Basic Info

Cortney Harding
Contributor Status:
Native AdVert
Initial Contribution Date:

Career Info

Primary Industry:
Education, Marketing / Advertising, Music, Technology
Personal Career Headline:
Founder & CEO, Friends With Holograms

My Native AdVert

Career Snapshot:

Started in local politics and activism then made the leap to music journalism. Spent four years as a reporter and editor at Billboard before developing an obsession with music tech. Led biz dev at several series A music tech companies while writing about the space on the side. Saw a VR piece four years ago and fell in love. Started at a VR production company and started teaching at NYU around the same time. Made the leap to creating my own agency late in 2017. Since then we’ve won a Glomo, been finalists for a SXSW Innovation Award, and made amazing things for Accenture, Coke, and DDI.

Native AdMission Statement (AKA Personal Brand Pitch):

Agency founder and builder of award-winning virtual and augmented reality experiences. Recovering rock critic and adjunct professor of music journalism at NYU. Runner of long distances. Once ran out of pages in my passport. Author of two books and consumer of way too much dog related Instagram content.

What Else To Know

Tell Us More:

My Daily Thoughts:

Goal of the Day: Stay on top of everything, always be moving forward.

Thought of the Day: Just keep swimming

Action of the Day: Talking, typing, pitching, dreaming

Deed of the Day: Trying to reach out to at least one friend with a kind word

Tip of the Day: Staying at inbox zero will keep you sane

A Day in My Life:

What do you love most about Your City?

The energy of NYC always keeps me moving. The options are endless and the hustle is real.

Favorite breakfast meal & restaurant?

Not a big breakfast person but do love a coconut milk matcha from Upstate Stock in Williamsburg to start my day.

What are you doing at:

6:00 AM – waking up and heading to the gym. Some days running, some days yoga, some days weights.

10:00 AM – On calls, writing emails, running the agency, working on creative

12:00 PM – Favorite Lunch spot/meal?

Don’t usually have time to step out for lunch but Kettlebell Kitchen meals are a lifesaver.

7:00 PM –  Dinner or drinks with husband or friends. Maybe a meetup. Not uncommon to still find me working.

11:00 PM – Probably asleep. Gotta rest up for the next day.

What drink do you need to get through the day and at the end (and how many)?

Try to keep it to one coffee in the morning (although I get real cranky without that). Love me a coconut milk matcha. Drink Polar seltzer by the gallon.

Most used App/Favorite Instagram Account?

I follow way too many cute dogs on Instagram and that’s my happy place.

What should everyone try at least once?

Doing something you don’t think you can do. When I took the first big project at my agency, it was just me on a couch and I was scared out of my mind. We crushed it and I’ll never forget how great it felt.

Where do you enjoy getting lost?

Running on trails and in various foreign capitals.

My Native AdVice:

How did you get into the industry?

I saw a VR piece at an art event four years ago and was blown away. At the time I was doing biz dev for a music tech startup and started making the transition to working in the same role at a VR production company. I spent a year there learning as much as I could before striking out on my own.

Career advice to those in your industry?

Learn as much as you can and have a definite POV about VR and AR. Don’t just chase it because it’s a shiny object.

Any emerging industry trends?

VR and AR are emerging trends in and of themselves.

Ideal experience for a customer/client?

Bring us a problem and we will come up with a thoughtful, cutting-edge solution. Focus on the story you want to tell and let us figure out how to use immersive tech to enable it.

How do you motivate others?

I try to make everyone feel like we’re on the same team and part of the same squad, all working together. Give everyone a voice and make them feel invested.

My Native AdVantage:

What are my aspirations?

Personal: This year my goals are to run six races (marathon or greater; I’ve done two so far and registered for two more) and travel to six new countries (none so far, gotta get cracking on that). BUSINESS: My long term goal is to scale my agency up to about 30 people and then sell part of it to a larger company that will give us a steady stream of business while allowing us to remain somewhat independent.

My Biggest Success?

Getting out of a toxic relationship in my early twenties. It allowed me to accomplish everything else and made me trust in my own strength.

My Most Challenging Moment?

This is kind of funny now and also representative of how I work. I signed a massive client project with a short turnaround time right before going on vacation to Japan. I would wake up at 2am Tokyo time to do calls and watch the sun rise from the hotel business center most mornings. Toward the end of the trip I got sick with what turned out to be a kidney infection. I went to an ER where no one spoke English and while they were taking my blood, fainted (halfway through using Google translate to ask them to stop). I recovered, got antibiotics, and was on a call with the US a few hours later. I don’t recommend that, per se, but when the piece started getting nominated for and in some cases winning awards, it was worth it.

My Motto?

Outwork everyone.

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