Interview with World Class New Zealander Jonty Kelt

World Class New Zealanders are high achieving New Zealanders who are making their mark on the world and defining NZ’s image internationally. These Kiwis are all outstanding and have worked hard for their international success. Kea sat down with World Class New Zealander Jonty Kelt for a Q&A about his journey, being a New Zealander and what advice he has for New Zealanders going forward.

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How has your New Zealand background contributed to your journey/success?  

Humility and human skills.  Motivation to learn / compete in the biggest markets.  The confidence of having the awesome home-base/platform that is NZ.    


What are some stand out failures/problems you faced on your journey and how did you overcome/learn from them?  

Many poor decisions offset by some good ones…iterating, evolving and learning as I went.


What in your professional career or personal life are you most proud of?   

Rarely felt like I was comfortable = constant rapid learning.  Listened 10x more than I talked.   Never compromised my values.  


What’s an important issue which needs attention in your industry?    

Gender equality in the tech workforce.  How to ensure generations of workers are not left behind by accelerating automation. The technology sector’s contribution to the accelerating gap between haves and have nots a.k.a ‘income bifurcation’.


How have you used global New Zealand connections/networks to help achieve what you have?  

Encouragement and reminders of what's important in life.


What is one key lesson you want to share with New Zealand entrepreneurs/businesses/SMEs?

State your ask up front, then explain the (concise) rationale behind it = be careful with people's time and attention.  Seek out and hire the best on-ground talent in markets you aspire to succeed in.


In your experience what do Kiwis excel at in the eyes of the world?  

Solid judgement and values.  Teamwork. Tenacity. Creativity.  Empathy.


What are the biggest growth challenges and potential opportunities for New Zealand companies/businesses/SMEs?  

Being more assertive about what you've got and what you want.  Treasuring relationships and reputation.  Better tying the company offering to a mission that people (especially millennials and Gen Z) care about e.g. community, environment, freedoms...how does what you’re doing help society?


What will be New Zealand’s biggest strength in 10 years?  Stability: politically, economically...mentally.   

Nutrition: in context of an accelerating population and degrading environment.    Brand NZ: also a risk if badly managed.  


Jonty Kelt, Executive of Palatir Technologies, has always been heavily involved in the tech industry in London, Shanghai and the US, where he founded a number of technology companies. He now works for Palatir Technologies, which specialises in data analysis and builds human intelligence software for governments, national defence forces and law enforcement among others.


Kea Connect, proudly supported by ASB, is Kea’s business connection service. Realise your global ambitions by connecting with industry experts around the world like Jonty, who can give you valuable advice to help you on your way. Contact Kea today.