20 Years, 20 Stories: 1998 – Planning Global Expansion

Author Bio

Author Bio

It would be fair to say I’ve covered a lot of bases in my 18 years at Confirmit. I started in December 1998 as the Director of Information Management and spent most of the festive season that year with our founder, Bjørn Haugland, developing our business plan. At that time we were still some long way from generating revenue, but we had a few colleagues developing the technology already so we needed to make sure we turned their efforts into a successful venture.

The combination of my background and Bjørn’s were perfect for what we were trying to achieve. Bjørn came from the Market Research industry and had a wealth of knowledge about that market and what MR agencies needed to meet the challenges of the future. I came from SaaS industry and the corporate market. We spent a lot of time and effort in developing a strategy that would revolutionize the survey industry. The online survey market barely existed in 1998. We developed a scalable, technology-focused, and cost-effective strategy. Much of what we put in place that year remains today, including the commercial structure and selling Confirmit as a SaaS subscription-based solution. The decision to offer an On-Premise solution came in late 1999 to support the sales to the corporate market.

Back then, of course, the company was called FIRM (Future Information Research Management) and in effect, I was the “Information” and Bjørn was the “Research”. I’d like to think I was a bit of the “Future” too, though.

Once we were up and running, my focus was on how and where to sell our products. It was a challenging but incredibly exciting time which led to a rather nomadic existence for a few years as I built up our sales offices in Norway, London, New York and San Francisco. We still have offices in all those locations, though in all cases, they’re rather more impressive than they were when I set them up!

Over the subsequent years, I’ve had seven roles ranging mostly through various forms of sales and marketing. In reality, though, I started building up sales teams and selling for FIRM and today I am leading a sales team and selling Confirmit’s solutions, so in some respects nothing has changed for me.

Except, of course, everything has changed – and not just the company name.

My focus now is on Voice of the Employee market, which we actually defined as a target market back in 1998. The world of employee feedback has changed dramatically over the last 18 years, from a focus on annual employee feedback paper surveys, to structured programs that capture multi-channel insights from employees at key moments throughout their lifecycle with a company. As businesses start to realize the benefits of linking VoC and VoE, it’s still evolving and I am predicting that the VoE market will completely change over the next 3 to 5 years, and Confirmit is perfectly positioned to lead this change. I’m as excited about the future now as I was back then.

Confirmit has changed. Our markets have changed. I suppose with seven job titles and four cities behind me, I must have changed too. I don’t look a day older though. Really.