The humble paper boarding pass

The paper boarding pass has existed for the best part of 50 years. Originally conceived as a re-usable laminated docket that was returned at the end of flight, today it is is issued for almost every passenger that gets on a plane. Lately, with the rise of digital apps and online check-in, the use of paper boarding passes are decreasing, but they will definitely be here to stay for another decade or 2. …

There is a relatively unheard of shoe brand from New Zealand that’s silently plotting for world domination, and it’s going to succeed, if my experience with them is anything to go with. This brand has done something that most retail stores have not — developing customers with thoughtfulness.

Let me explain, this story is about Allbirds — a New Zealand born, globally expanded shoe brand who’s main purpose is to provide ethical, practical and simple shoes for your typical city casual human. They’re not really prominent compared to the big players of the world, nor are they available in your…

Time and time again, I encounter start-ups and businesses who are getting by just fine, profitable even (which is incredibly rare in start-up world), but aren’t encountering high growth either and are struggling to grow beyond single digit percentages a year — which is a very low growth rate for a early stage technology or product company. Almost all of these companies have some things in common:

  1. A core product that’s used by a diverse set of customers.
  2. A loyal and captive customer base who are ingrained with the product.
  3. A customer focused management team who care about customers.


Today I want to discuss something that’s not often talked about — building mission critical software that needs to work perfectly every single time, in any environment, no exceptions. Specifically, some factors and mindsets to consider to ensure mission critical success, because if you’re working on these things, it’s the most rewarding and sleepless thing you’ll ever do.

Today’s world demands software now, and in the age of agile, SaaS, cloud, and other methodologies, Product Managers, Software Engineers and most companies duly oblige — often releasing with known bugs, issues, or documented missing features, with the idea that future iterations…

An Australian Navy officer prepares to lead the way. Many modern leadership doctrines derive from the military which has mastered the art of developing leaders for crisis. Photo Credit: Commonwealth of Australia (Navy)

You are a leader during a time of crisis. There is no greater privilege than leading your peers through such events. You may be leading a team at work, troops in combat, or a world in danger. In all these circumstances, much will be expected from you, little will be given to you, and things will go wrong even when you’ve made the best decision possible. Every day, your team will expect professionalism, inspiration, technical and decisive confidence, and demand nothing less.

Our mettle is forged in battle, and there will be many to fight over the coming months. Each…

In today’s Software as a Service world where revenue is king, I see many product managers and company executives make the fundamental mistake of focusing product development efforts on the immediate next customer instead of defining a longer multi-year product strategy for product evolution and growth. This often arises due to the temptation of a “unicorn” customer with well lined pockets, and has the danger to detract from your product roadmap and put you behind the rest of your industry. I explain below how this could occur, the risks when it occurs, and ways to move forward from it.

How it Happens — The Unicorn Customer


Is United Airlines’ brand new Premium Plus offering worth the hype? I recently flew this product from San Francisco to Auckland, a 13hr long-haul, red-eye journey. These are my thoughts.

My initial thoughts are that United got the fundamentals wrong, but have the opportunity to develop this into a compelling product. Here’s my take.

Check In

Premium Plus passengers receive Premier Access, and a discounted entrance fee is available for United Club. Checking in via the app is also seamless, and Premier Access is prominently displayed on the purple Google Pay boarding pass — a nice touch.

I had a prior nearly…

In 2019 alone, I have flown over 180,000 miles. The high mileage is caused by residing in New Zealand (a tiny island far away from civilization), my love of flying, and my personal desire to be face-to-face as much as possible with my friends, family, colleagues, and customers.

I have thought a lot about the debate around air travel and sustainably, and personally, I am against the notion that people should fly less to save the planet — our world is precious, and if anything, I believe that the more people see the world, the more we all come to…

The right kind of deal can deliver long-term value for everyone involved.

Proposing, negotiating and landing a deal in a commercial setting is one of the most important functions for any executive or manager within an organization. It can be a daunting, stressful experience if you’re starting out, and no deal is ever the same. Whether you’re buying aircraft, finalizing a sales agreement, or creating a partnership, a few fundamental steps will ensure you’re well on the way to success, and reaching the goal you want for your organization.

Do the Homework

Before any commercial discussions take place with another party, always do the math on a potential partnership or agreement well…

Packing the Perfect Perpetual Carry On Travel Bag

Whether you’re flying Spirit and can’t afford bags, or you’re a corporate traveler who can’t afford to wait at the baggage carousel, having a carry on bag that can last your travels in perpetuity is one of the best feelings of travel. This article will walk you through what you’ll need to consider and have to begin your minimalist and care-free travel journeys.

Before we begin, we need to set some ground rules.

  1. Drop the Check In Luggage. There are many disadvantages to Check In Luggage, you can’t standby onto earlier flights…


I help organisations build better products and commercial strategies, especially travel companies. New Zealand based, globally focused.

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