Christmas parties are a great time to look back and take stock of progress over the last year. At the first Quorso holiday party, 2 of us met for drinks in our small office overlooking a Sainsbury’s car park in North London. We had one customer, a prototype, two whiteboards, and a cactus.
Last year, 12 Quorsans met in a pub in Islington. The cactus had died, but along the way, we’d recruited 2 corgis from Texas (and their owners). We had clients in the US and UK who were managing billions through Quorso. And the platform delivered great results if you were unusually persistent and we’d trained you … twice.
This year, 30 of us gathered for dinner and drinks near our office in Covent Garden, right in the heart of London. We’re working with some of the largest, highest performing companies in the US and UK. We’re building an excellent team and growing very fast.
A lot has changed since our first Christmas party. But one thing hasn’t. And that’s why Dan and I founded Quorso. Our entire team (including the corgis) is on a mission to mobilise the world’s managers. We want every manager to do 3 things each week to improve their company’s performance. By doing so, we can bring greater meaning and job satisfaction to the 20 million managers who control 70% of the global economy. And we can transform the productivity of the world’s companies.
To make all that happen, we’ve been paddling like crazy throughout 2018. And our theme for the year has been Resilient Growth. Since Day 1, companies have loved what we do, and we’ve grown quickly. 2018 has, for us, been a time for building the muscle which will enable us to sprint faster for longer without tiring. As I reflect on our accomplishments in 2018, I’m very proud of a few areas where we have invested particularly heavily.
Boosting engagement and making customers successful
A big priority this year has been to get more managers doing more things to make their business better each week (and less of what doesn’t work). I’m happy to say we saw that 70% of the action plans managers implemented through Quorso in 2018 were successful in improving their bottom line.
We’ve worked hard to make the app more intuitive and easy to use. Remember I told you that in 2017, you could use Quorso if you were “unusually persistent and we’d trained you twice.” Well, thousands of design and engineering hours later, we don’t need to train people at all, and our users tell us it’s the “simplest business app” they use. Which is great, but technology is only half the puzzle.
To ensure that everything we do is focused on growing and developing managers and making them feel more empowered at work, we signed up Jeffrey Pfeffer as an advisor earlier this year. Jeff is a professor of organisational psychology at Stanford University and an internationally renowned expert on company-employee dynamics. Like us, he cares deeply about improving health and mindsets in the workplace. His advice has helped us make sure that our users feel bold, collaborative, and motivated.
Rapid and seamless data ingestion
One of the most powerful benefits of using Quorso is our ability to ingest and securely process vast quantities of data without needing to integrate into a company’s systems or involve their IT team. This capability is unusual and helps us deploy and start delivering good stuff to clients when most other analytics companies are having their second scoping workshop.
In late 2017, one of the world’s best known retailers asked for Quorso’s help optimising hourly sales of 250,000 SKUs. At this point, the third-party tool we used to ingest and transform data imploded. Dan Slowe, my co-founder, went grey overnight! In response, half our engineering team has spent much of 2018 building our own, specialised and hugely powerful data acquisition platform, “Mario.” All our clients now run on Mario. We’ve reduced the effort to set up a new client by 75%.
The Quorso team
In 15 years at McKinsey, I learned that great people are the most essential ingredient for building a great company. We are, therefore, fanatical about hiring, growing, and retaining extraordinary talent.
Our team doubles in size every 6 months, so making sure that folk from disparate backgrounds get on and can collaborate well together from day one is critical. Defining the high-performing culture we want was easy; embedding it was inevitably a challenge. Too many start-ups declare victory because they have a 120-page culture deck and a ping pong table. We’ve worked painstakingly through issues such as how to provide appropriate apprenticeship for colleagues working remotely. Or how to balance flexibility around work hours with the need for teams to collaborate and predictably meet milestones. We’ve put in place a lot of really great practices, and I’m excited to continue the work of making Quorso a home for exceptional people to grow.
Two last things
As the year draws to close, and most of the team is wrapping up and heading off to a well-deserved holiday, I’m looking across our office at increasingly empty seats. And it makes me feel two things: Pride and gratitude. I’m proud of what we have created this year, the team we are, and mission we’re on. And I feel very grateful for the people that are using Quorso. Helping you work towards better performance – for yourselves and for your companies – is our ultimate mission.
I hope you all have a happy Christmas holiday and a wonderful 2019.