Perth, Australia Startup Looking To Disrupt Survey Industry; Interview with Floq Founder Jonah Cacioppe

May 27, 2012

9:00 am

You won’t get too far in the world of e-commerce without talking conversion rates.  Providing the desired content, an intuitive interface, and elegant design all play a key role in getting a user to perform an intended action.  These rules are as true for gathering customer feedback as they are for affecting purchasing behavior.  And in the opinion of Floq co-founder, Jonah Cacioppe, the current state of consumer surveys is lackluster, at least in terms of design.

“We’ve created something that’s not just easy to use, it’s beautiful…There really is no excuse for users not to have a beautiful online experience,” says Cacioppe.

Not only does Floq focus on beautiful surveys, they’re also adding a new dimension to consumer intelligence.  By pooling together the data from all survey responses taken through their platform, Floq includes comparative benchmarking to demonstrate how your business stacks up versus industry standards.  “We believe context is King,” adds Cacioppe.

Cacioppe and his six-person team are looking to disrupt a longstanding industry from down under, with company headquarters based out of Perth, Australia.  Tech Cocktail caught up with Cacioppe to learn more about the startup scene in Perth, the inspiration behind his service, and the importance of design in user engagement.

Tech Cocktail:  What was the inspiration behind Floq?

Jonah Cacioppe:  After working for 12 years as a fine artist I joined my old man in starting a boutique management consulting firm and ran that for five years. As part of this we did quite a few surveys for companies and they played a really important part in helping people and businesses get clear, objective feedback. I looked into other folks in this space and was amazed how clunky lots of the products were and how they didn’t capitalise on any of the network efforts of having open, shareable data pools – even the big guys like Surveymonkey. If you send out a few questions to the customers of your coffee shop with Surevymonkey never ever will you be able to compare your punters feedback to the norm for all other coffee shops. It was like they’d missed the birth of social networks and open source approaches to information like Google maps.

There seems like a massive gap in this space with few folks making questions and survey data open, shareable and comparable. So we’re trying to take the best from open Q&A platforms and apply that to the structured data from surveys, test and polls.

So I decided to quit the consulting thing, revive my creative juices and kick off a startup. In some weird way it satisfies the creative aspect and my love of numbers and info.

Jonah Cacioppe

Floq co-founder, Jonah Cacioppe

Tech Cocktail:  In your opinion, what role does design play in user engagement?

Cacioppe:  I think design plays a huge part in user engagement and this will only increase with time.

There’s been a huge shift in the digital landscape from functional websites and apps built by developers to a whole range of beautiful intuitive websites and apps built for the average punter like Path, Instagram and Rdio.

Guys like facebook are putting huge investment in having the very best designers. It’s not an accident that Y Combinator’s uber guru Paul Graham spent a year studying art in Florence after finishing computer science at Stanford. His book Hackers and Painters talks quite a bit about the close relationship between the visual arts and software development. I think that lately these two communities are realising they both need each other. Hackers can build the architecture for the most effective communication medium there has ever been, and Painters (designers and artists) are repurposing their pencils to make them work for the digital era.

If Leonardo Da Vinci was alive now he’d probably be working for Facebook or starting the next Apple. Hell probably Jonathan Ives will be looked at in the same way in a few hundred years.

In terms of user engagement I think the average user wants something that is beautiful, efficient and intuitive to use. And as digital products are global they have to cross cultural boundaries – visual design and iconography is the best way to create a universal language and experience. I think it’s fairly obvious that well designed sites and apps are winning the digital battle field: Apple, AirBnb, Instagram and Path. Why wouldn’t someone pick efficiency of function and beauty of form over just good functionality unless your talking about an old slow moving encumbent that has everyone by the balls. This trend will only increase even more rapidly.

Tech Cocktail:  Can you speak to the startup scene in Perth, Australia?

Cacioppe:  Sadly the startup scene in Perth is fairly small and under-resourced. While there are some great apps coming out of here like Discovr most creativity, intelligence and investment goes into our booming mining industry. Australia in general has some awesome digital companies like Atlassian, Freelancer, Hitwise and 99Dresses, but we need a few more massive wins to get Australian startups the awareness both locally and internationally they deserve. I’m planning on putting my US passport to good use though and establishing some relationship with US mentors and investors a little down the track.

One of the benefits of having a small startup community in Perth is that startups here learn to do a lot with very little, and are really focussed on creating solid businesses rather than puffing up vanity metrics.

We’re doing our best to put Perth and Australia on the map.

Need to gain insights for your business?  Test the waters with a free Floq account today.  


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When Zach Davis isn't getting lost in the mountains, he is hustling from Boulder, CO as Tech Cocktail's Director of Marketing. He is the author of Appalachian Trials, a book chronicling the mindset necessary for thru-hiking all 2,181 miles of the Appalachian Trail, a feat he accomplished in 2011. Zach is a green tea enthusiast, die-hard Chicago sports fan, and avid concert-goer. Follow Zach on Twitter: @zrdavis.

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