Business Is Boring

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Adàn Tijerina of Almighty Juices on why immigrants make ideal entrepreneurs

Adàn Tijerina is the director of Almighty Beverages. It's a Wellington based company producing a range of organic juices now to be found in stock around the country. It's hard graft making a boutique company work, particularly one that has a organic and community based ethos at heart. But hard work is something Adàn's well acquainted with. His background includes farm work in the States, working with the homeless, running some of Wellington's most iconic bars and restaurants, the Wellington orchestra and finally helping drive the Almighty ship. Simon caught up with Adàn while he was on a business trip to Auckland and enticed him to The Spinoff towers for a chat.


Lisa King of Eat My Lunch on dealing with massive growth and making 1400 lunches EVERY DAY

It's a remarkable success story: create a enterprise that combines both business and philanthropy and before you blink, you're knee deep in work. The idea is simple: order a lunch and the price pays for another free lunch to go to a hungry school kid. Such is the journey of Eat My Lunch, which started from a home kitchen and very quickly ended up supplying 40 schools and a similar number of businesses. The CEO Lisa King talked to Simon about how rapid the growth in the business was, how they managed it as well as the logistics of delivering 1400 lunches every day.


My Food Bag co-CEO Cecilia Robinson on why you have to destroy your own market share

If you're looking at companies in the last few years that have made a real impact in the local entrepreneur and general scene, you can't go past My Food Bag. Pulling an idea in from overseas and making it work here in tiny, weird New Zealand was a passion for Cecilia and James Robinson. The idea was weekly delivered food parcels that contained everything a family needed to make meals for the week. They got Nadia Lim on board as a brand ambassador and next thing you know they're making $100 million in revenue.

But it can't have been that easy. In this conversation Simon talks to Cecilia about making the move from their earlier company Au Pair Link, approaching Theresa Gattung to sit on the board, creating a well regarded customer service operation and living on Weetbix during the hard times.


Vic Crone on Xero, her Auckland Mayoralty bid and what’s next for Callaghan Innovation

Vic Crone was announced as the new CEO of Callaghan Innovation in February of this year. Crone comes with a high profile won in executive roles at Chorus and Xero and from her bid for the Auckland Mayoralty. Simon invited her in to talk about her career, her time at Xero, what she learnt from politics and what's coming next for Callaghan. 

Disclosure: Simon works at Vend, who have received Callaghan grants and Callaghan Innovation are a sponsor of this podcast.


Lance Wiggs on how TradeMe was worth even more than its $750m sale price

You might have heard of the PayPal mafia, a term given to people that came through PayPal and then went on to invest in, found, and help grow other tech companies. People like Elon Musk, Peter Theil, Reid Hoffman; companies like Tesla, LinkedIn, Yelp, all trace back to PayPal. Well, in New Zealand I think we have our own version of that, the Trade Me mafia. The people who helped that company start, scale, grow and sell have gone on to use the capital they built up - both in terms of money they made and the social proof of their skill and judgement - to go on and foster a lot of the local industry. It's a theme of this podcast, and one of the key members of what I'd call that mafia is Lance Wiggs.

You can draw one of those detective show style photo boards with the lines and there'd be lines all over Business is Boring for today's guest. Lance has been a director, investor or advisor to many of our guests. Wierdly, Onceit, Vend, Populate and Timely to name a few of our guests. Lance has taken his experience and created a vehicle to help fund and propel high-growth companies forward, with Punakaiki Fund, and is a prominent commentator on local hi-tech companies.

We get him on today to find out about his career, his fund and why he keeps doing it when he has probably done well enough to go for a long bike adventure and not be busy as an active director on a number of companies.

Disclosure statement: I work at Vend, hold a tiny number of shares in the Punakaiki Fund and Lance is a semi-distant cousin. #NZ


Populate CEO Kirsti Grant on why start-ups shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help

As the VP for Talent at Vend (where she worked with Simon) Kirsti helped grow the company from 37 to 250 staff members. So, she knows a bit about hiring and keeping tabs on who's come, gone and staying on. HR is a huge role involving more than enough spreadsheets for every human on earth. That's why Kirsti (and co-founder Lance Hodges) started Populate, an app that aims to replace all those spreadsheets.

Kirsti braved the Spinoff stairs to talk to Simon about starting a new business, what she learnt about going out on a limb and why data is a tool for those wanting to achieve true diversity in the workforce.


Business is Boring #42: Gemma Hurst and Marcus Radich on not always waiting for the world to come to you

How do you grow a company overseas? Should you take the leap with your idea? How do you make a sale to a big company? In the case of PageProof, delivering on these questions relies on the founders getting amongst it and making it happen, backed of course by a great team.

Page Proof are a company offering an online tool to proof, track, and approve work across teams and companies, in a secure and professional manner. With workflows, to-dos, and encryption, it’s a tool companies around the world are loving. The founders, Gemma Hurst and Marcus Radich, talk on the podcast about how they took an idea and made it into a global company, and how it is that they grow their international markets. They’re fresh back from SaaStr, which they attended with Callaghan Innovation - and they also give us a debrief about what that conference offers SaaS companies and what they’ve taken from it.


Business is Boring #41: Wendy Thompson urges businesswomen to put themselves forward for recognition

If there’s one thing that there isn’t a shortage of on social media, it’s social media experts. You can’t tweet without meeting a maven or guru telling you it’s a two way conversation and about interacting. Yet even into this sea of experts there is room for a company to arrive and thrive by offering the kind of advice and support that leads to business results, advice worth paying for. Our guest today did just this. The founder and CEO of Socialites, a company that has won awards for its content and placed on the Deloitte fast 50 as one of New Zealand’s fastest growing companies. Wendy Thompson joins the podcast to talk about the social landscape, how you handle and create super-size growth and about her new SaaS style venture Start Social that provides online courses to train companies in all they need to know, from beginners on up, that already has happy customers and big plans.


Business Is Boring #40: the Coulter sisters of Cocos Cantina on why owner-operator restaurants rule

Situated on Auckland's Karangahape Road, Coco's Cantina has become a favourite for locals keen to eat somewhere low on stuffiness and pomp, but huge on great food and vibes. The owner-operators sisters, Renee and Damaris Coulter are just as beloved, running a restaurant with personality, but also one that treats its staff well and with a heavy dollop of social consciousness.

They've also started, an online map of independent restaurants and cafes. Very handy for anyone who's looking to eat somewhere out of the ordinary. Simon chatted with the animated sisters on a muggy Auckland day about the secret to their success.


Business is Boring #39: Sian Simpson live from SaaStr

There’s a question many local businesses face as they scale, how can you get a foothold in the world’s most important market. There is a way, and it is beautifully Kiwi. It involves chipping in to a shared space, an early version of a co-worker space, called the Kiwi landing pad. 

It has grown over the years, and the global community manager and glue of the organisation is Sian Simpson. Simon talked to Sian from the premier SaaS company event SaaStr, where she is with a kiwi contingent. Simon talked to her via Skype, so please excuse any audio quality issues.