Island Life by David Slack

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Island Life: John Key: ambitious enough for web designers?

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  • andrew llewellyn,

    What is your response?

    Usually, in situations like this, my response is "It's probably not true".

    Thanks for getting more information!

    Since Nov 2006 • 2073 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    Get the kid to stop slumping at the computer and go outside.

    It's a toughy.

    How about some really vicious malware that will trash its computer beyond possibility of repair? Forcing it to exit WoW and go outside.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4419 posts Report Reply

  • dc_red,

    A blogger doing actual research, while lazy media hacks simply report National Party press releases as news? Unprecedented!

    Seriously, great post, David.

    Although I fear that yet again the damage is done. ""A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on" as Churchill said.

    Oil Patch, Alberta • Since Nov 2006 • 706 posts Report Reply

  • James Francis,

    When I heard the $5.5 million, I must admit that I did look askance. $5.5 million? That has to be polirical exaggeration, I thought. And then my Luddite prejudices kicked in and I mentally started blaming the web design/IT people. I do that with things that I don't understand.

    A brilliant exposition, David. It all makes sense. And top marks to Sparc for not fudging the figures when you called them. Openness and transparency goes a long way, in my mind.

    St John's, Newfoundland • Since Nov 2006 • 114 posts Report Reply

  • Glenn Pearce,

    There's already been some discussion on this over at Jim Donovan's place back in February (He's a director of Click Suite the recipients of some of the gravy)

    [http://jimdonovan.net.nz/2008/02/22/mission-on-getting-kids-active-using-social-networking-website/

    Auckland • Since Feb 2007 • 345 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    Get the kid to stop slumping at the computer and go outside.

    It's a toughy.

    For who?:-) Is that because__ you__ may have to join the kid outside for that walk/run/Kickin' the ball/ sport thing.(she says slumped over hers)

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6004 posts Report Reply

  • Che Tibby,

    The reason New Zealanders use TradeMe rather than E-Bay is that a killer idea was refined adapted and implemented in a superior way to meet the needs of the local market.

    the one time i heard sam m. talk he claimed that trademe pre-dated ebay.

    but you're right on the money with meeting the needs of the local market. they sink money into parts of the site that don't turn coin, but do increase user loyalty. smart move there guys.

    the back of an envelope • Since Nov 2006 • 2024 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Martin,

    You actually rang SPARC and asked for more info???

    What a novel idea...

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 184 posts Report Reply

  • David Slack,

    the one time i heard sam m. talk he claimed that trademe pre-dated ebay.

    I'd better amend what I've said, if I have that wrong. Anyone have some definitive information on that?

    Devonport • Since Nov 2006 • 599 posts Report Reply

  • Ian MacKay,

    I am sure that John Key and Craig will put a stop to SPARC and use that $5mil + to build a few prisons for Simon P to fill with all those nasty crims who will never get probation. Roll on John and Simon. What cost?

    Bleheim • Since Nov 2006 • 498 posts Report Reply

  • Che Tibby,

    Anyone have some definitive information on that?

    rb might remember. it was at a great blend at the boat shed. maybe '06?

    the back of an envelope • Since Nov 2006 • 2024 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed,

    Although I fear that yet again the damage is done. ""A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on" as Churchill said.

    Now updated for the information age...

    "A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to type its username and password."

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 4154 posts Report Reply

  • Jake Pollock,

    According to wikipedia, e-Bay goes back to 1995, whilst Trademe was founded in 1999.

    Raumati South • Since Nov 2006 • 489 posts Report Reply

  • Jake Pollock,

    But Sam Morgan might have been referring to e-Bay's attempt to move into the NZ market, which was in 2001.

    Raumati South • Since Nov 2006 • 489 posts Report Reply

  • David Ritchie,

    Maybe Sam Morgan specifically meant in New Zealand, where eBay launched in 2001.

    Wellingtron • Since Nov 2006 • 163 posts Report Reply

  • David Ritchie,

    JINX

    Wellingtron • Since Nov 2006 • 163 posts Report Reply

  • Don Christie,

    whois on trademe.co.nz has:

    domain_dateregistered: 1999-01-06T00:00:00+13:00

    ebay.com:

    Record created on 04-Aug-1995.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1615 posts Report Reply

  • David Ritchie,

    If we're relying on whois records to indicate chicken/egg first-ness:

    domain_name: ebay.co.nz
    query_status: 200 Active
    domain_dateregistered: 1998-12-07T00:00:00+13:00

    then arguably ebay.co.nz predates trademe.co.nz. The Wayback Machine is down at the moment otherwise it might be worth seeing whether ebay.co.nz had a page up at the time (not that it's particularly canonical).

    Wellingtron • Since Nov 2006 • 163 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    I do find it ironic that a fair chunk of the ways that SPARC tries to reach the un-exercising, is via media that aren't about exercising - computers, TV adverts etc. The message seems to be "hey you, don't watch this, bugger off outside".

    From a distance it seems about as logical as using the 5 million to buy about 10,000 Wii, to be given out to the more obese children.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6162 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    But Sam Morgan might have been referring to e-Bay's attempt to move into the NZ market, which was in 2001.

    That will have been it. I think Sam will freely admit that the model came from eBay.

    But eBay -- like other big e-brands before and since -- made a risible job of localising for NZ (which was well after the registration of the ebay.co.nz domain name). They didn't really localise at all.

    Trade Me had enough momentum here by the time eBay arrived -- and, crucially, it worked better -- that it was able to become one of a handful of eBay-killers worldwide.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18707 posts Report Reply

  • RJW,

    Here is more information from SPARC to clarify further what David has said. This coimes from a letter from Chief Executive Peter Miskimmin.

    1. The Mission On initiative is a cross-government project, and SPARC is only one of the participants -- it is a joint vernture by SPARC, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Youth Development.

    2. The actual budget for Mission On comes from a separate government Budget allocation to the sport and recreation budget.
    There is $5.1 million allocated for 2008/2009 for one of the Mission-On initiatives which targets two age groups – 5-12 year olds and 13-24 year olds. The purpose of this initiative is to invest in technology based concepts that engage these age groups and encourage them to improve nutrition and increase physical activity.
    The breakdown of the $5.1 million is as follows:

    · $1.6 million has been budgeted to the Mission-On website (www.mission-on.co.nz). This figure includes updating the content using interactive technology, promoting the site and general maintenance costs.

    · $3.5 million has been budgeted for implementing a technology based strategy (concepts still in development) to communicate and encourage 13-24 year olds to improve nutrition and increase physical activity.

    Also to clarify the misleading allegations continaed in John Key's speech re SPARC admin costs (!!!), again quoting Peter Miskimmin:

    It is not correct that $35 million ‘never makes it outside the Wellington office.’

    SPARC’s internal operating costs for 2007/08 are approximately 12% ($12.7 million) of SPARC’s total budget ($105.7 million).

    Since SPARC was established in 2003, administrative costs have decreased as a proportion of expenditure from approximately 18 percent to 12 percent of total expenditure.

    The figure of $35 million being discussed in the media as “internal” or “administrative” costs actually covers the cost of several of SPARC’s programmes that are delivered directly to the sport and recreation sector. This includes $21.2 million that SPARC budgeted to invest in 2007/08 on initiatives such as:

    · Resources for SPARC’s programmes including Sport Fit, Active Movement, Active Schools, CoachForce, SPARC’s volunteers and officials programme, He Oranga Poutama and Green Prescriptions.

    · Push Play. The campaign is complemented by support activities at a local level through regional sports trusts and local authorities.

    · Seminar and leadership programmes for staff in regional and national sport and recreation organisations.

    · Capability resources for sport and recreation organisations and clubs. Eg. Disability Tool Kits, Club Kit – an online resource to help volunteers run their clubs, a range of resources to develop organisational capability, manuals for primary and secondary school sports coordinators.

    Overall, in addition to the $21.2 million, SPARC has budgeted to directly invest over $71 million into the sport and recreation sector for the year ended 30 June 2008.

    There are not 47 people earning over $100,000 at SPARC. The correct number is 38 out of 94 employees for 2007/2008.

    SPARC’s jobs are sized by Hay Group to ensure salaries are consistent with the market rate.

    Auckland • Since Jul 2008 • 5 posts Report Reply

  • Danyl Mclauchlan,

    That's a very reasonable, informed piece there David - my problem is it glides over the basic premise of the Sparc program: is a web site filled with computer games and interactive applications likely to be a good vehicle for getting kids to stop playing computer games and go outside and play?

    I sense I'm going to be in the minority here, but my knee-jerk response is 'No, of course not. What a preposterous fucking idea. Why don't we sack the idiot that suggested it.' Obviously Sparc and the Ministry of Health reacted differently.

    But maybe they had good cause. Maybe such a program has been launched in another country and proved to be an outstanding success?

    If this is the case then you do have to wonder why Sparc needs to spend those millions of dollars on research, proof-of-concept and technology development instead of just copying an already existing successful model.

    You also have to wonder why a very small, relatively poor country has decided to be a world leader and invest a considerable sum of money on a decidedly daft sounding idea that might work out well, but also might prove to be a spectacular waste of cash.

    As Bernard Hickey has pointed out, the Mission On site traffic is currently so small it does not measure on any of the publicaly available tools for traffic analysis, suggesting the latter of these two options to be the case.

    As I see it there are two levels of cost involved in this kind of spectacular public service wastage - one is the opportunity cost of not spending the money on front-line health, education, justice ect ect where it is far more likely to make a real difference to people's lives.

    The other is the damage it does to the progressive ideals of efficient centralised government. Every time the public hears about these bureaucratic rorts it strengthens the right-wing sink-or-swim ideology of gutting the government and letting the private sector do everything.

    If entire departments can be gutted without anyone outside of Wellington noticing (which seems to be close to the truth with Sparc) then people become receptive to the ACT party message that the whole damn lot can go.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 900 posts Report Reply

  • Thomas Johnson,

    That's a very reasonable, informed piece there David - my problem is it glides over the basic premise of the Sparc program: is a web site filled with computer games and interactive applications likely to be a good vehicle for getting kids to stop playing computer games and go outside and play?

    Exactly. If you build it, will they come?

    Perhaps there will need to be an addition $5.5million spent on promoting the website.

    Wellington • Since Oct 2007 • 98 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    I feel bound to note that there are probably a number of examples of poorly-conceived multi-million dollar public-sector websites.

    Case in point: the "cultural portal" NZLIve, which is essentially in competition with at least three privately-run online events guides and which, IMO, has never justified its extraordinary $3.6 million budget.

    According to Google Trends for Websites, NZLive was doing less traffic than Public Address in March. They're doin' it wrong.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18707 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    I'm with Danyl on the Mission On thing.

    I had a look at the Mission On site and it seems to comprise quite a good educational tool, in the tradition of all those "Stephen, you are correct! Here is a picture of a happy banana!" things that I remember going back to Pilot in the 80s. But the question is whether it will lead to a measurable outcome of the sort SPARC is supposed to produce (increased activity, better diet).

    (After all the violent video game worries, is anyone looking at whether Wii sports games are encouraging people to take up real life sport? If not, then this hasn't a hope.)

    These words "researching and developing technology/popular media concepts which look at the best ways to encourage this age group to increase physical activity and make healthy nutrition choices" are weasel words. What does it mean to research a concept that looks at a way to encourage? I think it might mean that they're going to have a go and see if it works. I don't think that SPARC's mission is to research public health education techniques - I would have thought it would be to apply whatever ones there are that have a track record.

    Having said that, from the letter published in the comments, it looks as though a lot of their money is being deployed where it should be.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2936 posts Report Reply

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