A week ago Catalyst Cloud launched a low-cost storage service. Or to be accurate its Object Storage service. You can see the full press release at Scoop.
The story didn’t get a run in any reputable New Zealand media.
Contrast this with the extensive coverage Microsoft got the following day when it announced it was opening a New Zealand cloud region.
The prime minister even talked about it on TV.
My point here isn’t about New Zealand media giving the overseas company a bigger run than the local company. Although that could be a story in its own right – see Comparing the stories below.
What the contrast between two stories show is how much damage the lack of local technology coverage does to New Zealand’s home grown technology sector.
No-one here has the resources to file a story that is, by local standards, somewhat significant.
No one is watching, does anyone care?
We no longer have a native technology press. It’s a situation which, presumably, will be worse again if or when Stuff is no longer operating as a separate entity.
Last month Bauer Media closed its New Zealand operation shutting off Peter Griffin’s excellent regular features in the Listener.
The most visible remaining NZ tech title, Reseller News, is run out of Australia, with a part time local reporter. The Herald, Stuff, RNZ and Newsroom all have the occasional story, but it is mainly sporadic and far from comprehensive coverage.
An exception would be Juha Saarinen’s regular Herald columns.
This web site is also sporadic. There are stories here, but they are written in between my paying journalism work. That means it can’t be timely.
There are a couple of other outlets, but the big picture is that New Zealand can no longer sustain a commercial tech publishing sector with the resources to cover stories like the Catalyst Cloud storage launch.
Filling the vacuum are many overseas sites. Whatever their merits, they are not going to zoom in on the activities of a local cloud provider.
Comparing the stories
There’s no question the arrival of a New Zealand Microsoft cloud region is the bigger news story. Microsoft is the world’s second largest cloud operator, it has many customers here and there is a pent-up demand for a world-scale cloud operator to open shop in New Zealand.
In contrast, the Catalyst story, is, in effect, not much more than a feature update.
There are interesting angles to the Catalyst story. The cost of its Object Storage is on a par with costs for world scale cloud operators. It costs three cents a month to store a gigabyte.
The ‘everything is stored in New Zealand’ angle would be important, but then it’s also an important part of Microsoft’s story. And, no doubt, Microsoft could make the same claim about only using renewable energy.
What this illustrates is the uphill battle a company like Catalyst has to be heard above the noise.
It must be galling for people at Catalyst and other New Zealand technology companies to do something innovative like introducing low cost cloud storage only to wake the following day and see a rival’s news splashed around the place.
Longer term it is a worry. Wikipedia says:
“If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” is a philosophical thought experiment that raises questions regarding observation and perception.
Tech companies need that observation and perception. New Zealand’s tech sector no longer has either.