Chris Thompson – Head of Next Generation Marketing, Telecom

“That was due to Roderick Deane who was the Corporate Head of Telecom. The text book way that it was set up was to be fast and agile – you have to be different and let a bunch of people who are into that particular area just do what they want to do, without the overhead of corporate baggage. It was actually wildly successful by doing it. But then you have this other challenge that as you grow and mature, you have to mainstream it back into your core business. And that was a difficult time. It was like having a benevolent parent. We were well-looked after by Telecom. People would come past every now and then and give us money and indulge our whims, but we were free to do as we pleased, pretty much, to do the right thing and operate at the speed we could. We had this floor that we fitted out with pool tables, PlayStations, TVs, a huge bar... and every Friday night we’d have drinks there and play games. People would just go there and goof off! We won a prize one year for the best place to work and we were all very proud of it. Afterwards, Theresa Gattung rang up and said, “Where is that room?”. We’d set the swipe cards so that nobody from outside Xtra could get on the floor... the Telecom people couldn’t find it. We just said, “Oh, it’s level four”. We’d put it on the books as a server room – that’s how we’d paid for the fit out! Good times! We had a lot of fun. But it was a sensible business as well. You want to have fun, be a bit loose, enjoy what you’re doing but we were also well-disciplined with a good business model, good professional business practices...”


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