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Reality Check: Roam's Ben Morreau

As part of Idealog's Technology Month, we've picked the brains of some of the movers and shakers in the industry to find out their favourite tech-related things, their biggest fears for the future and what other companies and individuals inspire their work. Here's Roam founder Ben Morreau. 

What’s your favourite…

Technology you can’t live without?

For me it’s my good old MacBook Pro and iPhone. Can’t do anything without that combo.

Underrated or old technology?

Microsoft Kinect when it came out was mind-blowing and I still find myself in awe of it. PrimeSense were ahead of their time.

New Zealand tech company or individual in that space that’s doing seriously cool things?

I love what Xero and Serato have done over the years. Amazing software used by people throughout the world to help power their working lives. Super proud to say these companies has come out of New Zealand.

Global tech company or individual in that space that’s doing seriously cool things?

The Boring Company. Elon Musk is as close as we get to Tony Stark.

Tech project or product you’ve had a hand in?

Really enjoyed the different mindset we had to take into a recent Way-Finding project with iBeacon. With the client, the team achieved an amazing result I was super impressed by.

Tech project or product that isn’t yours, but you’re envious of?

The Money Gun

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What first drew you to this industry?

I have been designing and coding since I was a kid so don’t really remember - likely the fun my brother and I had making stuff together.

What do you enjoy the most about working in tech?

The people. At the heart of Roam are people that at its simplest want to make things that have a positive impact on an audience. It’s super awesome knowing I have started a company that have people like that.

How would you describe New Zealand’s tech culture?

I think it’s better than we think. We do have a lack of talent needed to scale companies with our small population but there are still a number of talented individuals running amazing companies here.

Where does inspiration come from for you?

Learning about different people - be it technical and more increasingly non-technical.


Reality check

How has tech impacted on your work? How will it impact on it in the future?

I work in a tech industry so it is a massive part of my life. The future will bring more and more products but its delivery that simplifies life that will surface to the top.

What’s been the most concerning change that technology has made to human behaviour, in your experience?

For me the worrying thing is the amount of time people spend looking at a screen - devices should be used to augment life.

How would you describe your relationship with technology? Do you think you’re addicted to any form of it?'

Yes, unfortunately I think I am not practicing what I preach (above). At the moment I’m constantly looking at different business strategy in tech to take any learnings. Is there a tech rehab?

Do you think social media is a blessing or a curse?

I think it needs to be used to achieve something. For me there is too many people out there vying for attention which is getting incredibly boring. I would delete my social accounts if it weren’t that I need to keep on top of social functionality.

Do you think technology needs more laws surrounding it, or a form of resource consent regulation?

Yes, I think so. Artificial intelligence and machine learning intent will need to be looked at over the coming years. It’s a super exciting space if used correctly but people need to be aware of the complexity to it.

What needs to be done to tackle the diversity issue in tech?

It’s a really complicated issue that does need addressing. Ideally we should start focusing on it at a tertiary and secondary training level to ensure everyone knows the breadth of opportunities tech presents regardless of who you are.

What worries you the most about technology?

For me my major worry is that kids from less fortunate backgrounds don’t get the same chance as I did.  We like to think that all kids are equal here in NZ but we need to wake up to the fact that this isn’t so and act upon this.

What’s your scariest prediction for the future? Will the robots kill us all?

Hope not. By then we will all live in a virtual world anyways so it won’t matter!

What will New Zealand look like as a country in 2037? 

It will look awesome. A mix of people from all sorts of different backgrounds to add a bit more flavour to it. That is if the robots don’t kill us all.