I’m Rowan Simpson. This is my personal blog.

It was active between December 2006 and December 2015.

It was started to highlight some of the things I was working on at the time, as part of the Trade Me Product and Development teams. Over time it evolved to cover many other topics: Business, Start-ups, Technology, New Zealand, Sport, Health & Fitness and many others.

There were ~500 posts during that time.

These are some of my favourites, in no particular order:

Because29th January 2009

“Looking at a high profile success and thinking that you just need to do the same to be successful can be quite misleading.”

Anything vs Everything15th March 2015

“We’ve been brought up to believe we can do anything. It’s a powerful and important message. But, many of us have mistakenly interpreted that to mean we can do everything.”

Most People17th February 2015

“By definition, to be successful you just have to do those things which most people don’t. Think about that…!”

World Class12th December 2013

“The expression “world class” gets casually thrown around, like a frisbee at the beach on a sunny afternoon. But most people who use it actually have no concept.”

He aha te mea nui o te ao?28th March 2012

“when we all think about what we can do to support start-ups, we seldom start with people.”

Being Spartan With Ideas10th April 2013

“How do you handle new ideas?”

Flailing, 26th October 2011

“Here is some unusual advice for people working on a start-up, or thinking about it: swim.”

Reality Distortion Field, 4th June 2014

“If you’re a would-be founder, don’t be impatient. Realise that the person promising you a short cut is probably trying to sell you something.”

Lossless1st February 2008

“Technology moves on quickly, but we users are not always so quick to adjust to those things that are the constraints.”

Being Founder Centric, 4th December 2011

“This is not school! You don’t qualify your start-up by winning a competition or getting a sucker to invest or being accepted into an incubator program. You qualify by building something customers want and win by selling it repeatedly to them at a price that is greater than your costs.”

Be a Good Dictator, 19 September 2012

“Think about all of the things that you care about, have authority in and are prepared to take responsibility for.  Then work out what the intersection of those things are, for you and for the team you build around yourself.”

“Narrow your focus to those things that you can prove move you forward. And don’t forget that, when it all boils down, sales is how you know that you are winning.”

The Mythical Start-upfrom 6th May to 18th May 2011

“Here is the popular mythology about how a new technology business becomes a success…”

Product Management, 8th April 2013

“I’m not sure I’ve ever heard a succinct definition of what makes a ‘Product Manager’. In fact, I’m not even sure I’ve heard a succinct definition of a product, in this context. I thought it might be useful to try and describe, at least as I’ve experienced it, for those who might be interested in this sort of role.”

Start != Finish12th January 2009

“When the clock ticked over from 5 hours 59 minutes I went directly from ‘achieved’ to ‘failed’, which was pretty harsh.”

Fact-based vs Faith-based20th July 2009

“Fact-based people are all about what they can rationalise and understand and measure and prove.”
“Faith-based people are all about feeling and believing and doing what intuitively seems right to them.”

Heads Up vs Heads Down26th January 2010

“Heads Up people start at the technology and ask ‘How do people use this?'”
“Heads Down people start at the technology too, but ask instead ‘How does this work on the inside?'”

You down with FPP?30th April 2007

“Is that really 5 years’ experience, or is it 1 year repeated 5 times?”

Losers, 10th April 2011

“Joe Bloggs was left pondering what might have been this morning, after missing out on last night’s Lotto Powerball jackpot.”

Holy Cow!12th November 2008

“Your life flashes before your eyes so frequently – as your driver lurches out into the opposite lane, one hand on the steering wheel and one hand permanently on the horn, at a speed that is much faster than the designer of the tiny little car you’re sitting in would have dreamed possible, only to discover that heading in the other direction is a public bus packed so full that people have overflowed onto the roof, while all sorts of livestock block the side of the road  – it starts to become mundane.”

Muzungu23rd March 2010

Lessons from three weeks in Africa: “Arriving there I didn’t really know what to expect, and I was right!”

Living in an Amish paradise28th November 2007

“You can agree or disagree with their view of the world, but I don’t think you can fault them for having a values-based way of making decisions about [technology]”

What are ya?, 28th May 2014

“Who are you waiting on to tell you that you qualify?”

Funding Options14th May 2009

“If you talk to people who have been successful in the past, I think you’ll tend to find that they will simply recommend the approach that worked for them. So, be careful in whose counsel you take.”

Diworsification31st October 2013

“… focus means saying ‘no’”

Fairy tale pricing26th September 2008

“One of the hardest things to get right when you have a new product or service is pricing. It requires a beautiful mix of art and science. And, even when you think you have it right something changes and it’s probably all wrong again.”

In the beginning…22nd March 2009

“I’ve never worked so hard or had so much fun. We got to experience a business growing at an astonishing rate, although what we didn’t realise at the time was that this was just the beginning.  It was a privilege to be part of it.”

Trade Me Manifestofrom 16th September to 7th October 2007

“What is it about Trade Me that makes it so successful? Is there a secret formula? And, if so, can we bottle it?”