The book is due to be out at the end of September, he says. It will be published by Penguin Books.
Downs says about 250 companies and products will be profiled. “The book is a great opportunity to celebrate the companies that are doing great things.”
Check out this podcast with Downs and Idealog publisher and editorial director Ben Fahy:
Particular attention is being paid to companies that are achieving success in their industries but the public might not know about, Downs says. He explains that some of those companies include darts manufacturer Puma Darts, fruit sorter Compac Fruit Sorting (a company which Downs says has a worldwide revenue similar to, if not greater than, Xero), and baggage handling systems-maker Glidepath.
“We tend to focus a lot on tech companies,” Downs explains. “The best New Zealand companies tend to focus on something big companies might have missed and be very good at it.”
While Downs says the success of No.8 Re-Wired means there’s a certain level of pressure for his new book, he says the bigger thing is being able to tell the stories of cool companies doing cool things.
The New Zealand economy has continued to diversify since No.8 Re-Wired came out in 2014, Downs explains – hence the reason why now is as good a time as any for a new book. He says Dr. Michelle Dickinson – better known as Nanogirl – makes a great co-author because of her depth of scientific and business knowledge and her contacts in so many different companies and sectors. “She’s a fantastic person to work with.”
And there’s another advantage of having a co-author like Dr. Dickinson, Downs explains: it makes it that much easier to have the book finished by the end of March. “We definitely need to make the deadline.”