Qualtrics: Making Sophisticated Research (and Growth) Simple

Qualtrics (www.qualtrics.com), is a fast-growing company based in Provo, UT that makes sophisticated research simple. They have recently been featured in a four-page article in Forbes, as well as The Wall Street Journal, TechCrunch and a profile in the Salt Lake Tribune. Ryan Smith, CEO and co-founder of Qualtrics, took some time to chat with Ascent Advisor. Ascent Advisor: Qualtrics recently raised $70M from Accel Partners and Sequoia Capital. You’ve turned down a lot of investors over the past decade. What was different this time?  Ryan: It’s really been a long time coming. A lot of it had to do with timing and how we viewed the need for other people under the tent. We’ve created a pretty amazing suite of products and we are making some major decisions. It is all very positive and what I call “world-class decisions,” but it’s good to have other people who have been there before to act as sounding boards and help us open up Europe. When we got the opportunity to work with Sequoia Capital and Accel Partners, we realized it doesn’t get better than that. So far it’s been unbelievable and I don’t anticipate that changing. We know it’s going to be hard work, but we’re very clear on what we’ve signed up for and what we’re ready to do. I think that everything came together beautifully. Ascent Advisor: Data collection is the essence of Qualtrics. What role does data play in your management style?  Ryan:  If it didn’t influence us then we’d be selling something we don’t believe in! There’s a quote from Jim Barksdale (former CEO of Netscape) something like, “If...

Marketecture: Helping Small Businesses Conquer the Web

Marketecture (www.marketecture.com) is a midsize business based in Orem, UT that helps clients build a successful online business presence.  They do this through their best of breed SaaS technology for website design and online business management with a strong background in SEO, SEM and local business marketing strategies.  CEO Oliver (Ollie) Bigler and CTO Dan Sampson recently took some time to chat with Ascent Advisor. Peter Wride – Ascent Advisor:  Ollie, I understand you have been very involved in theater, music, and currently doing improv in your spare time.  How does this creativity play out in your ability as a CEO?  Ollie Bigler:  I had always been fairly entrepreneurial, but I also enjoyed doing theatre, comedy, and music and I still do some.  I perform at ComedySportz just so I can keep my toe in that water! Where all of those non-business skills play into business is they all can be translated into interpersonal skills.  Sales, promotion, marketing, talking about the company: my strengths are in sales.  I don’t know how to program like Dan, I can’t rip out a piece of code and add it to the platform, but I can talk circles around him. Ascent Advisor: What makes Marketecture different?  What’s your unique selling proposition? Dan Sampson:  When you really break it down and look at our entire offering, we feel there are only a couple competitors who really do what we do.  We not only do our client’s website presence but we also do all of the marketing.  We also have all these social integrations, adding in your e-commerce and all these different aspects. There is a lot of competition out...

Built to Last: How Fishbowl Is Building a Company to Survive 100 Years and Beyond

Fishbowl (www.FishbowlInventory.com) is a midsize business based in Orem, UT and it produces Fishbowl Inventory, the most popular inventory management solution among QuickBooks users.  Fishbowl Inventory is also a great standalone tool for organizations that are looking to track their assets.  CEO David Williams (@DavidKWilliams) and President Mary Scott (@MaryMichelleS) recently took some time to chat with Ascent Advisor. Peter Wride – Ascent Advisor: You recently co-authored an article in the Harvard Business Review entitled “Leadership Teams: Why Two Are Better Than One.”  How did this innovative leadership style come about at Fishbowl and what benefits have you seen? David: Our developers achieved great success with the XP agile methodology and we decided to add a little “Fishbowl flavor” to the methodology and implement in all our departments and also directly in to the DNA of the company.  The results have exceeded our expectations and we have soared as a whole. Our teams have eliminated communication barriers and they have learned to trust one another and work more closely together to accomplish great things for Fishbowl. We follow the methodology of paired leadership across the board.  Mary and I lead out as a team. Neither of us is more important than the other when it comes to making decisions.  We have amazing debates over almost everything and we push back and forth on issues we really care about.  What emerges from these creative discussions is a third alternative, which is always better than either one of us could have come up with on our own.  We’ve seen that happen time and time again, like when we worked together to obtain...