After 3 months of Accelerated life… time to chill out in Bali #chilltime #Bali
I flew in to Denpasar, met up Jen and Stephen, and we caught our car transfer early evening.
As we neared the villa, the driver told us that he would be dropping us at the ‘top office’, on the main road, as cars couldn’t take the road to the villa…
Turns out, that getting to the villa required us to mount up on the back of scooters, to be given a lift down the roads to the villa.
We decided to take it easy for the first day (in preparation for Day 2…) so spent the morning chilling by the pool in our villa, Pondok Naya.
Mid morning we ventured out. This meant we each grabbed a lift back scooters up to the road… Sometimes ignorance is bliss!
It turns out that the ‘roads’ down to the villa were used for splitting up the rice fields, and to create good irrigation routes. At most, they were a meter or so wide and with probably a drop of about 50cm on either side – either into the rice field or into the irrigation waterway!
Anyhow, we safely arrived up to the main road and started to wander into the town (about 1.5km away)…
We walked along the main road, stopping for a bite to eat, and then turned to head towards the Monkey Forest.
The Monkey Forest is exactly as it sounds, so we met some of the local wildlife there. The monkeys are pretty cute, and you can buy bananas throughout to feed them. When we stopped for a break in the amphitheatre, Jen was attacked by a little monkey, who after examining her head, tried to steal the map from her pocket…
After the forest, we circled back to the main road and then headed back to the villa to chill by the pool before ordering in and attempting to go to bed early.
Our villa at Pondok Naya, just outside of Ubud (thanks for the photo Stephen)
Views around Ubud’s Monkey Forest, where we could feed the monkeys, and one decided to try and steal Jen’s sunglasses…
Thanks to us booking Bali Sunrise Trekking and Tours, it was a very (VERY) early start as we had to leave the villa for pickup just after 2am. Because of the time, we walked up to the main road, which was quite a nice change as it was cooler, and we could hear the frogs and cicadas.
We were then driven for around an hour out to the ‘base camp’ (hotel and resort) at Mount Batur, which was going to be our starting point for the trek. Already we were 1000 meters above sea level, but we would be climbing to 1717 within a couple of hours to see the sunrise over Bali.
When you say out loud:
“We’re going to climb up an active volcano in the middle of the night, with only torches to light the path…”
It does sound a bit of a foolish idea…
Pictures, thanks to Stephen!
Left – us attempting to descend the mountain, due to the slurry it was a cross between walking and skiing…
Right – my view from the top, and in perspective – where we walked to and from
In reality, because it was nighttime, it was cooler to walk in which was a blessing as it was tough work. For the main part, the sheer angle made it tough, but then there were areas where scrambling was needed. Again, we had “ignorance is bliss” working to our favour… until the walk back we couldn’t see the sheer drop from the walkway at the start, or from the rocks we scrambled over higher up…
We arrived around 6am as the sky was starting to lighten, and had about 20 minutes before the sun started to rise properly. At the top, as we watched the sunrise and looked out over the region, our guides fixed us up with breakfast, including eggs cooked in the volcanic steam!
Putting it simply, the effort was well worth it, as the views from the top were stunning!
Jen, Stephen and I at the top of Mt Batur as the sun rose
After watching the sunrise and having breakfast, we took a walk around the crater and then started back down.
If we’d thought the way up was difficult, we were in for a treat trying to get back down! For about half of the way down, we were half-walking, half-skiing down through the deep loose ash… which was actually easier than the second section, when we attempted to walk on loose ash over hard ground!
It was a welcome relief when we arrived back at ‘base camp’ and had a chance to rest before we headed to the hot pools by the lake below. We stayed at the hot pools for an hour or so, which was a great way to relax out all of the aches from our trek.
What happens when three omnivores go to a vegan restaurant…?
Most of our conversation was based around what meat could make the meals just that little bit more fulfilling!
As we’d worn ourselves out pretty well yesterday, we decided to take it easy in the morning, with a bit of a lie in (7am) and then chilling reading our books by the pool or in the pagoda at the villa.
By midday we ventured out, to again wander around Ubud centre. We visited the markets and shops we’d seen but not gone in the first time.
We spent the evening appreciating the Balinese culture, taking in a show from the Chandra Wati Ladies Orchestra & Dance troupe in front of the Ubud Water Palace, before having dinner at a local restaurant.
Left – Some refreshing drinks in Ubud; and one of the statues flanking Ubud Palace.
Right – Some of the intricate wall carvings in Ubud Palace; and the staging of the Chandra Wati Ladies Orchestra & Dance troupe in front of the Ubud Water Palace
After our rest day, we went a bit further afield and took in more of the Balinese culture on a full day trip.
Our first stop was the Taman Ayun, and the Temple of Mengwi, just south of Ubud. The temple is surrounded by beautiful grounds, with a couple of ponds and bridges around the central temple, and plenty of trees to shelter under from the sun.
Then we headed along to the Hindu temple to Shiva, Pura Ulun Danu Bratan. Lake Bratan, and the surrounding mountains make this temple quite secluded, but more majestic for it. The bonus of being by the lake was that it didn’t feel as hot, so we didn’t need to search for shade!
Jatiluwih Rice Fields
After Pura Bratan, we drove inland more, to visit the Jatiluwih Rice Fields where we stopped for lunch. After eating, we headed into the rice fields – or terraces, as they are aptly known, as they are flat sections cut into the hills to create large step-like fields. We really saw here how many Balinese lives revolve around rice…
Our penultimate stop off at Taman Kupu-Kupu, which is Bali’s Butterfly Park.
We stretched our legs, had a nice wander, and saw some of the native butterfly species flying around the park… on top of getting up close and personal with stick insects and some of the colourful moths!
We finished up the day in Tanah Lot.
Tanah Lot itself has become a sight of pilgrimage for many Balinese, and there are actually two temples within a few hundred meters of each other:
– the island temple, Pura Tanah Lot, which sits on it’s evolving rock in across the causeway, just offshore and one of seven Balinese sea temples. Apparently each of the sea temples are built within eyesight of the next, as a chain around the coast on that side of the island.
– and also Pura Batu Bolong, which is perched on a sheer peninsula above the sea, with the waves rolling through the natural sea arch beneath.
Both would make for some great sunset photos, but on this particular day, the sky clouded over, so we didn’t stay for the full sunset and headed back early.
Ubud – Paon Bali Cooking Class
Today we went out of Ubud to do a Balinese cookery course…
Paon Bali Cooking Class’ are run by a local family, which makes it great to find out more about the food and lifestyle.
The day started for us with a guided-morning tour of the food market in Ubud. This was really good, as the guide could tell us about the local foods, and the ingredients that we would be using in the recipes that day – and it also meant that she could check if we had any food allergies and suggest alternatives in advance.
One of the other advantages of being part of a guided-group going around the food markets was that the guide could tell us about some of the more unusual local foods (especially fruits) that we wouldn’t be eating later, and we could split and try them as a group.
After the market, we were all taken up to some of the rice terraces outside of Ubud. There, the (husband) explained to us the crop systems, the history behind Bali’s great irrigation systems, and how much rice families could produce.
One of the things that really struck me throughout our trips was how developed the systems in Bali were – in particular the irrigation systems. As it turns out, and our food-tour guide told us, this is knowledge has been passed down through (recent) Balinese history, from their past as a Dutch colony.
Welcome iced lemongrass drink, and getting to work on the base spice mix for our food later.
And hard at work doing prep and cooking our courses…
Pictures – the courses we cooked:
Kuah wong sup jamur (Clear mushroom and vegetable soup)
Be siap mesanten kare ayam (Chicken in coconut curry)
Sate siap sate lilit ayam (Minced chicken grilled on bamboo sticks)
Kacang me santok gado gado (Vegetables in peanut sauce)
Jukut urab (Coconut and snake -string- bean salad)
Pepesan be pasih pepes ikan (Steamed fish in Banana leaves)
Tempe me goreng tempe kering (Deep fried tempe in sweet soy sauce)
And for dessert Kolak biu kolak pisang (Boiled banana in palm sugar syrup… w/ coconut cream)
Ubud – Gili Trawangan
We left our villa and had our final trips up along the walkways on the mopeds… By this point we were well used to them, and I will definitely miss them.
From the main office, we caught our transfer to the high speed ferry which was going to take us over to Gili Trawangan.
Gili Trawangan is one of the three Gili Islands (the other two being Gili Air and Gili Meno). They’re actually all a part of Lombok instead of Bali, but it was too good of an opportunity to miss.
I had been a bit exhausted on the boat ride over, and when we arrived on Gili T, we had a bit of late lunch, before Jen and Stephen headed to their hotel, and me to my hostel, to chill out.
Pictures thanks to Stephen – Departing to, and arriving on Gili T.
I was staying in a hostel on the other side of the island from Jen and Stephen, as I had booked it a bit later. After a bit of a lazy morning, chilling and reading at the hostel, I walked across to the other side, and took it easy around the pool when I got there too!
Over dinner, we had discussed and organised what to do the following day.
Picture – my hostel had some great signs around…
So…Stephen decided to chill out some more around the resort, and Jen and I booked on to a day trip – for me this was to snorkel, and Jen to scuba dive.
The first site we went to was difficult to navigate, with not much to see as the visibility was deteriorating due to the currents, so the guides pulled us back in a bit early.
After lunch though, the second site had much better visibility – and we saw 4 turtles! It was awesome to see turtles swimming in the wild after my previous experiences of only seeing them in sanctuaries.
Picture – looking back at our snorkelling crew.
Sorry my underwater photos were a bit rubbish, so won’t include them.
Gili Trawangan – Nusa Dua
This was our final day on the island, so we only had part of the morning to fill – dependent on what time we were all up.
As I have been waking up early at the moment though, I made the most of my time (and being on the more ‘central’ side of the island) so after a quick breakfast, I took a quick wander along the coast to the local turtle conservation farm. There they showed me some of the nesting cubes they have for the eggs, as well as their ‘new-born’ additions (4-days old), the 3-, and 5-month old turtles!
For the ferry back across to Bali, unlike the trip over, I was fully awake, so I decided to head up to the roof with Jen and Stephen to take advantage of the sun and sea air (sunscreen definitely at the ready for that trip).
I was really glad I did though, as the trip seemed to be a bit more bumpy than on the way over… so the fresh air and being able to see the horizon meant there wasn’t any seasickness!
We spent our last few days in Bali staying in Nusa Dua, the peninsula on the south-east coast. The first full day, we decided to be ultimate tourists, and head around the markets and shops in Seminyak.
Seminyak is the epitome of a tourist trap. The town itself is filled with shops, a lot of them ‘western’ brands but cheaper as the clothes are made locally. Then, when you get to the outskirts, there are the beaches and the resorts…
We spent most of the morning walking up the beaches around the resorts, before stopping for lunch. Then the rest of our day was wandering along the main streets, checking out the occasional store, before heading back to the hotel for dinner.
We headed out early to do a day trip on Nusa Lembongan island (just off the south coast). The trip was to go snorkelling and kayaking, so the morning was spent across 4 different snorkel/dive sites…
The first site was amazing – and quite nerve-wracking…
The boat anchored up about 30 or 40 meters into a cove, with high cliffs on two sides. The water was pretty choppy, with some of the waves raising the level by half a meter or more… but the reason we were there made it all worth it.
This area had a group of Manta rays swimming there… they were so large you could see the shadow of them from the boat above the surface. But when you got into the water (and accustomed to the tides) it was awesome to just watch them glide through the water beneath.
Mantas are so much larger than I realised… it wasn’t until some of them were gliding by beneath that I realised they’re huge – some of them had a wingspan the size of a small car!
They’re also pretty timid, even somebody kicking too hard in the water can make them change direction…
In part due to this, and the number of people on our tour, I hung to the outer edge of the group, which actually meant I saw a lot more of them!
Thankfully, we had paid a bit extra for us to have photos of the day taken, and the guide/diver/photographer was really good. – And quite importantly, had great lung capacity – so he managed to get some brilliant shots of the mantas up close.
Pictures – Thanks to our awesome guide, and his great lung capacity!
The second site was in one of the island inlets, and had some great coral, but the current was pulling all of us in one direction within the inlet, so the guide cut the time short there to spend more time at the other sites.
The third site was great, and involved swimming close to the island cliff wall, which jutted out over the water a bit. This meant that as you came to the surface, you were advised to raise one arm above your head – so that there was no chance of concussion!
There were some great reefs on this section, and some decent fish schools too. It ended up being quite relaxing (in comparison to the previous two) as the current pulled us gently along the guide’s route, alongside the cliff-face, so it wasn’t very taxing swimming!
And finally, the last site was out by a large waterpark platform. Here we were encouraged to swim away from the boat a little, and watch some of the larger fish up close.
We returned to Lembongan to dry off in the sun over lunch, and then headed out to kayak through the mangroves. This is the first time kayaked through mangroves, and I was accompanying the guide in his kayak as there were uneven numbers. After my previous experiences of open water/island kayaking, this was very different…
It took a while to get used to using smaller strokes, and being more focused on what was happening under the water, than where the kayak was going.
Sanur – Silver-workshop
This was also Stephen’s last day in Bali, so we didn’t want to go too far… in saying that though, I had been wanting to do something a bit different in Bali. I had heard a lot about the crafts workshops around the country…
So after a bit of hotel Wifi and Googling, we had found a Silver-smithery not far from Nusa Dua, in Sanur. So we travelled about 30 minutes from Nusa Dua, up to the Sanur Jewellery Studio for a day’s workshop learning traditional silver-jewellery-making techniques.
At the workshop, we had the chance to design something (with their feedback as to what would be possible in the time) and then they taught us the basics of hand-crafting it into silver jewellery.
With a fair bit of input from the instructors, and their direction for casting, hammering, and stretching the metals – as well as some of the elements that I remember from workshop classes at school, like soldering and filing – I walked away at the end of the day with a pair of custom earrings, and a bespoke hammered silver and copper ring.
Now I just have to get used to wearing them all!
This was Jen and my last day in Bali, with our flights in the evening. And as we still had Rupia to burn… (not much point bringing it back with the exchange rate) we headed back to Seminyak for a few hours, to see what we could find.
I managed to pick up a couple of extra t-shirts and jumpers (as it is winter in NZ after all) as well as a gift or two to send home. Hopefully Mum and Erin like them!
After exhausting ourselves wandering around town, we headed back to the hotel to chill out by the pool for an hour or so, before grabbing a taxi to the airport…
It’s here – R9 Accelerator DEMO DAY!!! 14 weeks, 10 teams, countless guests and speakers… Game faces people! #AcceleratorLife
Lab Tech Life
I don’t want to ruin the illusion, but there were definitely times on DD that it felt like we were an iceberg. i.e. over 70% of what we were doing was unseen, and all of the guests just saw the polished piece floating above the water…
I think that’s how events are meant to be though!
I spent the morning co-ordinating the print elements, including helping (hold the ladder) while the 8 metre banner was put up outside the venue!
My job on Demo Day had changed earlier in the week… Initially I had been on presentation-duty, where I would be responsible for changing the slides behind the interim speakers, while one team member would be responsible for their team slides. Streamliner, the AV company, was comfortable doing this element though (and meant they were always overseeing their tech still – bonus).
So for me, I was on mic’ duty! New skill acquired! …As the pitcher for each team came off the stage, I removed their country-man microphone and handed it to a runner to take to the tech backstage, who was mic’ing people up.
We had the awesome Anna Guenther, Chief Bubble-blower at PledgeMe (who spoke with the teams a few weeks before) running the show as our MC. And I think that thanks to her prompts at the beginning of the event, along with a great show from the teams, #R9Accelerator managed to trend #1 on Twitter in New Zealand!!!
The auditorium was filled with around 300 guests to hear the seven teams pitch. With members from both the public and private sectors, the pressure was on – especially with some of our esteemed guests taking to the stage, such as Minister…
All of the teams did an amazing job, and it was a real testament to the hard work they’ve put in over the past 14 weeks!
Check out the post-event video with ringing endorsements below.
Anna Guenther, doing an awesome job as MC
Minister Craig Foss addressing the attendees
Grand finale for a full R9 cohort photo!
And if you want to check out how the teams did for yourselves, I’ve created a subsection for each team below.
Lab Tech Life
This week again, I tried to catch up with the teams as much as possible to help shape their decks…
All of the teams were also having meetings with their ‘owners’ i.e. the people who had suggested the opportunities they have been working on.
One of last year’s alumni, John from Nexus Marketplace, came in to talk to the teams about the potential of how his product could help their solutions plug in to government. John has been working on API’s (application programming interfaces) – which means he knows how a lot of the teams’ solutions could integrate with existing softwares.
In our cohort-wide pitching session early in the week, we switched it up a bit.
This time, it was in a ‘Dragon’s Den’ format, so there were a combination of public and private sector experts, some CE’s in their own right, who sat and listened to the pitches, before asking the probing questions…
Personally, I think this worked really well for the teams. Teams got (a bit more) used to answering questions about their solution, as they will have to do on Demo Day. It also means that – for this session at least – they have a little bit of time to take on board the comments and amend their pitches and presentations… for my Friday-deadline!
After a gruelling (3-hour) meeting later in the week, we had sign-off for (most) of our Demo Day materials… so then I spent a fair amount of time this week co-ordinating down at the printers!
At the end of the week, I ran through the set-up for all of our slides in the ‘MASTER’ deck with Mike from Streamliner. This was so they could take them all and get set up on their equipment. All of this in preparation to do a full run through, with the teams and audio, on the morning of Demo Day.
Last year’s alumnus, John from Nexus Marketplace, came in to talk to the teams about APIs
Sign-off received, so off to the printers I go…
This was a first chance for the teams to see where they would be pitching, as we took a cohort-wide field-trip down to the Embassy Theatre in Wellington.
Anyone not from Wellington may also know the name, because it happens to be the theatre that all of the premieres for Lord of the Rings were held at!
Tour of Embassy theatre – Outside, what will be a networking area, the view for the speakers, and the stage
Final Cohort meeting
As it was the last Friday before the final pitches, we had our final cohort meeting :’o(
The final cohort meeting celebrated the achievements of the teams so far, and served as a time for encouragement and advice… This included the now renowned guidance from Shawn:
“We love you… but don’t f*** it up”
Then in the afternoon, all teams were challenged to have their full 5-minute pitch presentation, with slides down to a T.
This was also an opportunity for the teams’ chosen introducer to come into the space, introduce the team as they will on Demo Day, and listen to them pitch.
Week Eleven at the R9 Accelerator… Anna Guenther from PledgeMe, Immunity to Change, more Ministers visit and Demo Day prep… #AcceleratorLife
Lab Tech Life
As per the previous week or so, I have been working on the print collateral for Demo Day…
I’ve been collating all of the information for our Demo Day booklet.
This is the programme guide for the audience, with the order of pitches and information about the teams and their proposals. Thankfully, I’m not in this alone, and the HitSquad has been on the case. Together, we’ve been writing, or suggesting starting points for the R9 team tag lines, blurbs, collecting their logos and company contact information…
As you saw the other week, we also enlisted the help of awesome resident-photographer Ashley, from Creative HQ, to take updated team photos… Once we have all of these elements, the actual design of the booklet is headed over to local design agency Strategy.
I have been putting together some of the designs for on-the-day items, so the templates for digital elements – as well as the plan of print collateral at the venue.
For all of us, the past week(s) and the upcoming ones are all about pitching…
Listening to the teams pitch, suggesting edits, cuts etc to get their presentations down to 5 minutes… suggestions on what elements should be shown on their slides.
For me, I’ve been setting up ‘one-on-one’ pitch sessions with all of the pitching teams. By one-on-one, I really mean HitSquad and team sessions… In these, we’ve been running through the pitches with a timer. My aim is to provide suggestions and feedback for the visual aspects and how they relate to what is being said.
Crowd-funding – with Anna Guenther, from PledgeMe
Between all of these meetings, more with early adopters and stakeholders, the teams are pretty busy…
Thanks to our cohort-wide trip at Chapman Tripp a few weeks ago, some of the teams will be weighing up what type of business they think will best suit their products; whether their solutions would suit being government-owned, a private company or a public-private partnership. While most of the teams are getting their business proposals written up, they’re looking at what sales models would work best…
And they were given another option to consider, in a session from Anna Guenther, CEO/Chief Bubble Blower at PledgeMe.
Just in case you’ve not come across crowdfunding before, here’s a quick run-down of it. As the name suggests, crowdfunding is a way for lots of people to fund a project. The aim is to meet the target amount with lots of smaller investments.
PledgeMe is New Zealand’s top crowdfunding platform, and has so far helped raise funds for over 1,000 Kiwi-based projects.
Sorry, no pictures – I was paying full attention to what was being said!
It was déjà-vu, as we were again visited by Ministers…
This time Minister English and Minister Joyce came in to hear teams pitch, find out more about their opportunities and solutions – and about the programme as a general.
The pitching teams did great, and all the teams had a chance to talk with the Ministers, who seemed interested in the programme.
I think some of the government employees suffered minor heart-attacks, as both Ministers decided to step onto the office hover boards!
Immunity to Change – with Geoff Harrison and Michael Berger
Later in the week there was also a really interesting session called ‘Immunity to Change’.
Run by Geoff Harrison and Michael Berger from Cultivating Leadership, the workshop is based on the book of the same name by Robert Kegan and Lisa Laskow Lahey. The Immunity to Change workshops were developed to help participants identify the reasons why they may find change and coping with change difficult.
This is obviously not something that start-ups or large organisations – whether founder, director or employee – want to struggle with so really interesting to learn more.
The aim is to confront the personal fears, or beliefs, developed consciously or subconsciously over our lives. The theory is that these fears are what cause the ‘immunity to change’ and hinder individuals in achieving their goals. The workshop was good and run with a small group. As it’s such a personal journey, it was definitely a ‘safe-space’ workshop requiring openness and honesty.
By confronting these beliefs, and digging to the root of where, when and why we started to believe them, we can overcome our thought patterns and fears.
For me, it was really interesting, especially to be able to think and process why I’ve approached certain things and made decisions the way I have.
I would definitely recommend reading a little more into the theories, and if you’re looking at developing a more leadership-based role, it might also be useful!
Week Ten at the R9 Accelerator… rebrand for Quicker Kiwis, presentations from all teams, a Minister visit and Demo Day prep… #AcceleratorLife
Lab Tech Life
Early in the week, I worked on the rebranding for Quicker Kiwis team.
Quicker Kiwis is looking at improving the airport experience, focusing on frequent flyers and the arrivals/Customs processes.
Throughout, I was involved in more Demo Day prep, so more meetings, co-ordinating materials with the external agencies as well as putting together templates for some of the event materials.
Midweek, MiBiz hosted their second MeetUp event “Business Owners from Overseas – Wellington”.
This time, the team started with all of the attendees having a chance to voice the problems and successes they have run into while establishing businesses around Wellington. There were some great conversations started around networking events, techniques as well as finding new business opportunities and service providers.
Towards the end of the session, MiBiz took the group through their MVP (Minimal Viable Product) with a short demo – and before the evening was out, they signed up around a dozen new members!
Between all of this, there were inevitably more pitches going on… with another Meet and Experience event and visitors from government agencies, as well as teams doing short pitches to Minister Wagner!
The response was really great from both of these events, which bodes well for Demo Day in a few weeks!
Quicker Kiwis rebrand work
MiBiz MeetUp event #2
Demo Day prep!
Minister Wagner visits the cohort
Cohort-wide pitch practices
At the end of the week, from this point forwards, all of the teams will be pitching twice a week, trying to solidify their 5-minute pitches. At each of these afternoon events, the teams will pitch with slides.
It’s a great opportunity for teams to see where each other are at; and also for other members of the cohort to give feedback on any elements they believe should be added, expanded on or cut.
This being the first of the cohort-wide pitching sessions, most teams pitched with the most basic of slides and were allowed notes for their spoken element. In future though, the teams will be encouraged to switch to prompts only, and then no notes completely – all the while, the presentation decks starting to take shape.
Week Nine at the R9 Accelerator… a hackathon from MiBiz, photoshoots with Ashley, and lots of meetings… #AcceleratorLife
Lab Tech Life
All of the HitSquad were also invited to a presentation from MiBiz on the Tuesday. They had spent Sunday and Monday doing their own personal ‘hackathon’ to see how much further they could crack into their problem area in a shorter sprint-time.
MiBiz made great progress on putting together a brief slide-deck, and reaching more of their audience, with a clearer action plan and goals to reach by the end of the week. I think we were all really pleased to see their progress, and also their initiative for taking this time to set themselves goals and achieve them.
Early in the week, I was also back working alongside Kelly, to review the Employer Accreditation map we’d been collaborating with Traject on. Honestly, this was a really easy section, as Steffan, who was putting it together, has an absolute fountain of knowledge from working at Immigration NZ that he had condensed into sections…
For us, it was just reviewing to make sure that the information was as concise as possible, and easily digestible.
Later in the week, I got a lot busier…
With us now being just under a month away from Demo Day, I have been sitting in on a lot of meetings around it, and the materials that need to be produced for it…
In preparation for the Demo Day materials, we’ve been setting up photoshoots this week.
In part, this is so that we have updated photos of all the teams, and also as an opportunity for the teams to dress up how they want to be seen in those materials.
One of the perks, was that I went along to see the venue, the Embassy Theatre in Wellington CBD.
We met the AV company Streamliner down there, to discuss the options available for the R9 Accelerator Demo Day (as well as the Lightning Lab XX Demo Day). Mike from Streamliner also ran through the potential set up within the venue, and the assets that he and his team would require from us in advance, or that we could set up and provide directly.
Later that same day, I headed across to the Strategy studio. Strategy are a local Wellington design and advertising studio, who will be producing this year’s Demo Day booklet. So we were meeting so that I could make sure all of the elements necessary would be available to them in time (and make a note of any extra elements that might need produced).
MiBiz hackathon presentation
Traject’s work with Immigration NZ – Employer Accreditation map
Walkthrough at the Embassy Theatre… and my quick sketches of set-up
Team photo-shoots, again – thanks and full credit to Ashley Church at Creative HQ (and see more of her work here)
How to Pitch – with Laura
Laura Reitel, the Programme Manager at Lightning Lab XX, held the second ‘How to Pitch’ session over at the XX space.
This session looked at some previous programmes’ pitches, and focused on key elements like what is happening on-screen vs. being said, and how these relate. Mainly there were just some great tips to come out of it…
Week eight was another short week – New Zealand it seems, has a lot of public holidays early in the year!
This long weekend was for ANZAC (the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) in remembrance of their contribution to World War I fighting at Gallipoli…
Basically ANZAC is NZ’s version of England’s Remembrance Day, on November 11th.
If you haven’t already seen my earlier post from while Mum was over, the Wellington Te Papa Tongarewa museum had (and still has) a really great exhibition on Gallipoli. As a reminder, here are some of the photos again – you can check out the full post here.
Typically, as it goes, I wasn’t feeling particularly well over the long weekend, so no big trips anywhere, more just resting up for the coming weeks!
Lab Tech Life
Midweek, I worked on updating some of the teams comms materials:
An update for 2Shakes website (which you can check out here), so that they could incorporate more direct messaging and information around their problem area. They are currently working on tailoring interactions with government, to suit businesses, and at the moment, focusing on the financial and accounting sector.
Some renewed branding for Cohelix, as they were wanting to make sure that the identity reflected their professionalism as well as their personality. They have been working to improve the compliance standards, and how easy it is for businesses to be compliant with government legislations, starting with the hospitality industry and employee on-boarding. Check out more from them on their website.
Constructables also wanted to update their branding, with their new name ‘Co centric’. Co centric are working on making it easier to stay successful within the construction industry, especially for small building companies within their first few years of business. See more from them here.
We also set up for another Meet & Experience, with our visitors from government – and Rob flexed his creative-fruit-carving muscles again.
Cohelix new branding concepts, and final
Co centric concepts
How to Pitch – Case Study with Shawn
Later in the week, Shawn took the entire cohort through the initial do’s and don’t’s of writing a pitch deck, in the first ‘How to Pitch’ session.
At this point, we’re encouraging all of the teams to start putting their pitch presentations together… for us as Lab Techs, we’ve been listening to teams pitch or at least talk about their projects for the past 2 months – and we’re only going to hear more of them.
This means that we’re more familiar with what they’ve been doing than the audience (including other government agencies, and potential investors) at Demo Day will be… But as none of us have been working directly on the problems, we are by no means experts – in this situation, a positive. Each time the teams have pitched over the past few weeks, we have been highlighting areas where too much jargon is used, not enough detail is covered, or just where something is missing – and the teams can now identify some of these areas themselves as they work through the SEQUOIA template.
The teams have all been recommended to use this ‘SEQUOIA’ template as a starting point.
So over the coming weeks, they will be putting together drafts of both their presentation decks, and writing their pitch to match…
The SEQUOIA template was defined by Sequoia Capital, a venture capital based out of California, and put together after research into the most used recommended page categories.
In case there are any budding entrepreneurs reading, the template below covers the 10 categories that should be covered within a company pitch deck, to optimise the company potential – and according to Sequoia Capital, cover a pretty similar format to writing a business plan.
Week Seven at the R9 Accelerator… Events, events, events… MiBiz MeetUp, LL XX vs R9: Round 2 and 7×7 #AcceleratorLife
Lab Tech Life
The HitSquad were in good spirits, as we welcomed back Lingy! (with camo-cast and crutches)
Midweek, one of the teams – MiBiz – hosted a MeetUp event.
MiBiz are working on making it easier for new New Zealanders to start a successful business. You can read more about their work here.
Their MeetUp event “Business Owners from Overseas – Wellington” is so that they can reach and interact with more of their target audience. It’s a great opportunity for local migrant business owners to also meet each other, and find out from others experiences when starting a business in New Zealand.
The event was a success, with some great conversations started, and will be running again on May 10th.
R9 vs Lightning Lab XX: Round 2
This was the second (official) crossover event between the two accelerators, held this time over at the XX space.
As the previous event had given the teams an opportunity to meet, and find out how they were all doing within the programmes, we made this one a little less intimidating…
If any teams wanted to pitch they could… unsurprisingly no one took us up on that.
So instead, the cohorts were mixed and teams formed to play ‘Pitch Suicide’…
The idea of the game is that any or all members of the team will pitch… sounds simple right? The catch is, they have to pitch a presentation that they’ve never seen before!
Check out some of the slides (good finds from Kelly) they were faced with below…
All of the teams did brilliantly – and there were a lot of slick hand-offs as members struggled to keep straight faces!
R9 at 7×7
7×7 is a forum held in Wellington.
The concept is to have 7 speakers, each presenting for 7 minutes on whatever subject they want to concentrate on.
R9 was represented at this event by Connor (presenting) and his cofounder Ashlyn from Traject.
It was another opportunity for Traject to show off their pitching skills, but by tying their work through R9.
Traject’s new business cards – Growing the knowledge economy, as well as growing some awesome flowers, with these seed-paper cards!
The work I do, translating ‘client’ briefs into workable designs – some of the infographics created for the 7×7 presentation from Traject
Week Six at the R9 Accelerator… MVPs, EAAs, IP… so many acronyms to learn… HWP=Halfway point, time for a halfway pint! #AcceleratorLife
Week six means that we’re officially half way through the R9 Accelerator programme…
The focus now is ‘MVP’ iteration. This is when ideas of a solution begin to be created. This second stage is based around the ‘Minimal Viable Product’, producing, testing and then reiterating the ‘solution’.
In a way the name MVP is a misleading, using the word “product” implies some sort of finished piece, when in reality it’s not even a prototype. After reading ‘The Lean Startup’ book by Eric Ries, my interpretation of an MVP is:
A product with the fewest, but most useful and necessary, components built to provide a solution, that can be used to learn more about the user, and develop a better solution in the ‘next stage’.
For the R9 teams, it’s also a really useful tool to find out more about the customer, problem area and solution you can provide for them. The point of their MVPs is to test a hypothesis and ‘validate’ the business.
(As a note) In comparison, a prototype is further down the line from the MVP, and is used to test the technical, mechanical or design aspects of the product.
Although teams at this stage are only creating MVPs, they are looking to gain customer traction – and, more importantly, visible validation in the form of signed contracts…
Contracts in the startup world at this stage (where the products aren’t ‘final’ versions) are known as ‘Early Adopter Agreements’. This means the EAAs can define what the product aims to do for the customer, what the customer will get out of it, but not always the form of the service that will be provided (so that it can change as the product does)…
Lab Tech Life
The week was filled with events and sessions with the teams, so we did a lot of organising and prep!
Rob’s awesome fruit-carving skills made a reappearance to celebrate R9’s interactions with government. Half of the teams pitched during the latest Meet & Experience session, with visitors from government – while the others could take note for next time.
I also worked on more of the branding elements for OneX, including their new business cards.
We had our second One Track Dance Party – hosted by the Cohelix team, spinning us into a ‘Happy’ frenzy…
Rob’s spectacular fruit platters – making another appearance at one of the Meet & Experience events – this time with Feijoas (first time for me to try them too!)
OneX business card development
Our second instalment of the One-Track Dance Party
Info sharing session, with Anske Janssen
7×7 Pitching Challenge
Following on from my post last week, the R9 teams took on Nick Gerritsen’s challenge to pitch for a spot at the 7×7 event…
Nick had challenged to teams to think about the big impact their projects could potentially have… and to propose these opportunities within a 2 minute pitch.
This was chance for all of the teams to pitch in front of each other, the Lab Tech team and Nick himself, before a communal vote was carried out.
The vote reflected the values Nick had spoken of the previous week, as well as:
• Best pitch delivery
• Strongest articulation of solution
• Most transformational concept on a scale of innovation, social responsibility and global perspectives
The teams did great, and the voting was pretty close in the end… but come back for next week’s blog post and review of the 7×7 event to find out who won!
Field trip, to Chapman Tripp
Mid-week the entire cohort was out on a field-trip, to the offices of Wellington-based law-firm Chapman Tripp.
Chapman Tripp is a law firm in New Zealand, working across many different industries, including government relations, corporate and commercial law. The team over at CT will be available for the teams to consult with, as they figure out what legal terms they may need to have in place further down the line.
Josh and Tim took the morning with the cohort to speak about some of the key legalities teams may face over the coming weeks and months, as they decide what business model they plan to use and start signing ‘Early Adopter Agreements’…
CT also provided the teams with information around Intellectual Property rights as a general, so that they can start thinking about whether it is necessary to register patents, consider the copyright status of their work etc.
In most cases, a patent won’t be necessary, as they aren’t building something physical, but still really useful knowledge to have when considering what will happen to the projects post-Demo Day…
From a personal view, it was a great session, and I came away with a richer knowledge around Intellectual Property especially – so I think I can speak on behalf of the rest of the R9 team – thank you to Josh and Tim, and to the rest of the team at Chapman Tripp in advance. I’m sure that many of the teams will be approaching CT for advice over the coming weeks.