Back to Startup Basics: TaskSpotting’s Arto Valio
Arto Valio has been revisiting his startup roots since joining TaskSpotting earlier this year, after spending his last 15 years working in the information technology industry. Reminiscing on the dynamism of those startup days, he recounts his excitement over pioneering a new future in earlier times whilst setting up one of the first price comparison sites back in 2002, with 2 million euros in VC funding.
Having experienced a wide spectrum of work environments over the past two decades, Finnish-born Arto has garnered a wealth of wisdom both in international business and his working life. Eventually, his journey brought him back to the startup world. "Having spent a long time in a corporate environment, I've seen my fair share of things. I've had 18 managers in my 15 years, and gone through 7 company restructures. It’s fascinating to see all the great things that startups are doing outside of the large corporations, and always good to reinvent oneself and have the opportunity to surround myself with a bunch of great new people, fresh ideas and energy."
This liberation feeds his passion for innovation and new ideas in his role as Managing Director for Asia Pacific at TaskSpotting; a consumer influencer platform headquartered in Dubai. "Our focus at TaskSpotting is to make it easy for brands to collaborate with everyday consumers and activate their influence through brand content that they create and share," Arto elaborates enthusiastically. "Essentially, we enable people to become both the media channel and the creatives, unlocking them as the most powerful, trusted & authentic storytellers for any brand. You can think of it as social proof at scale."
This focus on consumer content is resonating with brands due to the modern consumers being dominated by digital content, where images and videos becoming the primary driver of both brand discovery and purchase intent. Nevertheless, these trends seem to be boding well for TaskSpotting, who have on-boarded about 50 global brands and activated over 100,000 consumer influencers in the last 12 months alone.
PICKING UP THE PACE IN STARTUP GAME
Being in a startup is different. You talk to people in your coworking space, attend the space’s many events, and things generally move much faster. You don't get this kind of speed in large corporations because of all the lobbying, and needing to be mindful not to step on anyone's toes - there are a lot of politics involved. In a startup, you don't have politics because you simply can't afford to. You need to move fast, and as a result you don't play games. You make a decision and move on, which is very refreshing.
INNOVATION SHOULD NEVER WANE
It is a shame when politics are involved in a company, because there are people who reach a certain stage in their careers where they become averse to taking risks. As a result, new ideas and innovation wane due to their reluctance of rocking the boat - hence, they just maintain the status quo. Without innovation and new ideas coming in, it's frustrating and holds back the entire organisation from further growth. It's great to see large corporations such as Unilever start to recognize the value in promoting and working with smaller tech companies.
GREAT COWORKING SPACES FOSTER GREAT COMMUNITY
I like the way that my co-working space is being managed, because life could be very different. Members could all sit at a coworking space, but lack the drive or the mechanisms to foster closer connections and to bring people together. Whereas in reality, LEVEL3 takes a lot of initiative with their events and activities to bring people together, and that attitude is very encouraging. Community is very important, and I believe it's what differentiates one co-working space from another. Otherwise, you're little more than just two individuals who happen to be sitting in the same place.
NO TASK TOO SMALL FOR THE SOLITARY STARTUP WARRIOR
In a startup, there isn't a task small enough for you not to take on. Simply because unlike in a large corporation where you have teams of people dedicated to each individual function, in a startup this isn't the case! Even at Taskspotting: It's ultimately up to a small team to help build up the TaskSpotting vision and expand its footprint around the word. Startup culture is very exciting because of the freedom to innovate and the increased responsibilities that it offers. However, it’s not for the faint hearted because it is really demanding and is definitely not a 9 to 5 job.
PULLING IN THE DIGITALLY EVASIVE CONSUMER
Due to digital proliferation, consumers today have become extremely well-informed. Research has shown that up to 75% of the buying process is already completed before the brand even gets a chance to engage with the consumer. This is happening because for the most part, the formative steps of the buying cycle are all driven by online peer content – content that the brand largely has no control over. This disconnect creates a major pain point for brands who are trying to get in front of their prospective customers to influence purchase. By leveraging the influence and trust that people have amongst one another, TaskSpotting ignites an impactful 'pull' factor that empowers brands to boost their relevance amongst consumers, effectively stepping in to resolve this modern-day challenge.