About Episode two

In today's episode, Greg and Owen are joined by Grant Ryan—a New Zealand serial entrepreneur and inventor known for success stories like Global Brain, Real Contacts, SLI systems, YikeBike, and PurePods. In this episode, Grant shares some powerful insights on what it truly takes to be a successful tech inventor and entrepreneur.

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Episode Transcript

OS:

Welcome to Growing Tech with Greg Williamson and Owen Scott today, we're with Grant Ryan. He's a serial entrepreneur and actually there is a whole list of companies that Grant's been involved in Global Brain, Real Contacts, SLI systems, YikeBike, and PurePods. So we've got a lot to cover today. What we're going to sort of dig into today is how Grant got into tech. Maybe some of the key challenges he sees for, you know, Kiwi exporting tech companies. And then we're gonna talk about growth and look at the major constraints around that area.

GW:

Well, great. Welcome along Grant. Good to have you here.

GR:

Nice to be with your boys, Kia Ora.

GW:

I suppose the first thing is really to start at the start, and you've got a, I mean, you're obviously from Southland and you've got a bit of an inventing gene in the family really haven't you? Do you want to tell us a little bit about your, your sort of background in that regard?

GR:

Yeah. My father was a chicken farmer and we grew up with a machine in our garage that looked like something out of Dr. Zeus and I just assumed everyone had one of those in the garage growing up. But so we kind of grew up assuming that you could invent things and send them around to the thing he was that machine made these plastic lamb covers that you put on day old lambs. So when a Southland southerly came through, you didn't have all your lambs dying. And so I always thought, man, it'd be cool to be an inventor. And when I was at high school, when you do your end of year yearbook, they say, what do you want to do when you grow up? And I said, inventor. And they said, you've got to put something serious. And I was like, I am serious. I didn't know how to do it, but I thought that'd be cool.

GW:

And so was your dad self-taught in terms of all of his mechanical capabilities and

GR:

Yeah. And he did something that I've always done, which is fine. Lots of other clever, clever people to do the hard bits.

OS:

Because it is - we might talk about your brother a bit later on - but you know, it's a family thing as well. Like your brother obviously was successful entrepreneur as well.

GR:

Yeah. Yeah. All my brothers have had successful entrepreneurial streaks. Not, not quite as much as others, but you know, they're trying hard. I say that just to tease them because they'd do the same to me. I know they would.

OS:

One little trivia fact is that my dad was a customer of your dad with the lamb covers. So good South Otago farm community ties.

GW:

So probably one, one aspect of invention is always being successful with the innovation too. So I suppose that's another, cause people can invent all kinds of stuff from tinkering around in the garage, but there's another thing about creating things that actually that have an impact.

GR:

Yeah well, being an inventor is a weird thing to tell people because one of the most likely reactions is they'll start telling you what they've invented and they'll offer to give it to you for free and you can build it and give them half the money. And it's kind of funny. It's like a lot of people think they can sing and they can sing a few songs, but actually to do invention properly is actually plenty hard work, which is why I've kind of don't do as much anymore. Because it really is hard, but yeah, there's a lot to it and, and but it's, it's an awful lot of fun as well.

OS:

Well. You, where did you, you know, you were obviously born Southland, but where did you sort of start your career?

GR:

So I did an engineering degree in mechanical engineering because that was as close as I thought I could get to being an inventor. I was going to do architecture, but I wasn't artistic enough. And then I got drifted into, I did a post-grad in ecological economics, which is just because I was interested in it. And yeah, I had a proper job for a couple of years before I had my first idea.

GW:

And you're, because then, that first career step, it was actually DSIR, which is now a crown research Institute. Isn't it? So, I mean, that would have been, was that a challenge for an entrepreneurial-inventing-minded person or did you learn some good stuff as well?

GR:

Oh, you know, I learned a lot cause you know, when you come out of university, you pretty raw and so you learn, you always learn lots of things. But I don't think I could have been a career scientist. I sometimes call myself a failed scientist.

GW:

So, and why is that?

GR:

Because I, I couldn't do a career as a scientist. I think it would have done me. I, I like to, there's a role for everyone and it wasn't really, for me writing papers and things, there's quite a difference between science and engineering. I'm more of an engineer and inventor the both valuable things, but yeah.

OS:

So your first invention was Global Brain?

GR:

Yes.

OS:

And how did that all come?

GR:

And so for the young folk, if you can remember pre-Google days, this was before Google, when I was just a user of search engines and you'd type something in and you guys are old enough to know that you used to get a whole lot of spam people would put, and I thought, well, why can't you just observe if someone types something in and someone clicks on something, why can't you then use that to learn and improve it. And then and in that form, the basis of our idea for a search engine and you know, the but the other thing that people don't really explain to you about the whole entrepreneurial thing is how much luck's involved. So when I started that, it was just pre the.com boom. And no one knew what a.com boom was because it hadn't happened yet. Now I kind of, you know, so the environment was just ripe for something like that. And it's not always the case when you have an idea and sometimes you can be a bit early, a bit late, and there's no way of knowing that when you start. So I got lucky with my first one that meant I could do a whole bunch of other things. Yeah.

GW:

Yeah. So there is a bit, there's obviously luck, there's insight, which you had in that, but there's also a bit of courage in there to take a, take a punt on, on your idea?

GR:

Yeah, there is courage and, and I mean, most people don't get lucky because they don't have a crack, but I also had a family and my father in particular said, if you guys ever have an idea, I'll back you, I'll pay your mortgage, have a crack. And not everyone has that. So you gotta be lucky with that regard as well.

OS:

So like, you sort of came up with this idea, like, how did it sort of, I mean, obviously it's, you know, how did it sort of become, I suppose, a product and then obviously you sold it to someone like, how did you figure out that whole thing?

GR:

So the, basically I looked back at some of the stuff we did and it's just mindbogglingly naive. Like we, our first trip to the Silicon Valley, we had overhead projections, if you can believe it. And I mean, they're just, I hope this wasn't the seat we took. Cause the slide on intellectual property had intellectual spelt incorrectly. I'm not a gifted speller, neither is my father. But basically the best advice I got was to just go and talk to a whole lot of people and they'll give you some advice and other people will give you advice. So, you know, I talked to some of the old cohorts around, you know, the Christchurch scene and they would put you on to someone and then they'd put you on to someone else. And that whole process of just, I basically became obsessed with it. I had this thing called paid holidays, which was so novel to me that I'd get paid holidays, use them all up. And then I remember sitting on a telephone call to a guy who wrote a search engine newsletter in the UK. He was kind of the expert. And I explained to him what we were doing and when he said, yeah, that sounds really kind of interesting. I thought, well, okay, maybe we'll have a crack, so yeah.

OS:

So you would, you would sort of straight out of the bat trying to sell a technology to someone, you know, rather than sort of, you know, like get a bunch of customers yourself?

GR:

Yeah. So that's the thing that you also learn pretty quickly. I thought, oh, it's a good idea. I'll sell the idea. Ends up, no one wants an idea. They want a product that works. And then you end up building a product that works. And actually people don't want a product that works. They actually want a team that can deliver. And so it's actually probably pretty hard to sell an idea without a product that does something. And then there's typically a team that does all the things that make it actually work. So you've almost got to do that extra amount before you can actually sell it or, you know, or, you know, I didn't, I didn't intend to build a company. But it's kind of what you have to do if you do innovation. And that's why I kind of liked just focusing on doing the innovative bit, because I'm not really a natural entrepreneur, I'm a natural inventor. I think. I kind of did the entrepreneurial part cause you had to.

GW:

Mmm, to get it going.

GR:

Yeah.

GW:

And what was that like? I mean, that was, it's probably a bit more normal for Kiwis to be up in Silicon Valley doing stuff now, but back in the day it would have been, did they, yeah. How did they respond to you when you sort of turned up with your overheads and started pitching?

GR:

Overheads was the technology back then. It was a while ago. But yeah, I think we got some meetings because they were curious that these guys had come from New Zealand, but yeah, it was it was definitely the, the whole thing was smoke and mirrors because it was one desktop on my kitchen table and we'd managed to do this multimillion dollar licensing deal with a big player in the US and the, it all kind of the biggest crumbling moment was when they wanted to come to New Zealand to a celebratory thing and see the operation. I was like, oh, I don't think we'll do that. But yeah, you just, you dive into it without really knowing what you're doing, and then you just try and get as much information as you can, and then just follow your nose really.

OS:

Is there more of that now or less of it, or, you know, is it a big elite now, or, you know, cause it was obviously a big courage cause you were sort of one of the pioneers going over and doing that.

GR:

Well, I think it's just, everyone's doing it in bigger leaps. Like when we sold our first company, you know, in the tens of millions, it was stocked and get all the cash, whatever. But you know, that was a big story that they wanted to do. Whereas now there's a couple of companies in Christchurch that have sold for over a billion dollars that most people have never heard of. So everyone's just doing things at way, bigger scale than what I did when I started. But it was kind of, you know, when the first company tech companies were sold for $20 million, they're like, aw, you know, selling the crown jewels of New Zealand tech. And it was like, that wouldn't even get an article now. Yeah. The tech industry is one of the most underrated success stories of New Zealand. I mean, it's overtaken sheep, you know, it's now the third biggest exporter and there's no friction to it. It's just going to keep growing. And they, you know, some commentators are surprised. They're like, oh, it's growing at 18% again this year. And you're like, well, why wouldn't it? You know, it can grow, you know, spectacularly. And there's a really cool things about the tech sector really.

GW:

And what do you, what do you reckon are the constraints for us? Because tech could conceivably, as you say, it could be the biggest industry that we have?

GR:

Yeah. We'll be, I can't see how it, can't not be just because the others are physically constrained and this one isn't, I mean, we've seen with tourism that we can't keep growing forever. We know we can put more cows on another two, whereas there's no limit to having more success stories like, Rocket Lab's and all sorts of things. And I like Rocket Lab, cause it's another example I used to say, well, New Zealand should focus on tech that we can do here. So we're not going to have a rocket company, but actually there's some massive advantages to doing that here. Like clear skies with no other planes and a nimble government. And yeah. So I don't see any limits really to the tech scene because basically the world's short of really cool places to live like New Zealand and these people can do anything from anywhere. And so you've got all sorts of people doing weird and amazing things.

OS:

What do you think of the, I mean, what are the challenges that a tech company would face now? Do you think that's different to the tech company, you know, when you started out?

GR:

Well, it was interesting when I started one of the things I got involved in was a founding director of the New Zealand Venture Investment Fund that set up for seed funds and seed investing. And everyone was like, there's just no access to capital and there's no access to talent. And someone showed me a survey that said, that's the top two issues in every country in the world. Everyone complains about not having enough money and not having enough talent. But the access to capital now is so much better than it used to be. And if you look at those two constraints, I'm always kind of like either like the talent, one's more interesting. It's because it's like either the talent doesn't exist to do what you need to do, or someone else's worked out a better proposition for the talent, which is, and your job as an entrepreneur is to not do something that's impossible or do something where you can afford to pay the people who are best at it. And so it's kind of a, a non-thing. You've got to think about that. Like you're not going to set up a ski field on port Hills and complain that it doesn't snow. Because you know, or, you know, you've got to try and that's your job as an entrepreneur to work out what the constraints are and how you can do it.

GW:

One of the, one of the things that technology entrepreneurs need to do here is make those, that career path, those jobs more and more attractive to Kiwis or will that Just happen, do you think?

GR:

Well, I think it will happen. And then you can link with people overseas and do certain things, but it's definitely, I'd say getting more and more attractive and yeah.

OS:

You're definitely describing you know, cause I think you sort of covered this point where there's difference between the sort of the inventor and the entrepreneur and that I think we sometimes get that mixed up that like you sort of said that, you know, the entrepreneur, like it, it's, it's sort of an idea is one thing, but you're talking about all this other work that you need to do to take a product out.

GR:

Yeah. So as an inventor, you want your ideas to have as much impact as possible. I do, you know, that that's kind of why you do it rather than just to make something kind of cool. I think, and so part of the invention process is around that company building, but with the company building, you know, you have to, the best company builds I've seen, they understand the detail of, you know, the marketing and the cost of customer acquisition and you know, all the stuff that you guys and they get excited by it and they love it. Whereas that stuff quite frankly, bores me. And I think to be a really good entrepreneur, you have to love all of those sides and how to get the cost out and all those sorts of things. Whereas I like the creation, that early kindergarten stage, and then there's lots of other people that are good at the other bits, so they can do that. And I'll focus on the bit I like, which is the, invention.

GW:

Obviously, you know, you had the Global Brain and then you've had a bunch of other things, you know, thereafter. And Global Brain was, you know, made an amazing progress quite quickly, as you said, but you haven't always, it hasn't always come up roses. So how do you, how do you keep going through there? What are you sort of, you know, because you have to sort of battle on sometimes as well?

GR:

Yeah, it will inevitably, you know, the only guaranteed way to have successes is to do things that, you know, will fail along the way really. I mean, I mean success and failure are the same coin really. And if you do enough, try enough things, you'll have a bit of both and yeah. And you get, you certainly get more humble as you try things with the, I was, I was this person who was the first, if you, if your first venture is successful, you have quite an, quite an odd view of the world. And I was no different than any of that, but yeah. So over time you get a bit more humble about the chances of individual things happening to be a success. And sometimes when you hear the stories of people, who've only done, one thing and been successful at, I actually, I ended up getting quite kind of over them, you know, you'd go along and they'd say, oh, we treat our trust customers. Great. We've got a great culture. We work really hard. And I'm like, well, what's the alternative. You don't give a damn about your customers. You're lazy and you hire morons? I mean, you do all that, and you get lucky and there's a whole lot of other things as well. So yeah.

GW:

Cause it's really interesting. You know, with your different ventures. I mean YikeBike is one, like from, from my sort of outside perspective, I'd say you picked a problem that needed to be solved and the YikeBike didn't turn out to be the solution, but their solutions come in with all kinds of other solutions, like, you know, the motorised scooters and all kinds of things. When you started, it was like, you obviously saw that it was a problem to be solved that didn't for whatever reason, the solution wasn't quite right.

GR:

Well, I can phrase it the way Sean does, which he calls me the biggest loser. He knows because you know, we started search and we didn't turn into Google. We started a social network and didn't turn it in, you know, but anyway, I know he says it affectionately. But you, you, you can't, I mean, that's one of the cool things about invention and innovation is you can't actually know for sure. So you do have to be happy with the ability to, you know, have a crack and see what works out and not take it too personally, if it doesn't the YikeBike one is fascinating because like, I'd say if you've driven one, it's actually a really cool product and it works. And once you get to it, and it's also from a sales point of view, the most frustrating thing I've ever done, because I can drive down any street in the world and people will stop and they'll come up to you and you fold it up and they go, wow, that is cool. Where can I buy one? But you think we could work out a way to scale sales? You know?

GW:

Yeah. It's fascinating. Cause it was, it's like you said, people understand the proposition that, you know, it was on the front page of Time magazine and all kinds of things, but it's just, sometimes it's hard to put your finger on what those ingredients are.

GR:

Lots of people tried quite hard that they were cleverer than me after I left the company to try and make it work as well. But you know, some, some things work and some things don't, and that's just fine.

OS:

Sort of saying the constraint was there was something in this sort of sales, distribution metrics?

GR:

No. Well, I think that one was two different, like if something's too different and we, we'd say it was easier to learn to ride than a bike, but you had to learn how to do it. But the thing is, most adults don't want to learn how to ride a bike again, like they've, they did that when they were kids. Yeah. And so if they can't immediately get on it and ride it, but most people, if you give them even five minutes, they'll be like, wow, that's kinda cool. But then it looks so different as you know, there's a whole, there's a whole podcast on why that didn't work

GW:

And we won't dwell on that, but it's interesting when you look at say, Lime Scooters, which is just a very simple mechanical thing, but it was actually probably the app and the network around it that actually made a big difference. And sometimes it's those things that make the difference, not yeah. Not the core thing.

OS:

So, you know, see, we're sort of interested in the sales and marketing part of some of these ventures and things. So, you know, what was the role of sales and marketing and scaling these companies? Or did you not have that much to do with it?

GR:

Well, there was this clever bloke who came along. So SLI systems was the first one where we had any proper marketing people involved. And that was young Owen. Greg, actually, no, it was just you that said, I think it was, yeah. Anyway, the yeah, and we had what did we have eight or nine different customers and they're all in different markets and it's just like, we just need to choose one. We, as the easiest cost, you know, we, can you explain your benefits? So this was a search. This was search for, we were doing it on intranets and we were doing it on city councils and we were doing it on an E customer cost customer. And it was much easier to explain the sales proposition to that one. So, it focused in on that and then ended up being the largest Software as a Service e-commerce search provider. And yeah, but I was, I only had a limited role in that. That was really my brother, Sean ran that and a bunch of other clever people.

GW:

And that, I mean, they, they had quite a slick sales and marketing machine built up over time didn't they?

GR:

They did. But, but it was actually, it was actually also quite good to try and get customers, however you could to start off with and then you could see where it jelled and then what worked. I always liked that idea that you can try and analyse forever yourselves in marketing. We can try a whole lot of stuff and then see what works and do more of the stuff that works and less of the stuff that doesn't, and that's how you do it if in the real world. I think because no one's really clever enough to know exactly, all the time.

GW:

Yeah. And they pioneered things like content marketing too, which was not many people were doing that, you know, it's giving away knowledge to, to interact with prospects, but they did that quite early on and in success, you know, it was interesting.

OS:

We tend to deal with companies that are a bit further on, but definitely when we deal with sort of startups with those entrepreneurs, it's always about we'll go away and get some customers and then come back and then we've got something to sort of learn and work from just working from that invention is really hard.

GR:

Oh yeah, absolutely.

GW:

So your latest, well, your current venture The Cacophony Project, do you want to tell us a bit about that and how that came together and where it's at?

GR:

Yeah so It kind of came together as a result of the Christchurch earthquakes, which was just a quirky thing where I'd spent a couple of, we had to spend a couple of months out in Akaroa after the earthquakes and then we were like, man, this is nice. So we moved out there and I got a house and it was infested with rats and birds basically they were living in the roof. And so I spent the next two or three years trying all the different sorts of trapping. And I just and we got rid of it. And then I thought of the birds volume went up, and then I kind of learned just how horrifically bad New Zealand's conservation's like. To be one of the worst countries in the world for number of species in danger. That's pretty horrific. We're not worst at anything. We learn something is caught and it's not because we don't care. It's not because we're you know chopping down forests. It's just because they keep being eaten and it happens at night and you don't see it. So it is an international set scale problem. And then if you looked at what the current solutions where they are literally medieval, you know, that basically I call them food whackers and they're still mostly variations on that.

GW:

Sort of mechanical traps basically?

GR:

Yeah. Gin traps, snappy traps, or, you know, toxins, and they've got the in place as well. But, and by that stage, I'd done six startups. And I was like, actually it was bloody hard work on, how can I do something where I get to do the inventing fun part without having to do all that other hard work like marketing, although you could just hand it off to professionals. But yeah, so it's an open source project, completely charitable non-profit. And again, we chose open source because it's how a whole lot of really good grunty problems are solved. And so we use thermal cameras and artificial intelligence and sound livers and, and a bit of devices and bits. And yeah, we yeah, it looks kind of promising. It'll take a while, but you know, the goal for the country is 2050 and app project is called The Cacophony Project. And my brother's actually set up a company to make and sell the products and he's been cheeky enough to call it 2040 because he thinks he can do it 10 years earlier.

GW:

Your sort of driving philosophies is to get, because a lot of the other technologies that are progressing or that offer other tactics are progressing, but you trying to get a leap?

GR:

Yeah. So a lot of the other approaches are purposely saying, what's the minimum technology we can do to make a little bit better. So can we put an automatic feeder on over or can we reset a trap or can we, whereas I'm a big believer in Moore's law and so stuff that sounds like Sci-fi like, you know, thermal cameras and artificial intelligence and you know, it sounds like, well, there's going to be way too expensive, but if you can design something with IT and it can identify, learn, and or everything in an area, then you don't need to leave it there and you can move it through. And then over time that's just going to get cheaper and cheaper. Whereas the snap device is not going to get cheaper and better. And yeah, so that's kind of the philosophy

GW:

And it's quite a nice origin story on your name to isn't there? The Cacophony Project?

GR:

I purposely didn't want it to be about killing things because when captain cook got here and you know, there was a cacophony of birdsong and if you've ever been to a sanctuary, there's a cacophony, a bird song. So we want to get that bird song back. And that's what, what it's about. And it's actually unlike a lot of environmental problems. It's actually, we understand what you do. If you get rid of the predators, the birds bounce back and the birds are just a high level indicator and all the insects and fauna and other bits and pieces. And so, you know, I'm hoping that by the time it seems inevitable that tech can solve this because you know, there's people who worry about artificial intelligence taking over the world and you know, and then, but some people are just pessimistic because they'll go, but you'll never be able to catch rats and I'm like, hang on. That's not very consistent. Which one is it? Because you can't have one without the other really. But yeah, so it's quite funny actually.

OS:

And have The Cacophony Project's products been used commercially yet?

GR:

Yeah. So we've got a bird monitor that monitors, it's a, basically a modified cell phone that can measure if your bird volume is going up or down and we've got a thermal camera, so you can see exactly what's happening with predators and that's being sold commercially. And we've started to have a high catch rate trap because most of the traps, when you go out and you first start to trap, pretty much everything works. You know, you'll catch a whole lot of stuff with pretty much everything. And everyone gets encouraged and goes, oh, well, we just get more of these and put them out. But when you get rid of a number of the population, you've got a resident population that doesn't like sticking their head in traps or certain baits or whatever it happens to be. So we've, because we, the reason we developed the thermal camera is that the standard method they have is either tracking candle tunnels and chew cards, or they have a trail cam, but that trail cam is designed for pigs and deer. And so it doesn't catch fast, moving little predators. So we thought there was a lot happening that we weren't seeing, but we've seen about 10 times as much with this thermal camera. And so you can put your camera in front of a standard trap and it has a catch rate of about 1%. So most animals are just walking through the forest, not going up every tree, but man, it's hard to explain that to the industry. We are not very popular,

OS:

But it's kind of fascinating because why would you be not popular? If you've come up with a really good answer, that's going to help them, you know?

GR:

Well at the moment we've mostly shown why we're not doing incremental things on something up a tree because animals will pass it. But your natural thing is to automate something that's up a tree or put an automatic feeder on it, or, make it slightly better. But our whole thing, and so most of those are the sorts of things that are being funded because it's an incremental little improvement and yeah, it saves a bit on labor, but it's never going to get you to zero. And the big advantage of getting to zero is you don't have to keep doing it. And so you can protect it forever and, and it's a harder problem, but we see it's just seems inevitable, little to be solved through, you know, the high tech approach.

GW:

So, and so is this a vision for New Zealand for the moment, or is it, is there, is it an international problem?

GR:

So it is the biggest problem for countries like New Zealand and Australia as well. It's where you've had introduced pre mammalian predators. So it really is, New Zealand is probably the worst place for it. But yeah, there's certainly the Australians and a bunch of other islands and things that are interested. But it's kind of, I was a bit shocked when I learned that we've got a larger proportion of our species in danger than somewhere like Africa. And you're like, it's not your perception of how things are. Well, you know, it's evolved over 70 million years so that, you know, there was no ground place mammals so that, you know, they stopped and are still in and they just get eaten and it's yeah, not very cool to touch.

GW:

Hey well, just as we, as we bring things into land it'd be really good. Maybe if you've had you know, inventors, entrepreneurs are out there, what, what, what would be, you've been through so many ventures and so many experiences, any sort of, would you distill things down to a few, few key points they need to think about?

GR:

I think it's just, you have to ask lots of different people, what's going on. And lots of people will give you a, a few minutes to have a conversation. And then what you find is a lot of people will tell you completely different things. You have to get IP, that IP is a waste of time. You've got to do this, you've got to do that. And there is no correct answer. And so anyone who tells you for sure there's a correct answer is wrong. And your job is to get as much advice as you can, and then apply it to your particular problem. And then if it doesn't work, try something else and keep doing that until you kind of hone in on something.

GW:

And this is probably as your, your brother, Sean has similar sort of curiosity and low ego I suppose is that, it's a combination of, I don't, you know, I'm not the, I don't know everything. And I'm really curious about how to find the solution.

GR:

Yeah. And I think that's, that's the most honest approach. So you will get people who I call proclaimers. They, they just come in and they go, I know I've done this before. I know for sure. And they've first, and that sounds way more convincing than someone goes, well, it's kind of complicated and depends a bit on this or that, on that. And inevitably the nuanced is the more accurate answer, but it doesn't sound as convincing. And it's not often as convincing, but it's, I mean, the world's a complicated place. And with hindsight, you can say the reason, you know, this succeeded was because of this and this and this, but there's a lot going on. And but it's way more fun than a normal job. I'm completely unemployable. I don't know how it coped with that.

GW:

Absolutely. Hey, Grant, that's been lots of fun. We could do it all day, but you need to get back over the hill to your beautiful place in Akaroa, but we really enjoyed the chat and thanks for your time and all the best with all your ventures, but particularly coffee.

GR:

Cool, nice chatting champs.

OS:

Well, Greg is a great chat with Grant Ryan. What are you reflecting on that conversation? What would you sort of see as the themes or the insights we got out of that today?

GW:

It was fascinating really. I mean, he's such a humble guy for the amount of stuff he's achieved over his lifetime, but I just loved the, the fact that he was so open and, you know, it's all about being curious and trying to understand the best way to take your ideas to, to market. That's what I think, you know, he sort of laid bare that whole fallacy of the, of the, the tech entrepreneur that just knows all the answers to everything. So he said, it's more about they're trying to solve that problem, come up with their idea and then then learning from everybody else to get it there. Yeah.

OS:

I sort of felt it was really good, a story around that, you know, almost the difference between an inventor and innovator and you know, how the end customer that they sold stuff to, even if it was just a selling of the IP, they didn't, they didn't want an idea. He had to sort of almost evolve it into a business and start working on all the details, get some customers, you know, to be able to package it up for, for an end customer.

GW:

Yeah. That's pretty hard work. And the other, or the other thing I took was you know, you had this insight that early on, you just need to get out and try stuff, try to sell and try lots of different tactics in terms of marketing and selling and packaging and whatever, and sort of work out, be really conscious about what might work and then put your focus on and really concentrate on that.

OS:

One other for was you know, this sort of getting advice from everybody and really sort of understanding that it's very complicated and there's lots of different situations and what worked last time, might not work this time, if it was, if it was formulaic, there'd be a book that would all just start at chapter one and would all be millionaires. It's obviously more complicated than that. So, get good advice as much as you can, keep talking to everybody and, you know, rip into it.

GW:

And the last thing from me was, you know, the, the fact that he's got this The Cacophony Project and the brilliance of it is that he, the whole thing's named around the benefit of, of that. It's not about predator killing machines or, it's all about what can we create as the beneficial outcome. So I recommend anybody go and look at The Cacophony Project. You can Google it. There's a website and social media channels, and you can get involved you know, and just, just learn more about it. So that's that for today. We'll look forward to pod number three, coming up soon. We've got a great guest lined up. Can't quite unveil who that is yet. But we will do in advance and look forward to entertaining you all then with another great story from the tech industry. Thanks.

Interested in learning more about growing your tech business? Make sure you check out our blog which covers all things New Zealand tech. You can also subscribe to our podcast channel on YouTube, Spotify or Google Podcasts.

See you next time,

Greg and Owen.

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