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TRANSFORMATIVE - Digital strategy

Katie Graham

On who we are…

We are a team of 20 strategists, designers and engineers based in Auckland and Queenstown. We create bespoke web-based software, applications and websites, specialising in projects that have a positive impact on the end user.

On the beginning…

Tim and I each had our own small businesses. We came together because we wanted to create something greater than the sum of our parts. I’d had some bad experiences working on projects for large agencies where they had high churn rates and it felt as though they didn’t care at all about those doing the work, so we wanted to ensure we operated differently.   

On our approach…

We really get in there and understand their business or organisation. We won’t do any work that we think is unnecessary and we prefer to undertake work in phases. This means we can start with the minimum viable product and once our client is seeing the return on investment, we can tackle additional phases.

On being people-focused

Right from the start we had a focus on work/life balance by working from home two days a week and not working after hours or on the weekends. Our team is important to us – we offer standing desks, Fitbits, Shakti mats, Headspace subscriptions and fresh fruit and healthy snacks in the office. We keep this balanced with chocolate, energy drinks and beer!

On her role…

As one of the owners of a small company I have a few! My favourite thing to do is work on the planning and strategy, but I’m involved in everything from recruiting, HR, accounting, resourcing/scheduling through to helping solve technical issues, doing app builds and deployments, etc.

On the best part of the job…

Our people! We’ve got such a great team that works and helps each other. I also love that our focus is on projects that do some good and have a positive impact.

On the pace of digital …

The most exciting thing for me is the ability to solve real problems through technology! Advances in technology open up a whole lot of possibilities that didn’t exist before, and there are some amazing start-ups out there working on problems that need to be solved. We pride ourselves on being at the forefront of new technologies, but at the same time we can’t be too bleeding edge as we need to ensure we’re making decisions to use technologies that will still exist throughout a project’s life cycle. It’s about getting the balance right.

On starting your own business..

You have to be constantly learning and improving both yourself and your business. Great business mentors will be a huge help, too. Through our business coach we’ve got an incredible network of people we can talk to and I really appreciate being able to ask questions of those who have been in business a lot longer than us. You also need to step outside of your comfort zone - when we started Webscope I was a programmer and didn’t realise we’d need to be negotiating large contracts or dealing with HR issues.

On living in New Zealand…

He tāngata, he tāngata, he tāngata. We also have incredible landscapes - such beautiful beaches, lakes, rivers, mountains, forests, etc. I always enjoy going back to Gisborne, where I was born and raised. I also love road trips with my wife. We enjoy exploring up north, Coromandel and the South Island. Lake Tekapo is one of my favourites.

On a life lesson…

I reached a point last year where I burned out - I took on too much and was trying to do it all myself - ignoring our rule of no after-hours or weekend work and putting in long hours. Someone I admire and respect told me that I needed to look after myself, otherwise I couldn’t look out for anyone else and it’s so true. I started cutting down on after-hours work, making sure I was getting enough sleep, remembering to eat, etc. and it makes such a difference.

On someone who has made a significant impact…

My friend and colleague Jonas Bärtsch. We met for five minutes outside a conference in Munich in 2012 and then caught up when he was in New Zealand a few months later. Since then, we’ve had amazing opportunities for our companies to work together; with myself, Tim and Phil going to Switzerland on various occasions. We have video calls to catch up and continue to learn and grow from each other. I always come away inspired with something new to read, learn about or new tactics to implement into my life. I’m constantly grateful that we met and appreciate our ongoing friendship.

On practicing gratitude…

I make time for quiet moments on my Shakti mat and I use a mindfulness app. I take time to be appreciative in moments as simple as having cuddles with my cats.

On partnering with Great Full…

Great Full is an incredible concept. We feel lucky to be involved as it ticks all the right boxes for us! We love how the entire project is ethical, it supports and promotes makers and creatives in Aotearoa and that it’s raising money for a great cause.

On supporting children’s health through Starship…

It is so important that we all have access to the healthcare that we need and it’s a good feeling knowing that we’re able to contribute towards this in a tiny way.

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