December 10, 2023

Te Anau-raised software entrepreneur Nick Humphries encourages youthful ambition – and he should know.
Nick Humphries sees his youth as a liberation.
The younger you are, the bigger the risk you should be up for, the 25-year-old figures.
You don’t have dependents. No family relying on your income.
“Anyone young should be taking the biggest risks possible,’’ he says. “It’s the perfect time to start a business – to try things that may not work. The downside is lower.’’
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The approach surely seems to be working for him.
Sprung from Te Anau, now based in Matamata, he was one of the first graduates from the Hyundai Pinnacle Programme now being heavily advertised throughout the land.
He is a co-founder and director of software development company LuminateOne​.
Since starting it with Tim Hampton when they were both University of Waikato students, they now head a team of 14 and have clients in the horticulture, agriculture, education, automotive and legal fields. Among the clients, Hyundai itself.
It’s produced apps, software and business solutions that the company can now attest have been use by millions.
Amidst all that, Humphries himself has progressed from being a participant of the Pinnacle Programme to being a selector for it, and now a member of its board.
All of which is not bad. For starters.
He grew up in Te Anau when his folks Nigel and Fiona bought a motel there in 2000.
Simultaneously shy and ambitious – he stands as proof it’s possible to be both – he enjoyed a “fantastic’’ childhood.
This involved embracing the geeky challenges of teaching himself computer code as a 12 year old, and putting together websites for businesses at 15, while at the same time exulting in the outdoor delights of living on Fiordland’s doorstep, enhanced by his progress to Queen’s Scout through the troop headed by the town’s mightily influential motivators, Noel and Sue Walker.
Te Anau has a sort of gravitational pull, attracting a whole lot of similarly minded people, he says.
“It helps being surrounded by people passionate for the environment.’’
Fiordland College principal Lynlee ​Smith recommended him for the Pinnacle youth development programme, which he began as a year-13 student.
Truth to tell, he’d already gained so much outdoor-challenge experience that the main area of growth he developed time on the programme’s first stage, aboard the Spirit of Adventure, was how to work with, and get the best out of, people who it turned out really didn’t want to be in that environment.
”It got better in the end, which was nice.’’
But just before starting his Waikato University studies he undertook Pinnacle’s second stage – an Outward Bound course which was truly transformative. It set him up for a really good evaluation of what he wanted to get out of university.
“People give you some pretty real feedback and that’s the best, and fastest, way to grow.’’
He discovered that people don’t always want to be led.
“I was one of the youngest people in that Outward Bound group and learned there were times people didn’t want to have solutions presented to them. They wanted to go on the journey themselves rather than be guided along the way.’’
As an employer, that wisdom behind that lesson has become all the more vivid for him.
It’s also an article of faith for Nick Humphries that whatever you’re aiming for, you can’t be successful without giving back.
It’s not a dutiful thing, either.
“No, it’s quite enjoyable – getting involved, getting your hands dirty, helping out. It’s a lot more satisfying than just throwing money into charity . . . though that’s definitely a good thing to do.’’
The core attribute he developed through his experiences to date has been the confidence to achieve by taking risks, thinking big.
Whatever your goals are, ask yourself what would be an even bigger goal further down the track – “and that’s probably what you should aim for. Shoot really high and see what comes of it.’’
The result might be the fulfilment of the saying that if you shoot for the stars, even if you miss you’ve got a better shot at making it to the moon. Even better, you might surprise yourself and succeed at the higher ambition.
Humphries flat-out rejects the notion that any problem is inherently too big. Whether it’s his personal passion to help make a significant progress addressing climate change, or any other potentially daunting challenge, the thinking should be the same.
It’s just a matter of breaking it down into small enough chunks.
That’s a basic approach in software development, but applies far more broadly.
“If you get 100 people making a 1% impact – that’s the whole thing done.’’
The followup question is also basic one. Why shouldn’t he – or you – be one of those 100?
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