Female CEO Spotlight: Kristi Zuhlke, CEO & Co-Founder at KnowledgeHound
How did you get your start working in technology?
I started my career in corporate America in a market research role at Procter & Gamble. When I was there I had this passion that had nothing to do with consumer goods but had everything to do with technology: I wanted to create a smartphone app that would take pictures of moles on your skin and analyze them for characteristics of skin cancer. That was my first tech venture, and that’s how I got into it.
Tell us a little bit about your current company, Knowledgehound.
Knowledgehound believes there are intimate insights hidden in market research data. Today market research data inside large organizations is silo’d. What Knowledgehound does is democratize data across an entire organization by putting all consumer survey data into a single location, enabling companies to identify new insights they never knew they had.
How did you become a co-founder and CEO of Knowledgehound?
I sold my previous technology company and went back to my book of ideas. I have a journal I keep where I write down all my business ideas. Knowledgehound was one of those business ideas, and I decided I had the passion for going after this problem and figuring out how to solve it. I found a technical co-founder who could develop the technology and started the company in 2013. Now we are an 18-person company and growing.
What gets you most excited about your job as CEO?
A couple of things get me excited about my job. The first is having direction and influence over the product roadmap and the innovation in which we invest. I get really excited about new ideas and new ways we can impact our clients by delivering new technologies. I also really enjoy managing people.
What’s the number one piece of advice you’d give to other women hoping to reach the C-suite at a technology company?
What I’ve learned is having convictions in your decisions and opinions is critical. I don’t think there’s harm in having a firm stance about most things that are happening inside your organization. As I look back on my growth, I wish I had been more convicted in decisions and directions much earlier on at Knowledgehound and even in other parts of my career.