An Interview with Insightpool
Led by Devon Wijesinghe and his bold leadership style, Insightpool is one of the hottest startups at the Village. They now reside in a prime corner office suite on our 4th floor, but it wasn't always that way. Insightpool has defined hard work, competition, and a scrappy mentality since our doors first opened. They have been a part of the Village community since the very beginning and we have gotten front row seats as they score big deals, grow, and contribute greatly to the startup community. I love introducing Devon to folks and am inspired by his honesty and tenacity as he works to grow Insightpool in Atlanta. See what you think from my interview below.
The biggest motivation I had for doing Insightpool is the team I get to do it with. It's an awesome feeling to be able to do another company, but candidly it is an ecstatic feeling to see people with zero experience get their first shot...and win.
Who is your ideal customer?
Typically we work with really large brands and their digital marketing teams. Since what we do is extremely innovative, larger brands or agencies are the ones that want to push the digital envelope first and have the resources necessary to do so.
What traction do you have?
We are very fortunate to have really fast traction and achieved 7 figure revenue in the first 10 months since we seeded the company. We are in the scaling phase now, which is really fun but one of the hardest parts of our life cycle. Past results do not constitute the future and we will be paranoid every day to build a great company.
What do you love most about being in the Village?
We were one of the first companies in the building when David bought it. Literally no internet, assemble your own desk all of that. It was amazing to see so many other start ups join even when the building literally was "less than perfect". Seeing what it has become and the no expense spared approach that David has taken makes it not only a crown jewel architecturally but emotionally for all of us that were here from the beginning. The buzz is infectious, but I also really like all the fortune 500 companies that get tours...we always "coincidentally" appear and introduce ourselves when they are in the building. :)
What is your philosophy on startups?
Candidly I look at the word start up like a bad word. Don't get me wrong, I think people starting a company is amazing...but there is way too much of a hollywood mystique to being a "startup". It's not cool to be a startup...it's cool to be hyper growth company. I think people breaking out on their own is amazing, building a team, creating jobs and wealth is awesome....but it is super hard. Start up hippies that just work 8 hours a day and love their t-shirts, fun culture, and razor scooters will not last for long. Blood, sweat and tears are required and it will not be cool, it will be grueling...only the most dedicated will survive it..period.
Why are you such a badass?
Ha..I don't know about that. I find that there is so much double talk, lack of clarity, and wastes of time that happen when trying to build a business and time is precious. So sometimes I am simply known for a "cut to the chase" attitude, and will hold myself accountable to the same terms. You only have 24 hours in the day, and wasting any of them will never build a great business. Sometimes in the middle of a meeting, I'll simply say "this is not worth talking about (here's why)" and get up and leave. I'm sure at times I come off as being aggressive, rude, or downright mean, but anyone that knows me typically likes that as their time is money too.
What's the secret to your charm?
Another ha...charm? That is really up to eye of the beholder I guess. To be totally honest, I really 100% do sincerely care about people. "Charm" in my opinion is simply engaging people directly and being straight up and injecting tons of humor. You need to find out what common ground you have with other people and awesome conversations flow from that..."charm" is simply a common connection that I like to engage with others on. I find that I can related to almost anyone whether it be a fortune 500 CEO or a newly hired janitor, it doesn't matter. We all have a common connection and I tend to find that in everyone I talk to.
Anything else you would like us to know?
I have very little to offer except for all the stuff I do wrong and maybe learn from that. Always listen to your instinct... period. You are not smarter than anybody..but your customers are geniuses. If you are not willing to cross your fingers and hold your breath for several moments during the day...don't be an entrepreneur. The harder you work, the luckier you will get. Culture is a silly joke when you are not actually winning. Winning always creates a wonderful dynamic.
Any final words of Devon startup wisdom?
Final words makes it sound like I'm about to die... and in this game that could be true at any moment. All of us regardless of how successful we are, are two deals from dead. Two major mistakes can take down an entire company, so stay vigilant and be paranoid at all times. You will not know you succeeded until the very end. Get used to that.