Thomas O’Malley: Work Like an Immigrant https://cdn.buttercms.com/1TSnlgMSRAbr1bIZQVOa Companies struggle with knowing what’s coming next. Customers often give the “faster horse” feedback, but disruption comes from the outside.
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PRESS COVERAGE

“Work Like an Immigrant”

By Tyler Gallagher | Authority Magazine - Thrive Global | Dec 23, 2020
  • Leadership
  • Technology
  • Marketing
  • Lead Gen
  • Innovation
  • Gig Economy
  • Business Growth

Authority Magazine

| 8 MIN READ

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Article Extract: Thomas O’Malley of Currnt: “Work Like an Immigrant”

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As a part of our series about business leaders who are shaking things up in their industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Thomas O’Malley.

Thomas is the founder and CEO of Currnt, a marketing intelligence startup launched in 2015 that uses AI to recruit on-demand, curated teams of experts for virtual focus groups and ongoing advisory boards. Prior to Currnt, Tom held various senior leadership positions at Oracle, Avaya and Qwest Communications. He received his MBA from the University of Chicago — Booth School of Business and his bachelor’s degree in business from Emory University — Goizueta Business School.

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Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular career path?

Twenty years in large enterprise taught me that companies tend not to engage with their market in meaningful ways and miss huge and sometimes obvious opportunities. After seven years in a strategy role at Oracle, I became convinced companies need to learn faster by collaborating with their market. They say if you are bothered about something enough, you have to create a startup to solve the problem…so I did.

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Companies really struggle with knowing what’s coming next. Customers often give the “faster horse” feedback, but disruption comes from the outside. We are tech enabling the ability to engage with groups of your target market; from a single fully-managed virtual experience, companies can learn faster, get quicker access to Voice-of-Market (VOM), they can create their best thought leadership ever, and they can even make new relationships and sales.

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Can you tell our readers what it is about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?

Companies really struggle with knowing what’s coming next. Customers often give the “faster horse” feedback, but disruption comes from the outside. We are tech enabling the ability to engage with groups of your target market; from a single fully-managed virtual experience, companies can learn faster, get quicker access to Voice-of-Market (VOM), they can create their best thought leadership ever, and they can even make new relationships and sales.

We source and bring in subject matter experts, and host an online SME facilitated discussion over days, weeks or years. We produce ongoing reports, blogs, podcasts and any other formats of in-demand content one seeks. Companies often utilize and implement that content into their communications calendars and marketing activities.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

I met my first investor in the parking lot of a restaurant on Sand Hill Road. An ex-pro NFL’s, he is a physically massive man and I made some comment about how his car fit him like a glove. Continuing idle chat on our way into the restaurant, we ended up at the bar together and had a few drinks and laughs. Turned out we were both from Cleveland and shared similar values. I stayed in touch with him for a couple of months, until finally he took a meeting to hear more about my business. Today, he is still my most active investor and advisor, and we have become great friends.

We all need a little help along the journey. Who have been some of your mentors? Can you share a story about how they made an impact?

I think about Rich Delperdang…I know…great name! He was one of my first bosses in my career that taught me that sales is about listening. He always seemed to grasp the depth and breadth of the customer problem and it was through that he garnered trust and gained a lot of efficiency. And, at risk of sounding predictable, clearly, my spouse is the unsung hero related to my journey. We have made many life decisions together that gives me the ability to pursue business goals, but most important is the patience and faith in the journey itself. Doing a startup is REALLY REALLY hard; I really cannot imagine it possible without 100% support at home. [...]

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