Barcamp Auckland 5

With 300 attendees registered for this year, there were a lot of Web developers, designers, lawyers, investors and others in one place with several un-conference sessions running in parallel at Barcamp Auckland 5.

A summary of my interpretation of key points from sessions I attended is below.

Write once, run everywhere HTML 5 applications

  • SmartBiller
    • HTML 5 based desktop/iPhoneAndroid app.
    • Used jQTouch as a framework; supports Webkit only. jQuery Mobile wasn’t ready at time, but this would be preference if rebuilding (better support).
    • Sync driven from server.
    • Device detection being done adhoc on client & server side.
    • Would use MVC if writing again.
  • for Mac wraps any website and makes it appear like an application.
  • Need to consider how to handle multiple open windows
    • Check instancecount then “ping” other instance may be an option.
  • Screen size, browser quirks / CSS, Interaction and Default focus needs consideration. c.f. Default focus can launch keypad on mobile devices which may not be desirable.
  • Write once, then optimise.

Node.js & NowJS

  • NodeJS is server-side Javascript.
    • Runs on Google V8 engine.
    • Focus is on networking.
    • Evented, non-blocking I/O.
  • NowJS (
    • creates a magic namespace “now” accessible by server and client.
    • can easily write a chat client with very little code.
    • functions & variables added to now are automatically synced in real-time.
    • Call client functions from the server and server functions from the client.
    • When you post a message on the server it goes to all attached clients.
    • Good for real-time updates.

Designing in Social & Legal norms

  • Check out Kim Cameron’s 7 laws of identity.
  • Don’t look at privacy as an after thought. If it’s important, built it into your application up front.
  • Privacy is about boundary management.
  • From an identity perspective we all have different personas.
  • Fireeagle and Google+ are great examples of sites that built in privacy from Day 1.
  • Interaction design cues such as dragging a person to a circle are very important.
  • “Owning a customer” = Slavery.
  • If customers respect your privacy they are more likely to give you more information.
  • Check out “Business Model Generation: A Handbook for Visionaries, Game Changers, and Challengers (Wiley Desktop Editions)” book.
  • Designers should design privacy and security in up front  and make it easy for customers.
  • If you let people be able to take data out they are more likely to give you more data since they know they can get it out.

How to make money from services

  • Consider not selling to users but to companies.
  • Email potential buyers. If no reply, phone them.
  • One of the founders of a start-up must have a passion for the market you’re aiming for.
  • Hire to support and cover your weaknesses.
  • Learn by talking to your potential customers.
  • For pricing, can you show a customer that there is $x of benefit? If so, take a dollar off (or whatever is appropriate for your pricing model) and they are likely to buy it.
  • CapsuleCRM – check it outa a CRM option.
  • Identify who in an organisation you need to sell to. It may be multiple groups/people; Sales, IT, Exec, ...
  • If You Build It Will They Come: Three Steps to Test and Validate Any Market Opportunity” is a book to check out.
  • Try selling to customers you don’t care as much about first and learn from the experience.
  • Rather than build everything yourself, if it’s a feature applicable to only a small subset of customers consider making it available via an API if possible.

Panel session about the Internet

  • Big things to care about for the Internet in New Zealand:
    • Data Caps.
    • Content
      • Copyright.
      • Access to Services and Content (e.g. Sky).
    • How Internet can help Economic Growth and encourage Innovation.
    • Competitive Pricing.
    • Rural Divide.
    • Social Divide
      • Need to be careful not to leave people behind.
    • Productivity
      • So with faster Internet connections, what do people want to do?
    • Intellectual Property & Patents.
    • Transforming Government to be Open.
    • Governments should not regulate things they do not understand.
  • Rules for Broadcasters (e.g. Sky) and Internet should be the same moving forward.
  • With Sky people would like to be able to buy one channel vs a bundle (c.f. wanting to only buy an apple from the supermarket, but needing to buy a bundle including chickens and oranges too).
  • Government should support start-ups; tax credits, innovation centres.

The Open Enterprise & Red Hat

  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) & Red Flag (in China) are the predominant versions of Enterprise Linux.
  • Red Hat doesn’t sell software or  licenses. They do however sell Certification (Ops and Developers), Training and Support and add-ons.
  • Based around a no Capex model, making $ from Opex. This doesn’t appear to hold for add-ons.
  • Red Hat supports back several (all?) versions.
  • Red Hat Network Satellite is a management tool for RHEL.
  • JBoss ON is a management tool for the Middleware stack.
  • Commercial vs Open alternatives (from a Red Hat perspective):
    • VMWare ==> KVM
    • EMC ==> MPIO
    • Veritas ==> GFS2
    • *nix ==> Enterprise Linux + Security Enhanced Linux
    • Middleware ==> JBoss
    • ESB ==> JBoss SOA
  • Moving to also having IAAS and PAAS offerings

Ask a Lawyer (with a focus on start-ups)

  • NZ tax system doesn’t make it easy to get options vs US system.
  • Consider takeover code; this kicks in if you have 50 employees
  • Have hard conversations up front and agree in writing:
    • Who owns what?
    • Who makes decisions?
    • When can shares be sold?
  • Have a Shareholder Agreement.
  • For an Employment Agreement, the Department of Labour has one available online.
  • Keep a copy of your IP, including Contracts. This is particularly important for if you are selling your company.
  • If you have no Constitution, then the Companies Act covers this; this is “okay” but it doesn’t include pre-emptive rates.
  • If you need US employees or  US bank account, get legal advice.
  • Privacy Policy should comply with Privacy Act. Non-compliance with Privacy in some countries can have significant penalties.
  • Cannot have an offer publicly to invest (e.g. Facebook, Twitter); considered to be conditioning the market.

What does the start-up community need?

  • Mentoring, Direction, Advice.
  • Help with pitch deck & local/international investors.
  • Find further funders.
  • Business Strategy advice.
  • Investment for start-ups of small to large $.
  • Education.
  • To hear Success & failure stories.
  • Skills –to who who they can talk to about xyz.
  • Help to open doors (consider using Twitter for this too).
  • Sales & Marketing advice and assistance through contacts.
  • To get advice from credible people.
  • Local & foreign $.
  • Transparency.


  1. Thanks for mention our talk! The api management software that we use is - can't say enough about them. But this was another thing that we didn't have massive experience in so we outsourced it.

    It sounds like other sessions were good as well.

    Simon from


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