Let’s have one industry awards not two

So I’m disappointed with the “2009 New Zealand Internet Industry Awards”, given the poor wording of the entrepreneur of the year award.

It’s a new annual award organisation and created by the Liz Dengate Thrush Foundation. The purpose of the foundation is:

… to award funding grants for use in practical educational advancement of individuals in Internet entrepreneurship.

I have no idea how they turned that purpose into an awards evening.

They clearly have money – after all they managed to get Vint Cerf out to give the headline talk at the awards. He’s a very impressive and interesting guy, but I suspect not the best person to talk about Internet entrepreneurship for individuals in New Zealand. I also suspect that the other speaker, Minister of Internal Affairs Hon. Nathan Guy, was out of his field somewhat.

However there are plenty of other organisations and people doing great work in promoting and improving internet entrepreneurship in NZ. Why not support them?

Start with Webstock – an organisation that struggles to make money, but that has put NZ at the center of the map of internet coolness.

Let’s add Nat Torkington who, with O’Reilly media, bought FOO camp to Warkworth (the first ones out of the USA) and has managed to get a few lucky souls (including lucky me) over to the original FOO camp in Sebastapol, California. FOO is free – paid for by sponsors in NZ, and there are also several free unaffiliated BAA camps which do a great job of getting people together in common cause.

I could go on.

It now seems that we have two new award evenings, with the super cool and connected Webstockers launching the Onyas at about the same time. Actually they were originally scheduled for the same night as the NZ Internet Industry Awards, but the Webstockers graciously deferred their Onyas evening to the Webstock event next year (a smart move).

The Onyas promote themselves as the Web Industry awards – giving awards to those that create by building, designing, writing, coding and so forth. They focus on the website and content rather than the businesses behind them.

So why not combine these awards? The NZ Internet Industry Awards need a healthy dose of Webstock coolness and industry connectedness, while the Onyas could use some financial and political backing, and could easily add the existing NZIIA categories.

So I’d love for someone from the Liz Dengate Thrush foundation to get in touch with someone from Webstock. The goals of the two organisations are aligned, with both parties wanting to educate people and both parties wanting a thriving internet entrepreneur community in New Zealand. Let’s make that happen.

Finally, I have to say that the foundation’s website has done a poor job of telling us who Liz was, why the internet was important to her and what she really stood for. The “About Liz” page reads like excerpts from a c.v. and could be so much better. If you are listening-  please re-write the page, and also make it linkable from a top tab rather than buried in the secondary tabs. And think about using the Foundation’s monies more like the MacArthur and Ford Foundations –  supporting key organisations and people that are driving towards the goals you desire rather than by putting on your own new events.

Published by Lance Wiggs


2 replies on “Let’s have one industry awards not two”

  1. Completely agree Lance. There are far too many awards for the 50 companies in New Zealand. While its great for the trophy cabinet there is a real cost of entering all these awards. Also for judges (and its always the same people asked) for each award

    Much better to have one set of prestigious awards each year really mean something.

    These most recent awards were not great. Poorly organized before and little PR and follow up afterwards. The ROI for being involved was not there.

    Be great to bring them all together. Open Source Awards, Hi-Tech Awards, TUANZ, Microsoft, Internet, Onya;s etc.



  2. Not sure just one set of awards would serve all sectors of the web but I do think too many of the current awards are rewarding the wrong behaviour. Don’t get me started on the NetGuide Awards!

    For instance, a mate of mine has been involved in an annual analysis of the web sites of the NZSX50 companies, looking at how well the sites communicate to investors. The awards for 2009 have just been announced this week.

    Bruce Russell does the work through Wired Internet Group here in Christchurch and this is the third year the analysis has been done. Apparently the trends are interesting, as many companies do seem to be getting the message about making their site communicate well to their intended audience, while many others just plainly don’t get it.

    From an obsession with photos of their management to overuse of Flash, the usability offences stack-up pretty quickly for many NZ companies who frankly should know better. To be fair though, I see many in the NZ web design industry who don’t get it either, and are doing their clients a disservice.

    Some results can be seen from here: http://www.wired.co.nz/Services/BIWA-Clip-09.asp
    and the NZSX blogged about it here:

    The “winner” this year was NZ Oil & Gas, http://www.nzog.co.nz, who apparently had taken notice of previous comments from these awards and had put some effort into doing better.

    Gerry McGovern would be proud of them!

    PS: cripes, I must stop writing long comments. Sorry Lance!


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