Meet the Boss: Freeview's Sam Irvine

00:42, Aug 07 2014
Sam Irvine
DINNER DATES: Who would Freeview boss Sam Irvine invite to his dream dinner party?

Sam Irvine, general manager of Freeview, tells us why he likes doing business in Auckland and why the customer is always right.

It's election year - what could the Government do to help business?
Act on the recommendations of the Productivity Commission's report on boosting productivity in the services sector. A healthy level of competition is an important pre-requisite for lifting productivity.

It drives innovation and gives consumers more choice, better products and lower prices. So a review of S36 of the commerce act would be a great start.

What do you like about doing business in Auckland?
Auckland, along with other New Zealand cities, is building a really great hub of technology-based business's that are globally relevant and competitive.  

However you would have to say that transport issues are, and will continue to be, a significant drag on productivity in the Auckland region but otherwise New Zealand's relatively open and transparent business practices make it easy to conduct your business here. I would preface that with my answer to the first question.

What's the biggest business mistake you've made?
Not listening enough - the customer is always right.

How will your business look in 10 years?

There will be significant technology innovation and developments in the area of viewer experience particularly for program discovery and television control. However one thing won't change and that's great content will always be great content and that's what viewers will always actively seek out.

I also think there is a new model for business developing which is driving business's to really engage with their employees and customers.  Tomorrow's customers and employees want you to connect with them for more than just commercial profit.

What's the best advice you've been given?
There's no such word as "can't" - I think these days it means more to me than when I was told it as a child and it would be great if our education system instilled this in all our kids enabling them to all aim to be the very best they can be and to have the confidence and resilience to keep trying.

What did the GFC teach you about business?

New Zealand had a relatively shallow recession compared to other countries so I don't think the impacts were as profound here as they were elsewhere.

However it did focus you on what was really driving your business and also highlighted the importance of acknowledging the impacts a recession has on your staff and customers.

Why should people and companies do business in NZ?
It's the best test market in the world and the best place in the world to develop technology - an educated population and a culture of innovation.

Tell us something that would surprise us about yourself.
I have a scar on my hand from cycling in Vietnam - it's a long story!

Who would you invite to your dream dinner party?
Dick Costolo , Arianna Huffington , Steve Coogan, Tim Winton - new business insights, a few laughs and some creative tension accompanied by some kiwi music from Suren Unka.

What question do you wish reporters would ask you?
The next one -  I'm not good with long silences.