Stocktake, The Spinoff’s new business newsletter, will be out every Tuesday morning. (Image: Tina Tiller)
Stocktake, The Spinoff’s new business newsletter, will be out every Tuesday morning. (Image: Tina Tiller)

BusinessJune 20, 2022

Why we’re starting a business newsletter at the worst possible time

Stocktake, The Spinoff’s new business newsletter, will be out every Tuesday morning. (Image: Tina Tiller)
Stocktake, The Spinoff’s new business newsletter, will be out every Tuesday morning. (Image: Tina Tiller)

Everything you need to know about Stocktake, The Spinoff’s new weekly business bulletin.

Kia ora, haere mai and welcome to Stocktake, our brand new business newsletter, written by me, The Spinoff’s business editor, Chris Schulz, and brought to you in partnership with Kiwibank. With Stocktake, I’m following the people behind the businesses driving Aotearoa, and telling stories about how forces affecting the economy are impacting us. We’ll be here first thing every Tuesday morning to bring you exclusive interviews, trend reports, deep dives, podcast recommendations, reviews, opinions, analysis and more. No boring stuff, promise!

Sign up to Stocktake and go in the draw to win one of three prize packs from Fix and Fogg – one of our favourite business success stories. Two subscribers will receive a six-month supply and one lucky winner a full year’s supply of Fix and Fogg’s delicious nut butters.

Petrol prices are skyrocketing. So are grocery bills. Inflation’s going up, as are interest rates. Supply chain issues impact everything from electric cars to grain supplies. The tentacles of Russia’s terrible war with Ukraine, and China’s continued Covid-19 lockdowns, are spreading far and wide. Building supplies cost so much that some developers can’t afford to do their jobs any more. The stockmarket’s dipping and diving like a rollercoaster. The housing market is sliding, and employment is just as topsy turvy, with gaps appearing all over the place.

Then there’s cheese which, at $20 for a 1kg block of Tasty, has reached what was previously considered a very ridiculous ceiling. This single item perfectly highlights the escalating cost of living crisis. Soon, a simple trip to the supermarket could become a luxury experience.

Great time to start a business newsletter, eh?

Actually, it is. Baked into all of that chaos is a demand for change, a new way of looking at things, and a fresh generation of startups and investors who are choosing to do things differently, because the old way doesn’t work any more. If you’ve followed my work recently you may have noticed I’ve been covering this emerging generation of business leaders closely, from Hawke’s Bay’s sausage angel to the fast-growing online grocer Supie, from the evolving energy drink market to the exploding demand for second-hand 90s boy racer cars. I love nothing more than a juicy tale of rags-to-riches, or riches-to-rags, of Kiwi ingenuity and  inspired use of number eight wire, and all of the fascinating details those stories can deliver.

So, yes, I’m starting a business newsletter. Kia ora! Welcome! After some very heated debates around The Spinoff office, we’ve settled on Stocktake (RIP “Smart Casual” and “The Bottom Line”). I’ll be hosting it right here every Tuesday morning. If you too get lulled to sleep by numbers and data and stats, you’re in a safe space. This is a business newsletter for people who really don’t want a “business” newsletter landing in their inbox.

We’ll kick each one off with an explainer, a simple introduction to a complicated topic that attempts to find out why that thing you may have never thought about is affecting us in such a major way. (Coming tomorrow: the huge number of staff shortages around the country). Then we’ll get into news highlights, big reads, podcast recommendations, and finish with a review: a tech toy or gadget, or an app or a website.

You might see some familiar names pop up, because I couldn’t do this without a talented team that’s right there beside me. There’s my colleague Reweti Kohere, who’s penned excellent features lately about the deflating rental market and why you should be planning your retirement. There’s Simon Pound, the host of the excellent podcast Business is Boring, Duncan Greive, who hosts the fascinating weekly media podcast The Fold, and Bernard Hickey, who writes Subtack newsletter The Kākā and helms our When the Facts Change podcast. Plus, there’s an entire editorial team of Spinoff staff writers who ruin me with their brilliance every single day.

Why me? Great question. I didn’t have “business newsletter editor” on my 2022 career-pivot bingo card. In fact, when the idea was initially pitched to me, my first instinct was to run and hide behind something very large. I’ve spent 20 years covering music, film and TV, so, initially, focusing on business seemed like a terrible mismatch. One look at my lacklustre Sharesies account should probably be enough proof that I’m not the right person to do this. If you ask me to explain NFTs to you, well, we might be here a while.

But it took me all of 10 minutes to realise that it’s exactly what I want to do. Perhaps more than anything, business is conducted by people, for people. I know people. I quite like people. They’re pretty important. And I talk to, and write about, people all the time. Without them, I wouldn’t have a single story to tell. Besides, I was already doing it, diving into stories like Taupō’s Hole in One Challenge, or following streaming trends, like Netflix’s recent nose-dive, or taking a wander down a decimated Queen Street. When you really think about it, they’re business stories at heart, with real people behind them.

My objective is to find those people. Whether you’re a start-up with big dreams and just getting started, or you’re deep down the rabbit hole while doing something spectacular, we’d like to hear from you. I know what it’s like to start a business, and I know how brutal those early struggles can be. In search of heaven, you can go through hell. In 2019, I had big dreams of becoming the Nadia Lim of weekend brunch. I tried, and got some of the way, and it didn’t pan out as I’d hoped. But it’s a good story, one you can read about here.

So, this new remit has opened up my world, and given me a chance to write about an incredibly wide variety of absolutely fascinating people and crazed business ideas, as well as jumping on emerging trends. Basically, my attitude is the same as it has always been, to stumble into situations I don’t understand with a dumb expression on my face, ready to ask questions, and willing to learn. The plan is to emerge educated, enlightened, ready to share that wisdom — and have a ripping yarn to boot.

If you want stockmarket analysis, property market assessments, or employment stats, you should head off and find that elsewhere. It’s already being done. That’s not what we’re doing here. If you want business stories full of twists and turns, fascinating angles, and wonderful characters, you’ve come to the right place. Plus, you can rest assured I’ll always find room for random nostalgia pieces, like this cooked 1997 Radio Hauraki promotion that went very wrong. See! That’s a business story, with people at its heart. It would make an excellent movie.

So that’s me, and this is Stocktake. I’m looking forward to writing it, and I hope you’ll sign up to read it, and become part of a like-minded community. You can do that below, and I look forward to talking to you more tomorrow, when the first episode of Stocktake will be sent directly to your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Stocktake newsletter – and maybe win heaps of nut butter! – here.

Mad Chapman, Editor
Aotearoa continues to adapt to a new reality and The Spinoff is right there, sorting fact from fiction to bring you the latest updates and biggest stories. Help us continue this coverage, and so much more, by supporting The Spinoff Members.Madeleine Chapman, EditorJoin Members

Get The Spinoff
in your inbox