Home The Tyranny of Distance

The Tyranny of Distance

Quote from Rod Drury, founder and CEO of kiwi web email company AfterMail (which was acquired by Quest Software for US$45 million in January 2006):

“We demonstrate globally from our office in Wellington, install our products remotely and receive funds electronically. We have US phone numbers in our office. The barriers to global commerce are minimal. We don’t really even think about, we just do it.”

New Zealand is a tiny country of just over 4 million people, on the other side of the world to the US and Europe. We’ve historically had a chip on our shoulder about the distance we are from all the action, but in recent times Internet technology has improved our lot. As the NZ National Library wrote, when explaining their Digital Strategy:

“For generations we have laboured under the real or imagined burden of ‘the tyranny of distance’. With the Internet comes ‘the death of distance’. A recent report noted that ‘for New Zealand, the Internet is the modern equivalent of the freezer ship that revolutionised our economy last century’.”

I share Rod’s optimism about the Internet enabling us kiwis to earn a living virtually. Still, I would love to attend some of those TechCrunch parties, or be able to work at a big Internet company in Silicon Valley, or pop round to a local wifi-enabled coffee shop and write my book (there’s no free wifi anywhere near where I live). I guess location still counts for something, huh… 🙂

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