Welcome to the first of Weirdly's Kiwis-Doing-Cool-Stuff-Overseas series. We thought that was a bit of a mouthful, so we're calling it #globalweirdos.Today, we're profiling Tom Harding from Mish Guru. These guys help make it easy for companies to create, build and manage Snapchat campaigns online. An actual godsend for anyone who has ever tried to manage a snapchat campaign using just the mobile app (spoiler: It's impossible. Don't try it).We met Tom while Keren was over in NYC and, aside from his superbly groomed beard, we were struck by how perfectly he embodies that Kiwi "get in there and give it a hoon" spirit. Of course, it helps that his company, Mish Guru, powered the Snapchat marketing component of the ground-breaking Fletcher's "Blind Recruitment" graduate campaign, and they've just announced a new partnership with Spark (another Weirdly user).We flicked Tom a few questions to find out a bit more about Mish Guru and his experience as a kiwi startup in the competitive New York market:
Where are you from originally?I grew up on a farm in a small town called WaipukurauLooking back, what's an event - or person - that contributed to you becoming the kind of person who would start a company and take on the world? This could be something that awoke a curiosity in you, or a person who made you think bigger and be bolder.I'd always been interested in Entrepreneurship but it really wasn't until a classmate and I entered the Canterbury Uni business planning competition, Entre, that I'd considered it a genuine career opportunity. We managed to take out the top prize and I was hooked.The point where I realised that even Kiwis could take it to the world came a little later. After Uni I was lucky enough to land a role with Ben Reid who at the time was the Chair of the Canterbury Software Cluster. The was no light bulb moment, but being constantly surrounded by other world class companies the realisation came to me that if these guys could do it then so could I.Where are you based now and why’d you choose that spot?I'm currently based in New York City.We tried a few different spots out around the US and it quickly became clear it was true that NYC is the heart of brand marketing and advertising.I still don't think it is 100% necessary to be in the same city as your clients, but in the startup game you do need to give yourself the best possible chance to find those serendipitous opportunities.What’s the craziest thing you’ve seen, since living in this new city?Thats a tough one in this city. There's something new and weird happening on every corner. You walk 5 blocks and sometimes it feels like you've changed country.Can you think of a time where being a kiwi – whether it’s having an accent or a different perspective on the world – has really worked in your favour doing business overseas?The kiwi accent comes in handy almost every day. It might seem like a really simple thing but it's such an effective tool as an ice breaker.Is there a time where the opposite is true (being a kiwi has made it kind of hard)?I'm not sure if this is a product of tall poppy syndrome back home but I think the culture of under selling ourselves really hurts kiwis, especially here in the US.It takes a fine balance of being proud of your achievements and not coming across as arrogant, but there is a definite readjustment needed when you hit the ground here.Have you raised US investment? If so, what’s one piece of advice you could give to kiwi founders looking to do the same?Not yet :)Has being overseas reinforced or changed your perspective on NZ in any way?Looking at it now it seems stupid but one misconception I personally had was that teams here in the US were somehow better than us at software.Sure they might have advantages in other ways (access to market, access to capital, etc), but having spent some time here I now realise that both the ideas and the teams in NZ can roll with the best.If anything I think we've got a real advantage with our lower cost of living, high quality of life. The whole timezone thing is pretty much a non-factor.
If you know any other cool, global kiwis doing crazy stuff overseas and leaving inspiration in their wake, we want to hear about them! Let us know their name on twitter (@weirdlyhub).
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