Thursday, May 1, 2008


As I’ve said it before on KRConnect, cracking the US economy is a tough one. Still, Kiwis are made tough, and it was good to meet the more adventurous amongst them at the New Zealand: New York: New Thinking event a few weeks ago. I had been asked to moderate the event that had been put together by NZTE’s Beachheads Program and Kea New York. It was a good mix of New Zealanders and New Yorkers, and everyone was in the mood to listen and learn.

It was a great line up. Bill Fredrickson of Tait North America, Dion Mortimer from Mead International, Victoria Vandagriff of Bendon USA, and Paul Viskovich of Orion Health North America were all there and participating. A highlight for me was an open floor Q&A. This was when the inevitable “How do we crack America?” question came up along with some spot-on answers and suggestions including:

• Make sure you have a strong business in NZ. No point building a skyscraper if you don’t have solid foundations.

• Find your own way of being distinctively NZ. I call it originality; focusing on why and how you are trying the crack the US.

• Tap into dreams about NZ. You need to capture the mystery of New Zealand and bring the magic from the Edge.

• Remember the international dateline is your best friend; it sets you free of the weekend hiatus and adds to your service time.

• Be realistic. It costs more and it takes longer. Think of a budget and a timeframe, and double it!

• Listening and observing a new culture is critical. The US, like any country, has its own ways of doing things. The best way to learn these things is to listen and watch, watch and listen.

Like Kiwis, Americans are “doers” and don’t waste time sitting around philosophizing. In this sort of environment, the key to success is keeping a sense of momentum and an awareness of opportunity.

I was pumped by the energy, passion and forward thinking I saw in the room. New Zealand and New York are two of my favorite places to be. Nice to see them getting along so well together.