Tim Qutee built Qutee from the ground up. He tells BQ all about his journey, from assembling his dream team to developing his strategic vision.
What is it the company does
We built Qutee as an online discussion platform that organises digital discussions, collecting poll data on key questions and converting every comment or interaction into trackable, analysable, and actionable data that is accessible to anyone.
Digital discussion today is in a state of disarray; existing social media and discussion tools are swamped with content. No one has a real voice, and no one is capable of listening properly. Comments disappear from view within minutes of being posted, while the data and insight from discussions is walled away by site owners and only made available for a price. There is a great opportunity here for us to tell stories with the data from live discussions and debates throughout the web and social media,without them being left in the ether.
Describe your role in no more than 100 words
Having founded Qutee and drafted in our day one dream team, today I’m responsible for shaping the strategic development of the business - both in terms of evolving our proposition for clients and platform users, as well as looking at monetisation and how we continue to drive growth. Of course, it’s vital that I stay close to the platform and the discussions that occur on it, so every day I make sure I’m interacting with our influencers and user base to better understand how they’re using our platform and the value they’re deriving from it.
Give us a brief timeline of your career so far – where did you start, how did you move on?
I actually trained in law, but after studying I decided to follow my first passion - music. I have spent much of my career as a guitarist, in songwriting and production, even supporting the likes of Alice Cooper and Def Leppard on arena tours.
I can trace my interest in tech back to the first time I used at ZX80 Sinclair at school. This definitely ran through my career in music production, and I eventually segwayed into the data and analytics space in 2011.
Qutee’s Chief Technical Officer, Flint Barrow and I decided to approach the issue of digital discussion. We wanted to fix an ecosystem of online debate that’s been broken and not serving the needs of audiences for some time. That’s where Qutee was born.
What do you believe makes a great leader?
Especially in smaller or niche fields, you need vision and the ability to inspire that vision in others. When you’re trying to do something that hasn’t been done before, being able to keep that motivation and keep the team inspired is crucial. It’s about leading by example with optimism and commitment.
What has been the biggest challenge in your current position?
Taking Qutee from concept to reality. We needed to find a way to beta test the platform with a relevant audience. We did this by partnering with tech influencer MarzBar, and by bringing his audience to the platform to curate discussions, we were able to gather the feedback and data we needed to refine the user interface, experience and onboarding at a very granular level.
How do you alleviate the stress that comes with your job?
I’m happiest when spending time with my daughter or recording music. And while I’m no pro, I find martial arts really helpful too.
When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Any pet hates in the workplace? What do you do about them?
People not owning their own failures.
Firstly because when you’re working in any creative industry, and particularly when working in small teams, you have to eliminate egos otherwise the work environment quickly becomes unbearable.
Secondly, mistakes are important. You need them to learn. Constructive critique is essential to both personal development and generating your best business ideas.
Where do you see the company in five years’ time?
The goal is for Qutee to become the global go-to platform for conversational research. For brands, influencers, agencies and researchers it’s about having access to real-time insight and data on the key questions facing their digital communities, while for their audiences it’s about having somewhere their voices are heard, where their insight is valued, and where people can engage in the kind of higher quality, more intelligent discussion that legacy platforms can’t provide.
We’d like to see the core API being used ubiquitously across the web, and for the platform itself to attract regular users from all over the world to come and share their views.
What advice would you give to an aspiring business leader?
Simple: make sure you’re doing something that you’re passionate about. When you’re passionate your creativity thrives, and your commitment will see you through the inevitable challenges that come with founding with a business.
What do you wish someone had told you when you started out?
Seek out other entrepreneurs, startups, small businesses. We should be championing one another, creating support networks and collaborating to deliver greater value all round.
Not to mention that when you’re a startup with already limited resources, the bureaucracy and length of decision-making processes that often come with larger organisations can slow you down.
Our BQ Bulletin emails will land in your inbox at 7.30am, Monday to Friday, with a mix of the latest local business news, national news, and features to inspire you. Sign up here!
Click here to read our privacy statement