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As a tech entrepreneur for 27 years, I have had first-hand experience of many crises (including Y2K, the Dot-com bubble and the 2008 global financial crisis) that directly impacted my businesses and the rest of the economy, both at home and abroad. However, prior experience still doesn’t make it any easier for me, especially as our current crisis is a new experience for the entire planet!
Even though we are naturally hi-tech, the New Zealand technology industry is still impacted by the combined triple-challenge of the public health crisis, overnight digital transformation of our entire country, and the associated economic recessionary effects. Every business, industry, government and community organisation that I am connected to, has been impacted in many different ways. There is no question of how difficult things are for everyone.
The only questions that are front-of-mind for me are:
How fast can we adapt to the new world reality?
How much can we assist, support and empower others to do the same?
How do we keep everyone positive and continue moving forward during these difficult times?
In other words, how can we best apply our Kiwi can-do resilience and make an impact?
I feel very positive about how fast tech businesses and the industry as a whole have been shifting all activities online, taking prudent recessionary actions and keeping everything going. At an individual level, I see many companies shifting gears, pivoting directions, even developing entirely new products or commercial models. Many ideas will help during the current crisis situation (the ‘new-normal’) as well as when we all make it through to the other side (the ‘new-world-order’).
At the industry level, among the many good examples of positive steps are Techweek2020 and the NZ Hi-Tech Awards. Moving Techweek2020 online has made events accessible to all Kiwis throughout the country, as well as our tech sector more accessible to the rest of the world. A number of countries have approached NZTech to partner with us, so their members are able to attend and participate in Techweek, which will increase event attendance as well as bring direct international connections to Kiwi businesses.
Not cancelling our annual Hi-Tech Awards is an expression of our resilience and unbreakable Kiwi spirit. A huge congratulations to all of this year’s finalists who were named last week. Not only have you made a positive impact on New Zealand and the world, but you also inspire the rest of the industry to continue innovating and making a difference. At the awards event later in the year, we look forward to celebrating not just the winners and finalists, but our entire industry.
In the meantime, please enjoy this week’s update. Let’s continue adapting and helping others around us.
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