Power Kiwi takes on the Fast 50!

A year on from Powershop taking out the award for being New Zealand’s fastest growing company in the Deloitte Fast50 awards (winning with with a record growth percentage of 5280.41%!!), PowerKiwi is following on their coattails!

Powerkiwi is an entrant this year and are looking forward to the results, which are announced tonight. We want everyone to share in the celebrations, so we’ve doubled our usual $50 signup gift… Make yourself a fast $100 just by switching to Powershop today!.

Powerkiwi sells FlowerPower, Green Power and Tree Power on Powershop. We’ve had an incredible growth rate over the last few years, and just hit over 220 million units of electricity sold to date through Powershop. FlowerPower is our main product, if you purchase FlowerPower, you help us give back to some cool organisations. So far, we’ve supported everything from the Canterbury Earthquake fund, to the Wellington Hospitals & Health Foundation and the Million Dollar Mouse campaign. We also sell carbon neutralised Green Power, as well as Tree Power, which supports global rural communities to plant trees.

So far this year we’ve already reached over 80 million units, and we’ve already beaten last year’s top line revenue. That’s not quite at the growth rate required to be on the stage for next year’s Fast50, but when the numbers get bigger, maintaining the growth rate in percentage terms is much harder. We are grateful to our thousands of customers, and aim to keep bringing little smiles into their lives.

Read the full story from Lance here :)

Freedom To VS Freedom From

There have been a lot of things happen recently to spark the internal debate about what’s more important… Someone’s right to express how they think and feel, or someones right to be protected from the repercussions of that.

One of the very few pearls of wisdom I learned at Uni was the difference and importance of each. When they left it up to us to decide what was more important, I fell squarely on the side of defending Freedom From… Though apparently didn’t learn with it the ability to express why I think freedom from is such a fundamental right. Until last night when I was reading Jody Picault and on page one, found this: “No man has the natural right to commit aggression on the equal rights of another, and this is all from which the laws ought to restrain him.”

Turns out, me and Thomas Jefferson have more in common than I thought.

In our current debates around Gay Marriage, Trolls on the internet (and how to deal with them), and also in any number of other debates that have raged throughout history, it does seem to come down to one thing: Whether someone’s right to say things that impact on someone else’s freedom things under the banner of ‘Im just saying what I think’ is in any way as important as the right of the recipient to not have to deal with the emotional, social and huge number of other ramifications of being at the other end of what is realistically hate-speech. My definition of ‘hate-speech’ somewhat controversially includes nice old ladies delivering fundamentally the same message, but nicely padded in ‘normal’ social politeness.

While downing a few too many wines in Melbourne, the conversation re-sparked up, and one of our grand old democracy quotes was brought up “I may hate what you are saying, but I will defend to the death your right to say it” (or words to that effect). That’s all very nice and good, but it’s totally unrealistic and we have long since left those ideals behind. No on these days is legally allowed to threaten someone with murder, even if thats simply how they feel at the time, we aren’t socially (or legally?) allowed to say that we genuinely believe that someone of [insert race here] is a lesser person because of it. It’s fair to say that we have legislated against a fair few things that would fall under the banner of ‘freedom of speech’.

Im not a huge fan of making laws against everything, unless its absolutely necessary, what I am in favour of, is a kind of social law that makes it unacceptable to publicly spout opinions that cause severe harm to others who are vulnerable. While I stand by the fact that everyone is entitled to their opinion, I don’t think spouting your opinion publicly is actually a right that comes above all others. If you (like I saw on Twitter last night) come out with some ridiculous claim about someone/thing/religion/group etc etc, you should be socially prepared to defend that, prove it and deal with the flood of angry people who disagree.

After the past few months, Im genuinely unsure where I sit on things like squatting on domains to hide them away from people you know to be rampant users of the ‘Im free to spout my hideous words whenever I feel’ ideology. Im unsure where I sit even on personally attacking people who say in a nice polite way, words that mean they believe someone is not entitled to the same human rights as them. Im unsure, basically, on a lot of the tacts people seem to feel forced or provoked to use when faced with an battle to defend freedom from discrimination.

I think in the last few months, what has really be confirmed in my mind is that there are times, and there are issues, where the harm caused to people by those who use the freedom to line so, so far outweighs the reason that freedom exists, that it needs to be a lot harder to claim. You have the right to say what you think, but that right comes hand in hand with the responsibility to be able to defend that belief publicly and ongoing to those who disagree.

Being a country our Olympians are proud to represent.

Just over a week ago, I was seething at a Stuff.co.nz headline reading “Valerie loses the Olympic Shotput Final”. It was a disgraceful and totally inaccurate title for an article about how our much admired Olympic champion from 2008 won the silver medal in London.

That Val’s longest throw was 5cms longer than what won in Beijing, or that she was let down by administrators who forgot to register her, or that she just didn’t look her usual focused self was all forgotten in the public’s reaction: Val ‘lost’ because the winner looked like a man.

Im as horrified as the rest of the country to find out that the testing set in place at the Olympics found drugs in 2 of the Gold medalist’s samples. A drug cheat, at this moment, feels like the worst kind of cheat… She deprived our country of the celebration we were planning for, she tarnished the Olympics brand, she undermined everything about competing at the top of your game, and most importantly, she stole the moment from someone who has focused virtually her entire life around winning that medal.

But there is something sick and twisted about our attitude towards not winning Gold. This Olympics had the most rigorous testing programme in place that we have ever seen, it seems this particular case was fast tracked and yes, there were definite signs that pointed towards drug abuse (Increasing your best distance by over a meter all of a sudden, after years and year seems, even to an outside observer, more than a touch odd)… But our quick and hugely personal attacks on someone who has not been proven guilty are just yuck.

Val, even in what must have been an awful moment, probably well aware that the woman who stole Gold from her was a drugs cheat, was an unbelievable example of all that is good with the Olympics. She took her Silver with as much dignity as she could muster, she didn’t say a word about the drugs cheat and she shone as an example to all of us of how to behave.

While the rest of us went wild creating memes about the man/woman, how ugly she was, how we all (totally without expertise) ‘knew’ she cheated. Some even felt entitled to rip into Val herself for not being quite up to it any more, for losing the plot, bombing out and any number of other insults that make me wonder why on earth anyone would bother to wear the Silver Fern for us at all.

So the drugs cheat has now been exposed, and people are scrambling to be the first to congratulate our second-time Olympic champion, while justifying the insults we threw at the perceived winner.

There are very few events in modern life that being together the world in the spirit of fair play and giving it all. Every single one of our athletes did us proud, its the rest of us that left a lot to be desired.

How to accidentally stop blogging

So life got pretty busy there for a while… And suddenly it’s halfway through the year.

Apparently the way to stop blogging, is to not do it one day… or the next, and rinse and repeat until eventually, it feels very weird to be back.

It’s been a crazy year. My attempt to go it alone until Jan 2012, has been wildly profitable, both business wise and emotionally. In my most busy and stressed out patches this year, while lying awake at night, unable to go to sleep because I worked until bedtime… the one BIG HUGE feeling of relief I had was that THIS is the worst it gets.

Compared to about every other stage of business stress I have experienced, this year has been one big happy walk in the park. I may be racing through the park like a headless chicken, but that’s not always such a bad thing.

One cool development as a result of having no ‘dependents’ has been my ability to expand out of my office an work on site. This has been hugely fascinating because I totally issed the ‘work for someone else’ part of my education. I love having a social club, understanding internal politics and hierarchies and processes and the joys of relying on your teammates… Just being one small cog. I now understand what my friends are talking about when discussing ‘work’.

So now we have that out of the way, I have ticked off the ‘do that awkward blog post’ task and will hopefully be repeating this more often :)

Happy half way mark everyone!

Million dollar mouse: Flower Power donates $1,000

Thanks to all our Flower Power customers. On your behalf, we just donated $1,000 to eradicate mice off the Antipodes Islands, which matched dollar for dollar by Gareth and Jo Morgan, means thats $2k towards the million dollar target.

We think its a pretty awesome cause, and love the fact that instead of thinking the problem with our environment is too big, Million Dollar Mouse, plucks off a small part of the problem, that we can actually fix.

So good on you all, Keep buying Flower Power through Powershop, and we’ll keep you posted on all the good your money is doing :)

Some other great causes Flower Power customers have donated to:
$5050 for the Christchurch Earthquake Appeal
$1,000 to the Wellington Hospitals and Health Foundation

And don’t forget, you can get $50 free power, just by signing up :)

Kony 2012: because the world can see each other, we can protect each other

“If the world is a mess, what’s the simplest thing we can focus on? And joseph Kony is that person. He’s [been] a warlord for 26 years, has been abducting children from their home and making them kill people, cut people’s faces off… The worst crimes your’ve ever heard of.”

If Faceook and Twitter have their place, surely this must be it. If you haven’t watched this video yet (where have you been hiding?!?!?!), do it now.

It’s just too easy to assume there’s only good and evil

I have struggled to stop thinking about that poor wee girl who was attacked in a New Zealand campground late last year. For everyone overseas, her family was travelling around NZ, her parents had nipped next door, and a teenage boy had broken into their caravan and attacked her so badly she required hours of surgery.

It was a heinous act and until last week, I thought there was simply nothing that could explain something that evil.

Until, of course, some blanks were filled in.

This boy was the victim of sexual abuse himself, but unlike the horror the whole nation felt at his actions, he suffered in silence. My understanding is that although it was admitted as evidence in this case, and believed, no one has been held accountable to the crimes committed on him as a child. I have no comprehension of how it must feel to have gone through something so bad, and have no one acknowledge to you that it was wrong, and that you deserve better. How even today, when telling a court and having them believe you, the perpetrators still go unpunished.

His parents are losers. Gang rivals, wife beaters, child abusers and the types of people I cannot comprehend. They simply did not love their children in any way that the likes of me understand to be normal. I imagine they too, are victims of their own horrendous lives, and so the cycle continues. But to actually sit back and imagine life as an unwanted, abused and abandoned child, is actually unbelievable to most of us. We simply have no understanding of the impacts on people, of how fundamentally different their world is to most of ours.

The reason I write this is not because Im sitting here crying for that boy. Some combination of nature and nurture has led to this, and I completely agree that nurture on its on would not guide two different people to this same outcome. He made his own, stupid, horrendous decisions, and their impact will be ongoing and awful beyond belief.

Im writing it because I still can’t get my head around the fact that situations like the one the boy grew up in exist. In my country. Probably all too often. And those sorts of situations, while seemingly cliched, are the biggest breeding ground of unspeakable crimes. We need to stop rolling our eyes when criminals claim their background as a factor, and realise that those backgrounds may actually be partially responsible. As a side note, we probably also need to figure out a way to offset the reduced sentences handed down by prosecuting those who committed the crimes that were used to excuse later behavior of the victims.

Its easy to assume that some people are inherently evil. It makes sitting on your high horse easy. It makes your anger justified and tidy. It helps you separate yourself from the acts of others and feel secure. But it’s totally not true and more importantly, it doesn’t stop it happening.

I suppose a bunch of people are calling out to ask how on earth this kid grew up in New Zealand, in this way, without reasonable help. I wonder if that in any community, it doesn’t matter what’s in place, there will always be cracks, and people will always fall through them, and therefore crimes like these will still happen. I’ve got zero ideas on how that can change, but I also have about the same amount of patience for anyone to smugly claim that crimes like this happen solely because of the presence of evil.

Back to square one.

Im not sure how it happened, but after a great patch of running several times a week, and doing some good distances in weekends, sometime round the very end of last year… I lost all enthusiasm.

I think the fact that when I was running, I was running for at least an hour started to put me off. I think also, the festive season had it’s impact and Im a shocker for being unable to turn down the offer of a drink. Getting up bright and energised the next day, becomes a lot harder, even after two wines the night before.

I muddled my way through the holidays, had a great few beach runs at Mt Maunganui, then started the year with, erm, a total halt.

The only thing worse than realising you are a fat, lazy bum, and that you’ve managed to increase your weight by 3.5kgs in a mere few months… Is doing it straight after one of the fittest times of your life. The worst, worst feeling in the [exercise] world, is turning up at the gym and not only being unable to do stuff you breezed through a short time ago, but that after each session, finding you can barely walk for days.

All that hard work undone.

I’m so disappointed in myself.

Im trying very hard to silence the voices in my head telling me that Ive failed, and focus on getting back into form, one step at a time. This week’s been reasonable, I wen out less (though still too much), and I made it to 3 fairly hard gym sessions, including a run this morning where I found I could still survive 40 minutes (which came as a pleasant surprise.)

I suppose the lesson here is that people like me can never stop. I have way too much of a tendency to choose chips and beers over exercise and salad, and once Im out of the habit, the slippery slope isn’t so much of a slope as a vertical drop. Good to know I suppose, but I feel like I have a very small inkling of what it must be like to be an alcoholic who has stopped drinking. Every single day, for the rest of my life, I have to think about eating and exercise.

It’s a little depressing.

The Heretic: Surprising, smart and a GREAT read.

Turns out that while I sit wallowing in my anxiety about my life decisions, some of my friends are doing productive things, like writing books.

While I have no shame in admitting that regardless of whether or not this book was utter rubbish, I’d still pitch it to everyone I know… I genuinely found it remarkably good. Surprisingly good.

It’s not that I lack faith in my friends, but it’s not often that you hang out with someone a reasonable amount only to discover that they have amazing hidden talents. I believe this is Luke’s first book, but try as I might, I couldn’t find any evidence to support that fact. Its really well written, a real page turner (or clicker if you have a Kindle) and kept me enthralled right to the last page, when I changed my thoughts to hoping for a sequel.

If you like those thriller, adventure books (or actually even if you dont – this book converted me to the genre), you’ll love this one and for $2.99, you can afford to read it and ask me to eat my words.

All reviews are much appreciated, especially the good ones, and now it’s been entered in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards, you should read it quickly so if it reaches the finals you’ll be ready to cast your vote :) (the books has already gone from the 5,000 entries into the top 1,000)

Buy the book here

Webstock. Go next year.

Disclaimer: It occurred to me as I was wondering if I needed to pack my own lunch, that I had never, until late last week, been to an actual real life conference. This means I have nothing to compare Webstock to, though anecdotal evidence suggests that most conferences struggle to contain their participants whereas Webstock cant seem to get rid of them :)

I have always hesitated to go to Webstock. Years in the Wellington tech community has led me to believe I already am aware of the movers and shakers and already interact with the people I really respect. I sort of thought another back patting love fest might be a little too incestuous for me (arrogant, I know, but Ive been to a fair few… Probably the downside of living in a small city)

The cost was also prohibitive. I have customers all over the world, the $1k surely would be better spent heading their way and drumming up more? Or if I need a mental break, that would go a longway towards martinis on a tropical beach somewhere.

So, you could say, I was a hard sell.

But given my recent state of mind, I figured I should stop treating Webstock like an either/or and just go.

And it was nothing like what I expected. I probably should have realised that after there was some ’email issue’ that resulted in the whole community not only getting a bunch of internal information, but in the entire community blacking out any mention of what it might be. About the most unusual sight on the internet.

Im not really sure how to explain the sense of joy and motivation that settled over me as one of my idols Kathy Sierra took to the stage. From there, the mass of 850 people and 900 Apple gadgets were taken from refugee camps in South Africa, to the store room at Zappos. We faced our own mortality, and questioned everything from the big decisions around how to live a meaningful life to how to prioritise an inbox. We were amazed at the map of tweets following the earthquake in Japan, and shocked at the reality of how much of our information could be lost forever if the website we entrust with it, folds.

The funny thing is, as much as I’m sure Ive convinced at least half a dozen people to go next year, Im unconvinced Webstock actually NEEDS anyone else – the conference sounds like it’s sold out year after year.

But if you do get in early enough, it’s well worth going to – even if you have to fly across the world to get here. From what I hear, some of the speakers even want to come back, just to participate.