On Friday afternoon, just as Punakaiki Fund was closing well short of the $5 million minimum, I gave a speech (video) to close out the IITP annual conference. I was asked to talk about innovation and to be inspiring as the conference ended.
It was a tough call as the spectre of a public failure hovered over me, and as I felt even more disappointed that we would not be able to fund any of the many great companies who need smart money to accelerate growth.
But then I realised, as I put the speech together, that despite the failure of Punakaiki Fund, and of Pacific Fibre before that, that I’m proud to have been involved in both endeavours, that they both proved a market need and that I’ve learned a vast amount while staying true to my own standards.
I asked the audience members to consider whether or not they are working for an organisation that is seeking to change the world, and almost nobody could say that. Only a third could say they were working for an organisation seeking to improve the lives of their end users, which I find quite sad. I challenged everyone there to lift their standards, and to work within their business to change the world, the country and their end users lives – or to get out. The future economy of New Zealand will be driven in large part by the ICT sector, and we all need to stand up and take risks.
The worst thing that can result from trying innovation is failure. It’s happened to me twice in a row now, and look – I’m still here.