Bye bye, Boise Analytics

50 clients served with 50 volunteers and subcontractors

Cam Crow
Cam Crow
May 25, 2019 · 3 min read

Why I started Boise Analytics

I founded the company in September 2017 with the goal of making expert data analysis accessible and affordable. Small and medium -sized organizations need help making sense of their data as much as large organizations do, but they’re completely priced out of the existing options (hiring or expensive consulting companies). I designed a business model to offer competitive services at 90–100% less cost using volunteers and subcontractors (no overhead from employees).

It didn’t pan out

It was creative, but it was complicated. And it took a long time to figure out whether the revenue model would work. Long story short, there wasn’t much demand for paid data analysis services, even at at such an aggressively lowered price-point. I see two possible explanations: our audience wasn’t aware that affordable services existed (marketing problem) or they didn’t see the value in analysis (market problem).

Though we were churning out pro bono projects for community-oriented organizations at an incredible rate, the financial picture wasn’t sustainable, and it couldn’t continue.

I had to simplify

Eventually, I cut out the complexity of using volunteers and subcontractors altogether. I was the only one providing services, and every project needed to be revenue generating. This helped — I was making more money with less work — but it wasn’t as satisfying.

I wasn’t particularly enjoying it

I realized that the business could probably grow to provide me with a “livable income,” but it would require most of my time. At that point, I had to face the music, and I realized that if I wan’t going to be stoked on the work I was doing, I might as well become an employee again and make way more money for the same amount of work. And that would allow me to pursue my passion projects on the side without pressure to monetize them.

So, I shut it down

I’ve started submitting job applications and winding down existing projects. The website now forwards to a simple consulting page. (I’ll consider some consulting projects on a case-by-case basis if I’m particularly interested in them.)

And recently it dawned on me that I should keep up some sort of “clients page,” so that others can see which organizations may be interested in volunteer analytics projects.

These were the cool organizations I worked with

If you’re interested in donating your analytical skills to organizations with some experience working with volunteers in this capacity, consider sending them an email and offering!

Cam Crow

Brainstorming ways to make things better

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