Interview with Rick West of Field Agent

in Entrepreneurial, Internet related jobs

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What do you do for a living?RickWestFieldAgent

I am the CEO and Co-Founder of Field Agent.

How would you describe what your company does?

We want to change the way the world collects business information.  We create new products founded on progressive mobile technology and a sustainable business model that utilizes Crowdsourcing as our engine.

What is unique about what your company does?

  • First app in iTunes to provide cash for completing tasks
  • Utilize crowdsourcing to complete work

What does your work at Field Agent entail? (your role personally)

As CEO:

  • Set strategic direction for the Company
  • Lead change within our Industry
  • Charged with telling our Story to the Masses

How did your company get started? 

Our background was with P&G and after leaving Procter we formed a Shopper Research Company (CORE4 research) to meet the needs of CPG Companies.  In 2009, we set out to solve an Industry wide problem:

“how can you get location specific data (i.e. from a retail store or a home) that is accurate, cost effective and the data be available real time”

Current state required high costs in labor and long lead times time to deliver our Customer’s needs for shopper specific data from a retail/home location.

Our answer was to use the power of the iPhone to help us deliver a breakthrough way to gather data via crowdsourcing.

What do you like about owning/being part of a startup?

Autonomy to be able to make a difference in peoples lives both internally and externally to Field Agent.

What do you dislike?

There is never a beginning or ending to your day, week, month.  It really is a 24/7 lifestyle during the start-up days.

How does your company make money?

Our Clients pay us to gather data for a fee.

What are your company gross revenues?

< $10,000,000

How have you funded the company?

Boot Strapping over the past 3 years.

Is there any specific education you received or skills you have that have helped you?

It is really simple:

–       Be someone who listens (no one likes a know it all)

–       Read everything you get your hands on (you can not comprehend the massive amount of data required to do a start-up if    have not been a “reader”)

–       Be inquisitive – be a student of your work and its connections to other industries

What is the most challenging thing facing your company?

Managing Growth with the increasing awareness of our model.

What is your opinion on the startup community and the business climate in NWA?

It is getting better.  The Ark Challenge was a great start to encourage start-ups.  The State and Innovate Arkansas also do a great job incentivizing start-ups and encouraging outside investors to invest in Arkansas based start-ups.

What advice would you offer someone considering starting a business?

Get your family onboard for the adventure.  Being a start-up impacts all facets of your life!

How much time off do you get or take?

I am blessed to have a great family to support me.  Net – Family comes before work.  This being said, when you are in a start-up, your family is integrated into your work life as well.

So I take time when I need it, but I am never far away from my iPhone, iPad or Mac Book…

When I take a week of vacation, I manage my time to ensure that I have quality uninterrupted time with my family during the day and then get back into work early morning and late evenings.

What is a common misconception people have about what you or your company do?

They think that we were two guys in a basement who developed an app.  We are the opposite – we are business professionals that created a solution for the Industry and used technology  (iPhone app) to deliver the solution.

What are your goals/dreams for the future?

Picture a day when a business professional is able to get information from any country in the world without ever having to leave their office.

What else would you like people to know about your company?

We have a great Team of people that believe in what we do and why we do it.  We know that we do not live in a vacuum so we strive every day to give back to our community and to the world that we interact with each day.

 

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