A sequence of events in the past week left me with disparate feelings on how well this country celebrates its success.
A major point highlighted at a roundtable discussion hosted by Cisco last Thursday, was that New Zealand does not celebrate its innovators – engineers and scientists – enough. Young people are not being encouraged to enter these fields and have few role models to look up to in these industries.
They do exist, it is just that they are overshadowed in the media and our consciousness by other heroes, which more often than not are sports people. Winning our first Gold medal at the Beijing Olympics last weekend and the eruption of joyful celebration that ensued, is certainly a testament to this. Two days after the Evers-Swindell twins crossed the golden line, their images were gracing the front pages of our daily newspapers and our newscasts.
Meanwhile, some of this industry’s most innovative minds were also celebrating. These were the winners and finalists of Microsoft’s second annual partner awards, which rightly has received a fair amount of coverage in this issue.
After feeling somewhat concerned over the future of innovation in New Zealand following the Cisco event, the Microsoft awards held later that same day filled me with optimism.
It was the kind of celebration of success we need to see more of in this country. The awards ceremony was carried off with great style and a real sense of occasion.
Not surprisingly, considering the size of Microsoft’s partner channel, the event brought together a broad cross-section of the local industry.
It was heartening to see winners and finalists [who Microsoft reminded us are also winners for making it this far] celebrate each other's success together, even if they would return to their respective trenches the next day.
Events such as this should be promoted to encourage more young people to choose careers in technology – not to create the impression that IT is all about partying, but because the industry rewards innovation and success.
And even though this was a Microsoft event, the winner on the night was not just one vendor and its partners, but the local industry as a whole.