Networking isn’t something I ever thought I’d relish. It certainly wasn’t on my list of things I wanted to grow up to do when I was a kid.
And, yet, I'm actively networking every day. We all are. Each of us to different ends, of course.
My networking is rooted in professional endeavours. Not only do I enjoy telling others about my business pursuits, I relish the times when I get to do deep into stories and experiences of others.
Where does it come from? Is it a confidence-with-age thing? It’s a little of both and other things to be sure.
Part if no doubt comes from my upbringing. I am a “Military Brat”, an American term for the children of US armed forces troops stationed abroad.
In my case, my father was a hardworking US Air Force pro and much-loved by his colleagues.
That combo (career military and strong friendships) nettted a series of orders to remain stationed in Europe which is why I was born in France, lived in Athens, Greece (for 3 years) and spent my formative years in different parts of Germany (Frankfurt, Zweibruecken & Munich).
While I stayed in Europe, all of my friends were around for only 2-3 years at a time. Some for only 1 or 2 years. Their parents were shipped in for an assignment and, like clockwork, shipped out for another.
My father loved his work and he treasured his colleagues - no doubt those connections deepened and became far more meaningful following the horrors he experienced during his assignment to Vietnam in 1967/1968. I was always in awe of the professional relationships he maintained. While he had the benefit of remaining in a single geography (Europe) during much of his career, my friends left for new ones every school year.
So, I suppose it’s no surprise that I’ve latched onto LinkedIn to maintain friendships, especially professional relationships. It's been extraordinarily useful to keep tabs on industry colleagues, business partners, friends since I signed up the service back in 2003 (a mindblowing 16 years ago!)
In that decade and a half, I grew my professional network from Seattle to London, Paris, New York, Berlin, San Francisco, Dubai and much further afield (I moved to London for love and travelled a lot for work).
And I started a few companies.
Each of those entrepreneurial endeavours happened to a great degree because I leveraged my professional network. And I also did the same to support my partner’s startup pursuits (Valeria is amazing); together we’ve raised a couple of stellar, but growing, cost centres (kids).
And I’ve made countless introductions across my network to support pretty much anyone who’s asked.
Notes: Embrace the fear and actively build your network. Along the way, invest the time and effort maintain and develop your network. Give and take in equal measures, the peaks (of taking/giving) and valleys (of giving/taking) should balance over time. Many of these relationships will last a lifetime. You will be of immense value to some in your network, and some in your network will mean heaps to you.
Even better, I’ve seen many of you grow professionally and personally (it’s been a decade and a half of professional connectedness after all). I’ve supported many [of you] to explore ideas, to find new professional opportunities, to work together on projects.
And I’ve been honoured to be approached for ideas, to celebrate achievements and opportunities (like an industry friend whose company was shortlisted for the Data Startup Challenge competition at the I-COM Global Summit in Malaga, Spain. MeasureMatch was a winner last year ;-), and even to share difficult personal and professional experiences and transitions.
Importantly, I’ve benefited tremendously from the content you’ve shared, the support and guidance you’ve provided (it’s still fear-inducing stuff, but I regularly ask because I truly believe anything is possible and asking = learning ;-), and I’ve been especially lucky to win financial backing from my network in pursuit of my entrepreneurial endeavours.
By the way, don’t worry, I’m not fundraising ;-) Not yet anyway. Our next financing round is coming soon, but we’ll be targeting corporate and venture-level backing.
What a ride it’s been.
This note is also a hello, an update and a prompt to make my ambition known, a cue I’m taking from Paige O’Neill, CMO, Sitecore, from her MarTech Podcast Q&A with Ben Shapiro - an excellent listen: https://benjshap.com/martech-podcast. Highly recommended.
I’ve been on a phenomenal startup journey with an amazing co-founder, Tom Ray, a hard-working, motivated and inspiring team, a group of trusted investors and advisors, and we’ve now reached a pretty special place in the development of our enterprise professional services marketplace platform.
We started platform software development nearly 3 years. The goal was to provide an easy, elegant, trusted (Airbnb-like) route for business leaders in marketing, commerce, product, analytics, HR, plus agencies and consultancies, to easily find independent consultants and consultancies and book them into service contracts.
We’re now track to see over 1,000 clients sign up to the MeasureMatch service in 2019!
And this is just the beginning.
Note: The category of professional services broadly covers value provided through and derived from business engagements with law and accounting firms, management consultancies, auditors, engineers, architects and financial planners, to name a few. The MeasureMatch marketplace, however, enables the buying and selling of enterprise software systems & data professional services, with a special focus on address marketing, commerce, customer experience systems & data business needs: https://web.measurematch.com/
So, at your own volition (of course ;-), I’d love for you to click across - or use your favourite search engine later - to take a look at my latest venture, MeasureMatch.
If you know how Airbnb works, then you already know how MeasureMatch works.
Similar to booking an apartment, the MeasureMatch platform provides the facilities to easily book highly-skilled, screened and vetted and, increasingly, verified independent consultants & consultancies into contracts to execute important enterprise systems, data management, data engineering and data science project work.
Our mission is ambitious, but simple: To empower every organization globally to execute with unbelievable agility.
MeasureMatch is the platformization and personalization of enterprise systems & data professional services.
We’ll get to the personalization part in a moment.
That said, it’s not just any project work that clients turn to MeasureMatch to get done.
Here’s a sample of the 2,000+ systems that are commonly serviced, deployed, migrated, fixed, integrated, including tremendous value created from the vast volumes of data collected by these systems:
Greater than 90% of completed contracts have received five star ratings and glowing written reviews.
Oh, and while our clients regularly use services like Airbnb, Deliveroo, Uber and many others, over 90% of clients have never “purchased” any professional services via any "platform" before. The opportunity for growth is not small.
We’re over the moon with our performance to date, but we’ve worked extra carefully and hard to ensure both clients and service providers are right for the marketplace. Not only are service providers screened and interviewed, but a high percentage of new client account applications are not approved. Yes, it is indeed private club-like. It’s worth it.
Very excitingly, the service providers across our network, in 60+ countries, are capturing growing volumes of revenue, and some are starting to rope in new team members to form agencies and consultancies of their own. This is especially thrilling - to think that our early stage startup could already help to generate this kind of economic development makes me especially proud of what we’re building.
It gets better. We’re ready to go to the next level of differentiation, trust and growth.
Differentiation for any business is critically important, and it’s perhaps especially true for MeasureMatch in a noisy, growing category of - predominantly horizontal - online talent and services marketplaces.
Despite the fact that more than nearly all of our clients have never purchased business professional services via a marketplace platform before their MeaureMatch experience, we know that it’s vitally important to demonstrate that we can solve important problems in one or more large markets, with one or more protective “moats” that add substantive value, differently from the pack of directly and indirectly competitive forces.
The strategy we’re executing already packs a solidly differentiated punch, and it’s about to get even stronger.
And it starts with trust. Trust is everything.
The design of our award-winning platform already works well to engender a high level of trust, but we know we can do better.
Note: MeasureMatch has been "longlisted" by The Europas Awards for the Hottest MadTech (MarTech or AdTech) Startup. The public vote is on now! Vote for MeasureMatch here. A vote for MeasureMatch is a vote for the entirety of the marketing and advertising technology ecosystems because that's what we're supporting via the MeasureMatch systems & data professional services marketplace platform. If you want to limit your vote to one category and one company (ours and us!), click here https://lnkd.in/dM2Ty3M to skip to the end to submit your vote.
The differentiating elements of our/any marketplace environment are nothing when the two core parts of the value equation, buyers and sellers, don’t have a clear understanding of, or belief in, its reliability, credibility, service processes and customer support, and follow-through.
So, to those ends, we’re investing heavily to further strengthen this pillar of our business. Watch this space. We’ll soon announce a breakthrough platform innovation.
Regarding growth, so long as we continue to attentively listen to our customers, and quickly design, innovate and build to improve the customer experience, we’ll do well.
Millions of small to large companies around the planet earth are becoming software-driven enterprises. They’re adopting 1,000s of software products for customer acquisition, customer service, customer experience measurement, customer experience personalization, marketing automation, marketing performance reporting, data management, data engineering, predictive modelling, product analytics and much, much more.
MeasureMatch is for those organisations that are prepared to radically accelerate their enterprise systems and data capabilities, and, importantly, without the enterprise-level costs.
My team and I have been extraordinarily lucky to build this business. To see business leaders and service providers enter the platform from all around the globe is extremely exciting. And then to see them enter into service contracts to get important work done, the majority of the time with vast geographic distances between them, well, how can I not be completely amazed by what we’ve created.
It helps that our investors are exceptional industry leaders across Google, Oracle, Integral Ad Science, WPP, Omnicom Media Group, Havas Media and similar. And our advisors care a great deal about what we’re working toward; their ideas, introductions, encouragement are invaluable.
The “Military Brat” in me especially excited.
In just a couple of years, my LinkedIn network of professional relationships (around 4,000) is on track to be eclipsed, within a few weeks or months, by the network of relationships supported by the MeasureMatch marketplace.
Thank you so much for reading. Get in touch with any questions or ideas.
Note: This was originally published to LinkedIn.
We achieved a major milestone in our building of the MeasureMatch marketplace
In this blog post I share a few thoughts on a decision we made to place a limit on the kinds of experts we welcome into the MeasureMatch marketplace network of service providers.