Dive into a riveting story of resilience as Suzie Dergham CEO of Guru Experience pivots her start-up company from the brink of failure to a thriving employee-owned enterprise. Join us for an episode filled with raw insights on navigating the tumultuous tech world, transforming a passion for art into cutting-edge technology, and the staunch commitment to customer experience that is redefining the museum industry.
Here are a few of the topics we’ll discuss on this episode of Cache Flow Podcast.
- Suzie’s unexpected pivot from art to tech CEO.
- Overcoming company debt and stagnation.
- The essential shift from devices to cloud-based tech.
- The challenge of the museum industry’s long sales cycle.
- Aligning tech product scalability with growth.
- Guru’s transition to an employee-owned company.
- 7:45 – There’s a lot of grant proposals that go into these things, which contributes to our sales cycle as we can probably jump into. But it tends to be funded by some sort of accessibility grant. You know, something that is educational accessibility is a big one. Giving people the ability to, you know, use screen readers or enlarged text or things like that. But that definitely means that museums have to, you know, find, find the money to support it and then, and then provide it.
- 14:54 – That lasted for like, you know, a week or two when, you know, very quickly I became the COO and was just kind of running management and all of our client stuff and pretty much everything we were doing, which then led me to have access to everything. And it very quickly, it became clear that the way the company was going, it probably wasn’t gonna be around for much longer than a month or two.
- 24:21 – I started to learn more about the startup world of like, you know, they may be investing 20 or 30 in their portfolio and they’d rather see you shoot for the moon or just completely, you know, fail and back out. Whereas that’s not how I operate. I’m more of an operator at my heart of like, you know, making things work. And if we grow 5% in five years, then I think that’s success. We’re growing. Whereas to a VC that’s not, and they don’t wanna wait around for that.
- 36:09 – So that’s when we started brainstorming like, well, with this lowball offer, like we’ve just gotta beat it. And the clock is ticking. We’ve got about a month before this offer expires. And if we’re able to come up with, you know, just, just slightly higher than what they came in as there’s not really gonna be a choice. They’re gonna kind of have to go with ours ’cause it’s a, a better offer.
- 55:30 – Don’t be afraid of the things you don’t know, and find advisors. That’s probably one of the best things that, you know, happened for me was I found people who were, they believed in me and helped me believe in myself, but also being, you know, I’m probably transparent to a fault with my team, which sometimes, you know, can make people worried or concerned, but it builds a level of trust that the team knows that I’m there for them and they’re there for me, and that we’re in this together.