Twenty-five years is a long time. Yet, operating a business and striving daily to assure clients are satisfied affords little time for reflection about what it all means.
In 1996, market research was old school – very doctor-patient. Owners would approach research firms with vexing questions, often only to be met with something like, “stand aside, and we’ll take care of everything.” This left little room for owners’ deep and broad native understanding of their customers, markets, and their competitors to set the stage.
Not only was this paternalistic stance disrespectful, but often yielded results that were just confirmatory of what leaders already suspected was true. The worst nightmare for serious market researchers is arriving at results that are simply, “so what?”
Launching before Google, the prospects were daunting. Yet, it was an exciting time; we were in the midst of the venture capital boom of the mid 90’s. Venture Capitalists were not only pervasive in Silicon Valley; they were also abundant in the Boulder-Denver corridor, where there was a steady stream of startups and the VC’s presence provided relatively easy access to capital.
Colorado tech startups of the 90s had lots of needs but weren’t satisfied with the old school approach – these entrepreneurs wanted something different. And they felt more comfortable with research partners who looked like themselves – blue jeans rather than suits – and a penchant for working 80-hour weeks.
The Nasdaq crash of 2000 presaged the collapse of the VC market, resulting in widespread bankruptcy filings, including several 1st Resource clients. Rather than admit defeat, we swam upstream and over a period of years began to work with mid-market and enterprise companies, including a few in the Fortune 50.
The credit for our success genuinely goes to the amazing team that has persevered over the years and continued to demonstrate brilliance and a collaborative spirit that is sometimes breathtaking. I am both grateful and honored to be part of it.
Yes, 25 years is a long time, but it passes in a heartbeat when you’re having fun. I am.