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A sparkling young exporter


The car-friendly guide to fixing human-made greenhouse emissions.

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A sparkling young exporter

I've been itching to write about the November 2013 issue of Engineering Insight ever since I sent in my contribution. Working on that issue was a highlight of my business year.

Back in July I heard about a manufacturer with a fascinating product. In a single hand-held device, ikeGPS combines a computer, digital camera, GPS, laser rangefinder, magnetometer, and some pretty smart software. Result: A product that quite literally had customers beating a path to the manufacturer's door.

I pitched the story of Leon Toorenburg's ikeGPS to Engineering Insight. They pretty-much said: "We want it yesterday." I was rapt. Leon's an individualistic entrepreneur in the tradition of Bill Hamilton and Angus Tait. Right now his company is flat out making their own product obsolete, which will make it damn difficult for any competitor to break into the market. The best part is that Toorenburg's company created its own market. There's no precedent for ikeGPS. It's a genuine invention, created by a driven individualist who passionately wants to be an inventor.

There's a sparkle about ikeGPS's factory that you don't often feel. I'm not sure what it is, but I strongly suspect it has something to do with Leon's passion for technology. The story's a classic: Engineer develops product, goes out and looks for a market. It's the reverse of what the marketing textbooks say we should do. Venture capitalists love it. They can show the techies how it should be done.

Whatever else you do this month, get a copy of Engineering Insight. The November issue highlights Kiwi engineers doing their thing in overseas markets. It's packed with must-read stories about Kiwi engineers having fun creating wealth.

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