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NZ to teach programming in schools

I’m pleased that computer programming is becoming part of the NZ school curriculum.

But lets not forget that the tech industry is a multi-diciplinary one made up of designers, testers, UX specialists, marketers, business folk – not just programmers.

I hope the proposed curriculum is much wider than just ‘teaching programming’. Programming isn’t for everyone, and if kids are (wrongly) led to assume that if they can’t code they can’t be in the tech industry, then that will be a major loss for a generation of kids, and our country.


  1. Don’t labour the fundamentals. Let them discover, don’t make them learn sorting algorithms. Lets not make Python the new Shakespeare.
  2. Focus on creativity. Allow kids to decide what they want to create, them empower them to do it.
  3. Focus on collaboration. Demonstrate how utilizing different talents in a team can allow us to create something amazing.

Ultimately, kids will teach themselves, but we set the paramters. Lets get this right.

Well… we won!

Backstage at the Sports Emmys. Left to right : John Rendall – Animation Research Ltd, Ian Burns – Oracle Team USA, Jimmy Spithill – Oracle Team USA, Stu Sharpe – Cannonball Software, Nathan Martin – Moving Pixel.

Last week in New York, the America’s Cup Official Mobile App won the Emmy award for the category Outstanding New Approaches – Sports Event Coverage.

It was wonderful to be able to share the excitement with friends and family back home through social media and email.  More than one person was telling me to “Get off Twitter and enjoy yourself!”, but in truth I really was enjoying the virtual celebration happening online as much as the party in NYC.

I’m very honoured to have been part of such a talented team. A huge thanks to Ian Taylor and John Rendall of Animation Research Ltd for making this happen. Animation Research Ltd is a company that brings together smaller local companies, giving us access to networks and opportunities that we could never get otherwise. More companies need to start working like this, as this is how we create *true* growth in the New Zealand tech sector.

Here’s the TV One story.  Kudos to TVNZ’s US Correspondent Jack Tame, for getting these shots so soon after the event – we were still buzzing, as you can tell.

Kiwi designers win Sports Emmy for America’s Cup app

Here are some photos from the night and trip home.  Enjoy!

America’s Cup App – TV3 story

Brooke Gardiner of TV3 spoke to us as part of a story on the America’s Cup App.

That’s me on the pier on Kelvin Peninsula in Queenstown.  Very lucky to have such a good view from my office.  Fishing isn’t bad either.

Big thanks to all involved, and especially to Ian Taylor and John Rendall of Animation Research Ltd.  This is a great example of a New Zealand company that chooses to work with local talent and can encourage true growth of our local tech sector, by giving smaller developers access to opportunities and networks that we would never be able to get ourselves.

Animation Research Ltd (ARL) contracted in other devs as well as ourselves that didn’t get explicitly mentioned in the story, but deserve a shout-out here:

– Nathan Martin, Moving Pixel, Dunedin.  (Design)

– James Sugrue, SoftwareEx, Timaru (Android port)

– George Sealy, Greengage, Dunedin (3D viewer in Live data mode)

ARL also developed and published the official Emirates Team NZ app.  For whom we also need to thank:

– Michael Tandecki, Six Foot Three Foot, Wellington


Kiwi-made America’s Cup app impresses Apple



This is cool..

Ben and Phil from Virtual Eye, watching the Lous Vuitton Cup action live on the Americas Cup app while covering the PGA Championship in Rochester NY.


(image courtesy of Virtual Eye)


Lets Go!!

Cannonball is moving to Queenstown, New Zealand!

This has been a plan in the making for around two years now, so we’re very excited about the move.  Myself, I’m looking forward to returning to my old stomping grounds and giving my kids the same lifestyle that I was so fortunate to enjoy growing up.

When I settled on my chosen career, I had resigned myself to the fact that I would likely never return to this wonderful corner of the world.  And yet, here we are, 15 years on and lucky enough to work in an industry that allows you to work from pretty much anywhere.

I’ve been glad to have met some more developers, much like us, currently basing themselves in the Queenstown/Wanaka area.  I really hadn’t expected there to be much going on in the area development-wise, but was stoked to find that there is a little scene cooking all on its own.




Welcome to Cannonball.

Hi all.

You’ve found us.  Come for the coffee, stay for the conversation :).