Software developers – and web developers in particular – have been getting a lot of attention in the press lately. Typically for all the wrong reasons. The litany of would-be competitors to New Zealand auction giant Trade Me that have launched with much public fanfare in the last couple of weeks have all had the same theme song playing within a day (often less) of coming under public scrutiny.
There has been no shortage of written, televised and socially-networked public flayings over the admittedly inferior standard shipped by these companies. Companies who should have the resources to ensure no corners are cut and present a polished, professional first impression to their target market. Anyone watching this unfold who has little or no appreciation of what goes in to creating a web application would likely be thinking that New Zealand’s web software industry is populated entirely by cowboys and idiots; people with lots of money but little sense. Alternatively they might think that building a web-based company is exceptionally complex (well, it can be) and not something New Zealand companies are particularly good at. At best they’ll have a good chuckle at these inept forays into the web business; at worst they’ll think twice before trusting a Kiwi company and put their faith and investment into “established, professional” businesses based off-shore.
There’s been plenty said on these HTML laughing stocks and I’m not interested in perpetuating the bad vibes further. Instead, I want to draw attention to some of New Zealand’s success stories. Ones that deserve the sort of positive attention whose inverse has been directed at the forementioned misguided competitor attempts. Here is a list of five home-grown Kiwi startups or successful software companies who deserve recognition and praise:
It would be remiss of me not to give an honourable mention to Letterboxd: the Auckland-based social network for sharing your taste in film. This is a fairly addictive yet simple service that allows you catalog, review and share films you’ve watched and enjoyed (or not) with other friends online. I really enjoy discovering new films and reading the reviews from my friends on this service and the best part? It’s free (although a paid account option may be introduced in the future).
So there it is – my list of 5+1 great Kiwi web companies that are doing really great things. Watching train wrecks like Wheedle, Geta and ListSellTrade is amusing for a week or so but let’s not lose sight of the fact that New Zealand developers are bringing out fantastic products and services and it’s these companies that we should be giving airtime to, listening to and above all supporting.
Feel free to add your nominations to this list in the comments below.