We interviewed the co-founder of Ottawa’s MicroMetrics – a platform for customer intelligence gathering – and talked about life at a successful startup and what the future might hold.
This is the essence of the entrepreneurial spirit; disrupting the existing norms and patterns to find better and more tailored ways of solving problems.
Tell us a little bit about your business. Who are you and what do you do?
MicroMetrics offers a Customer Intelligence Platform that helps offline businesses engage their customers, collect their feedback, and analyze real-time customer data. Our multi-channel solution includes a tablet-based approach with real-time notifications, detailed analysis, and engagement rates over 9 times the industry average (27%). This empowers decision makers to faster achieve organizational goals, improve marketing efforts & drive more sales, both offline & online.
Do you remember when you first got the entrepreneurial spark?
Growing up in a diplomatic family, I was always travelling and experiencing a lot of culture shock. This made me realize how much of the way we see the world is based on assumptions we pick up from our surroundings and don’t even realize we have. My travels made me realize that we can choose and build the frameworks that guide our lives.
What made you choose this business? What inspired you?
Travelling has made me fascinated by what shapes peoples’ subjective experiences. As the CXO at MicroMetrics, I get to shape the experiences people have with our product and help our clients learn about their customers’ experiences. It’s the perfect mix of my interests. I love what I do now, so it’s sometimes strange to think back that it all started with Martin inviting me for a coffee over LinkedIn.
I don’t think I would appreciate the process as much if it was smooth sailing; it would just mean that I’m not challenging myself enough.
Did you have to convince your friends and family you were serious or were they behind you from the beginning?
My family has always been very supportive in terms of choosing my own path. When I told them about my plans with MicroMetrics, they made sure to check that I had thought about the long-term implications of my choice. Once they understood I’d considered it thoroughly and that I was committed, they were 100% behind me.
Describe a typical day.
In my role, there is no such thing as a typical day. Things start with the morning meeting where we update each other on daily tasks and progress, but from then on, each day is different. Being in a managerial role, one of the most common tasks is trying to make quick decisions about what not to do since there’s always so much that could be done. With that said, I’m constantly trying to match the skillsets we have available to specific tasks while trying to balance short-term critical tasks with long-term implications.
They say you have to fail first to succeed – have you stumbled or has it been smooth sailing so far?
I make mistakes every day, but I do my best to learn from them. I feel like I’ve grown leaps and bounds since I started this experience. It’s thanks to the right combination of a challenging environment with enough control to implement change and get better with every experience.
What’s your style on a day off: take time to recharge or always hustling?
As much as it’s important to put in the hours, there is a threshold where additional hours do more harm than good. It’s important to treat yourself like a tool – know when to sharpen the saw. I usually work 70-hour weeks, but I always take at least a half-day off because I know how critical it is to take time to recharge. It doesn’t take much to work yourself to death, but it takes real discipline to know when to work and when to stop. I love cycling, and having a regular routine involving the outdoors and exercise protects me from burn-out. By making sure I take a break once in a while, I can focus more at the office and end up delivering better work.
Who’s your entrepreneurial inspiration?
I would have to pick Jason Flick, the co-founder of YOUi Labs. He has been a successful local entrepreneur with multiple successful projects. Jason has a great balance of technical and business leadership that he brings to a team, and I strive to do the same with my team at MicroMetrics. He has been able to pursue different opportunities that have pushed him to grow and end up where he is today.
What does the future look like?
I’ve always been fascinated by process design and behavioural engineering. As a co-founder I do whatever is required to move MicroMetrics forward, but I hope that in the future I can focus even more on my passions.
As for the MicroMetrics team, we have gotten as far as we have because we are an extremely diverse group of people that work together to enhance each other’s strengths and help to cover the gaps created by each other’s weaknesses. I feel there’s tremendous potential here and I’m more than excited to see what happens as it becomes unlocked. We’ve got some ideas I can’t quite tell you about… but I’ll tell you this: I feel confident we’ll shake up the customer insight industry.
Any tips for a young gun just starting out?
If you’re fixated on one specific goal, chances are you are going to miss important opportunities and alternative paths to what you truly value. It’s important to have a clear sense of direction and be flexible about how you get there. The best results are often achieved by following a consistent routine of many small actions and initiatives that all increase the chances of getting closer to your goals. Then it just becomes a matter of seizing the opportunity when it comes up. In the end it’s all statistics.