SWAP Foundation (www.swapsamoa.com) My wife and I set up the SWAP Foundation to lift Samoa, post-Tsunami. We bring volunteers to Samoa to help with photography, blogging, Internet Marketing and so on. Tuila’epa, the Prime Minister of Samoa is our patron and has been highly supportive of our work.
SWAP has spawned several ventures, in various stages:
Samoa Limousines - we imported a stretched limousine for marketing purposes.
Samoa Village Stays - a joint venture with different villages. Hosts provide accommodation and Samoan cultural experiences. We created the business and market their services.
WWOOF Samoa - currently the only WWOOFing farm in Samoa, guests staying at SWAP HQ.
Savaii’s Secret - a Joint Venture with Pelasio & Onosai Tapusoa, from Savaii.
Palolo Festival - a people-powered series of events around the annual Palolo Rising.
Gold Tick Services (www.goldtick.co.nz) GTS is a commercial operation developing websites in and around Samoa, as well as publishing my books and working with our tourism partners.
Light Party (www.lightparty.org) A positive alternative to Halloween established by Wendy Reid, which I helped on its way and took offshore. We initially experienced strong growth within New Zealand’s churches, but it is now spreading in the UK, Canada, and the USA and out to non-church locations such as schools and YMCA. Initially funded by membership fees, Light Party is now fully donation-based. Many parents (both within the church and otherwise) are concerned about the proliferation of “hocus-pocus” on the 31st October each year. Light Party assists with a strong alternative brand, sharing ideas, experience, networking, and so on. Light Party is an idea whose time had definitely come. Hats off to Wendy for a great idea and energy to make it happen. A bit of kudos to me too for recognising the value in the concept, and the opportunity. A real labour of love, this one!
(www.levaisilika.com)Le Vaisilika (which means “The Fountain of Silky Water” is a funeral business we are setting up in Samoa, in partnership with a local Samoan Uso (brother). Funerals are a big thing in Samoa, and we will be using the limousine and developing a nice high-profile float.
Le Vaisilika is planned for a June/July 2011 launch, but the way things go in Samoa, take off may be “anytime”!ship with a local Samoan Uso (brother). Funerals are a big thing in Samoa, and we will be using the limousine and developing a nice high-profile float.
GO KIWI INTERNET (www.gokiwi.net). I started in web design in 1997, with Netscape Navigator Gold and MS Photodraw. In 1999, I approached Jack Rosen from Gilrose Finance and suggested that he could finance websites and cutting a long story short, GKI commenced business offering a package $99.00 + GST per month on a 36 month contract. I deliberately kept the business small for years, a one-man-and-a-dog type operation, because I had had enough of the hassles of employing multiple staff – doing all the work and watching others take the money. From 1999 to 2006 when I established WDANZ, I developed over 500 commercial and charity websites, making me New Zealand’s most prolific developer by a long shot! GKI provides good websites at the lower end of the market and has always focussed on good systems to cope with high volume. A very successful little company with clients throughout New Zealand. I sold the clientbase in March 2011 and retain a sales-only operation using sub-contractors.
Web Developers Association of New Zealand – WDANZ (www.wdanz.co.nz). In May of 2006 I established WDANZ and launched it on 4 July 2006 after my initial market research showed that there was strong interest in an organisation that provided practical user-pays support services and a professional brand. Although there was initial resistance to the commercial model from some sectors, a fair degree of apathy from others and a wait-and-see attitude from yet others, an enthusiastic membership has received great value and is highly supportive of our vision and what we have achieved. Rather than a voting “navel-gazing” type of organisation, destined to fail through committee decision-making (like the first one did), WDANZ is a very effective commercial organisation that provides a good clear brand for web developers to associate with and present themselves as professionals in the industry. Membership growth has been steady with currently several hundred members. I established and built the business to the point that we could appoint a General Manager – John Jones, in the 3rd quarter 2007 and I moved out of day-to-day matters December 2008 to move my focus back to Go Kiwi Internet. I find it quite humourous that after having the guts to:
- walk out of my own web development company the month after its most successful month ever
- invest very heavily of my own money into an organisation that is designed to help the industry
- cope with a range of responses from total enthusiasm, to apathy, to outright immature antagonism
that some people accused me of setting up WDANZ to make a profit. Purr-leez! My friends enemies – do the numbers and “get real” – before you embarrass yourself even more! Most of my time for WDANZ is now actually spent helping people buy and sell their web development companies.