increasing diversity of gender, background and age in the decision making parts of organisations helps businesses do better.

But still, as we've been exploring a lot lately, only one of the NZX top 50 listed companies is run by a woman. And less than twenty per cent of directors on listed boards are women. Still.

So it is past the talking and into the action stages. One person driving action is Miranda Burdon, CEO of Global Women. Her organisation has pulled together a 1 Day For Change conference happening on the 19th of September. It's a great way to celebrate Suffrage Day to talk about the how of increasing diversity in organisations with a range of business leaders and heavy hitters from CEOs of our biggest companies like Fonterra and Spark through to ex Prime Minister, Dame Jenny Shipley.

They're not mucking about.

Miranda Burdon is an award winning exporter, who's built a career in agribusiness, is chair of one of the biggest mushroom producing companies in Australasia and has been the architect of the conference. I talked to her in the Auckland CBD HQ of Global Women.


Cindy Gallop on the social sex revolution and going as big as YouTube

Today’s guest has been mentioned at least three times on the podcast for her leadership on some of the biggest topics facing business and society today. Cindy Gallop has become a by-word for changing the ratio in advertising, business and culture, getting diverse perspectives and experiences in terms of gender, ethnicity, background and moving past the stale pale and male.
As the leader of BBH New York, Gallop helped build one of the world’s great ad agencies, and since leaving has been a pioneer in sex tech and the global conversation about the effect pornography has been having on young folk. You might have seen her amazing ted talk, you would have seen her quotes on twitter, Cindy is the person that the people I look up to look up to.


The news business as a platform: The new Fairfax CEO on Stuff, paywalls and podcasts

Big news this week, with Fairfax NZ, one of the largest and most influential media companies announcing a new name and CEO.
Now to be known as Stuff, the company is to be led by Sinead Boucher. The move was very well received from journalists, happy that a fellow journo and someone from the news side of the news business would be in charge.

Recently under Sinead, some of the most successful and exciting multi-media work has been coming from the Stuff stable - the Bain murder podcast Black Hands, and the new series The Valley - showing that quality and innovation are working. And Stuff, the website that ate the company, was built with Sinead as Digital editor. All great signs for the bigger business and the workers at Stuff in uncertain media times. To chat about the print business in declining print times, the news biz and her career, CEO Sinead Boucher joined the podcast.


The cure to cancer may be closer than we think, all thanks to a kiwi invention.

Every company these days has a lofty goal.  App makers with silly camera filters say they exist to bring humans together. Every company says it is out to change the world and make it a better place, but often, that’s nonsense. Not so for today’s guest.  Professor Steve Henry is the founder and inventor of Kode technology who has worked to make commercialisation and mass application of research in partnership between his company and AUT. His work developed a compound which is now being developed into a potential cure for solid cancers. It’s also in development for products that could be used to prevent people with surgical implants getting infections. And he’s only just getting started with the applications of his technology.  He’s CEO of Kode Biotech- a biotechnology company he’s been building since 1996, taking his research into synthetic molecules and how applying them to cells and surfaces can change the way they interact with their environment. For example coating a cancer cell with a synthetic shape can make the body see it in a way that means it can fight it. Something Steve will explain better shortly. 

This idea, commercialisation, patenting and market development has seen Steve Henry selected as a finalist for the 2008 New Zealand Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year and the 2011 recipient of the Royal Society of New Zealand's prestigious R.J. Scott medal, in 2015 Kode Biotech won the Supreme NZ Innovator Award and this year Steve has become the first Australasian to secure a spot in the world-leading Johnson and Johnson Innovation centre, JLABS, in Houston.

To talk innovation, commercialisation and building biotech as a category, Professor Steve Henry joins us today.


Is working 9 to 5 really that necessary?

You could look at the way work is arranged and decide that it’s something designed by the patriachy to avoid looking after their kids. A more equal society would have work start after school drop off and finish in time to help with the end of day. And that’s just if you have kids. You might also have a life. It’s just one of the ways that work is not really built for the modern age. One person that has done a lot of thinking about the way we could work today, and is helping put it into practice is Kate Wright. Kate’s completed her MBA, looking at new modes of work that reward output and efficiency rather than face time and hours spent. Opening up the way we work opens work to new people, the diversity we are looking to build today. To talk all these thoughts, and the role of mentoring for business, Kate of Business Mentors NZ and business design company Intentio joined the podcast.


Diversity doesn’t just mean straight white women: Mai Chen on the growing need for Asian leaders in NZ businesses

Today's guest is a trailblazer in law, business and leadership. Mai Chen, together with Sir Geoffrey Palmer, opened Australasia's first public law specialist firm in 1994, and since then has built a company and record that has resulted in more gongs and top positions than this intro could fit. Here's a few notable ones: New Zealand's Best public law firm a bunch of times, Inaugural Chair of Global Woman, a Director of BNZ, Adjunct Professor at Auckland Uni Law School, and recently the launch chair of Super Diverse Women. To talk the law business, her career and Super Diverse Women, Mai Chen joined the podcast.


How Burger Burger are giving hospo staff the respect they deserve

If you want to see the power of great execution, walk into any of the hospitality offerings that our guest today has brought us.

You might think a burger is a burger, but that is until you’ve been to Burger Burger. Consistently named a top option in town, their great ingredients, atmosphere, energy and engaged team have made their affordable treat a household name, with half a million plus diners served a year.

Before that Mimi Gilmour introduced the Mexico restaurants, growing fast and taking that mix of tacos, fried chicken and fun across many locations to a successful exit. To talk ideas, creativity, execution and big goals delivered, Mimi Gilmour joined the podcast.


Joan Withers on employing diversity without enforcing quotas

Today’s guest has broken new ground, confounded any stereotypes and excelled at every level of business. Leaving school in South Auckland with School Cert, going to be a bank teller, marrying her boyfriend and having a baby at 21. This could be the end of the public life story of many women 40 years ago. What happened instead has been a career leading some of New Zealand’s biggest media companies through some of the biggest landscape changes. Joan Withers has been a CEO of one of the first deregulated radio stations, the CEO of Fairfax in the last glory years of newspapers, and a professional director, with twenty years of governance experience as a board member and chair. Currently the Chair at Mercury and The Warehouse and just recently stepping down from Chair at TVNZ, Joan has a new book out, A Woman’s Place, that is a life story so far and also practical career advice, stories from the frontline and thoughts on that provocative title, A Woman’s Place.


How Sharesies is making investment portfolios for everyone, not just the rich

One of the common kind of bleats from this podcast is that as a country we invest too much in unproductive assets like houses and interest payments, and not enough into companies. One of the reasons we are like this is that it actually isn’t that easy to invest in other stuff.

In order to get into something like shares there are risks, and also you need to get a diverse range of investments to spread your risk. There are managed funds, full of fees and large sums needed to invest, there is share trading through a bank, but with 30 bucks each brokerage you need to be doing more than about 2000 at a time or else the fees are more than a 6% return. It actually just isn’t the easy. Enter Sharesies!

A cool new idea that makes it easy to invest -simply set your industry preference, risk appetite and get started with as little as 50 bucks a go.

It aims to increase financial literacy and get more people into good investment practice, and its promise, that I love, is that you don’t need to be rich to have a share portfolio anymore. Co-founder and CEO Brooke Anderson joins me to chat all things Sharesies.