Why our banks are friending FinTech startups

FinTech is an emerging trend worldwide and in some parts of the world, has big banking institutions on the run (so to speak). The Economist recently named China “the world’s leader in fintech,” thanks to its thriving mobile commerce ecosystem and “backward banks.” There is a nascent FinTech industry in New Zealand too. But unlike … Read more

Why mobile payments are huge in China, but neglected in the West

Silicon Valley is rightly seen as the world’s centre of technological innovation. But there’s one major technology category where Silicon Valley continues to be a laggard: e-commerce payments. Other than Paypal, a flawed product that somehow managed to dominate the early e-commerce ecosystem, there have been very few breakout online payments companies. Square and Stripe … Read more

3D printing: more than just rocket parts & movie props

3D printing is one of those gee-whiz technologies that pops up from time to time in the media. Rockets with 3D printed engines! Peter Jackson’s 3D printed props! Those are the glamour stories. But what I want to know – and what I set out to discover in the writing of this column – is … Read more

Why we should invest in startups, not housing

For New Zealand, a small country thousands of miles away from nearly everyone else, digital trade is critical to our future growth. Technology is already the third biggest export sector in this country, behind our stalwart industries dairy and tourism. But there’s still a lot that needs to be done to help us compete in … Read more

Is the gene editing revolution passing New Zealand by

New Zealand is a proudly GE-free country, meaning it is illegal to produce or sell genetically engineered foods here. There are some exclusions for processed foods that have imported GE ingredients, like soy or corn flour, but they must be approved by a local authority and clearly labelled. However, there is zero tolerance for GE … Read more

Mixed Reality set to soar while VR stays grounded

2016 was supposed to be the year Virtual Reality (VR) made it big. Three premium VR headsets launched, prompting one analyst to forecast total sales of 12.2 million headsets by the end of the year. In reality, it ended up being 1.5 million. That’s a big miss by anyone’s calculations. The same analyst predicted Facebook … Read more

My Debut Newsroom Column: Why Google Puts AI First


My weekly tech column has just launched at Newsroom, a New Zealand-based news and current affairs website. My debut column is about how Google is ushering in a new era of “AI first” technologies. This won’t be an era of shiny devices. To paraphrase Doc from Back to the Future, “Where we’re going we don’t need … Read more

Micro-targeting on Facebook to win elections

When Donald Trump was elected US President in November last year, it ushered in more than just a new era of political turmoil. It also signalled a potentially dangerous new era in social engineering. A big part of the reason why Trump won is the incredible job done by his digital team, who used a … Read more

Why Google puts AI first

For many years Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) has been hyped as the world’s next big groundbreaking technology. But till recently, the closest we’ve got to seeing A.I. in action was on the big screen. From evil computer HAL 9000 in 2001: A Space Odyssey, to Scarlett Johansson’s breathless A.I. in Her, there’s been a rich tradition … Read more

My New Gig: Tech Columnist At Newsroom


I’m pleased to announce my role as Tech Columnist at Newsroom, a soon to be launched news and current affairs website. Full details in the press release below. See also Newsroom’s announcement. *** February 22, 2017 – Newsroom is pleased to announce that Richard MacManus, the founder of ReadWriteWeb, will be Newsroom’s Technology columnist. MacManus launched … Read more