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You Guys Grow Sheep Don't You? 12 June 2000 Edition
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Over the past few days I've spoken with quite a number of companies that are at the forefront of the "new economy" in the USA and I've take the opportunity to get an idea of how they view New Zealand in the technology marketplace.

I'm afraid the results are bad news for the country, its people and its exports of hi-tech equipment.

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Without exception, those I spoke to knew of NZ -- but only as a tourist destination and a primary producer. They were unaware of any hi-tech activity here and perceived the country to be largely a low-tech economy based on sheep farming and "hula dancers" as one person so quaintly put it.

Most knew of the Ghost software product -- none realised it had been developed here in NZ before being sold to a US company.

Most new of the HotDog HTML editor -- but none knew its author was a Kiwi. In fact, in the USA, Australia has a surprisingly high profile in the new economy -- whereas New Zealand has none.

Quite frankly it appears as if New Zealand isn't even a tiny blip on the radar of most US companies as an option for sourcing technology or technology services.

Our government, trade and tourism board has done a wonderful job promoting the nation as a producer of primary produce and as a place to visit -- but clearly there has been no effective effort made to establish our credibility as a viable player in the new economy.

This perception of New Zealand is just another factor disadvantaging local entrepreneurs who might try to launch an hi-tech business. Don't believe me? -- then how about this...

Nokia have 4 completely ignored New Zealand as a viable source of ideas and products in the new economy -- while acknowledging the prowess and abilities of our close neighbours.

Even Auckland's North Shore City seems to have come to the realisation that there's no point in pouring money into creating an incubator for knowledge-based businesses -- because the policies of this, and the previous government are so biased against such ventures. As documented in 4 this NZ Herald story, a committee of the council has made it clear they have no confidence that investing public money in such an initiative would pay dividends.

Now, the latest bit of bad news for NZ are new reports that indicate a growing number of the skilled immigrants who were attracted to this country by its clean, green lifestyle and "opportunities" are now packing their bags and leaving. This, combined with the rising numbers of Kiwis emigrating, does not bode well for the future of this country and must be a matter of immediate concern for government.

Too Close For Comfort?
Regular Aardvark readers will remember the fuss Telecom Directories kicked up last year when a Net entrepreneur dared to use the colour yellow on their website.

The whole thing ended in tears -- with the "offender" being hauled through the courts and being left destitute by the corporate giant who felt that they had a unique right to use that colour in conjunction with Internet directories.

Well I wonder if 4 SearchNet.co.nz isn't sailing a little close to the wind with their offering.

Is it yellow or is it just a "rich cream?"

Only time will tell I guess.

I've got to say that I'm truly amazed at how the emails and phone calls have kept coming in after my announcement that I was looking at US-based opportunities.

I've had more than a handful of US companies contact me and make serious noises about wanting to recruit my services -- and even more kiwis (with quite a few names well known to the local Net industry) who have said they are packing their own bags.

As I go through the various processes associated with making the shift overseas I will be publishing "An Exile's Guide To Offshore Opportunities." I hope this will help those who decide to follow and it will outline my own experiences in locating suitable opportunities; dealing with the legal issues such as visas, work permits, etc; aspects of the culture-shock involved in moving to a new country, etc.

I'm also planning to create a virtual meeting place online for ex-pats who want to stay in touch with others and perhaps share their experiences. Obviously this is an excellent use of the Internet and hopefully it will make everyone's life easier.

Stay tuned!

As always, your feedback is welcomed.

NZL Sites
NZ Netguide
NZ Herald Tech
PC World NZ

AUS Sites
Fairfax IT
Australian IT
AFR Tech
AUS Netguide
NineMSN Tech
APC Magazine
Corporate IT

USA Sites
CNNfn Tech
Yahoo Tech
ZDNet Tech
USA Today Tech
7am.com SciTech

UK Sites
The Register
BBC SciTech

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4 = open in new window
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