Sima Vasa is excited to welcome Tim Clover as her guest for today’s podcast. Tim is the CEO and Founder of Glow, based in Australia. Tim is originally from the UK and has been living in Australia for the last ten years.
Glow is an online research platform, and people often compare it with SurveyMonkey on steroids. For Tim, it is about a lot more than just creating surveys. It is about the whole workflow for research.
As a kid, Tim was into engineering and finding out how things work. He started his first business after getting his engineering degree. He tried to use Excel macros to standardize processes and do things like process mapping. And he wanted to work out how to create channels into different markets. Although he earned enough to pay the rent and eat, he needed to gain more life and company experience, so he ended up working for a UK company, doing business simulation work.
Not fitting the mold
A friend called Tim and suggested that he apply for a role at the company he was working for because they needed someone with his skill set. Tim applied for and got the job. But he felt that did not quite fit that mold, which was generally very academic and did not involve much thinking outside the box.
Tim became interested in the sensitivities around many of the assumptions in the models that were being used in the company he was working for. He wanted to understand where the data was coming from that was feeding those assumptions. That pushed his career within that company into a role of story-telling, and into dealing with much more senior people in the organizations, to challenge them and help them form assumptions. From doing that, he became well-known within the organization.
In Australia, they were trying to do a similar thing. They wanted to build a team to analyze data and analytics from an operational perspective. So Tim decided to move there and help the company build a team in Melbourne.
Tim did a lot of work with retailers. A big retailer called Coles was going through a major transformation at the time, and Tim’s team helped them pull together all their data together.
The birth of Glow
It took a long time to get their customer data together, and Tim started tinkering around to find ways to speed things up. Through his endeavors to find a better way to capture the information, Glow was born.
Glow, as a concept, was born because of a gap in the ability to reach consumers. It was a way that companies could tap into their customers more quickly and directly. Initially, Tim did not think of it as a survey platform. He just wanted to close the gap in hard-to-reach places and create experiences for the customers to engage.
Good times and bad
When starting a business, you have to weigh up the personal risk and realize that the path will be hard. If you’re not absolutely focused and completely determined, you’re going to find the ride pretty tough. Tim has had some fantastic times and some tough times over the last seven years.
At first, Glow was all about getting data from hard to reach places and leveraging their tech to fund growth. In the background, they were investing more heavily in the ability to write the surveys themselves.
Clients could log in
After starting to write the surveys themselves, about three years ago, they released the first version of Glow where their clients could log in, look at their account, see the surveys running, and change some of the questions.
Before, Tim was more of an insights person than a researcher. So when he got into research, it was about getting data.
Three years ago, Schweppes asked Tim to do an online panel. He looked into it to find out how it might work, and it eventually took about two hours to get it working beautifully. The panel that Tim created takes people from building a survey to creating links to get responses, to then analyze the data online.
The big change
Integrating with the panels made the bits of the experience that used to be hard very easy, and it made a big change for Glow from a business model perspective. They have seen enormous growth in their revenues and business.
The role of insights
Tim believes that the role of insights is to take on the big programs and do them well. And to use your resources to find ways to capture the other questions that the business is asking and serve them with the information they need
The future of Glow
Glow shares their data, and they encourage others to do the same.
Tim sees the future of Glow being about building a narrative around data shared quickly is a good thing because it enables people to get involved and important topics discussed.
The data quality for Glow is about the quality of the panels.
When Glow manages projects for their clients, they are responsible for looking at the data quality. They actively invest in tools that help identify quality data.
One of the risks
One of Glow’s risks is that people could use the data inappropriately. They are mindful to avoid creating more of a problem than what they are trying to solve.
The future of Glow will follow their vision. Their vision is to provide more access to better tools that more quickly surface data and reduce some of the half-life challenges that data has. Their future also involves a seat at the table around trying to achieve more of a human-centric future.
“Glow is an online research platform, so people compare us often with SurveyMonkey on steroids.”
“It’s not just about creating surveys. It’s about the whole workflow for research.”
“Retail is one of the industries everyone has an opinion about because we all participate in it.”
“Glow, as a concept, was born of a gap in the ability to reach consumers.”
“When you start a business, you have to weigh up personal risk.”
“When starting a business, if you’re not absolutely focused and completely determined, you’re going to find the ride pretty tough.”
“I believe that the role of insights is to take on the big programs, to do them well.”
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Tim Clover on LinkedIn