Startup Breakfast Club: The power of harnessing exponential technology: RECAP

Ministry of Awesome's STARTUP BREAKFAST CLUB powered by MYOB is made for all you budding entrepreneurs and start-ups in Christchurch. This is your monthly morning caffeine hit where you will find valuable social networks, gain business insight, and find the critical support you need to power your business forward.


As a tech week special, we dove deep into harnessing the power of exponential technology and what it means for startups and entrepreneurs.

With 60 odd people in attendance, Awesome HQ was buzzing. Some of the companies in attendance included CECC, Cryptopia Ltd, and Moore Stephens Markhams. 

With guidance from our panelists here are some of the areas that were discussed around this vital topic:


In ten years what human skills won’t be replicated by machines and will be sought after?

  • Creativity (machines can create a piece of art, but will it move you?)

  • Self determination, your ability to decide how and why to allocate time and resources.

  • Machines taking more responsibility is inevitable, what will be sought after are people to make the transitions easier.


Will singularity occur?

  • Machine intelligence is superior in some ways and inferior in others when compared to human intelligence.

  • The broad concensus is that, when referring to general intelligence, machines will surpass humans.

  • Regulations around AI is tricky; it’s very difficult to regulate because it’s very easy to produce.


Exponential Technology

  • If the technology changes, change with it.

  • We can move faster by working as a team.

  • It is easier to compete with an international company in today’s day and age.

  • Work with others; leverage and use other people’s tech.

  • There are swings towards tech but also huge swings towards craft.

  • Everyone needs to be aware of exponential tech because that’s the environment that we are living in, and you don’t want it to take you by surprise.


Lessons of the tech start-up journey

  • Identify the value you’re giving to your client and stick to it.

  • Big businesses can be great supporters if you find the right person. Find your supporters!


Tech and the global economy

  • There are studies to support both sides of the “unemployment caused by tech” argument.

  • Due to increasing inequality all over the world, we are seeing pushback from people and communities. We need to, as a society, look at and re-examine the capitalist model we’ve been living by.

  • We are at a time of convergence, where not one but all of these technologies are growing exponentially.

  • What does decentralization mean for taxes? Where did that transaction take place? How do we fund our governements?


How can we filter the huge amounts of information regarding up and coming technology?

  • In a work environment, delegate. Have a broad, basic knowledge and seek help for specialized information.

  • To filter the start-ups and innovations that are likely to take off, look at whether: their technology is ready, the investment is ready to go, and the market is hungry for this solution.

  • Check out Azeem Azhar, a well curated, weekly e-newsletter.


Advice for start-ups

  • Identify your short comings and find help.

  • Divesting: wrestle with what you can change and don’t fret about tomorrow. Is it better to own 10% of something or 100% of nothing?

  • Find support, like the Ministry of Awesome. Get involved, and ask for help.

  • New Zealand, and particularly Christchurch, is a great place for innovation and entrepreneurship.

  • Be open to suggestions and change.



  • Market trends, like automation, AI and machine learning, bio-engineered animal protein, and medical technologies.

  • The fact that foundations of businesses don’t change, it is the way it’s implemented which has changed.



Kaila Colbin

Kaila Colbin spearheaded the hugely successful SingularityU New Zealand and Australia Summits, introducing more than 2,500 people to exponential technologies and their impact on humanity. She is also a co-founder and Chair of the non-profit Ministry of Awesome, the starting point for early-stage entrepreneurs in Christchurch; the Curator and Licensee for TEDxChristchurch in New Zealand and TEDxScottBase in Antarctica; Chair of the New York-based culinary school Natural Gourmet Institute; Deputy Chair of CORE Education; and a Director of ChristchurchNZ. Her purpose in life is to be an uplifting presence.

Keran McKenzie

Keran is the Futurist-in- Residence at MYOB, and is dedicated to helping businesses achieve success by embracing new ideas and new technologies. His previous career spans a number of senior management positions within the tech and telecommunications sectors, driving API and add-on ecosystems as well as cloud technology. Keran is an engaging speaker who frequently talks on how artificial intelligence, blockchain and automation are revolutionising the face of business.

 James Roberston 

James is the founder and CTO of Invert Robotics, a Christchurch based company now branching all over the world with their climbing robot platform. James studied Mechatronics Engineering at UC and was involved with the entre entrepreneurship program. Through this he was introduced to UC's R&I department and Powerhouse Ventures, a local business incubator. Together they combined technology, capital and a whole heap of effort to create Invert Robotics. Throughout this journey James has become experienced at listening to and working with customers, researching markets, building business cases, raising capital, building great technology and most importantly delivering world leading solutions that are valuable to clients.