Fellow Profile — Ryan Hogg
University: Royal Military College + Saint Mary’s University
Major: Double: Accounting & Entrepreneurship
Hometown: Terence Bay
What does your startup do?
Affinio is a marketing intelligence platform that leverages the social graph to reveal actionable insights around market audiences. Our clients, such as BBC Worldwide, SABMiller, and L’Oréal, are better able to understand their customers and prospects by identifying data-driven personas that naturally exist in their audience leading to better paid and owned content strategies.
Basically, our algorithms analyze the relational connections that exist within any audience, then automatically groups individuals into tribes of people with similar interests and passions. Companies use our platform to build and market to data-driven buyer personas, win new business, inform sponsorships and influencer programs, and create content that resonates with their ideal customers.
How would you compare working in a startup to your other work experiences?
Apples to Oranges. I spent nearly a year on work terms split between KPMG and IBM and two years in the military prior to that before joining Affinio. Large organizations are inherently structured in such a way that they’re highly risk-averse. Decisions are slowly made only after passing through multiple layers of approval, while typical roles, functions and processes are highly structured and standardized, and the business itself is inherently mature.
Contrast that model with a startup like Affinio’s which, for the most part, is horizontally flat (for now) and there really is no comparison. I have full autonomy and the flexibility to make decisions that directly impact our business.
In a large company, you typically report to a designated manager above you on the organizational chart; in a startup, you report to your entire team. Big companies are akin to cargo ships — slow and careful to navigate — whereas startups are more like jet skis — speedy, nimble, and able to change direction and pace at a moment’s notice.
What’s a social issue that you are particularly passionate about?
The alarming re-proliferation of geopolitical conflicts in EMEA.
What are the characteristics that it takes someone to be successful in sales?
Curiosity, a desire to continuously learn and hone your skills, buoyancy/energy, and a high degree of emotional intelligence.
How has participation in varsity athletics influenced your career?
It’s definitely helped nurture my competitive and team spirit which, I’m sure in turn, has inherently pulled me towards a career in sales within the context of small, team-based startups.
What’s your favorite book?
Fifth Business by Robertson Davies — Personal Read | Business Adventures by Scott Brooks — Business Read | The Sales Acceleration Formula by Mark Roberge — Professional Development Read
If you could tell your third year university student self one piece of advice, it would be to….
See the world while you can still find the time.
What is the best part of being a Venture for Canada Fellow?
The amazing fellows (lifelong friends) and incredible partner/support network.
What do you hope to accomplish in your career?
Become a SaaS VP Sales at a fast growing tech startup/F500, build and sell my own company, and then start my own VC.
Why should someone apply to Venture for Canada?
To take advantage of the network, opportunities, and resources it offers its fellows.