I love Auckland. I arrived in Auckland Friday night after finishing my meetings in Melbourne, Australia earlier in the day. I’ve spent the whole weekend here island hopping, wine tasting, and picture taking. New Zealand is as beautiful as you imagine it to be.

On Monday was our executive breakfast. We had around 30 people from all over New Zealand attend. I presented a longer version of my FutureStack talk on enabling cloud migrations and dynamic infrastructures. Afterwards, we had a more intimate meeting with key individuals from several of those attending the morning event. This was a Q&A session and several good questions were asked. I was pleasantly surprised to see how open execs from different companies could be with each other in such a casual setting. It really demonstrated the open and friendly nature that is New Zealand.

I also saw demonstrated on multiple occasions how, even though NZ is a small and relatively isolated nation, the people you know and the connections you make are as important to NZ culture as the services you provide. I learned the real meaning of the NZ “two degrees of separation”…chances are high that someone you know, knows almost anyone else in NZ. It really is a small world here. Small, but friendly and very productive.

After that, I had private meetings with a few of our key customers in a few different industries.

It’s clear to me that the cloud is a critical component for businesses in the middle of a digital transformation in New Zealand. Many of their struggles are the same as other companies across the world. But they also have some unique requirements. New Zealand is a small country that is physically isolated from the rest of the world. This gives tremendous opportunity for local businesses to fill the gap of larger enterprises that cover much of the rest of the globe. For these companies, fast and nimble execution is even more critical than it is for their more global counterparts, and they must be fast and nimble with reduced resources and reduced customer opportunity. There is no room for error and no room for waste.

So far on my world tour, New Zealand is my greatest surprise. It’s a beautiful country with warm, friendly, and inviting people. But people that take their business seriously.

This was my first trip to NZ…pronounced “InZed” here…but I am absolutely certain it won’t be my last.