Meet Ben, Head of Product at Snowball Effect

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Along with Ben Tan's 9-5 role as Snowball Effect's Head of Product, he also runs his own art business, Fishmob, and a framing business based in Dunedin.

How long have you worked at Snowball Effect?

I've been here since 2014, with a brief break in the middle to experience working in a corporate environment.

How has the company changed since you started?

The biggest change I've seen is the reputation in-market, both on the investor and company side. Now we are working with companies doing $5+m raises, and engaging with repeat investors that have a sizeable portfolio with Snowball Effect.

The other aspect is leveraging automation where we can. Since the early days, our AML/KYC requirements have evolved with added complexity. As a result, we've had to redevelop and change our administrative workflow to support collecting all this information. It is an ever-changing workflow!

What's a passion project you're working on?

I've got a couple of irons in the fire. The one I've been spending most of my time on has been Fishmob. It's an art project that works with iconic NZ artists and makes their artwork accessible to Kiwis while also providing exposure to up-and-coming artists.

Prints ultimately need to be framed, so we recently purchased a Dunedin framing business to help with assembling and fulfilling the framed print orders and are also building a team with expertise in that area.

Have there been any challenges?

The hardest part has been managing a team remotely. Thankfully, my business partner is in Dunedin.

What have been the highlights?

Working with big NZ artists such as Dick Frizzell, Grahame Sydney, The Don Binney Trust, and Karl Maughan.

I've also built a number of tools that have helped with improving efficiency and processes, learnings of which I have been able to bring over to how we develop solutions for Snowball Effect. One feature I'm particularly proud of is a rule-based courier system that sorts and creates packages depending on ordered items and their location, something we had to internally develop due to the unique nature of packaging prints in tubes (and their unique sizing and quantity constraints)!

How have you found juggling work and family with your passion project? 

It's been a lot trickier since growing our family-time in the evenings has definitely become a lot more scarce, which means a lot of late nights and increased coffee consumption the following morning.

What's your advice to others who want to do something similar?

It's exciting to be working on something that you have full responsibility for, but it also provides lots of opportunities to experiment with new technology and ways of doing things. With the number of tools available nowadays, learning, upskilling and setting up a business or passion project has never been easier or cheaper!