Yes. It’s true; I’m one of those wild-eyed start-up junkies for who once is never enough.
No matter where I’m standing, even if it’s at the top of a company I’ve built by hand, brick by brick, part of me is always yearning to start from scratch all over again; to do it bigger, or smaller, or just differently than before. It’s not that I love my original creation any less; it’s just that I love possibility more.
When I started Fresh Intelligence it was with the aim of bringing a fresh take on market research to corporate clients who were looking to gain a competitive edge. We brought our own “orange socks” brand of blue sky thinking and beyond the box innovation to our rapidly-expanding client list. And it worked; we made waves, won awards, and in the process worked with companies across the globe.
But technology has leveled the playing field in a number of industries, and my gut was telling me that we were at a tipping point for it to do the same in market research.
I want to disrupt the industry, to democratize research; allow anyone to have access to robust research and you don’t have to be a researcher. Marketers, brand managers, CEOs, product managers, et al - why should they rely on someone else to get the intelligence they need and they use? Researchers buy research, and marketers use it! Let them go direct.
That idea, and the mission that inspires it – to make data accessible to the world – was itself inspired by my childhood, growing up under Apartheid in South Africa, well before the advent of the world-changing Internet, which has forced open so many previously shuttered windows on the world. Then and there, what we could know was entirely dictated by a government with a vested interest in keeping us in the dark about the world beyond our borders, and about how we were viewed in it. That meant that all the information we could access – the newspapers we read, the music we listened to, the shows we saw on television – was censored before we saw it. The truth was also a casualty of that awful time.
It wasn’t until I left as a young adult to go to school abroad that I realized the extent to which they’d succeeded. I was woefully ignorant of the world beyond my fishbowl, and fully aware of that for the first time. That was the genesis of my passion for information; for promoting its free flow, and its accessibility.
Recently, I entered into the technology space with Google Consumer Surveys and built ValidateIT. We provide any size of company access to their buyers 24/7, 365 to ask questions and get validated answers.
I am extremely proud to announce that Joshua Cormie has been promoted to CEO of Fresh Intelligence. I will remain very involved in Fresh Intelligence as the founder, Chief Strategy Officer and Chairwoman of our Board. But I’m back to heading up a start-up again, working long hours with a small, dedicated staff to build out this new dream. It’s stimulating, terrifying, exhausting - and I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.