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A Different Time Zone, a New Team and a New Home: Celebrating Techbuyer New Zealand’s 1st Anniversary
Today is Techbuyer New Zealand’s first birthday, and to celebrate we interviewed the man who made it all happen. Chris Pooley, APAC Sales Director made the move all the way from Harrogate, UK to Auckland, New Zealand in 2018 and has spent the past year settling into his new home, making relationships with customers and taking on new members of staff. Read on to find out more about Chris’s experiences when setting up and expanding Techbuyer’s Auckland site.
So, you’ve been at Techbuyer for 10 years now! How much has the company changed since you started?
So much has changed that it’s hard to know where to start! When I first started at Techbuyer I was the fifth team member and we were all working in a small, cold and dark warehouse that was – how to put this politely – not as nice as the facilities we have now. I worked in a bank before joining Techbuyer, and so the aesthetic was a bit of a shock! However, the space was all we needed back then – in fact it was perfect, in its own unique way. You don’t need anything more when a company is starting out; it’s unnecessary. Fast forward to now, Techbuyer has 150 employees across seven different locations, and the UK has an impressive 22,000 square ft engineering facility!
We had fewer customers back then, but we had really strong relationships with them and sold to them regularly. Now, we work with a whole range of businesses but have kept our personable and friendly attitude as Techbuyer grows.
How has the transition from the UK to New Zealand been? Any challenges?
It’s been tough, but good. We’ve been selling to Asia Pacific customers for a long time, and so the move made perfect business sense. I was also keen to experience living somewhere new.
It’s difficult to explain but I feel like moving and re-integrating somewhere new is a strange concept – it doesn’t feel like a natural human instinct as we all like home and familiarity. Up until this year, I had lived in Harrogate all my life, which is a relatively small town in Yorkshire. It has been hard not having family and friends around the corner like they used to be, but at the same time it has meant I’ve been eager to meet new people here. Something I’ve noticed is that everything is different in New Zealand: the cars, where to buy your groceries, even the traffic lights… It takes a lot of getting used to!
What’s your favourite (non-work) memory in Auckland from the past year?
I love that I can wake up, drive for less than 20 minutes in any drection and arrive somewhere that’s picture-perfect. There are some gorgeous beaches and impressive landscapes nearby. I also love that the general atmosphere is more relaxed on this side of the world; everyone was very welcoming when I moved into the area and it’s nice being part of a friendly community.
Why is it good to do business from Auckland?
From a time-zone perspective, Auckland is on the right side of the 24 hours. We were doing business with a lot of Asia Pacific customers before the move but found it difficult to be in constant contact. Here in New Zealand, it makes a massive difference being in the same or similar time zone to our customers, particularly in terms of response time and just generally being active for anybody wanting to get in touch.
What’s your vision for Techbuyer APAC in the next five years?
I’m looking forward to us working with more businesses in New Zealand, Japan and Australia. A more specific goal of ours is to double our number of customers each year.
I’d also love for us to have a larger team in Auckland in the future, whilst maintaining our fun and exciting work culture. It’s been amazing bringing Kaz and Anh on board – they both have a great work ethic, a willingness to learn and to always do the best they can – which is ultimately all we can ask for!
Do you think the confidence in refurbished enterprise IT equipment is growing?
Definitely. You see more and more people talking about being more sustainable or discussing the circular economy, reusing, recycling… As IT budgets get tighter it is also natural that managers look for alternatives to new and recognise that quality refurbished IT equipment enables you to stretch your resources further.
And finally, what do you miss most about working in the UK office? (Come on, we know you miss us…)
The people, without a doubt. I worked there for such a long time, being a part of developing Techbuyer into what it is today. Luckily for me, Skype is a thing and so I never go that long without seeing familiar faces – lucky them!
Techbuyer is a global specialist in the buying, selling and refurbishing of enterprise IT hardware. With engineering facilities and offices in the UK, Europe, the USA and Asia Pacific, you can be confident that your orders will arrive quickly, no matter where you are in the world.