Just finished reading (and being depressed by) this report on the ICT issues panel. From Maurice Williamson saying that what he said wasn’t actually policy to David Cunliffe’s no-show we get a fairly good indication of just how important this stuff is to the mainstream political parties.

Williamson’s very inspiring statement (that wasn’t policy) went;

was to get New Zealand into the top half of the OECD’s GDP per capita rankings. Only then could the country afford to pay for the infrastructure and services we all demand

Nice to see he’ dragging out the same feel-good platitudes that have been circling around for the past decade – it’s like the knowledge wave conference all over again.

The end result seemed to be an agreement from the industry participants that a skills shortage is the major issue – unfortunately NZ manager of Sun, John Mazenier reminded people, realistically if a little depressingly that;

the industry was struggling to form its own representative body did not bode well for a collective approach

Oh God – is there any hope? I guess there is but it will come from neither central Government nor industry groupings. It will come instead from cool companies doing cool things here and motivating students to study towards working in the industry, and to stay here once they graduate.

We need to help ourselves – because no one else will.

Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

  • yes, I attended that ‘debate’. Even if Cunliffe had turned up, I doubt it would have been a debate. I blogged about it at blog.keyring.co.nz.

    I thought Maurice was actually reasonably credible, but very short on detail. John Hine was… an academic, and I believe that academia overrates itself with its contribution to the IT industry, but what he said made sense. John Mazanier was very disappointing, and either did no preparation or Sun at least has no vision. His contribution was mainly limited to asking Maurice for handouts so they could do a proper intern program because “margins were tight”.

    Dynamism and vision in the IT industry is not going to come from government, and we have to stop looking for direction from the big services companies (HP/EDS, IBM, Sun et al.). We need product companies to grow productivity (Xero, Sonar6, PlanHQ and others), the cool companies doing cool things. At most, services companies should be seen as spring boards to product companies.

  • I’ve nearly come to the sad conclusion that if we’re to succeed in NZ in ICT, it’s an ‘each to their own’ approach.

    The government isn’t doing much to help improve the technology infrastructure which is under par (broadband etc), the Grants process is too bureaucratic to be any good, the few industry bodies and collectives in the ICT sector aren’t doing much to help the young players trying to grow, the investment scene is too immature so we end up with bootstrap co’s (which is fine, but there’s little govt help), and the ones that do make an honest effort to succeed globally seem to be victims of tall poppy syndrome…

    The few I know who are doing really well are just simply doing their own thing, keeping off the radar, working in their sheds and putting heads down and bums up.

    NZ is a great place to live, and really awesome place to launch ICT successes, but I’m starting to feel that there’s just just not sufficient help/resource – So just get on and succeed yourself!

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