Stephen Scheeler, The Digital CEO (ex CEO Facebook of NZ / Australia) photo by Sunstone

The Canterbury Tech Summit really has become one of those dependable events & highlights of the business year where you just rock up and have that hard choice of who am I going to see talk…It really is such a credit to the Canterbury tech community, to all who organised the event - thanks to the committee and to all who were involved in another outstanding event that the IT community in Christchurch can be super proud of…


The Jungle Gym with Stephen Scheeler, The Digital CEO (ex CEO Facebook of NZ / Australia) photo by Sunstone

When Stephen Scheeler ran onto the stage you knew you were in for something good. The ex Facebook CEO of NZ / Australia & Ted Talk guy oozed personality and was a new skool speaker in which I thoroughly enjoyed getting real stories from the trenches…

How he introduced 5 minute meetings at Facebook and professed the most valuable thing you can do is ‘give back time to your staff’ - what a hero. He talked about how the old corporate ladder is over and now modern tech companies talk about the ‘Jungle Gym’ in which people want to work across an organisation experiencing different parts of it gaining more valuable insights, leading rather than top down management.

‘The combination of data insights, obsession & paranoia that leads to continuously better customer outcomes’

I also liked the way he described how companies are looking to remove friction between customers and in doing so solve a problem or deliver a great service…some epic real examples were captivating - what a start to kick things off and I’ll be following this funny, charismatic super insightful tech business guru from now on.


The years it took for different media to capture 50 million users, WeChat took just 4 months photo by Sunstone

Olivier Klein from Amazon delivered a polished performance with some great insights into how Amazon utilises data (Machine Learning / AI) and Computer Vision for it’s fulfilment centres. They extract every ounce of efficiency using slick logistics capabilities being able to deliver the very next day to customers and now have a large fufilment centre in Melbourne.


Olivier Klein, Head of Emerging Technologies, AWS (Amazon Web Services photo by Sunstone

The always amazing captain fantastic Charlotte Walshe from Jade talked through the interesting journey where Jade has come from & where they’re going as she steers the ship into the digital & data age.

Graham Grant from Seequent talked about their fascinating journey on how they’ve become a global player & about running great businesses. A great analogy he drew on was now when you go into a hardware store and ask for nails they don’t just give you nails, they ask you what problem you’re trying to solve and instead of coming out with a $5 bag of nails you end up coming out with a bag of screws, a planer and a power drill having spent $500 bucks - brilliant…

I also heard the Sharesies talk was a good one by Brooke Roberts - a user friendly app to help simplify share trading on the index for people of all ages new to the share market.


Dr Dan Milligan in the lab doing his PhD at University of Canterbury, Christchurch photo by Sunstone

In the theatre I enjoyed Dr Dan Milligan from Syft, an entertaining & down to earth take on How to Successfully Commercialise a Technology Business. The link between product development, sales & marketing and developing culture around delivering to customers. He started designing & developing the original product as part of his PhD at UC (University of Canterbury) and gave some insightful examples from his hugely successful journey with Syft.

‘Success = Engagement’


Nigel Latta - popular psychologist had the crowd belly laughing what a finish to an amazing day photo by Sunstone

Nigel Latta wrapped up things with a hilarious talk showing us how even babies in a study will choose kindness and relaying a few belly laughable stories which took us into drinks & networking.

His simple messages were:

1) Build Culture

2) Reduce Friction

3) Make Peoples Lives Better

and most of all just be KIND.


Couldn’t resist a selfie with Nigel Latta photo by Sunstone

Thanks again to everyone who was involved at the Canterbury Tech Summit 2019 - what an event. Will next year or the year after see us venture back into the CBD? New conference centre in Christchurch? Could be very exciting…Watch this space….

I'm Paul, I love coffee, Founder & Principal Consultant of Sunstone, an IT Recruitment & HR company specialising in recruiting IT roles within software, web, mobile, blockchain, big data, cloud infrastructure, security & networks in Christchurch & South Island of New Zealand.