Sam Bonney, Lightning Lab Programme Manager. Brief intro, vision and values.

Posted on November 8, 2012 · Posted in Programme Manager

With new mentors committing support to Lightning Lab regularly we’ve been making sure you get to know them and their skills. Potentially you’ve spotted one already that your startup needs.

In the hustle, the Lightning Lab team itself has taken a back seat – and rightfully so because the mentors are awesome – but our team came up earlier this week when we were discussing how important ‘teams’ are for applying startups. *Note – very important*. Criteria for teams goes further than just skills and experience. It extends to the vision and values you hold too.

So on that note, we had an excellent session Monday facilitated by Dan Khan (now going full throttle in his role as Lightning Lab Driver) where we took the opportunity to again go over the vision and values we share for Lightning Lab. It got me pretty fired up to be honest so I thought I’d use that as the basis for my first post and encourage the rest of our team this week to use the same format.

So who am I?

Sam Bonney – Lightning Lab Programme Manager.

Rocking the newly arrived Lightning Lab Tee ft. a stylized version of Brian-the-Brain Car.

If you stalk me on Facebook you’ll find I’m a guy in my early 20’s living in Wellington, New Zealand. About to graduate from Massey University with a BBS majoring in Entrepreneurship, I interned with Creative HQ (Wellington’s incubator) from February until September mostly working on research projects to support the establishment of Lightning Lab as part of this last year’s study until I was shoulder tapped to fill this role.

What does someone young like me bring to The Lab? Well, when The Lab is running it’s gonna be all on. It won’t be 9-5 and it’s going to take a certain stamina to keep up. I’ve got what people (probably those who don’t have it) call ‘youthful energy’.

That energy is also coupled with my own previous experience in startups. I’ve run two, one of which I dropped out of uni to pursue, and another which I managed to work fulltime on while somehow holding down a full courseload. I’ve yet to have my first success, but I’ve got further than most  and now I’ve got startup scars that can match the best of them.

My Lightning Lab responsibilities are largely around the day-today running of the lab facility, event management and mentor coordination.

I’m extremely open about why I agreed to be part of Lightning Lab. I’m between startup ideas, so why not get paid to a) get on a first name basis with NZ’s business movers and shakers, b) meet ten teams worth of the best entrepreneurial talent (maybe I can convince them to be a co-founder one day) and c) learn from the successes and failures of ten other companies. Sounds like a pretty good deal.

When we talked vision for Lightning Lab one of the things that got me excited was the idea of ‘Cash & Experience’. That’s what we’ll strive for and I think anyone would be flat out lying to you if they say didn’t need more cash and/or experience in any aspect of their life, let alone in business. Another exciting concept was that of Lightning Lab being a ‘Physical Hub’. One part of it is that we’ll have all the Lab teams working from one place come the start of next year. That’s wicked because there is an indescribable energy from working in a busy place. I didn’t realise what I was missing working in a quiet office on my last startup until I experienced the energy of a co-working space. The other part of being a ‘Physical Hub’ is that sometimes the strength of a community comes from having somewhere to point to a call your spiritual home (my views on this a post for another time). I hope that Lightning Lab becomes somewhere that people can go to and feel like they are physically at the centre of New Zealand digital innovation.

When we talked values the four that stood out to me were Passion, Execution, Family Culture, and one that can’t really be succinctly described but is sort of like “I will relate to you like you are a really big person and you can handle it”. If we can continue to embody that, I’m going to continue to love doing this!

So, hope you learned a little about me – the guy who is really on the other end of the ‘Contact Us’ page – and that you feel a bit wiser about the inner workings of Lightning Lab. Over the next few days I’ll round up some brief posts by other key people behind the Lightning Lab so you can learn a bit more about them too.


*Thinking of applying? DO IT! 4 Weeks until applications close guys. Remember, extra consideration given to those that apply early and provide regular updates. I’m on your team to help you craft the best application possible.*