Discover more from Pete Lead’s startup updates
Pete's June 2023 update
In my element.
“I’ve had a fun week!”
I said that to Lucy, recently. I have been having fun! Doing new and creative things, feeling like I’m making progress, and adding value to the world. That’s a heck of a feeling!
In between writing and freelancing, I’ve been building outdoor steps in our pathways, and started a small retaining wall. Many step-related puns, each one a step up from the last.
Tonight I’m going to my first improv thing in forever. The amazing Patti Stiles is in Dunedin and running a workshop, and that’s not something I can miss.
We had our first snowfall of the season last weekend. It’s still very exciting to get snow.
Our oven broke. The fan whirred but it wouldn’t heat up. We turned it to a different setting and that worked OK. Not great but it cooked our meal.
Doctor Google said it was a broken heating element, and that I could replace it. Myself. And here’s a video. (That’s how you take the door off!)
So I bought the part. Waited until the snow cleared and the highway into town was open; just in case. “It should take 15 minutes,” I told Lucy. “Twenty, tops.” Power off; let’s do this.
But, oh, I can’t unscrew that bit from the front? Pull the whole oven out of its hole; prop it up with firewood stacked on a bathmat. Remove the top panel, then the back. Can’t quite reach the nut. A trip downstairs for different tools. Cross-legged on the kitchen floor, wondering if I can even put things back together if I quit now. I should have called an expert. But, wait, the nut is coming loose! “Progress!” I actually shouted this; raised my sweaty arms to the sky. Replace old part for new; re-connect wires; panels on; oven snug in its hole; screws in, door attached. And like that, it’s done. It only took 75 minutes longer than the video.
Power on. Fingers crossed. Now we’re cooking!
Startups supported: 6
A lot of prep for pitch night and pitch recording sessions the past couple of weeks. Plus investment round prep and coaching. I even attended a pitch event! (Though, being the only one there wearing a mask, I didn’t really network/socialise much.)
Skillzea just launched their platform and opened a pre-seed round. They did an amazing job of validating the value of a marketplace for skill-based gigwork in New Zealand — building Facebook communities, facilitating connections, and gathering data (but not in the creepy sense of gathering data).
StackGo is doubling down on their IdentityCheck service that integrates into business workflows and CRMs. They’re getting good early traction from accounting practice managers, law firms, and real estate agencies who want to replace their manual way of verifying customer IDs and KYC/AML checks.
Good initial session last night with a startup based in Poland and Georgia, building tools in the author/publisher space.
I’ve prepared a pitch for my next startup-related project. It’s a project I’ve had chewing around for a while now, and is related to pitch coaching. I’m aiming to get that well and truly under way this month.
I’m available for more freelance innovation and startup mentoring, coaching, workshops, and masterclasses. Happy for introductions or leads on hubs, accelerators, incubators, corporate groups etc.
A big month on the fiction front!
I wrote 3 stories in 2 weeks. Two of them came out of some improv writing activities, and one from a writing sprint session with some writing group buddies.
Last-minute update: My first story sale! I only just got the acceptance notice, so I have no idea of the timeline of the next steps. I expect it will be months until it’s published.
I ran a workshop on Improv for Creative Writing, using some of my writing group to test it out. They loved it, and suggested that I start pitching it to conventions! So that’s coming soon, too.
I volunteered as a Slush Reader (aka First Reader) for a speculative fiction anthology. For me, it’s an opportunity to learn. I’ve read about 60 stories so far, and it’s been quite useful reading stories of variable quality and reflecting on what makes them engaging or not. And how hard it is to generalise and come up with ‘rules’, because every so often a great story will do same the things that the not-so-great stories do.
Created a good-enough-for-now version of an author website at petelead.com
I did the audio narration for this micro-fiction video:
Probably the reason you’re reading this.
The little bean is very cute, and doing very well. She’s on new medication and it seems to be working, helping her to stay calm(er) around people and dogs.
She loves this little donut bed. Anything she can lie against or on gets her vote, and this thing has walls all the way around that she can snug her face into. Sometimes, though, you can’t let boundaries constrain you.
Read / Watch / Listen
[Watch: movie] “Can we watch this?” Johnny Mnemonic re-released in black and white. Only at film festivals, but you can rent the movie and turn down the saturation and DIY. (Use the Accessibility settings on a Mac.) This movie is camp-y and crazy. Keanu gets really loose in the second half, channelling Ted “Theodore” Logan but in a suit and tie. It works really well in black and white, too. 🧠
[Listen: Album] Lucy has been listening to old Japanese jazz recordings (!!). Her current favourite is Ryo Fukui - Live At Vidro '77 🎵
[Read: 4 minutes] I'm not admitting that I searched "Scientology and the alphabet", but I did find this interesting post about how Google et al treat their staff like Scientology treats its… whatevers. Alphabet: The Thriving Cult of Greed and Evaluation. It reads like a dystopian YA novel. "Perf" evaluations and "stack ranking". 😬
[Watch: 12 minutes] A young and dashing Ian McKellen (who looks a bit Benedict Cumberbach-y) breaks down Hamlet/Shakespeare’s “tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow” speech for performance. 💀
[Watch/listen: 1 hour] Douglas Adams’ keynote from 1996 shows how good he is at telling stories. He covers a lot of ground in this talk, including how computers went from being used as calculators, to typewriters, to televisions, to modelling devices; haptic virtual reality; and how the internet has changed our means of communication. 🐠
“It was an enormous wealth of completely meaningless information.” — Douglas Adams