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Idealog Year in Review: Vincent Heeringa

Idealog Year in Review: Vincent Heeringa

In the latest edition of our series asking some of Aotearoa's best-known businesspeople and visionaries to take a step back and offer their insights on how the past year has gone and how the future might unfold, we chat with Idealog publisher-at-large Vincent Heeringa

Favourite innovation that isn't yours?

I’m very taken with the SpaceX and it reusable rocket. Most innovation isn’t rocket science but this one actually is.

Favourite innovation that is yours?

I guess I should say Idealog! But I’m also quite proud of Stoppress.co.nz and of the new Tairawhiti Gisborne brand.

Check out this podcast with Heeringa and scientist, educator and philantropist, Dr Michelle Dickinson:

Most interesting launch/innovation/trend/thing of the year?

I think what’s happening in AI and bionics is the most frightening and exhilarating thing right now. From self-driving cars, to digital assistants, AI is doing what mobile phones and PCs have done before them. Also, sentience is being discovered in animals such as pigs and large primates. Soon it will be in robots too.

Lamest launch/innovation/trend/thing of the year?

Yet another natural beverage/cosmetic/food label. C’mon people, there are bigger problems to solve than carving up the supermarket aisles into yet more SKUs.

Most promising New Zealand company/companies?

I’m in love with Peter Beck and RocketLab. Can I say that? NZ with a space industry. Who’d have thought?

Heroes?

Elon Musk, Peter Beck, John Key (for resigning in style), Donald Henderson (smallpox vaccine pioneer who died).

Villains?

All those who feed the war machine in Syria.

Best stoush?

I enjoyed seeing Peter Cullinane’s Fonterra wrath. I also think Forest & Bird are taking on dirty dairy with great aplomb. And as much as I dislike Trump, he has dismantled the entire US political system. Along with Brexit I think we’re seeing the resurgence of mercantilism.

Your own biggest success?

Launching Narrative, a new content marketing business. And writing a sci-fi novel. Well, actually, it’s a manuscript until someone publishes it. Someone? Anyone?

What’s the biggest mistake innovators/businesses will make in 2017?

Thinking that incremental change is sufficient. There are too many products for too few people.

What do you expect to see in the next five years?

My children leave home and my house feeling empty. Time for a change!

And a new aggressive, militaristic China with robots for an army. [email protected] scary.

What will be dead in five years?

Newspapers. The Arctic. AirBnB. The Labour Party. Free trade.

What should be invented and/or un-invented?

Airports and international travel. The whole experience sucks like a giant fart.

Traffic jams. Peak hour traffic is ridiculous. If everyone started work at different times, problem solved.

Globalisation. Good idea, too many victims.

Favourite book/TV show/podcast/album/website/magazine/story/performance enhancing drug of the year?

I’m loving streaming services: Spotify, Lightbox, Netflix and Neon.

Best show so far: Westworld.

Best book: Einstein’s Great Mistake by David Bodanis.

One piece of tech you’d have on a desert island?

Kindle. Access to every piece of great literature every created? Yes, that one please.

Will the robots become sentient and kill us all? (asking for a friend)

Yes they will, and no they won’t. But I’d hate to be in the way of China when it all starts to go tits up.

As you’re enjoying the great outdoors this summer, The Kiwibank Conservation Dogs will be out there too, hard at work, giving our nature a future.