First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Marcus Emne: Thanks for asking. We are all good and so far blessed from Corona in our family or amongst relatives.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Hoodin.
Marcus Emne: A great idea or concept seldom comes overnight, it is a clarity status one reaches, based upon years of experiences, observations and a thorough understanding of needs and pains that the targeted customers have. When Hoodin first was founded back in 2013, it was a pure R&D project with me and two developers trying to get our arms around the technology required to make monitoring and fetching digital content more relevant than for example Google. When we came to the conclusion that relevance must be based upon more unique and detailed needs and parameters than just” searching and insane amount of sources” we knew we were on to something. We got our first beta-client not long after the first MVP version was ready and they really liked it. From that moment to being a publicly listed company in Sweden has not only been a sweet fairy-tail ride, but it has also been hard work, late nights with many ups and downs. Most ups.
How does Hoodin innovate?
Marcus Emne: By a being extremely user-centric / critic. This is a way we developed ourselves, but there are probably similar versions to it. What we do is that we look for solid needs and pains, preferably regulated so they are” must have” rather than” nice to have”. Then we have a dialogue with clients and experts in the field to truly understand both the need and the pain. Just focusing on the need might slow you down in sales later on. The pain might be something else, such as” management don’t understand, hence do not allocate time and budget enough”. The critic approach is that we always approach a need in a way that” the user can’t know what they need, only what they think they need” and by so we run innovation through a tech path to figuring out how we could innovate based upon the users recognized need vs the real need.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Marcus Emne: We have been digital in everything we do from day 1. So having the team remote, selling via video calls etc. is not an issue at all. But sure it affects us. Lead-times for every new deal is a bit longer, and generally, people are not that happy, eager for positive change and innovation in times of crisis or recessions. Yet, Hoodin lowers costs and makes companies more efficient so selling on down market should not be a long term problem for us.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Marcus Emne: I did not, and the most important lesson learned so far is how important it is to continue to spread hope, joy and a positive spirit. That heals anything if you do it from your heart and with honesty. I am not referring to people sharing quotes of hope and love on their FB pages. That is just corny.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety?
Marcus Emne: First off, we have a very open atmosphere at Hoodin. Hence, we or I would recognize stress and anxiety quite fast if that happens. To prevent stress, we always plan together, have team targets that we focus on, and we actually do yoga 5-10 minutes every day.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Marcus Emne: It would be Meltwater, Cision and some more. Stay in the game? We are in the game to win. I guess the answer I gave on your question regarding innovation is the most important reason why we will win. Then people are equally important. Without the right people on the ride, it won’t happen.
Your final thoughts?
Marcus Emne: Well, the show must go on folks, so keep it up and remember to strive for happiness during the ride.