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Idealog Year in Review: Robett Hollis

Favourite innovation that isn’t yours?

Bluetooth Wireless earbuds with Siri is epic while out and about. Also dictation on my Mac in the office save hours of typing. Basically anything that creates real world efficiency I’m a massive fan of.

Favourite innovation that is yours?

I don’t think I’m an innovator. I simply mash and combine my idiotic ideas with the latest tech available and try execute at speed. If mashing together others inventions makes me an inventor then I guess I’m a ‘meta inventor’. My game is simple – I want to lead in anything I do but a key difference is I have no fear of failure. I am totally happy to fail in front of everyone publicly than constantly talk about ideas privately and not even try.

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

Facebook Live turning mainstream news on its head was awesome. Every social network getting ‘inspired’ by their direct competitors was pretty interesting and horrendously predictable. Snapchat Spectacles launch strategy was brilliant. I was so stoked to see them basically do a Google Glass 2.0 but winning through positioning and timing. Watch out for when LIVE streaming drops through wearables too. Layer that tech with scalable VR in the coming years and that’ll be off the hook for content opps. Plus all the tech IPOs coming in 2017 is gonna get a LOT of people a LOT of money. I’d love to start an Entrepreneurs fund in NZ aimed to pick the jockeys from the ground up and support and watch them grow and dominate – that’d be super interesting!

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

The rise of these countless pop-up, two-bit digital media/ninja/guru/bullshit freelance artists/consultants milking brands with horrendous advice and no execution is TOTALLY whack. Also mainstream media and middle men agencies stillllllll trying to justify their archaic business models and old school costs in a new school world is totally absurd. I can’t wait for these kooks to get even more exposed in 2017. I truly believe the whole media ecosystem won’t just be disrupted – it will be dismantled. Also the touchbar on the MacBook Pro was whack and also the new iPhone 7 battery/lightening single port adapter combo fiasco was pointless. I was let down with a few launches which I thought would be fire in 2016. 

Most promising New Zealand company/companies?

Xero – IF they can crack the USA it’s gammmmmmme on! What they’ll be able to do with layering AI and their real-time data could be a global game changer. I don’t know him from a bar of Hippie soap but I feel like Rod Drury is playing some Bezos long game super strategic shit here with how he’s positioning the busines … and I LIKE IT! I also think our entrepreneurial ecosystem in NZ needs a kick in the ass to help promote and celebrate so many legends who live here that are already winning and have what it takes to be globally great. Kiwi success has an awareness issue, and it shouldn’t. I have some ideas for this. 


Starship Nurses, Ronald McDonald House and Chloe Swarbrick’s modern bravery in politics was dope. Also Vodafone buying/saving Sky was pretty rad and much needed. I’m tremendously intrigued to see how Stanners plays his new content hand in the next 24-36 months. I think they are positioned well for where we all know it’s heading. 


Duco Events PR team, Sky Sport acquiring but not using or leveraging various digital rights, the NZME and Fairfax Merger monopolised the mainstream media idea and every pop up bespoke ‘agency’ cannibalising each other in the middle through ‘co-opetition’ instead of helping their actual clients/partners at the top. All of this is whack and I can’t wait to watch the weak links get steamrolled by tech and faster movers who execute better in the future. 

Best stoush?

Can I switch this question to ‘Lamest Stoush’? The answer is Duco going after illegal streamers one on one. They need a serious punch for their arrogance and naivety towards the actual implications of tech and the future of media on social platforms. Duco genuinely think they are ‘teaching them a lesson’ when in reality they are just looking like a bunch of arrogant old schoolers with more ego than common sense. If they continue reacting like spoilt trust fund babies at a localised one on one level I believe they will fail.

Your own biggest success?

I NEVER feel or have felt like I’m a ‘success’. To be honest I actually constantly feel like I’m failing and I’m no where near I know I can be, so I want to keep pushing and pushing my own bar. I’m in a constant state of ’stoked with where I’m at’ but ‘pissed I’m not more’. But this year speaking to a bunch of schools about my journey, launching The Leap – NZ Entrepreneurs Festival, expanding ColabNZ.com into NZ’s Largest network of shared workspace and releasing The 2017 Social Content Report with FRONTSIDE.co.nz added a lot of value back to others, which was really cool. And at the top of the heap just growing Aranui Ventures as a whole has been a pretty epic vehicle for me to help build off for the future. I’m still learning and feel I’m just starting out so the good news is I have another 70 years to try figure it out. Haha. 

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

Not being brave enough to move fast enough with not only where the market is now, but where it is clearly going. The biggest mistake we will continue to see is businesses/brands having new digital leadership, with new digital strategy, but NO digital generals to execute. My advice – FIND THE NEW DIGITAL GENERALS!

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

Bots, A.I, more wearable tech. Mainstream monetisation and scalable commercialisation opps for social content. 

What will be dead in five years?

The current agency and media business model, parts of linear TV, overpriced PPV and unfortunately if he’s not careful – potentially some racist and obnoxiously ignorant politician who disrespects minorities, other cultures and continues to poke the dangerous bears that shouldn’t be poked. This is a true and real danger for the world.

What should be invented and/or un-invented?

Invented –  Global free WiFi.

Uninvented – Email.

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

I try to consume as much as possible to help give me a wide perspective. But if there was one performance that stood out this year it’d be……….. Billy’s Elliot’s Live Broadway ballet at the new ASB Theatre. That shit was tighttttttt!!!!! It’s weird though, for someone who lives and breathes the media world so much I don’t actually consume many TV shows etc. I prefer to consume through doing or creating – not watching.

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

Since I’m on the board of NZ Tech you’d probably expect me to say some really elaborate answer but the reality is I’d actually like NO TECH. I’d simply love a Moleskine to plan my next Powermoves and a case of Macallan 12 Year Double Cask Single Malt Whisky.

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

Yes and no. Unfortunately drone hacking and robot terrorism will become a real thing in the future. Don’t say The Terminator didn’t warn us.

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. 

One of the talented Idealog Team Content Producers made this post happen.

Review overview