"One must always be challenged or challenge yourself to keep things interesting."
Where on the planet are you currently located: San Francisco, USA
So what exactly is your job and how did you go about to achieve that career path, (talk about where you studied and what motivated you to choose this career):
My current role is Senior Manager, Strategic Partnering at Nokia, where I help distill, define, and execute key strategic partnerships across Nokia service lines. These Nokia services lines consist of Nokia Maps, Nokia Messaging and selected media partnerships for our devices or mobile online store.
Now the path that I took to get to this current point in my life is a strange yet compelling one. Firstly since the age of twelve and living in New Zealand I have always wanted to become a graphic designer. I had the ability to draw, compose and envision things in a graphical way, which is something I loved doing. I guess it’s always important to follow and do what makes you happy whenever you can.
From that point onwards during my schooling I worked my way through to accomplish the goal of achieving my diploma in visual arts, majoring in graphic design from Manukau Institute of Technology. I was then ready to hit the professional world of being a full time graphic designer at the age of twenty and had a number of jobs to pick from, and I decided on a job that I thought I would be happy with. As it turns out, it only took me three months to become bored with that job, and I decided to take another job with a software distributor called Renaissance Software Ltd doing customer service (answering phones, taking orders, etc) for the high end graphics and video editing products from Adobe, Macromedia and Metacreations. It was a blast, I got to play with all the latest software for a free, and discover the Internet too, while doing a bit of graphic design on the side.
After six months I began to tire of the constant order taking and dealing with customer problems, it was simply not challenging me. One must always be challenged or challenge yourself to keep things interesting. Just as I was thinking about another change, I was offered the role/promotion as sales specialist for the Macromedia product line. This entailed going directly to potential customers to sell them on the Macromedia products, in order to get a sale I needed to be the product expert within New Zealand, as Renaissance was the sole distributor.
I took to the challenge with gusto (FirstStep.me says: One of our favourite words...Gusto!), loving every minute of the customer interaction and showing what was possible with the software – I had found something to challenge me. During the next three years, I took on more responsibility to manage the inventory purchasing process, marketing, events, and support for the product lines. This enabled me to develop a close relationship with the mother-ship of Macromedia based in San Francisco USA, as I was the main contact. As part of this relationship every year I got to go to the Macromedia Developer Conference based in San Francisco. It seemed 1999 was about to change my life.
During the conference one of my contacts suggested that I should interview for a job posting – Flash Player Marketing Manager, he briefed me on the details and then he said he would arrange a lunch interview with a few people in the next couple of days. Suffice to say 90 minutes later after that lunch I was offered the role and I took it within a heart beat, fully knowing I was leaving behind New Zealand.
From August 1999 through to March 2005 I had a blast at Macromedia, I caught the tail end of the Internet bubble and survived the burst through to acceleration of mobile as content platform. During these times I got to shape the Flash Player on the desktop as the product manager, and then eventually shape the mobile version too. Happily and sadly it was time for a new challenge in the form of a start up, everyone’s got to do one sometime – right.
Needless to say I saw the writing on the wall and pursued other opportunities which is how my current employer Nokia comes into play. Looking back, it was my love for graphic design and software that catapulted me into an unknown but related direction which enabled me to build and find my strengths and learn from a lot of good people along the way. Sometimes, doing and learning in the real world is better than studying the theory of making it happen. (FirstStep.me notes: some smart words!)
What’s a typical working day for you:
That’s a tricky one… Know one day is alike or typical, I guess that’s why I like it. However there are elements that are recurring. From partner interaction, to defining a strategy around which partners would be ideal and best suited for our upcoming products, to finally the execution of the deal.
All jobs have challenges, what would you say are some of yours:
There are a few areas that have an effect on a person and companies performance.
1)Speed of execution. People and companies often don’t have the right strategy in place or just take to long to analysis the issue. Therefore by the time you have figured out what to execute, your competition has already passed you and the playing field has changed.
2)Company culture. You need to be apart of the right atmosphere, contributing to the company spirit in order to help accomplish tasks is important and allows people to feel part of the effort versus just being a cog in the big process. Things need to be fun.
3)Politics. People spend way to much time worrying about other people within the company. One needs to focus and worry about your own world.
These three things need to be managed in order to be successful.
Where do you see yourself in five years time:
Hopefully retired,but I have too many hobbies and I am infected by the travel bug, so I think I will be working a lot longer.
Seriously… the next evolution is to continue my career at Nokia and work towards managing a product or service line. While continuing to challenge myself and have an impact with what I do.
Do you believe in studying as a key to success in all careers:
Yes, studying is key to have a fundamental understanding of the business and environment that you are going to be tackling and entering. However sometimes you have to learn as you go.
Highlights of your career so far:
Living and working in the San Francisco, what a great place!
Being the product manager for Flash Player 5, 6 and 7...
Helping shape the Flash Player for mobile devices!
Meeting and getting to know so many great people.
Funniest moment of your career so far:
Steve Jobs from Apple requesting that I be fired… which didn’t happen thank god. Nothing more needs to be said. (FirstStep.me raises eyebrows!)
Okay serious questions over:
If you weren’t a business development manager you would be a race car driver or world sailor.
Country- New Zealand
City- Berlin, Germany
Food- Meat Pies
Movie- The Karate Kid (FirstStep.me say's now there is a goodie!)
Book- Omnivore’s Dilemma
Words of wisdom for the youth of the globe:
Always do something you love, and constantly challenge yourself.
Work hard! Play hard!