Christchurch Business Recovery – Phoenix Office Parks: Vision

Further to New Zealand Prime Minister John Key’s announcement yesterday (Sun 27th) that he has chartered some action from Government on solving the problem of finding office facilities for the 52,000 displaced CBD workers, I’ve included below an outline vision presentation which a small group of Christchurch businesses has been putting together in the last couple of days.

Given that work is apparently already afoot on this project I think we are considering this a contribution to the overall solution, from local Christchurch businesses. If we can continue to help on finding a solution in any way please don’t hesitate to contact us / – we have brainstormed many of these ideas and are keen to make this happen.


Christchurch Business Recovery – Collecting Temporary Office Requirements

A group of us is putting together a plan for constructing temporary modular office solutions for displaced businesses in Christchurch – the Canterbury Agricultural Park has been suggested as an ideal first location.

We are looking to provide a “temporary office park” providing basic serviced offices for staff – desks, chairs, power, phone and Internet connectivity – together with parking and sanitation.

See for more details of the concept. We are speaking to the authorities and hoping to get some government momentum behind this asap.

We are looking to start collecting requirements: if you are seeking temporary office space for your staff please fill in this form and we will contact you. Note: all information will be treated confidentially.
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Christchurch earthquake business recovery: temporary office solutions

Following on from my last post Christchurch earthquake business recovery – the months ahead, I’ve collected some thoughts about one of the main operational challenges for many our businesses: securing temporary office premises.

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Christchurch earthquake business recovery – the months ahead

Obviously the next week’s priorities for the authorities are to rescue as many survivors as possible, to restore power, water and waste water to as many households as possible, and to put in place public health measures to avoid disease: I gather that the hospitals are gearing up for an epidemic of dysentry and other illnesses caused by insanitary conditions. Personally I’ve been really impressed by how rapidly the Civil Defence organisation has mobilised and begun working through their disaster management plans. And I’m really impressed by the guys from Orion (local power lines company) who were still working in our neighbourhood until 9:30pm last night to get the power on before the end of the day: Roger Sutton doing an excellent communications job in the media as the figurehead for what is obviously a world class organisation with many high quality people.

However, given that what I do for a living is help businesses (especially technology businesses) think about their long term strategy – where they want to be in a few years time, and the roadmap from here to there – suddenly I’ve  found myself with more spare time on my hands than usual now that everyone’s immediate focus is action and disaster recovery management. So, in an attempt to make myself feel useful,  I have gathered my thoughts in the next few posts on how Christchurch’s businesses can plan their recovery over the next months given the unique circumstances. Given that we’ve already had a pretty serious “dress rehearsal” in the September 4th quake, I think Christchurch businesses can actually go into the next few months relatively prepared for the challenges ahead.

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Christchurch Earthquake 22 Feb 2011 – Memia Update

Just over 3 days ago Christchurch, the city where Memia is headquartered, took a devastating hit from a force 6.3 Earthquake centred just 10km from the city, and only 5km underground, almost directly under the Port of Lyttelton. This was the latest and most serious in a series of major earthquakes and aftershocks which have affected the city since September 4th last year, and appears to have totally destroyed the CBD and many homes in the suburbs. Numerous buildings have collapsed and the death toll is expected to rise to over 200.

At Memia, we had just spent our first month getting settled into new offices on Lichfield St after being forced to move out of our old space in Cashel Mall after the Boxing Day earthquake. I have since seen video footage of our old offices after this latest quake, and it’s fair to say that it’s quite likely that we wouldn’t be alive today if we were still in them: large parts of the whole frontage of the building simply collapsed into the street below, and there were many casualties on Cashel Mall itself.

Luckily our new building stood up to the latest violent shaking and the whole teams from Memia and Leftclick who we shared offices with made it out onto the street safely. I have since heard that all the staff from Clarus (who are also in the building) are safe and well. However the whole CBD is cordoned off and I have no idea if Leftclick’s building will be usable going forwards – we are currently operating virtually from our internet connections at home.

Thankfully my family are all safe and we have been lucky that our home has not been too devastated: we lost a garage brick wall but the house itself is amazingly intact. In addition, we have not been directly affected by the liquefaction which has covered many parts of the city in dirty brown silt rising out of the ground. Many people, including close friends and colleagues, have not been so fortunate and have lost homes and property.

The last 3 days have been a surreal time for us as we have been without electricity, internet,  running water or even sewage – as a result we’ve been camping in the garden, cooking on a camping stove and sitting out the many many aftershocks with only a battery operated radio for updates. (Note to Radio NZ: your round-the-clock coverage has been amazing and a real lifeline). While the rest of the world (indeed many western parts of Christchurch) have been able to follow detailed TV coverage, we have been left in a bit of an information vacuum cut off to limited mobile and radio access.

Anyway: last night at 9:30pm the electricity came back on in our suburb at the top of St Martins valley, and we are now beginning the cleanup and recovery from home. My brother (a doctor in the hospital here in Chch) has just come off working 3 long nights in the Emergency Department and appears to have lost his house in Lyttelton: we are very proud of him.

Obviously we are thinking of those who have have family and friends among the missing. Beyond that we need to start thinking about the future and how Christchurch and Canterbury rebuilds: the city will be very different from how it was.

All the best from Ben, Rob and the team at Memia.


Notes from Accelerate 2011, 18th Feb

On Friday I spent a valuable day at Black Barn Winery in Hawkes Bay, NZ, attending the Accelerate 2011 conference. ( /  #0to60 on Twitter). This annual conference is put together by Rod Drury of Xero (@roddrury) and Sam Morgan (@samfromwgtn):

“Accelerate is the event for entrepreneurs, business owners and Cx0’s to get together and share stories, networks and experience. More discussion than lectures Accelerate provides the forum to talk about what really works and share those anecdotes that really made the difference.”

This year’s event focussed on business models: how do we secure investment and grow NZ businesses? What are the challenges to overcome? Lots of nuggets of useful information sharing throughout the day and the opportunity to network with really high calibre entrepreneurs and investors. My key takeaways below.

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February 7th-11th 2011: A momentous week in Mobile

Last week was a momentous week in the field of mobile technology, with major strategy and product announcements from all the main contenders. Android and iPhone are now 1 and 2 as the go-forward mobile app ecosystems of scale: this week’s announcements set the scene for an exciting battle for who will be the “3rd ecosystem”: Microsoft/Nokia, HP WebOS or RIM?

See below for the choicest links:
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Hope you enjoy our new website!

Now that we’re well on the way through our 3rd year in business, we’ve revamped our website which we hope will communicate even more clearly what we do and how we add value to our customers.

Many thanks to Nigel and the team at Frexy for the fantastic website design and build.