Business Is Boring

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Deanna Yang on why Moustache Milk & Cookie bar is now a completely different business

About 2 years ago the rent went up on a much loved cookie shop near the Civic in Auckland. Moustache Milk and Cookie Bar was facing a 40% hike. Owner/founder/manager Deanna Yang, a constant presence in the store and online through her energetic, revealing blog that charted the ups and down of business wasn’t going to take this.

As an entrepreneur in her early twenties, from a single parent family, young, a woman and a kiwi of Singaporean Chinese descent she had faced a lot of uphill battles so far and she wasn’t going to let this one get her down. She’d baked, invented, shared and given a lot back in her short run in business and used this community as a springboard to a successful $91,000 crowdfund. Even Lorde was keen to #savemoustache. Deanna used this to evolve the business, ditch the OTT rent, fit out a bus and tour the country taking the cookies to the people and now open three stores. All in less than 6 years in business. These goals have all been set and nailed, against the odds and against an environment that NZers like to think is pretty easy for people that aren’t pakeha, but in Deanna’s experience, it isn’t plain sailing, but there are a lot of good people out there too.


Craig Cotton on leading Charlie’s into teenage-hood and remembering to keep family involved

On the first week of the job at Coca Cola in 1996, today’s guest was wheeling out coke products from Pizza Hut after they moved to Pepsi. Although just a new sales rep he vowed that one day he’d get Coke back in to the big chain and its sister KFC.

The years passed, and Craig Cotton moved up the ranks. He went from sales rep to a manager, into sales operations, marketing and eventually, all the way to General Manager from his shop floor start. And on his last day with the company, 17 years later, Craig and his team made that deal with Restaurant Brands, the biggest single one in Coke NZ’s history. How’s that for a story of growth and dedication?

Craig has gone on to be the CEO for the Better Drinks Co, makers of Charlie’s as it went from a small indie to part of the huge Asahi, and then on to Independent Liquor and now, the Innovation Council - where this year’s awards are upcoming and the sector is in good health. Craig Cotton joined Simon to talk about his career and what could be next for innovation.


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.