This Is a Success Story Even Though It Is Not a Finished One

My name is Mathieu Coates. I’m a part of the first team at Spotful. I’m a leader in customer success and relations. I also work closely with the product team. With my time and experiences at Spotful, I’ve built for myself the most compelling and ongoing experience of my life up to date.  

This is a success story even though it is not a finished one.

A few years ago...

Back then, my gig was resident DJ at the local bar spinning records on the weekend 9pm to 3am.

You meet lot's of people when you work at a bar. Some more interesting than others. Like the time I met Andrew Murray, the CEO of Spotful and captain of our operations.

He would talk one moment about how brain hacking could allow humans to learn a new language in a matter of days, even hours, or talk about ways we could potentially harness the tidal power of the Bay of Fundy. He also talked about entrepreneurial projects he had done in the past and those he wanted to do in the future.

One of them was building an interactive video solution for the art gallery space. The idea was simple. A trigger would appear on the video, the viewer would click it to reveal extra web content that would in turn give more value to the subject matter and even allow you to purchase the art directly out of the video.

Multiple scenarios popped up in my head. This technology would be very applicable. Videos of all kinds could become this type of video. E-commerce, the music and fashion industry, education (e-courses), e-learning, even creating a whole new style of video production!

What I envisioned was borderline overwhelming.

It had to be built! But it was not there yet.

I figured if I could join Andrew on this project, I would be on a winning team.The fact that I was not qualified mattered little to me, what mattered was that I wanted to be at the forefront of it.

An early stage project like this one, has little to no infrastructure in human resources or capital. It basically has a founder with one or two pieces to the puzzle. To be a part of this project, I had to consider myself to be one of those early stage pieces of the puzzle, even if I was the only person to believe it at the time. Maybe because I’m more of a dreamer and not a business school graduate, my naïvety made it that this was a once in a lifetime idea. The web was being populated by more and more video. In fact, video was starting to take over a big portion of the web. If there was a time to get on this, it was now. I would of been a fool not to. This was great for me, I would get to build a new video format that could allow people to view and use video in a new more pragmatic way and maybe even get payed to do it!

But back to earth for a minute... Andrew clearly had no use for me at that time and no money either. He needed programmers and funding, not a dreamer friend who could speak of the potential of interactive video. But hey, Andrew’s a smart and considerate guy, so here we are. I worked pro bono the first year and that was the best stubborn idea I ever stuck with.

Now three years in, I work full time and I have shares in the company. We work with talented people from different industries. Almost everybody is connected somehow to the web video space.

I want to take a second here to mention how important it is to surround yourself with people that always allow you a space to challenge yourself and personally scale up. That’s what Andrew did for me and for everybody in our team.

I’ve learned the importance of setting milestones. I’ve learned that including the whole team in the long and short term strategy talks can only help communications in all sectors of our operations. 

All this came by taking risks. Some right, some more dangerous than others and some straight up wrong. Nonetheless taking these risks allowed our team to learn so much more about how our industry works and in turn this allowed us to bring Spotful to where it is today. Learning how to position ourselves better within risk has also given us our character and a strong company culture. We take these risks together as a team, no one is left in the dark, no one feels like their opinion is unheard.

The wind is blowing strong in our sails. Almost three years in, we have a clearer vision of where we want to go. We move with war-like vigilance and foresight, and risk is the battleground of our success and innovation.  

As Christian Bale kind of said in The Big Short: "I might be early but I sure ain't wrong!"


- Mathieu Coates, Customer Success Manager @Spotful

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