Home' acuity : Acuity March 15 Contents JENNIFER BLACK is the deputy editor of Acuity.
CLAUDIA BATTEN EVENTS
Claudia Batten is the keynote speaker at two
forthcoming events. The Corporate Sector Conference
on 18 March in Auckland charteredaccountantsanz.
com/corpconf and the Business Forum in Adelaide
on 2 June businessforum.com.au
to create your own recipe.”
Batten saying being an entrepreneur
will mean sacrifices, though she’d call
them something else.
“ The better way to look at it is: this better
be the one thing you really care about.”
The all-consuming nature of pursuing
a dream means people will struggle with
feelings that they are being a terrible
parent or a terrible partner, or whatever
the circumstances are, she says.
“ There’s not a lot of time for you to do
anything else but be obsessed about the
problem you’re trying to solve. Frankly,
if you look at the really big success
stories you’re going to see that most of
those people put their heads down and
don’t say boo to the world for three to
four years to make this thing happen.”
But Batten says she would feel she
was making a sacrifice if she couldn’t
pursue a vision.
“ This is my orientation, this is what I
love doing. I love building businesses. It
would be a sacrifice for me not to do this.”
She says her friends know she’s
“useless” and her husband knows
she’ll work while they travel, as she has
structured her life, which has in recent
years been in Boulder, Colorado, around
her vocation as an entrepreneur.
But people do need to take rests and
step away from things sometimes.
She’s doing this very thing by taking
the role with NZTE, and helping build
other people’s businesses while pulling
back from Broadli.
“I’m not doing it because I’m bowing
out of being an entrepreneur per se,
I’m doing it because I’m really excited
about trying this a different way.”
Some views from the top
Batten attributes her abundant energy
to her infinite curiosity.
“I love to learn and I love to help
other people so I’m just infinitely
fascinated by what’s happening, what
people are doing, connecting those
dots. I just kinda dig life.”
She does what she loves, but has taken
some great risks to really find this.
“Ultimately, I get to live an extremely
fulfilling, exciting life.”
Part of her success would have to be
due to her outlook. She enjoys problem
solving, rather than viewing problems
as a negative.
“I’m the ultimate Pollyanna – it’s
about turning a negative into a positive.
When you can do that all day long and
find the positive in the negative it is
While Batten has achieved
phenomenal success she is upfront that
there have been failures along the way.
“You can look at my story in aggregate
and it’s a total success. Somebody called
me ‘the golden child’ the other day, and
I really laughed because I thought it
doesn’t feel like that.”
She says a lot of people give up the
moment they hit something hard.
“But by solving those big challenges,
solving those hard things, coming to
that problem-solving place day after
day after day – frankly being the last
person standing – that’s where the
success comes from.”
So don’t go thinking she wakes up with
perfect hair, perfectly manicured, in a
great outfit, walking through life with a
bird tweeting on her shoulder, she says.
“ The success comes from some
seriously hard graft. I love that. You
have to love that challenge, you have to
love creating something new.”
She says Broadli could be considered
a failure right now.
“ There are a lot of things in my
world that are at the point where
I could give up, but the name of
the game is you have to be that
passionate about the problem you
are solving that you keep going when
other people would fall out.”
She had two ideas she was trying to
establish over the past couple of years
before Broadli but she says some ideas
are just not meant to happen.
“ There’s a big difference between
continuing to push through the hard things
and seeing that what you’re working on is
not viable for whatever reason.”
NZ’s start-up scene
Batten says New Zealand’s start-up scene
is best compared with Boulder, where she
lives, rather than trying to gauge how it fares
when compared with the US as a whole.
“ The US is actually a really complex
market. Specifically within the start-up
community, there are very mature start-
up communities like the [Silicon] Valley.
There are ones that are pretty well on
their way like New York and then there
are real start-up scenes like Boulder.”
Parallels include needing to grow talent
and needing to have some big wins, which
in turn give rise to more big wins, as
happened with Silicon Valley, she says.
“Not only do these big wins create a
lot of wealthy people, but also people
with a lot of experience, who can then
help guide – and fund – the up-and-
New Zealand has started to have some
big wins, and she applauds the success
of Rod Drury with accounting software
system Xero, which continues to expand
internationally. But the country needs
digital entrepreneurs to get involved in
the “ecosystem” and help counsel the
younger ones coming through.
“We’re attempting that – I don’t think
we’re being fully successful at that. I’d
like to see us use our networks more, be
a little bit more open to taking advice.”
New Zealand is so geographically isolated
that it starts to impact the way people
there think, she says, whereas they need
to be more globally ambitious. And as the
youngest ever recipient of the prestigious
World Class New Zealander Supreme
Award in 2014, at 39, in recognition of her
achievements and her work inspiring the
entrepreneurial ecosystem in New Zealand,
Batten’s surely the ideal person to show
them how it’s done.
acuity | MARCH 2015
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