Posts made in September, 2015

Week 6

Posted by on Sep 29, 2015 in Blog Post

This is late, very very late. I am afraid the primarily self imposed workload of lightning lab is making extra-curricular activities such as this blog, very difficult to maintain.

Week 6 was a voyage of discovery with internal tensions in our MTech Group rising as we realised that our communications were breaking down. Our weekly planning meetings were not driving sufficient progress, and our morning meetings were becoming overly long without creating clarification. When we started Lightning lab we set up a Trello board to contain (and constrain) our tasks. It is now a very large board with many tasks, multicoloured labelling for task types, deadlines, embedded information and documents. Tasks are being added more quickly than we can complete them and this has led to a confusion of priorities.

By the end of week 6 we were forced to meet with Charlie and Geoff to get an outside perspective on our priorities in our last 6 weeks of Lightning Lab. As always the advice was good, and Charlie agreed to sit in our next planning meeting to help us sort out our current priorities, and see if there was a better way to manage our tasks in the future.

What we learned was that we were not alone. Lightning Lab groups will be subjected to pressures of time and resources that will challenge any group or organisational system. We have re-prioritised our tasks by working backwards. We know what we need on Demo Day. From there we work backward through our tasks to now. If a task is not on that trajectory somewhere then we put it into a list called “deferred” on our Trello board. Even then we rank that list from top to bottom in case we get extra resource or time.

As it happens, one of our Lab Techs here, Kate, has been of enormous help in doing research that we might not have otherwise got to. One of the fortunate principles of Lightning Lab Chch is that lab techs are paid in gold stars.


Kate Blincoe, MTech Researcher

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Week 5

Posted by on Sep 18, 2015 in Blog Post

Fire Engine

One of three fire engines at the DUX fire


This week we started with a meeting with mentor Dan Wallace. Dan helped us to bring some clarity to our planning. By now we have spoken to so many mentors, public servants, people with tetraplegia, and industry leaders that its easy to get swamped by detail. Dan Wallace and Alex Lam are two mentors whose external view helps to keep us strategically focused.

To keep everything exciting there was a small fire during the preparations for the opening of the Dux behind us in Greenhouse.  Three trucks came, but apparently it was more smoke than flame, from a pizza oven.  The Press story is here –

We finished the afternoon with Pitch Kitchen, where we did our 60 second pitch and got some feedback from Geoff, Charlie and Michelle. After taking out some of the stuff that was difficult to understand our 60 second pitch could be done in 30 seconds, so we had some rebuilding to do before our pitches were to be recorded on Wednesday.

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Week 4

Posted by on Sep 11, 2015 in Blog Post

This has been a difficult, and exciting week. We are finalists in the New Zealand Innovators awards for 2015. Stickmen Media received 3 nominations for the award some months back. It was very exciting to learn that we are finalists.

This was our first week without scheduled mentors. What that means is, we had to schedule our own. By now we should be well down the path of appointing an advisory board. We have four members so far and we may yet appoint another. During the week we did have some group talks

Monday we had our usual kickoff talk. We get reminded of what we are to accomplish, and we do our 60 second pitch.

John Barr

John Barr on governance

Unfortunately one of our meetings for the week conflicted with a lightning lab talk by John Barr. The talk was on governance and we managed to catch the end after having a meeting with CDHB. The talk was good sense on the makeup and responsibilities of the board of directors of a company.

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Thursday and Friday, Week 3

Posted by on Sep 4, 2015 in Blog Post


Fashion twins for this week, Margaret and Michelle.

Thursday was a full day in Lightning Lab. The first revelation was that Margaret and Michelle were the day’s clothing twins. After the embarrassment there was a presentation by Chris Twiss from NZVIF. He talked about the investment that many of us are interested in. He covered a lot of ground, including:

  • The difference between Angels, VC’s and private equity in terms of the size of deals;
  • The players in seed investment, and the Seed Co-investment Fund;
  • What the deals look like; and
  • Being investable.

He also pushed their website as a place to get common documents. Apart from being able to use these documents they also give the sense of how the deals should be structured. The website is

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Wednesday Week 3

Posted by on Sep 2, 2015 in Blog Post


Our new business cards. Note the social media info

My apologies for skipping two days. It is not an easy task keeping up with these summaries while immersed in the turmoil of Lightning lab. While Monday we had no mentor meetings it was a chance to catch up with other tasks. We scheduled some appointments and caught up with our contacts at Callaghan. The key appointment to make was with a representative of a district health board.

On Tuesday our first meeting was with Dave Tinkler from Howard and Company. That was very useful meeting. Dave is in our space, having a great deal of knowledge of the medical technology and health sector, having previously been VP in McKesson. He has also been involved in mergers and acquisitions. He was able to assess our business from the point of view of an investor in our technology and give us some solid advice on the route to market and the company journey.

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