We sat down for a chat with Natalie, Comet’s Marketing Manager, who has been with the company since July 2020. This piece has been lightly edited for length and clarity.
How did you first develop your love of tech?
I grew up in Silicon Valley, where having a passion for emerging technologies was instilled in me from a young age. I started my career at Apple and then worked for a few different companies, including a large MSP on California’s Central Coast.
I saved up and traveled the world for a year, then moved to New Zealand. I’ve lived in Christchurch for five years and absolutely love the culture here.
What attracted you to Comet?
What initially attracted me to working here was the team. Everyone gets to be themselves at Comet. I've worked in companies before where you show up and you're professional, but you don't necessarily get to bring your full self to work. At Comet, you get to show up and be your authentic self, which is much more fulfilling.
What do you love about the team and the culture?
We've had some really fun companywide homegrown initiatives. For instance, one of our developers, Ben Frengley, was really into growing spicy chili peppers. He gave seedlings to anyone who was interested. A number of us planted them in our gardens. We take pictures and share updates on them occasionally which has been fun.
Other team members have carpooled for ski trips or gone hiking together. We do company barbecues and potlucks from time to time. There’s a very natural cohesion in the way that the team comes together and rallies around things.
You’ve recently returned from parental leave. How was your transition back into the office?
When I was on maternity leave, I missed the team. The fact that we only hire really nice, good people makes the experience of coming to work so enjoyable. The team has been really supportive. There are a couple of us in the office who work part time: one of our team members is passionate about doing volunteer work, and I’ve transitioned back into work at a pace that makes sense for my family right now.
Tell me about Comet’s approach to work life balance.
We have great work life balance, better than at any other company I’ve worked for. That’s something a lot of workplaces say they offer, but at Comet we really do have that flexibility. For example, if I miss an hour in the morning because I need to take my daughter to an appointment, it’s easy for me to make up the time later in the evening after she goes to sleep so I don’t miss those precious family dinnertime moments.
Some people prefer to start work early in the morning, and finish earlier in the day to go surfing or pick up their kids. We also have the option to work from home two days a week. It’s great to have everyone’s lifestyles and schedules supported.
What are your favorite things about working at Comet?
I've bounced back and forth between large corporates and small companies. Ultimately I prefer the outsized impact my contribution makes at a rapidly growing company. You get to have autonomy and take ownership of your work in a meaningful way. There’s no red tape or bureaucracy, if you have a great idea, you get to run with it.
Because we’re constantly experimenting at Comet, there isn’t a culture of blame. A couple years ago, I recommended we go all in on a big podcast sponsorship. Halfway through I realized the campaign was failing and I decided to pull it. When I told the leadership team what had happened, the response was, “What did you learn from that experience? Okay, what’s next? Let’s keep moving.”
What keeps you passionate and inspired working in this field?
Although on the surface, the idea of working in backup software might not be as sexy as working for a gaming company or in an industry that has a lot of cache, at the end of the day, what we do really matters. We’re helping people protect their businesses and their livelihoods. We’re not selling a consumer product that will end up in a landfill. We’re providing an essential service, which makes it a very rewarding industry to contribute to.
What have you learned while being at Comet?
Before working at Comet, I specialized in brand and event-based marketing. When I started here, I needed to level-up as a generalist. I had this amazing opportunity to rapidly grow and learn about all these other areas of marketing I had never touched before.
When you’re on a large corporate marketing team, there are entire teams dedicated to each area – campaigns, advertising, sponsorship, events. At Comet, there’s a huge variety to what you get to work on day to day, which keeps me interested and motivated.
How do you feel about working at Comet?
Working at Comet is my dream job. I spent the first decade of my career trying to find a company to work at where I would be this happy. Frankly, my early career was a rough and bumpy road at times. It took a while to get here but I’m deeply grateful to have finally arrived at a place where I’m so professionally fulfilled.
What do you like about living in Christchurch?
Christchurch is the perfect size city. You have all the big city amenities without any of the big city downsides, like traffic. There’s arts, events, festivals, hot pools, great places to eat and drink with friends. The outdoors is also very accessible – it’s only a 20 minute drive to beautiful beaches and you can escape to the mountains within 1-2 hours.
There are such good people here. We’ve made great friends and built a strong community, which has allowed us to settle and make Christchurch our home.