Business Is Boring

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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.


Business Is Boring #38 - Vaughn Davis on his career in advertising and good “work/life blend”

This week Simon is back in the very warm Spinoff studios talking to Vaughn Davis, creative director of The Goat Farm and the man behind some of New Zealand's more memorable advertising campaigns.

Simon and Vaughn discuss transitioning from Air Force pilot to advertising and what skills, if any, are transferrable between the two. Then Vaughn talks us through a few of his more notable campaigns including the sentient piggy banks from BNZ and the orange election man urging everyone to get out there and vote.


Business is Boring #37: Jen Ferguson and Glen Williams on expanding their beer, hot sauce & records empire

This week Simon is in merry old post-Brexit England, specifically East Dulwich in London, talking ex-pats Jen and Glen. They've made a solid niche for themselves by opening up a craft beer shop that also sells hot sauce and records. Hop, Burns & Black has won awards, press coverage and now the owners are looking at expanding the business.

Simon (over a selection of tasty beer) talks to them both about how the set up their atypical business in a strange land, the ins and outs of pushing NZ craft beer overseas, and what their plans are for expanding the brand.


Business is Boring #34: Pic Picot on making peanut butter the New Zealand way

Today’s guest is one of the people I’ve been most excited to meet through the podcast. You will know his products. The ubiquitous jars that over the years have gone from splash-out occasional treat to breakfast mainstay.

He’s the guy who took nuts from Australia, roasted them with clean New Zealand power, and turned them into friendly jars with a red star on the lid. Pic Picot started out with a converted concrete mixer in a garage and has turned his peanut butter business into a 20 thousand jar a day export success, and we’re absolutely stoked to have Pic on Business is Boring.