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25 things with Claudia Batten

Claudia Batten is an entrepreneur who lives in the United States where she’s built several technology companies: Massive Incorporated, which sold to Microsoft, and Victor & Spoils, which sold to global advertising company Havas Worldwide [and recently closed down]. She’s passionate about technology and creating businesses of the future, working tirelessly with countless New Zealand tech companies as advisor and mentor. She’s spent the last three years working with New Zealand Trade and Enterprise as its North American regional director and is currently a director of Serko (an online travel booking tool) and digital advisor to the board of Westpac New Zealand. 

Five things that worry you about social media

  1. After being a huge proponent of social media early on, I am now worried we are too absorbed by the medium.
  2. I worry that we care more about taking a good photo for Instagram than we do about being in the moment.
  3. I worry we care more about what other people think about how our life looks than we care about how our life feels.
  4. I worry our views on beauty are being warped beyond all recognition.
  5. And I worry we are getting too polarised by people stating opinion and ‘facts’ on social media and in the process that we are losing the art of openness, inquiry and discourse.

Five things you predict for 2038

  1. Everything we know about health and wellness will have changed, and we will be obsessing much more over our gut bacteria than our blood pressure.
  2. Interruptive advertising will be a thing of the distant past (please, it MUST have happened by now) and marketing will be a much more subtle and transparent art form.
  3. Everything will be automated and intelligent, we will all have an AI assistant who orders our groceries, manages our mail, optimises our finances, helps us with legal matters and manages our bills and accounting. We will not spend a minute thinking about these things.
  4. No one will go to university as we know it now. I’m still not sure about traditional schooling. Parents still need somewhere for the kids to go while they are at work, so let’s stick with University.
  5. Miraculously, I will still be 27.

Five things you wish you knew before you started a career in tech

  1. To start sooner.
  2. To be more outrageous and aggressive about what is possible.
  3. That everything will take about five years longer to happen than I think it will.
  4. To raise more capital for less equity, always.
  5. How to code.

Five things you wish New Zealand would do to support the tech sector

16 – 20.  I don’t have five things, I have one thing. While I do think there is money in the system to fund start-ups and I do see a lot of good businesses get funding, I think as a nation we are very conservative investors. Many of the riskier and big idea start-ups need to head offshore for their later stage rounds. On one level, this can be beneficial as offshore money typically also comes with international scale expertise and deep networks – both which are crucial to scale. My concern is that as a nation, this also means we lose a lot of the benefit when that company exits as the money stays offshore. So I would love to see more later stage funding of companies, especially those with unconventional ideas – ‘moonshots’ as we like to call them in the US.

Five things that can be done to support tech entrepreneurs

  1. Make the planes faster.
  2. Make the days longer.
  3. Make the caffeine stronger.
  4. Make the money go further.
  5. Make the customers say yes quicker.

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