What has been your biggest struggle in starting your business or career?
“Inquidia Consulting is a big data and analytics professional services firm. The biggest consideration for each of the founders was walking away from the comfortable positions we had before Inquidia and assuming the risks of a startup company with the many unknowns. Each of us experienced a round of doubts, but in the end, took the plunge. After 10 solid years, we’re very happy we did!”
What has been your proudest moment?
“Consulting’s a pretty simple business: Your demand is customers; Your supply is employees. Our proudest “moments” are the consistently high-performance evaluations we get from our customers and the consistently high ratings we get from our employees.”
How does your team manage to work remotely?
“The analytics consulting business is very different than it was just 15 years ago. Then, with out of town customers, we’d travel Monday morning through at least Thursday night, maybe working from home on Friday—week after week. Now, with virtualization and collaboration technologies, we do much less travel, perhaps one week in four for those out of town customers. Just this morning, I made two sales calls with Skype and a project kickoff with an East Coast customer in multiple locations using uberconference. And Skype serves as the virtual Inquidia “water cooler” that connects the company every day.”
What do you like about collaborative workspaces?
“When our lease was nearly up with our previous office company 18 months ago, I probably looked at more than a dozen alternatives in downtown Chicago. Most were vintage 1990’s—nice, but too “heavy” for the agile two thousand and teens. We liked the flexibility of the office suite at Level Office Chicago, as well as the fact we could seat more consultants in the same amount of space. So far, so good.”
What’s your favorite lunch spot or happy hour near the office?
“When Inquidia’s office was located across from Millennium Park, we had more of a Michigan Ave vibe. Plenty of high-end eat-in dining but mostly chain faster food and carryout choices. Now, south and west in the Loop, there’re more “earthy” spots where the atmosphere may be lacking but the food quality is superb. For example, right across the street every day are at least half a dozen food trucks peddling their wares. Always something new to try.”
What advice would you have given yourself 10 years ago?
“Do a bit more experimenting with the lines of consulting we took on—perhaps diversify our business portfolio a bit more than we actually did. When you diversify, some “investments” fail, but you also put yourself in a position to “hit the big one”. Can’t complain much though, Inquidia’s done very well.”