Ministerial press secretary gets into Internet business

The IT IQ at Parliament will take a dip on Friday when John Spavin leaves his job as press secretary to Information Technology Minister Maurice Williamson.

The IT IQ at Parliament will take a dip on Friday when John Spavin leaves his job as press secretary to Information Technology Minister Maurice Williamson.

Spavin has established a reputation as a popular and knowledgeable sounding board for IT topics in the government domain and he has penned IT-related speeches for the Prime Minister and others. He leaves to work on his "cottage industry" Web business, Netco.

"I had all this hardware sitting around at home, depreciating before my eyes," says Spavin, referring to the Challenge Server and Indy workstation he won in a Silicon Graphics competition in March last year. "I had to use it or sell it."

Netco will offer Website hosting, development and authoring services, and Spavin has already begun one of the company's first jobs--a proper Cabinet home page with its own domain.

"It's inevitable that I'll be doing a lot of work for government agencies, because I live in Wellington, and because they have information they need to make publicly available," says Spavin. "But the whole business is bloody good fun. For some reason, it seems to appeal to journalists--there are people like Paul Reynolds doing similar things. I'm not sure why that's so."

Perhaps it's the thrill of being able to publish without the watchful eye of an editor?

"No! I'll be working for paying customers and I'm sure they're much more demanding than editors!"

You'll be able to ask Spavin all the questions you've ever wanted answered about technology and government when he is the subject of the @IDG Friday Fry-up on July 5. You have until 3pm Wednesday July 3 to submit your burning questions to fry-up@idg.co.nz.

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