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Seventh Heaven - Speed Dating for Entrepreneurs

6 May 2016

It's not often that I delve into the realm of 'original ideas' other than to find solutions to my own first world problems (like how to find a hat that will survive the Wellington wind). However my 7 X 7 experience introduced me to a new hat altogether - an entrepreneurial one. I left feeling like I had the nouse to create the next Uber.

So let me break it down for you. The concept for 7 x 7 is pretty straightforward. Seven innovative people, talking for seven minutes each. It's basically an ideas forum, where individuals present their personal success stories in an attempt to inspire Wellingtonians to go out and create their own.

7x7 was launched in 2000 by Brian Sweeney, founder of New Zealand-based international communications consultancy, SweeneyVesty, and filmmaker Jan Bieringa. Sweeney has already taken the idea to New York, where 7 x 7 has burgeoned for the past seven years. And now they are back!  

I was lucky enough to go along to their first event and listen to some pretty interesting people:

  1. Brian Sweeney, Founder, SweeneyVesty
  2. Phil Veal, CEO, Rangatira Investments
  3. Shift Design, Team from Victoria University of Wellington’s School of Architecture
  4. Steve Menzies & Jane Gibson, Flinch Marketing
  5. Declan Ramsay, The Lucid Effect
  6. Mark Amery / Sophie Jerram, Letting Space
  7. Phil Brough, DotLovesData

From the list it may sound like you have to be an entrepreneur to get involved in 7 x 7, but in fact it’s a total mixed bag. We had architects, data scientists, curators, CEOs. Plus there is always one spot left open for an artist of some description - be it musical, artistic, comedic - whatever you have to offer really!

A personal standout of the evening was Phil Veal’s talk. As CEO of Rangatira Investments, his talk focussed on building business. The theme of the evening was raising ambition and getting New Zealanders to see ourselves as leaders.  He chastised New Zealand on the classic ‘yeah naah’ mentality, and begs us to be as competitive in business as we are on the rugby field.  

The refreshing thing about 7 x 7 was that it didn’t feel like a bunch of successful people pandering to an audience, nor did it feel like preaching. All the speakers created a light, humourous mood which kept the audience captivated. Even landed with the hard task of the final spot, musician Declan Ramsay had me right to the end. And believe me that’s no mean feat when you’re the last thing standing between me and a Peroni.

If you are interested in heading along to their next event just pop onto their website and ask for an invite! 

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