Is Derek Handley New Zealand’s Gavin Belson?

In the wake of Clare Curran’s less than honest disclosures of her private meetings with Derek Handley, it appears that he is still the front-runner for the role of Chief Technology Officer: Quote:

It is now an “open secret” that entrepreneur Derek Handley was about to be announced as the country’s first chief technology officer last week.

But the question technology leaders are asking is whether the bungling of the recruitment process will make it harder for Handley to be successful, assuming he is still confirmed in the role as?appears all but certain. End quote.

God knows why, this guy has all the appearance of being New Zealand’s own version of Gavin Belson the CEO of Hooli in the HBO TV series Silicon Valley.. A small comparison of available public images of Gavin Belson and Derek Handley suggest the likeness is more than cursory.


Handley would already have had his work cut out winning everyone over.

The Hong-Kong born, Kiwi-educated entrepreneur?was best known in business circles for co-founding mobile marketing consultancy The Hyperfactory in 2001, and then selling it to a United States buyer?in 2010 for more than $10 million.

However, he has had less commercial success as the founder and former chairman of Snakk Media, which is listed on the junior NXT exchange with a market capitalisation of just $813,000.

In 2013, Snakk raised $6.5m from 1200 investors who would now be down about 98 per cent on their investments.

Although Handley left Snakk’s board in 2015, before the worst of that downturn,?negative postings on Snakk Media?at online forum Sharetrader demonstrate?the depth of some investors’ lingering resentment. End quote.

There are also rumours that the ?highly successful? Hyperfactory exit was also subject to claw backs. If true, it would take the gloss of his one trophy.

But Feverpitch, Snakk and Magpie are the obvious screwups that make him unsuitable as CTO. Also, he wrote a big self love article about crypto currency?eight months ago where he minimised the enormous risk from pirates, ponzis and risks and instead fed the ?whole new paradigm? bullshit.

Feverpitch was an online gambling business he listed in 2003 or so, which will make it more interesting to see how Jacinda Ardern appointed a failed online gambling tycoon as her CTO. Quote:

As CTO, Handley would?have a potentially highly influential role in charting a digital future for the country which could touch on a wide range of government initiatives.

Creating the role???which comes with a salary?of up to $400,000 and a $100,000 travel budget???was the flagship of Labour’s ICT policy before the election.

But it is one that is still vaguely defined and there are different views as to what the job should be or?whether it should even exist.

Few doubt Handley would be an enthusiastic voice for digital technology and?”inclusion”.

Handley appeared to set out his case for the CTO job in a speech at a Techweek networking event in May.

His speech centred on the “digital divide”, which has been a key interest for Curran, drawing attention to the predicaments faced by children who do?not have internet access at home.

Handley referred to the CTO role in that speech and set out?the following “to do” list.

– Creating meaningful work and daily livelihoods for ordinary citizens, in the face of automation and in the end, artificial intelligence.

– A fully renewable transportation fleet.

– More capital, resources and ideas for many more bold new companies that shape the future.

– Pioneering protein, meat and milk grown far from the paddocks of a traditional farm.

– Working out how we become better parents, brothers, friends, neighbours and citizens ? face to face, not just Facebook to Facebook. End quote.

All of which sounds very Gavin Belson.

It all sounds like the usual bumper sticker slogans that tech companies like to use and which Silicon Valley lampoons mercilessly.

He is just too easy to lampoon. He seems to like the weirdest clothing choices, it is as if he was walking past a Buddhist Hallensteins when a bomb went off.

What annoys me is that he will focus entirely on social justice crap instead of hardening NZ against cyber security risk, for example. He is completely unqualified to talk about helping NZ companies seeking money from capital markets, having screwed it up twice. And of course, there are the TVNZ rumours.

With everything we know about him, we look forward to his appointment and subsequent resignation.