Interview with Vivek Bhaskaran, Founder and CEO of QuestionPro

Marketing Darwinism spoke to an old friend and associate, Vivek Bhaskaran, Founder and CEO of QuestionPro.

MD: Vivek, some big changes in QuestionPro I see. Can you tell us more?

Vivek: Paul, thanks. Yes, we’ve moved the company to Austin, Texas and are ready for our next large phase of investment and growth. We hit 200 people and I realized that we were no longer the scrappy startup full of hungry, footloose folks. We are now an established brand with world-class talent and as such wanted to find a city that would sustain us as we double revenue and increase the team substantially. Austin has proved to be a perfect location for QP.

MD: Other than the move, what else is new and exciting at QP?

Vivek: Well, we’ve been asked by customers, partners, and users to help them use research, information gathering, and other elements to provide amazing experiences to their customers and ecosystem; as we thought about their feedback, we realized that while twenty years ago, we were a “survey” company, we are now truly a company that facilitates what we call “e(t)” or “experience transformation.” The markets are simply too crowded for any organization to NOT help its customers provide experiences to their customers. We are very happy with this concept, which we see not so much as a pivot but as a continuation of our QP proposition.

MD: Vivek, QuestionPro has a set of “sister” companies that you’ve helped create. Tell us about them.

Vivek: Well, even though we try to be humble, I must say that when I look at the family of companies that I’ve helped build, lead, and grow, I think first of my incredible partners in crime- the team. QuestionPro has people all across the globe- who think about the mothership as well as Ideascale and TryMyUI, both lead by incredible friends and leaders. There are so many synergies in the QP family of companies and each has grown magnificently. We know it’s a combination of hard-work and luck so every day we thank our customers and amazing associates for their contributions to this.

MD: What are some of the factors that aren’t captured in the numbers? Is there some sort of secret sauce?

Vivek: Well, I could say it’s our culture but so many organizations have great cultures. Frankly, I think it’s our business model which has always been predicated on ease of adoption, intense listening, and frictionless service. When your mantra is that you have to shave all friction out of the company in order to do what’s right- at the right price- for tens of thousands of customers then you’ll be successful irrespective of other factors. Well, you do need a great product too!

MD: How does Marketing fit into your growth planning?

Vivek: Throughout our history, we’ve oscillated on this question but now, we take marketing and the marketing community incredibly seriously. In fact, my mentor is a marketer who lives in the Seattle area and he has always beat me up on this matter. We’ve realized that great marketers think about audiences and experiences and worry a bit less about the numbers and ROI. They come from audience and experience. So, yes, we are investing heavily in marketing and it has paid dividends.

MD: Any parting thoughts?

Vivek: Well, I want to leave your readers with just a few thoughts. First, please check out QuestionPro and send me feedback if we don’t wow you. Second, for my fellow founders out there, build the company you want to build not the company that others put pressure on you to build. Finally, simplify always. Nothing else works.

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