Meet our Client: Dexter Intelligence
Aug 14, 2012
This month, we meet Anthony Hornidge, Managing Director of Dexter Intelligence. We'll start with an easy one... When was Dexter Intelligence established? January 2012. What's your elevator pitch? In this era of exponential growth in digital data, we believe that the concept of ‘search’ as we know it will be inadequate for many requirements. Search implies that one knows what to look for, and perhaps where to look for it. The amount of digital data in the world has doubled in the last two years and this huge growth continues, with much of it being unstructured – that is, free text and video. In this environment, search is a very limiting factor. Take for example the problem of the police analysing some confiscated laptops and mobiles of suspected criminals. They may well have 1 terabyte of data to analyse per machine and thousands of calls and text messages, and they need to cross-correlate this between all suspects. Conventional search simply can’t achieve either the level of forensic coverage or the speed required to uncover evidence and connections in acceptable timescales. At the other end of the spectrum we have massively growing use of social media and other online information sources – these are hugely important for understanding public perception, brand awareness etc. but cannot be easily or exhaustively searched. Therefore we believe that ‘discovery engines’ will be as important as search engines are for day-to-day internet use. Discovery engines more closely support the process that humans experience when they discover information in the real world. In the digital world, discovery is critical, because search tends to rely on matching text strings – thereby precluding what you don’t know. What is the one piece of advice that you would give to someone just about to go into business on their own? Make sure that you understand your market, your competitors and your offerings. In a new market, having competitors is not necessarily a bad thing because it means that others have spotted what you have spotted, but you need to hit the ground running and know what you are about – and that requires the right team, adequate launch funding and a good plan. What is the best business decision that you've ever made? In the context of Dexter the best decision has been to get the right people on the bus and ensure that we have full control of the decisions that we need to make. People also have to be adequately incentivised and therefore it's important to set the company structure up properly and transparently. And the worst...? (If you're prepared to share!) In terms of bad decisions, it's not so much a case of making bad decisions as knowing how quickly and in what order to take major decisions. We could have done with creating Dexter 6-12 months earlier, but this was out of our control. What are you going to do differently over the next 12 months (particularly in light of the current economic climate)? The next 12 months are focussed on consolidating and delighting our launch customers at the same time as setting conditions for growth. This is different only in the sense that previously the company would have carried on pursuing multiple leads rather than focussing on the handful of paying clients. The message here, for us at least, is that having a small number of really satisfied clients is more important for our growth plans than having a larger number of poorly supported clients.