My 2019 new year resolution – significantly influenced by one of our team members who has given me a kick in the backside and told me I need to share more of my wisdom and learnings for the benefit of founders, investors and our fund Bailador – is to share more of my wisdom and learnings for the benefit of … you get the picture.
Here, and now, my aim is that I do so once a week. I am not sure I will be able to deliver every week, but I do know what a weekly deadline is all about. I wrote a column for a Sunday newspaper in New Zealand for four years back in the late 1990s. Which, incidentally, was pretty helpful when I became CEO of Fairfax Media in 2005. I had a skerrick of journalistic cred. It didn’t stop the journalists going on strike three times during my tenure, but it did mean I could write a few columns for the Sydney Morning Herald when they did.
In my strange working life, I have been successively a medical doctor, a McKinsey consultant, an advisor to the Prime Minister of New Zealand and then an executive in the energy industry, in which a highlight was visiting Enron in Houston a couple of years before the company blew up and some of the top managers ended up in an even bigger house than the ones they’d bought with all that money they stole, and the pulp and paper industry. After that intensely unfocused preparation I was then CEO of two publicly listed companies, including the aforementioned Fairfax Media. I then worked in private equity with Pacific Equity Partners and Hoyts. For the last four years I have been working for the investors and investees of the publicly listed Bailador Technology Investments, an expansion-stage venture capital fund I co-founded with Paul Wilson.
The point of the boring biographical bit has been to establish the thought in your mind that I might just have learned some interesting things during all my experiences. That of course remains to be seen but don’t let go of that thought. It will keep you reading a bit longer. I have neglected so far to mention that I played for the All Blacks for five years and captained probably the best team ever to win the Rugby World Cup. [Editor’s Note: There is no definitive evidence to support the contention that the 1987 All Black Rugby World Cup team was, in Mr. Kirk’s phrase, “the best team ever”, but the record of 43 tries for and 5 against in six matches remains].
The target word count I have been given is 500 and when I started writing this sentence, I had written 437 words so, in the words of the millenarian, the end is nigh. This first article has been an introduction to me and my experiences and my new year resolution. Next week I also intend to a write about new year resolutions but not mine, yours. If you are an investor, founder or senior manager in a technology company now is the time for some clear resolutions for the year ahead.