Ten* After Ten: Geoff Ross on the last ten years and the next

Ten* After Ten: Geoff Ross on the last ten years and the next
We ask Idealog’s best to reflect on what’s changed in the last 10 years. And what still needs to.

Over the last 10 years I have been surprised by the breadth of new businesses emerging in New Zealand. Brands from all over the place – fashion, skincare, fragrance, tech, bio tech, health, food, beverage, manufacturing – are showing New Zealand can do way more than just milk powder and meat.  

The positive change has been from new business. Existing businesses and categories (logs, meat carcasses, milk powder etc) haven’t been that innovative.  We should be selling at the top end of the value pyramid not the bottom. 

I get a real buzz when I hear of world firsts that have come from New Zealand – our space rockets, or our high heels kicking arse on the world stage. I love it when New Zealand takes a lead position. 

But then I hear of stuff like New Zealand choosing to be a “fast follower” in climate change – and stating it globally. Or that we have chosen to sell into a worldwide commodity pool of milk powder and accept someone else’s pricing. 

Being followers or being a low cost factory is embarrassing and won’t create wealth or do anything for our brand on the world stage. Sir Ed wouldn’t have said “Oh, I will use that old stuff over there and follow you other guys up.”

Geoff Ross is an Idealog old-timer. Ross, who founded 42 Below vodka, sold it to Bacardi for $138 million in 2006, and then joined brewer Moa, appeared in the first issue of Idealog (Jan/Feb 2006) with a fish on his head. He also featured (without the fish) in issues 27 and 44, among others.

*Dodgy counting alert: Initially, we actually we asked 11 people, because we were worried not everyone would want to contribute. But everyone did. But “11 after 10” didn’t sound right. And then we liked those 11 answers so much, we kept asking people. Stay tuned for more over the summer months.