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Reality Check: AccountingPod’s Judith Cambridge

What’s your favourite…

Technology you can’t live without? 

Personal hotspot on my mobile – makes business on the run possible… and my go to backup when fibre is slow at 3:30pm!

Underrated or old technology?

I inherited a second hand Miele condenser dryer – its sustainability encapsulated – it takes the water out of clothes into a pod so that you can water your garden! Imagine the ‘dryer homes’ we’d have if everyone could afford this technology!

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

I met Vaughan (Rowsell) in the early days of moustache and green canvas shoes and loved the idea of powering up our ‘nation of shopkeepers’ to become ‘global e-commerce stores’ by Vend.

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

 I can’t help my addiction to NZ Company’s making it on the global stage – I’ve been a xerofile, but I really love the story behind Jack Ma, his love of SME to change the world with Alibaba!

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

 Is this where I get to talk about AccountingPod.com – I’m a co-founder & co-ce?

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

Envy, well it would have to be [Mr] Google, as my mother says [not sure why google is male in her eyes]. Anyway, true innovation which has re-ignited peoples passion for knowledge and learning.

What first drew you to this industry?

 I remember when I turned on my first Macintosh and sensed the new frontier of possibility. I still feel like we are on that frontier with tech today.

What do you enjoy the most about working in tech?

 That creativity and freedom of the start-up and the failure factor – so just push on and do it anyway!

How would you describe New Zealand’s tech culture?

 There are many earnest and cool people trying really really hard in a very very small market that needs global exposure and sometimes it feels like we’ve only just begun, yet I’ve been on cloud business platforms for 10 years. AccountingPod plug’s into a tertiary course to provide students and lecturers with their first taste of cloud business tools, why is that? URGENT – I’m a supporter of a Ministry of Tech Magic! Seriously, I’d give up the funding for the Ministry of Womens’ Affairs to have them run it. Maybe more women in tech can be started at the top – then we’d be world first again. 

Where does inspiration come from for you?

 Good people and quiet reflective spaces [bathroom] to sift the information.

Reality check

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

 I’m in the ‘business of business’ , being a CA firm and an EdTech startUp. Tech has absolutely impacted us because we’ve embraced it and I love that! Cool NZ Companies, like Xero and Spotlight Reporting enabled us to produce a 12 page Executive financial report ‘on my phone’ in a taxi, between Pudong airport and Shanghai CBD and email it to the offshore board. That was 2012!  So, let’s consider 2020, two more years to deliver ‘meals on wheels’ by drone, that financial report creating itself after checking with me any audio or video additions, [Mr] Google safely driving my mother home after dark, agri-tech reporting where we are going wrong with emissions and water management, people re-discovering basic crafts and skills…Sir Ray Avery will have completed his incubator and NZ still faced with a ‘world of opportunity’!

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

I’m not convinced the tech has changed human behaviour, but that that behaviour, both good and bad is now in the public arena. 

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

How can I make tech work for me, not me working for it.. so no addiction here!

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

 It has elements of both so if you want to stay in touch you are faced with ‘viewing the best and worst of humanity’.

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

 Yes, the law around technology should evolve as quickly as the tech does!

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

That’s a big question! Weren’t women early pioneers? I still think a Tech Ministry could be tasked specifically with this issue as the solutions are broad engagement. Why can’t NZ set a goal to lead globally in this area then we’ll understand technology and all its outcomes more holistically. Our leading tech companies should be mentoring diversity at the board table – we don’t know what we can’t experience here. Keep celebrating and encouraging those that try to come through.  Have the hard conversations where we see prejudice. ‘Why do women founders find it harder to raise capital, likewise ethnic minorities?’  So, support initiatives to provide that capital. We shouldn’t be afraid to try different things!

What worries you the most about technology?

Probably personal security and privacy.

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

 Someone will seek survival of the planet by ‘human depopulation’ and increased robots. If we don’t look after the resources of this planet needed for human survival – what then?

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

I’m looking at the Remarkables in Queenstown as I write – unless there’s a huge earthquake here, they’ll be just the same – but our technology investment should deliver a more sustainable New Zealand for our ‘place’ our ‘peoples’ and ‘our economy’. 

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