The Fetch Blog

Curated reads and events for professionals

Featured job: Chief Commercialization Officer, Gizmag — January 19, 2013

Featured job: Chief Commercialization Officer, Gizmag

We have an exciting new role here on The Fetch blog. It’s for a Chief Commercialization Office for Gizmag. The role is a remote one, helping the popular blog build their already-profitable business. More information is included below –>


Gizmag has been online for over a decade, with a global audience of over 3.5 million people per month making them one of the most widely read independent technology publications on the web.

They cover science, technology and innovation of all forms, not the politics or the money behind it, aiming to inspire their readers, not ridicule the latest product or company failure.

They’re currently profitable and not looking for an exit, instead focusing on building a lasting global brand.

The rapid growth means they cannot continue to rely on third parties to sell advertising on their behalf. You’ll be the first employee to focus solely on generating revenue.

In addition to selling, you’ll be helping with commercial strategy, growing the sales team, working with their developers to create new custom ad solutions, and anything else that can add value to our journalism. You’ll need to be the kind of person who is as good at getting things done as they are at recognising what needs to be done.

This is a telecommuting role (it is 2013, right?) so only those of you comfortable reacquainting yourself with tracksuits and bathrobes should apply.

To apply, send a cover letter and CV to

gizmagGizmag’s homepage

Interview: SF local (by way of NZ), Catherine Robinson — December 9, 2012

Interview: SF local (by way of NZ), Catherine Robinson

This week, Auckland Curator Kim Lesch chats with Catherine Robinson, Director of Kiwi Landing Pad in San Francisco. Hailing from Manaia in South Taranaki, Catherine was part of the founding group at Xero and also at Aptimize,  and has lived in Seattle for seven years before recently moving to SF. She talked about how Kiwi Landing Pad (KLP) helps startups succeed and how important communities are to the startup ecosystem no matter where you are based.

Catherine Robinson

How did you end up in San Fran, working at Kiwi Landing Pad?

I moved to San Francisco after Aptimize was acquired by NASDAQ listed Riverbed Technology in late 2011. Previous to this, I was part of the founding team at Xero in early 2006. I left Xero to join ActionThis, an online project management tool which we pivoted in late 2008 to become Aptimize.

I joined as the Director of Kiwi Landing Pad in September 2012. This is the second time I have lived in the US. I lived in Seattle for seven years before returning to Wellington in 2005.

What does the Kiwi Landing Pad do to help Kiwi start ups? 

We help selected high growth New Zealand technology companies establish and grow their business in the USA. We do this through three key things:

  • A desk – get off the plane, take a seat and get started
  • An internet connection – no social security card, or US credit history required, we have all the core services a startup needs to start doing business
  • A social connection – the most important element. Companies need to quickly establish relationships and we have built a curated community of advisors, seasoned and experienced entrepreneurs, investors and companies at similar stages of growth

KLP Foyer

What are the biggest differences between Kiwi and American culture?

In business, I think of the US as 50 individual states – there are different time zones, levels of business formality, laws etc. to consider in each state. It’s important to understand and rationalize this as it can help make the transition easier because it helps to focus on one or two key geographical and cultural locations. The SF Bay Area for example has 8m people and a GDP of more than US $500 billion and the PST time zone makes the actual time only three hours difference during daylight saving.

For me there are three key differences between Kiwis and Americans:

  • Confidence: Americans believe their startup will be successful and that failure helps to build successes. They have the confidence to pick themselves up, dust themselves off and go at it again

Collaboration: The markets here are big and working with other companies through partnerships, building sales channels, marketing strategies are the most effective and efficient way to break through

  • Communication: Be concise, clear and straight up. Americans are very good at communicating what they want and they expect the same from you. No ums, yeah-nah-yeah’s or mumbling

What are your top three pieces of advice for those thinking about heading to the states with their startup?

Think in terms of building an ecosystem. Can you partner with companies in your market or where you share the same customer base? Can you leverage their partnerships and relationships? What about resellers? Co-marketing initiatives?

Marketing always works – but sometimes people confuse this with getting the levers and strategies wrong. Tweak, measure, pivot and constantly invest in ongoing initiatives until you get the formula that works for your business.

Always be prepared to pitch – a coffee is never just a coffee and catch up about the weather. Every meeting is a potential sale or opportunity.

Who do you feel you’ve helped the most? What made them successful?

Each company and entrepreneur is different; we customize the level of support to what people need. David White, CEO of IndieReign came over as part of a joint initiative between KLP and the Ministry of Business and Innovation. David spent one month here in KLP. He consciously worked hard at his pitch and focused on achieving his key objectives. We helped to accelerate IndieReign’s growth into the American market. David gained highly skilled advisors and secured partnerships that put him well ahead of schedule.

We did a case study of his time at KLP and it makes compelling reading because it is about doing the simple things right. Click this link to read the IndieReign case study.


What does the Kiwi Landing Pad hope to achieve in 2013? 

2013 is going to be a huge year for us.  We have been here for 18 months and we’re expanding our premises, making our network and services stronger and helping kiwi companies find opportunities and successes.

What are your five favorite spots in San Francisco?

  • The top of Twin Peaks, my pick for the best view of the San Francisco Bay Area.  As you walk to the top, the city, valleys and mountain ranges open up in front of you.
  • Magnolia Pub & Brewery where they brew the beer underneath the bar, sell growlers of their finest ale and serve it with pig ears and aioli.
  • Union Square for shopping, people watching and ice skating in winter.
  • Elite Audio Café for great coffee: they have perfected the art of flat whites and their latte art is spectacular.
  • Marlowe is an institution in SoMa and is owned by a very talented kiwi named Anna Weinberg.  Mmm Brussels sprout chips.

Thanks for chatting to The Fetch, Catherine! 

Event Review: Pitch Night at Silicon Beach Perth — November 12, 2012

Event Review: Pitch Night at Silicon Beach Perth

Riana Young attended a Pitch Night at Silicon Beach Perth. Here are her observations: 

This past Friday I attended a Silicon Beach meetup, where they switched up the usual gathering to an inaugural pitch night… resulting in an impressive event! I couldn’t have a picked a better night with more than the usual number of people rocking up, who like me, were full of curiosity and anticipation.

Through my mingling, I was told that this was an opportunity to pitch ideas in the company of peers and mentors – a kind of supportive network in which to gather sage advice and constructive feedback. Graeme Speak and Justin Strharsky, both mentors for the night and entrepreneurs themselves, could offer real insights drawn from their own experiences.

Interestingly enough, it was highlighted at the start of the night by Marcus Holmes that the kind of ideas that make people rich are those which are both good and look bad – that is, they’re good enough to fill a gap in the marketplace, but not so outstanding that someone else is already pitching it. The key to making the idea a successful pitch is to be clear, simple and passionate. And with only five minutes in which to engage the audience, our entrepreneurs had to be sure to leave a lasting impression.

The roundup:

  1. We had Sunil Raman kick off the event with his smooth pitch on ‘Empowering Local Business’ with a cost efficient design to take websites mobile on a month-to-month subscription basis.
  2. The next entrepreneur, Rory Deegan, hit his stride early on and was able to show us a live demonstration of the idea he was pitching on ‘‘. The potential to leverage revenue streams through the use of user-generated (and moderated) content showcased Rory’s idea well.
  3. Brad Gobby set the mood immediately by asking everyone to imagine themselves as his target audience: a teacher with a group of hormone-riddled, distracted students. His proposition with license-model empowers students to improve their written communications – making parents happy and giving teachers the tools to help students learn in the digital classroom.
  4. One idea that really gained traction on the night was from Troy Gerwien. His idea to prevent developers from endlessly rewriting the same CRUD solution brings an easy-to-use, comparatively more cost-effective and customisable operation to SME’s. By exposing his idea to the crowd Troy may even have received a chance to  test his concept. Another member of the audience had exactly the problem that he was trying to solve and was willing to be a beta tester/early adopter for Troy’s solution.
  5. Last but not least, the vivacious Oksana Hernandez pitched the Russian Banya – a social, spiritual, and health oasis – easily accessible and right here in Perth.

It was really interesting to watch how the audience received each pitch as well as the thoughtful feedback that was given. With a little more practice to ensure a flawless delivery, these guys will be good to go!

Event Review: Facebook meets London Girl Geek Dinners —

Event Review: Facebook meets London Girl Geek Dinners

I was dying to see the London Facebook offices for ages and thanks to London Girl Geek Dinners it finally happened. Not only did I get a glimpse of the place but I learned about what it is like to work there as well.

The event was put together by Phillip Su, one of Facebook’s leading software engineers who was also in charge of setting up their headquarters in the UK capital. In an attempt to tap into London’s talent pool as well as bring the platform closer to its users, Su is organising a series of taster events where attendees are given an insight into Facebok’s work culture.

Last week’s London Girl Geek dinner was all about working as a developer for this Internet company whose income rose to $1.26bn between July and September. In no particular order, here are some of the main points that came out:

  • Facebook is a great place to be. There are some smart, friendly people to hang out with, who have their own cafe and gym and a cafeteria filled with healthy food. As a bonus you get to work on a great online product.
  • It all starts with a hackathon. Most of the features we now enjoy on our Facebook walls originated from these intense programming sessions that usually take place within a small team. You come up with an idea, write the code, ship it and see what happens.

* Hackathon products are a mix of user feedback and engineering innovation and about 70% of them actually get delivered in the end.

  • You do get to have a life. There are people who work hard and stay long hours [because they choose to] but there is a lot of flexibility. To quote Su, “it’s what you make of it”.
  • One of Facebook’s objectives in London is to support women in technology, particularly in the 14 to 17 year-old range, when most young people tend to lose interest because of peer pressure, lack of social support and so on.

I’m sold and looking forward to more.

Written by Andreea Magdalina, Community Ambassador in London. Community Manager @enternships/@mixcloud & yogurt addict. Follow her on Twitter @trrpaipai

Event Review: Wired 2012 — November 11, 2012

Event Review: Wired 2012

Good Tech For Good Life.

If there is anything that immediately pops in your head when you think Wired [apart from handsome dads] that’s good tech. Wired is by far more than just a magazine. Right now it’s a lifestyle and a mindset, the place where the creme de la creme in tech resides and probably the single most influential curator bringing science to the geek masses.

Now take Wired’s most influential voices from the past 12 months and put them in the same room to discuss the future of the world. What you get are two days filled with conversations set to define tomorrow’s framework in technology, art and lifehacking. Top that with London’s hot creative heads and the final outcome can only consist of 48h of idea sharing bound to change your life as I’m typing. Welcome to Wired 2012.

As expected, there were some incredible speakers up on the stage. From business to music to data to art, there was an almost perfect combination between ambitious versus actionable ideas. The agenda (below) touched on subjects that influence the world as we are experiencing it today and you could not help but leave inspired to improve yourself and everything else around you as a result.

  • Rethink What You See
  • Re-designing the Non-Profit
  • The New Rules of Business
  • The Unfinished Social Revolution
  • Build a Social Business
  • The Future as Seen From the Lab I & II
  • The Power of Data
  • The Future of the City
  • Cyberwar
  • At the Creative Edge
  • Problem Solving Technology
  • Hackers and Makers

The Little Printer
It truly felt like a live edition of the magazine. But better.
Mainly because of the food. But also because of the gadget display which you could play with during the breaks. The stars of the show include the Carbon Fibre Bike by Rizoma, a delight both to the eye and the feet; the Data Necklace by Stef Lewandowski, an experiment in wearable data visualisation; the Little Printer by BergCloud which I’ve been dying to buy ever since the first announcement came out and plenty more.
MakerBot Replicator 2

My personal favourite by far was the MakerBot Replicator2, the latest in 3D desktop printing. There is something insanely attractive about being able to make things on your own and 3D printing has now brought the idea to a whole new level. The device is using something called PLA which is a renewable bio-plastic that allows you to make anything from household objects to jewellry.

At the end of the day I left The Old Truman Brewery happy that I managed to snatch my very own 3D printed Wired logo that is now nicely attached to my keychain. Having shaken hands with Lady Gaga’s manager and Natascha McElhone helped with satisfaction levels too. Big like.

Written by Andreea Magdalina, Community Ambassador in London. Community Manager @enternships/@mixcloud & yogurt addict. Follow her on Twitter @trrpaipai

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