Tech entrepreneur talks business, career success

  • 04/01/2015

It is a new year and many Kiwis will be tossing up whether to start a new business or make a career change.

Tech entrepreneur Claudia Batten believes there are two paths you can take in life.

She says many people opt for the straight path, but she prefers the one she calls the squiggly path.

"We think that we're here and we want to be there and we expect a straight line. If we expect a straight line the disappointments that we get when that doesn't come feel like failures and they feel like points where we want to give up," she says.

"The point of any great path is that there are surprises along the way."

She chose the squiggly path 12 years ago when she left her job as a lawyer in Wellington to head to the United States, not sure what she was going to do when she arrived.

"I had this moment where I just understood that I needed to be somewhere else," she says. "That's what ultimately led me to leaving New Zealand and moving to New York."

She co-founded Massive – a company that developed a way to download advertising onto video games. It was later sold to Microsoft for up to $400 million.

But she did it not without a lot of long hours, and a complete rethink of Massive's business model.

"The initial idea we had for video game testing software wasn't going to work and ultimately that led us to advertising, so again, another kind of, I call it a squiggly path, a very circuitous route to getting to the ultimate place," she says.

She has since co-founded and sold another startup – Victor and Spoils, a crowd sourced advertising agency.

"Building businesses, I love doing it," says Ms Batten. "I get bored when I'm not, I don't like being on vacation for more than a couple of days because I am already back reading what is going on in the Valley."

She is involved in supporting Auckland's Lightning Lab, which starting in March will give 10 local startups the chance to turn their dreams into reality.

"There is a big resistance in New Zealand to taking on risk because we don't want to be seen to be failing, and so I think it's important for us as an economy and a country that we get past that a little bit."

She believes you should not allow failure to stop you from having another go.

"It's not the failure that's good; it's the learning and the embracing."

Ms Batten says if you are on the wrong path there is still time to change direction.

"I remember feeling my whole life would be a disaster if I didn't study the right thing at school. It's just so irrelevant now, and it's actually kind of irrelevant to even get into university," she says.

"You just need to be passionate, enthusiastic and excited about what you're studying and let all of the rest of it unwind from there."

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source: newshub archive