Welcome to Residents of Rewired! It’s an occasional series about some of the interesting residents we have nestled in our new Auckland co-working space. We chat to them about their ventures, their passions, some fascinating facts, and what makes them tick.
“If you’re in a running race and you hit a hurdle and fall, you just gotta get back up and keep running. Now apply that to starting a business.”
We chat to Denym Bird about his business ventures and what his secret to success is.
Tell me a bit about your story
So I run a couple of companies. Let’s chat first about Paintvine, our painting and wine company which is evolving into a creative events business. We went from running our first painting night at Rec Bar in Auckland and now host creative events across the whole of New Zealand.
My business partner and I first came across the idea on a visit to the States. It was an experience that I hadn’t had since I was a kid – that feeling of creating something and taking it home with you. It was quite unique and I thought “well, no one’s doing it here in New Zealand, so I may as well give it a crack”. Alex, my co founder, and I came together and found an artist who was keen to give it a go, found a bar that was willing to participate, invited all our friends along and put on a bar tab. They all love it, so two days after that I built a website, advertised our first event on Facebook and within a week it sold out. That’s when I was like “oh wow, there’s really something here that we can do more of”.
The idea is that everyone learns how to paint the same painting with one expert artist, over a few glasses of wine. It’s as simple as an art class in a bar, really. Everyone finishes the night having had a few drinks and they get to take a painting home with them – they’ve created something they’ve probably not created since they were kids. We’ve now got two full time staff and 17 contractors throughout the country, and we’re experimenting with different types of creative events. Our new one is Paintvine After Dark – it’s the same thing but with UV black lights, glow in the dark paint, a DJ and the set up is like a mini rave. Same, same but different.
I also run another company called Cryptosaver which I started up around the same time with my good friend Jack. It’s a cryptocurrency platform where you can buy bitcoin in smaller amounts, by ‘subscribing’ to our platform with your wallet. You set up an automatic payment and we distribute the bitcoin to you at the spot price of bitcoin at the time. I’ve always been interested in bitcoin, and I never found a way to buy smaller amounts of it regularly and in an affordable way, because of the transaction costs. So the idea is that if you want to buy a little bit every week – like most people can typically afford – we provide that for you. We built the platform to do that and to distribute it, and after launching here we took it over to Australia. We now have a business partner over there who invested in us, and it’s now an Australian business that we’re slowly scaling up.
My final venture is the marketing agency that I run that powers everything I do called Hypergiant. I have a handful of large clients that I run an outsourced CMO/marketing team function for – primarily software companies. One of the most exciting ones is Xero app partner and e-commerce accounting connector A2X. I’m really interested in marketing automation and evangelism – and helping turn happy customers into promoters. My background is in digital marketing, and after spending over 4 years in the digital marketing trenches at Tradify and Coachseek I decided to branch out and start my own businesses using the skills I had.
So, why Rewired?
Coming to Rewired has been great for building our culture. I haven’t always worked for places with the best culture so I wanted to integrate into an existing culture that I already liked – in terms of the tech scene. I also get a healthy amount of challenges on the table tennis court each week, Eaden and I are still the reigning champions of the Rewired Table Tennis cup.
I also wanted to be closer to the Xero ecosystem community because the next project I am eyeing up is to develop an app that integrates with Xero. Rewired gives me access to networks and opportunities with other companies that are here. It’s the whole cross-pollination of ideas. For instance, I’ve had some interviews with members here about problems they have and from it I’ve already got two really good app ideas, which I’m now in the process of building MVPs for. That’s going to be the basis of the next app that I’m planning to build.
What has been the most rewarding in your career?
For me it’s about the joy of creating a business that adds value and brings joy. I distinctly remember the first Paintvine event I went to – I stood back watching the room of people all laughing and creating these memories. And I remember thinking to myself “I thought about this idea, and now they are all having a really good time because of the idea I had, which I brought to life.” It was really fulfilling.
And what has been the most challenging?
When you start a business there’s two key risks you’re trying to overcome to avoid failure: idea risk, where there is no product market fit for your idea, and an execution risk, where you and your team are unable to capture the opportunity in front of you. And for me probably the hardest thing about starting a business is the execution. Opportunities aren’t hard to come by – you can find ideas anywhere, they’re a dime a dozen. It’s finding the time, the team and the skills to execute on those ideas and opportunities that’s difficult.
What’s some advice you’d give to someone thinking of starting up their own business?
Screw it just do it – love that Richard Branson quote it embodies the idea that you shouldn’t waste your time sitting on your hands, even if you’re going to fail. I’ve started about 30 businesses in my short 26 years, and I’ve found that you’re only really defined by your successes. Nobody sees the 27 other businesses I’ve tried to start up or the hard lessons learnt – but they all flow through into whats successful today.
The best advice I have is – every time you run and you hit a hurdle you just get back up and keep running. The odds of you succeeding only get higher the more you try – if you increase the number of times you give it a go, the chances that you will achieve success will increase. So back yourself.
And now a few rapid fire questions – fave song at the moment?
Renaissance – Culture Shock
Fave class in high school?
Media studies and photography
Reworked by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson.