Bye and Hi from the Comms Cats at Collider

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 Hello! Caitlin here. We’ve met right? - I’m sure we have.

For the past two and a bit years I’ve worn the hat of Marketing and Communications Coordinator for BizDojo and Collider and during this time I’ve had the absolute pleasure of getting to know so many of Wellington’s bright, driven and so damned passionate creatives, entrepreneurs, start-ups and innovators.

Next week I will be hanging up my comms hat to join Fire and Emergency NZ as their Innovation Advisor. I’m beyond excited about what this organisation is doing for New Zealand’s Volunteer Fire Service, but I can’t deny that leaving the sometimes hectic but always colourful world of BizDojo and Collider will be hard.

I could also never leave without knowing that the Collider programme is in exceptional hands, and I’m thrilled to introduce you all to Dan Campbell-Robinson, who will be taking the reins from the 26th of March.

 Hello! Dan here. We haven’t met, but I’m sure we will.


If we have met, it will be from my previous job as Head of Content and Online Community Manager at a start-up called CoLo where my passion was getting to know businesses, understanding their brand and then helping them tell their story.

My background is in Design Innovation, which is a hybrid between design and marketing and I’m eternally curious about new technology and keeping on top of innovative marketing and social media trends.

I believe Wellington has some of New Zealand’s most innovative companies, who really do well with their branding and story-telling. I particularly like the work of Fox & Co, Garage Project and Fix & Fogg.

When I’m not in the BizDojo, I’m out photographing the wild and hidden corners of this amazing region. I like to tell stories with my photos and then inspire other people to explore the same areas. Growing up in Nelson I was lucky to have both hills, beaches and ski slopes on my door-step, so I’ve always loved getting outside.

The thing I’m most looking forward to about this role is getting to know, you. I want to hear your story and find out what motivates you to build and create. I will have a particular interest in your brand, and how you use it to make people feel something about what you do.

If you’re keen to get in touch, please drop me a line at or look out for me at your next Collider event.

Making a million bucks out of your message.

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We’re delighted to announce that Peter Kerr, AKA Chief Simplification Officer at will be joining our InformMe crew, to help you get your message straight.

Peter specialises in unearthing your “Million Dollar Message” or MDM** for short.

Write **Message not guaranteed to make you a million…

Why do you need a MDM?

Peter explains that when you’re asked the common question of “So, what do you do?” - what you say next can make or break your business. You need to be able to simply and concisely tell the story of what your business does ideally using just 2 – 10 words.

What exactly is a MDM?

Your Million Dollar Message is your company’s first ‘announcement’. It explains your value proposition in the form of a website tagline, a slogan, a marketing campaign, a proposal or presentation title. Your MDM can also be an elevator pitch or business card statement.

A Million Dollar Message is:

  • Able to shoulder all the heavy lifting within an organisation
  • An instant identifier – a heart and soul value proposition
  • A touchstone or ‘North Star’ for communications across all channels and a crystal-clear, succinct statement to inform your visual design
  • A rallying call of company intention, direction and action

A Million Dollar Message is not:

  • Your brand values put into a sentence
  • A meaningless generic assemblage of words (think, “solution”, “innovative”, “leading”, “partner”…)
  • A pun
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How can I unearth my MDM?

As Peter says, it all starts with a conversation.

While you might think discovering your company’s one central truth is something you should be able to do yourself (after-all it is your business) it is almost impossible to detach yourself from being ‘in’ the business, and then objectively portray your ‘what and why’.

Peter can get you on the path to unearthing the essence of your company with a 30-minute conversation about your business. In this time Peter will help you reveal:

  • How well the business understands what it ‘does’ for its clients and what problem does it solve?
  • How close the business is (in Peter’s opinion) to nailing its first 2-10 words.
  • A greater clarity around issues the business will have to focus on to revealing its Million Dollar Message.

Peter has four book-able InformMe spots available monthly

Collider behind the scenes: #4 How to make new friends that like the same stuff as you!

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Here at Collider, we are all about connecting and up-skilling our epic community of people doing stuff in the tech, digital, innovation and creative space. One of the ways we do this is by hosting Meetups.

Here are 5 reasons why we think Meetups are awesome:

  1. New friends! Because Meetups are subject specific, everyone there does or is interested in the same thing as you. It’s basically a room full of potential new friends.
  2. Get coffee dates - fill your calendar with catch ups with all your new friends.
  3. Free (or cheap) education - most Meetups are free and feature top subject matter experts and inspirational speakers.
  4. Do your job better - all this education will be transferable to your job.
  5. Find your next gig! You never know who you’ll get talking to at a Meetup, it could be your next employer / colleague. It happens all the time.

These are the meetups sponsored by the Collider programme:

Providing a venue free of charge is one of the ways we give back to, and build community. We’re working on supporting a broad range of meetups to make sure there is something for all of you.

Here’s the low-down on the meetups we’ll be hosting for 2018, and some insights into why you should get amongst them (if you don’t already!) -

Tech meetups

  • Wellington PHP User Group - this group is open to anyone with an interest in web development and emergent and Open Source technologies. The PHP crew arrange a mix of social meetups (at the pub) and speaker presentations (at BizDojo) and they regularly invite guest speakers from front end communities, accessibility and legal experts, as well as alternative and complementary languages. And attendance is free!

  • WordPress Wellington - this group was re-started in 2017 after being dormant in Wellington for a while. It is open anyone interested in WordPress - whether you're a seasoned pro or a beginner. And it’s also free!

  • Wellington js - is a meet up for those interested in all things JavaScript - client side, server side, all welcome! And it’s free too!

  • Blockchain Wellington - this group is open to entrepreneurs, thinkers and programmers to start talking about Blockchain and its potential to create distributed autonomous organisations that can change the world.  Meetups for 2018 are TBC, watch this space! And yep, you guessed it, it’s free!

Entrepreneur and Business

  • Collider Toastmasters - our community is always looking for chances to hone their presentation and communication skills, so in June 2017 we partnered with BizDojo residents to start a Toastmasters group for entrepreneurs. The group meets weekly on Wednesdays at 7.15am - feel free to come check it out! If you decide you’d like to join membership fees apply.

  • Wellington Small Business Meetup - this group was re-launched in September 2017, it brings together Wellington's highly-skilled and talented small business owners and entrepreneurs united around the idea of communication, learning, sharing, creating and developing ideas. The group meets every six - eight weeks. Meetups for 2018 are TBC.

  • Startup Grind - is a global startup community designed to educate, inspire, and connect entrepreneurs. Local entrepreneurs talk share their journey, which is followed by a fireside chat and lots of time for connecting with peers afterwards. Meetups for 2018 are TBC.

  • Startup Garage


  • Creative Mornings Wellington - is a global, monthly breakfast lecture series for creative types in Wellington. Each event is free, includes a 20-minute talk from an awesome local creative and coffee!

[We’re on the hunt for another ‘creative’ meetup! If you are an organiser looking for a venue feel free to get in touch, we’d love to talk!]

See you at the BizDojo for a Meetup soon!!!

Adding Artificial Intelligence to your App - the smarter way to do business

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Whether you find it crafty or creepy, you can’t deny that AI is impacting our lives more and more every day. We can thank Artificial Intelligence for Spotify’s “Discover Weekly” personalised playlists, our ever improving email spam filters and our ability to automatically tag friends and family in photos on our smartphone.

And now, thanks to the launch of Microsoft and Amazon’s respective AI digital assistants “Cortana” and “Alexa” you're able to ask a machine “Where the nearby bars that serve local craft beer that have free WiFi and are open past 9:00 p.m”, and get a quick and accurate answer... I'd actually like to know that one. 

 credit: Microsoft

credit: Microsoft

With the arrival of this technology in New Zealand comes a new range of possibilities for your own business application. Whether you're a developer, founder, designer, startup, product managers or just an AI newbie, it's worth getting your head around how a chatbot can help your business. 

How do chatbots such as Cortana and Alexa work?

Chatbots works in much the same way as a human manning a help desk and are a form of artificial intelligence that operates within defined set of rules and parameters.

Will a chatbot improve my business?

Having a chatbot on your app means you can easily see exactly what your users are looking for in your app and act accordingly. A better understanding of your user enables better targeting. By analyzing what your users are asking or talking about right now, you can drive revenue with targeted offers and ads. Voice capabilities make developers and their apps smarter.

How can I use a chatbot for my business?

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When a customer opens a chatbox dialogue box on your app to ask for assistance, the chatbot is the one responding.

So, if a customer typed or voiced the question; “What time does your store open tomorrow morning?“, using the information available, the chatbot would immediately respond in the same way as a human would; “Our store opens at 9am tomorrow morning and closes at 5pm.

How can well programmed chatbots improve your customer’s experience?

A simple weather chatbot will be able to answer the question “Will it rain tomorrow?“. However, if the programming is not there, the question “Will I need a brolly tomorrow?" may cause the chatbot to respond with an "I am sorry, I didn’t understand the question" type response, creating a poor customer experience.

A well-programmed chatbot is able to immediately process “speech-to-meaning” so it’s able to understand the context of a question and give a quick and accurate response.

How can I use this technology to effectively add AI to my app?

Glad you asked! We’re very lucky to have Microsoft’s Software Development Engineer on all things AI and IoT, Vishesh Oberoi in the BizDojo next month. Vishesh will be running a free interactive workshop on how you can harness AI technology to make your app and business work smarter. There are limited spaces so get make sure to RSVP here. 

Collider behind the scenes: #3 - We're getting excited about TechWeek ‘18!

Is TechWeek in your calendar? If it’s not, put it in there now! TechWeek 2018 will be taking place from the 19th - 27th May.

TechWeek is a nationwide initiative that showcases tech and innovation and the Collider crew are getting pretty excited about it! 

2017 was the first year TechWeek events were held in Wellington and Collider programme supported a jam-packed week of events from the Kiwi Landing Pad Sales & Marketing Jam on Monday morning to the MBIE “GovTech is the New Black” Showcase event on Friday night.

My personal favourite of the 2017 line-up was ‘Dojo Dragons’, a pitch night with our Auckland BizDojo residents Ken Erskine and Greg Sitters of 88 Kiwis. A range of startups pitched and got some super valuable feedback from Ken & Greg. It was also an educational night for the audience. I wrote lots of gems in my trusty notebook, like; 

“First thing’s first - taking the wrong money from the wrong people at the wrong time can be worse than having no money”.

So what's exciting for TechWeek 2018?

Last night we hosted a TechWeek organisers meetup for anyone keen and curious about hosting an event during TechWeek. The room was packed with some of Wellington's most creative and passionate tech minds, all keen to connect and make Wellington's TechWeek 2018 the best yet!

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While there's still lots to organise we can announce that TechWeek will have everything from a Mahuki Tech Tour of Te Papa to insights on Leading an Agile Workforce and a Collider hosted Founders Night, with a founder of a rad Welly tech company (watch this space).

The crew at Collider are also developing a lunchtime series for those that aren’t super tech savvy and want to know what the tech savvy people are talking about. We’re thinking the likes of emerging tech, Blockchain and VR? If there’s something you’d like the 101 on let us know via the form below and we’ll find an expert to de-mystify it in a workshop for you!



The 2017/18 Entrepreneur Bootcamp cohort are kicking ass & creating companies!

Every year a selected group of around 30 Victoria University students from a range of backgrounds and expertises dedicate their summer to crafting, developing and building a go to market business, and every year we're blown away with the passion and talent that these young entrepreneurs possess.

This is the fourth year that BizDojo has supported the Victoria Entrepreneur Bootcamp, and the second year that it's been co-supported by the Collider Programme. During their time in the Bootcamp we get to give them a home in the Wellington BizDojo, where they have access to mentors and support while they validate and build their ideas. 

The current cohort comprises of 10 teams who have created businesses which range from focuses on science, crypto-currency to wanting to fix transport and employment issues. 

As the Bootcamp has just hit the halfway point, we figured now is a pretty good time to sit down with some of the teams to get their business pitch.

Check out these amazing companies below!


If you’d like to get involved with the Entrepreneur Bootcamp's future cohorts, get in touch with the Collider team here. We’d love to connect you!

Before the collision: #2 What does the future of Wellington’s work force look like?

 Image care of Brady Dyer - click the image above to be taken to a full gallery of lovely photos

Image care of Brady Dyer - click the image above to be taken to a full gallery of lovely photos

You might know about the meetups we support, the events we host and the learning opportunities we create. But what happens behind the scenes at Collider? Our  series, "Before the Collision" is a diary from our Activation Manager Kate Macdonald where she highlights the conversations she is having, great work she is seeing in the community, events and workshops she is attending, and all the things she is learning, seeing and being surprised by in Wellington and beyond. 

30th November

The robots are coming and they’re gonna do our jobs! Uh oh. But also opportunity. What to do?... Hide under the duvet? Re-train for jobs of the future? Embrace new robot work mates? What does the future workforce look like? The Wellington Work In Progress Conference gave me loads to think about.

Earlier this month 350 Wellingtonians gathered at the St James Theatre to hear about ‘Wellington's new collar future’. The speaker line-up was awesome and covered a range of topics - skills for the machine age, digital disruption, the gig economy - to name just a few.

The standout for me was Professor Ian O Williamson - Pro Vice Chancellor & Dean of Commerce at Victoria University Business School. His topic was “Can Human be put back into Human Resources?  Managing Tomorrow’s Workforce”. I was immediately into it - at BizDojo we are all about humans. And the Collider Programme is all about creating an inclusive space for people to connect and collaborate and ultimately grow what they do.

Professor Ian spoke about a topic close to my heart - diversity.

How diversity in your team is key to innovation and execution. It’s like that old saying - two minds are better than one, but only if they think differently. If you’re growing your team, you might want to think about strategically composing a team from different backgrounds - kinda like The Avengers.

And diversity in your organisational partnerships. Think about who you’re working with and what that means for your workforce. Perhaps you could team up with a social enterprise or mental health provider - “seek out dissimilar others”.

And diversity of rewards. Once you’ve established your diverse team of ninjas, they’re not all going to want a ham for Christmas. Think about taking a flexible approach to showing your work force that you value them and think they’re doing a great job.

Thanks Ian!

The fact that we had this conference and these conversations (thanks Wellington Regional Strategy Office!) is another reason why living in Wellington is the raddest.

I always love to talk to people in the Wellington business community about what we are doing, what we could do, and what we could do TOGETHER! If you are curious about Collider, or have an idea for something great we could do together feel free to reach out via email or over on Twitter


Getting clear, getting simple: 5 tips for clear communications

From giving clear communications to your team to being able to write an email that does not leave your investor guessing. Communicating clearly and succintly is important for founders at any stage of their business. But where do you start? We have collected five tips to help you craft clear communications no matter the situation, from writing tips to first principles. Have your own tips to share? Pop them in the comments below. 

Go back to first principles

Whatever it is that you are trying to explain, from what your business does, to how you plan to take the next leap - you need to go back to first principles. 

What are the facts? Who are you talking to? Why should they listen? 

Imagine yourself in the shoes of the person you are trying to communicate with. Do they understand that jargon word? Do they need to know about your business background? Does that colourful joke, or dry witticism amuse them? 

If you are going into an interview, then the above questions are especially important, and it might be best to physically note your answers down and remind yourself of them before you go in to see that journalist. If you find it challenging to keep these bits of information front of mind when being interviewed? Ask if you can be interviewed by email, allowing you time to hone responses, and allowing yourself to keep on message and keep clear. 


This blog post by BizDojo @ GridAKL residents Directly is a how-to on making your writing, and in-fact any form of communication you have simpler, easier to engage with and more likely to convert. Essential reading for anyone that works in industries where jargon is rife, like technology, insurance or finances OR for those that like to over-explain. 

Hone those writing skills - it is easier than you think 

In this Webstock talk, Kate Kiefer Lee explains the art of conversational prose, simple communications and why everyone is a writer. A great starting point for people who want to communicate clearly, Kate asks people to consider the way they speak as a tool for to hone how they write. An excellent talk, this is a must watch for any founder. 

Make sure the method of communication fits the goal

There are some simple facts to keep in mind when thinking about clear, concise communication. Detailed facts are best communicated in written form where people can digest and refer back to information. Meetings are best used to solve problems collaboratively, or to get a team across what is happening within a business - but are best held with an agenda, allowing the meeting to stay on course and full of focus. Slack is great for immediacy, whilst a phone-call can be a good way to deliver quick insights in a friendly more personal way.

Before you start drafting that email or pulling together notes for a meeting think about who is in the room, what you are communicating, and what you want the outcome to be. Then, find a channel of communication that fits that particular situation best. 

Get to your point

Summer's here, and so the Victoria Entrepreneur Bootcampers!

Pohutukawa are in bloom, the aircon has been switched to “high” and the faint sound of flip-flops can be heard around the office. It must be summer. Which means BizDojo Wellington have just meet 2017/18’s summer cohort for the Victoria Entrepreneur Bootcamp. Yussss!

The Victoria Entrepreneur Bootcamp helps young entrepreneurs to build a business over one summer, by using skills and networks available within Victoria University and the wider Wellington business scene. For a few days each week, BizDojo acts as a base and home to connect with Wellington’s entrepreneurial scene as these teams as they create and build their businesses.

It’s a mutually beneficial arrangement. The residents at Bizdojo come from a wide pool of talents and expertise and work as great mentors for the Bootcampers who have specialised questions or concerns about their project. The Bootcampers are in turn enthusiastic and passionate about what they’re doing, bringing energy and collaborative vibes into the space.     

While it’s early days yet, we’ve grabbed a quick snapshot of this summer’s 10 (yup! 10, making it the biggest cohort yet) entrepreneurial teams.


“Mind Me - Product Mindy”
An AI based integration for accounting software.

A mobile platform that allows museum visitors to experience science using AR and 3D animation.

Study Track
A platform for Universities to offer ’Crash Courses” in Degrees so students can make more informed career decisions.

Virtual Valet
An app to eliminate the dreaded parking search.

A service that will work with local businesses to outsource work to mothers.

An online clothing company providing affordability for students.

Ratahi Brothers
A calculator app that can be used in formal high school exams.

An online platform that will help people engage with civic organisations.

ISO Platform
An online platform to help international students to smoothly transfer their lives and prepare for study in New Zealand.

Creative Subscriptions
A paid subscription service for a monthly box of children’s art activities based on a buy one, give one model, where another box is sent to children from refugee backgrounds.

Brand 101 : questions and considerations for brand building

As pretty as your logo is, your brand should be more than just great design. Building effective branding, either for your business or for you as a person, is about defining what you are, what you stand for and how you are different to those around you. 

In reality, most brands are built by attributing many of the features we associate with people to a product or service. If you think about your best friend or partner; and the things that make you like them; their aesthetics may well be a part; but you are likely to talk about their personality, their values, the things they believe in and the elements that make them truly unique. We take these same areas and highlight them to build out a compelling brand story. 

What should I be thinking about when building out a brand?

Before you start building a brand you have to get the salient facts clear; which can actually involve more toing and froing than you would think. This is a really important step in the process of brand building and acts as a foundation for future steps. Essentially you are finding out the essential truth of the day to day of what your business does, from identifying your target market (by the way, everyone is not a target market), through to getting clear on exactly what it is that you offer. Some good starting points for this are the below

Although these questions may seem simple, the deeper you go the richer the rewards. 

What is your industry?  | What is your target market? 
Who are your competitors?  | What do you actually do? 
What makes what you actually do valuable? 


Once you have the basics covered, think emotionally

Thinking again about the example of your best friend, look at the bare facts that are above and ask yourself how can I flesh out what we do and who we do it for in a rounded out way that explains how we are different from those around us. When pondering the questions below, ask yourself about how your competitors in the market express their values or beliefs. How are yours different from theirs? Or, if they are similar, how can your personality help differentiate you in a crowded market? 

What tangible and emotional benefits does your product bring the user? 
What does your business truly value?  | What does your business truly believe? 
How does your business express what it does?  | How does your business express
it's values? 

Using both of these sets of information you want to explain then

What is your business why?  
What is the essence of your business?
What is it's mission statement?

Together all these facts will help you decide on future business decisions, including everything from how you visually express your brand. To how you build brand language, and the people you hire to build the culture that makes your brand live in real life.