As interns at Nudge, we thought it would be interesting to write about the history of the company. To make it more personal we held interviews with the people working here.

The Formative Years

Young & Shand is a digital marketing company from New Zealand founded by Ben Young and Duncan Shand in 2009. They developed ideas and a technology to help businesses communicate through new media, like Facebook, SnapChat & Instagram, and they discovered a gap in the market, for tools that helped marketers articulate & understand success and to optimize their campaigns. That’s when Nudge started as a project, to see if they could find their own solution. The project was successful and for the first time they could provide a detailed picture of the performance of each of their campaign assets, measured in real-time.


New York

The business went so well that Ben decided to bring the technology to New York. The aim was to help marketers understand exactly what worked and what didn’t work when doing digital marketing campaigns. While in New York, Ben noticed another challenge for marketers – native advertising – which quickly turned into a business. Today Nudge is measuring and analysing native content to help companies optimize their marketing campaigns.

Since the people behind Nudge come from the agency side, they know what the daily stress of being a marketer can be like. The company’s objective is that for every hour you put into your business you will get 4-5 hours back. With more online platforms and more marketing tools than ever, the Nudge team is working hard to make their clients reach their goals with native advertising.



Ben Young, CEO pic3
Who are you and where are you from?
Ben Young, I’m from Queenstown, New Zealand but before New York lived in Auckland for 5 years.

How long have you been working for Nudge?
Since inception! Nudge started as an internal project at Young & Shand, a digital agency I co-founded.

What are your work tasks at Nudge?
My role is to set the vision, make sure the team is aligned and resourced appropriately to work towards that. Day to day, I spend my time between three things, the team, customers and product.

What is the biggest challenge with your work tasks?
Being a CEO is a job of paradoxes, it’s switching between those and getting better at doing that over time.

What skill do you have that makes you good at your job?
The combination of art, science and business – and being able to see how all of those connect. This can also be a weakness!

What’s your favourite joke of Everts’?
Everts has this great joke about tractors, I highly recommend you dedicate 6 months of hearing him hype it up before he tells it.

What makes your team special?
I once read this analogy about how to build great teams – and it was to imagine you are going to antarctica, who would be on your antarctic team? You would want a balance of strength and weaknesses, diversity in background and thinking, different personalities all working together. But ultimately you want the right combination to get you to the pole and back.

From those that speak up when there’s an elephant in the room to those that toil away to get the job done, to those that rethink how we’re doings thing to make it efficient. That’s what makes the Nudge team special, we have the right mix of misfits to do the best work.

Hollie-Blue Allum, VP Accountspic2
Who are you and where are you from?
Hollie-Blue Allum, I’m from England originally but have lived all over – including Spain, Dominican Republic, New Zealand, and Canada. I’ve worked in a range of digital roles for both Publishers and Agencies for seven years before joining the Nudge team.

How long have you been working for Nudge and how did you become a part of the team?
I worked with Ben, Izac and Daniel at the agency in New Zealand for 2 years before joining the Nudge team when they left New Zealand. I joined Nudge as I was running native content campaigns for the agencies clients.

What are your work tasks at Nudge?
I look after sales and account management. That means that my job is to educate people on how Nudge can assist them across their paid, owned and earned content campaigns including native distribution. I also look after existing clients, which includes; training on the Nudge dashboard, reporting and sharing native insights.

What is the biggest challenge with your work tasks?

What skill do you have that makes you good at your job?
I’d say it’s my agency experience. At agencies the clients always come first, in my experience it doesn’t always feel like this from a tech product perspective. Being able to bring this same level of customer service to Nudge really helps us to stand apart.

Working closely with Ben for a long time, what’s his secret?
He buys the beers! Ha, na I’d say the way Ben handles problems. By that I mean, he’s calm, listens and always comes back with a well thought out solution.

Izac Hancock, CTOpic4
Who are you and where are you from?
Izac Hancock. I’m from Tauranga, New Zealand which is where I grew up before moving to Auckland for studies. After completing university I then moved into a developer role at Young & Shand.

How long have you been working for Nudge and how did you become a part of the team?
I became part of the team as I was one of the original developers who worked on it since we first built version 0.1.

What are your work tasks at Nudge?
My role as CTO entails making sure the product is built to a high standard, managing the developers and making sure the technical goals are aligned with the business goals.

What is the biggest challenge with your work tasks?
Fending off Hollies one day turn around feature requests. Absolute lies tho. Hollie’s awesome. To be serious, my biggest challenge is keeping everything moving forward at speed at which we work. We are a very small team, so managing the flow new clients, features, bugs and of course scale, all while making sure we are being innovative with the platform can be challenging.

What skill do you have that makes you good at your job?
I’m good at translating what a client or account manager is asking for, to the developers and vice versa.

How could Everts improve?
There is too much to list… He’s always hard work but makes up for it with his banter.

How do you keep your hair looking so good?
I eat my crusts.

Daniel Everts, Lead Engineerpic1
Who are you and where are you from?
I’m from Auckland, New Zealand. I grew up on the North Shore. I went to University for a short time after high school, and was told to leave by Ben after 3 months unless I wanted to get fired. I left University.

How long have you been working for Nudge and how did you become a part of the team?
I’ve been working on Nudge since 2013. I became part of the team through working with Ben, Izac, and Hollie at Young & Shand in New Zealand. I worked closely with Izac at the time, so we both came on at the beginning.

What are your work tasks at Nudge?
I write code. I work with Izac primarily on designing, and developing new features/products. Along with directing our external time, and performing quality checks on any work completed.

What is the biggest challenge with your work tasks?
My biggest challenge is making sure that we maintain a balance between fixing/developing existing user requests, and pushing the product in the direction of our vision. It’s very easy to swing too far either side, and neglect the other.

What qualities do you most admire about Izac?
Where do I start! Izac’s such a lovely person, even when he’s stressed. I admire his hair a lot. He’s always very supportive of everything we do internally. Big luv.

Or to be honest…
Having to work with Izac. He’s lovely to work with, but he’s very demanding. My job itself is incredibly easy, but I have to dedicate 70% of my time to figuring out what exactly Izac’s demands mean when he briefs me for 5 minutes, then goes for a “long lunch” and doesn’t return until the following day.

What skill do you have that makes you good at your job?
A can-do, winning attitude. I’m also generally a nice person.


If you want to know more about the team or the business Nudge is running, go to our contact page and write us!


Tags: company history, nudge team, team

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