Startup Culture at QuickTapSurvey, an Interview With Co-CEO Tishan Mills

 

Contribution by member 

Co-CEO & Founder at QuickTapSurvey

For Tishan and myself, building a great company starts with creating an atmosphere of learning and encouragement.

So what is it about QuickTapSurvey as a company that makes it an awesome place to work in technology?  What exactly goes on at a company that’s happily out of the basement-phase of a startup and in the exponential growth phase?

My Co-CEO Tishan was recently interviewed to share his insights on our culture here at QuickTapSurvey.

Can you give us an overview of QuickTapSurvey?

QuickTapSurvey helps businesses collect data in person using tablets and phones without an internet connection. Our surveys are easy to create, fun to do, and beautifully designed.  You can use one or more mobile devices to do surveys and all that data is automatically sent to our website where it can be viewed, analyzed and downloaded.

QuickTapSurvey is used by businesses in over 80 countries. It empowers them to make insightful and quick decisions by taking immediate action on survey data. It is perfect for lead capture, customer feedback, research, audits, and many other use cases.

One factor that makes us stand out  – and increases our appeal – is our focus on user experience and design. We have come up with a formula that makes it easy for survey respondents to interact with touch screen interfaces in a fun and engaging way using native apps. Our product also works with or without an internet connection.  I think those are some of the reasons why we’ve had quite a bit of success with the product and platform.  The flexibility to collect and store data that can then be downloaded and analyzed when a connection is available.

Almost every industry – over 5000 customers worldwide – uses our app. This includes business that are doing lead capture at trade shows, museums getting visitor feedback, focus groups for manufacturing, non-profits that survey natural disaster sites, PhD students doing research; hospitals doing patient feedback; pharmaceuticals with sales teams – all of them use QuickTapSurvey.

What is your big vision for the QuickTapSurvey product?

Our vision is “To be the world’s leading in-person survey platform.” Anytime you see someone doing a survey in person, we want them to be using QuickTapSurvey.

Our mission is to help marketers for small and medium size businesses understand, acquire, and retain customers by taking action on data-collected through in-person surveys that are easy to create and fun to do!

And how are the people who work for QuickTapSurvey, part of this vision?  What can they take pride in knowing they are a part of?

The success we’ve had is due in large part to our team. Everyone in the company is contributing in a very real way to building the product and moving the company forward, even our co-op students. Ideas for improving the product come not only from customers but also from all of our team members so everyone can point to real things that they have contributed toward and feel a sense of pride.

Both Ravin, my Co-CEO and I are incredibly open to ideas, and new information to keep this mission moving forward.  We believe that you can learn from the people that work with you.

Wanting active contributors, people who share our way of thinking and working – that’s embodied in our culture and who we are.   Culture fit has always been how we hire.  At QuickTapSurvey, that translates to people that you want to work with, people you respect and enjoy working with.

What are QuickTapSurvey’s culture and values?

I guess to say work hard play hard is a startup cliche?!

It’s very much about growing our people.  We hire for a specific skill set but everyone contributes, learns, grows in ways beyond that.  We want you to expand your skillset and find a place here to do what you want to do. For everyone who works here there is a great opportunity for learning, for visibility, for openness. I’m not just talking about our  seating arrangements but the way we work and communicate.  Everyone has the chance  – is welcome, is encouraged – to offer  input on design. We all look at customer feedback. And then we talk. As developers, marketers, sales. We want to incorporate feedback and ideas that make our product better, it doesn’t matter whose idea it is.  We are very open in terms of collaboration which is a differentiating factor from other companies. Marketers can have design ideas that we will consider if they make sense.  Developers might have ideas for a sales pitch.

We are passionate and take pride in what we are doing.  But we aren’t overly intense.  In fact, we are pretty relaxed.  Fridays especially, we like to have fun, eat breakfast together in the morning and then closer to the end of the day, we have a demo open to everyone in the company.  Everyone gets to sit down, crack open a beer and demo what they have accomplished during the week.

We are still defining ourselves as a company and that’s another opportunity for anyone that joins us now to help shape what that ends up being.

Why would someone want to join QuickTapSurvey? What makes you different from other startups right now?

We create an environment that capitalizes on the opportunity for exposure. Other startups and bigger companies put their people into boxes in terms of what they are allowed to do. They have dedicated individuals and teams for everything. We have more flexibility, e.g. on the Engineering Team you have the opportunity to learn about iOS, Android, web backend and front end development. Its up to you what you want to get out of it.

We are growing – the team, and the company so this is a chance to step up, to be a team leader and to grow with the company. We are definitely looking for people who want to step up and be leaders, show they can take responsibility, drive the team, and share ideas, think of the success of the team and the company.

There’s an article from 2013 that discusses how your company was facing not-unusual challenges for a startup. How has that changed? What do you say to future employees that are concerned about stability?  

Every company goes through various stages in their life.  Obviously in the beginning the only thing you are thinking of is survival, enough runway to build the business but also to pay the bills.  It was the perspective at that time.  We were still figuring out where to take the business. Back then we were pretty naive, like most new entrepreneurs, we thought things would happen much faster.  But we were building a product really targeted towards businesses that were taking a long time to catch up to the technology and the product.  We had a few key customers that allowed us to stay in the game longer.  The market caught up to where we were and that translated to us being in a position to grow our company. 

We are now in growth mode not survival.  We have a proven business model and are beyond that initial phase. Also we are a SaaS (software as a service) business with a subscription service. We are profitable month over month and have no debt. Our monthly revenue stream is predictable and we are in a fantastic position financially.  There aren’t the huge risks of a new startup. We have identified and established a solid customer base, we aren’t testing a product.  We know what works, we know what serves a great market and now we just need to blow it up by continuing to innovate and being the market leader.

Those are just some of the reasons working here is a fantastic opportunity to lead the development team and to be part of the company’s leadership team. There will always be a few different things we can teach you, create learning opportunities for you.  The general company culture is an environment to be successful, enjoy your time in the office, the people you are with, make an impact on the company. We can offer our employees that and so much more.

So, what’s the secret to hiring and retaining amazing people in technology in Toronto?

Ultimately we want developers, architects, data scientists, digital marketers, social media strategists, product managers, business dev folks – we want them all to think of QuickTapSurvey as a place to start or build their career.  So we are building towards creating this reputation within our company, and our own small circles, and trying to get the word out.

We want great people to know that by coming here, they will be working with people just like them. People who like to have fun, people who literally throw a ball around the office, who want build some really cool things, and who want to come into to work every day.  They should know that we are people they can learn from – this is a chance to work side-by-side with the co-founders of an awesome company.

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