The Rossland News asked community leaders to share what they see in store for the city and region in 2019. Here is what Thoughtexchange CEO Dave MacLeod had to say.
Rossland News: What is 2019 going to mean for Thoughtexchange?
MacLeod: I think 2019 is going to be a big year for us. This past year we kind of took our mission of “bringing people together” to a new level and started exploring new opportunities to make a difference. We raised another $4 million in investment, we began working in new sectors like healthcare and learned how to solve problems for new corporate clients such as Cineplex and Allstate. We also started hosting live events which are seriously fun and meaningful at the same time.
We’re in the middle of taking what we’ve learned over the years in education and bringing it as far and wide in the world as we can. There are all sorts of challenges to be solved and we’re discovering lots of energy and excitement from our customers. It’s good when work is fun.
What are the challenges facing Thoughtexchange in the next year?
For our business, we pay pretty close attention to the capital markets. Since we are investment-fueled we require… investment! It’s easier for startups to access money when the economy is strong, so fingers crossed nothing gets too crazy down south, overseas or right here at home thanks to Canada arresting senior officials from afar.
Beyond that, I’d say our challenges are along the same lines as most other investment-fuelled growth companies. We need to create meaningful value that wasn’t there before — and we need to do it fast and without going bankrupt. If you’re familiar with software-speak, “disruption” needs to be more than just for “disruption’s sake” if you’re going to make it as a startup and not just rise and fall as a fad. So we think a lot about that.
As for other trends that are causing issues, we might look at it a different way. Trending issues often create opportunities for us to help. When you look at issues facing corporations, communities and organizations at large, many of the challenges with buy-in, diversity, inclusion, morale, and retention are problems we can help solve.
What are the opportunities you are looking forward to in the new year?
We have big goals. We want to be a globally recognized company that helps all kinds of people in all kinds of organizations listen and learn from one another in a better way. Whether we’re helping make an event better, helping a school district hear from their constituents, helping a corporate leader include more voices in their decisionmaking or helping a hospital hear from their patients, we are happy when new voices get a chance to get recognized and better decisions get made.
This year we want to raise a bunch more money, hire a bunch more people and keep on truckin’ in that direction.
What do you make of the tech sector, generally, in Rossland?
I want Rossland to be an amazing and thriving secret forever. Which is impossible, I know. It’s a tough balance. On the one hand I know for the 40-plus people we employ in the region, being based here in the Kootenays is really, really important. Having my family part of an awesome, caring community with access to trails and powder and Ferraros’s and RSS and the Steamshovel and Cabine, etc., is really awesome — and healthy.
Because I love the small ski-town balance so much, and I’m a reasonably nice human, I also want this quality of life for other reasonably nice people in other companies. (Except for the powder part… I’m not that nice to wish other people get any powder.)
On the other hand, if lots of tech companies moved in and Rossland was suddenly a tech destination of the world and had 10,000 people and more moving in every day… we’d lose a lot of what I and we value so much — not only the afternoon powder lines, but them too. So it’s hard.