Dave Benson is the CEO of SuperQuickQuestion and a current customer of Cause of a Kind. He brings a career of knowledge and insight to a disruptor technology and aims to solve an age old problem around scaling time and keeping interactions short, sweet and Super Quick.
Tell us about yourself. What makes you uniquely you? Can you tell me a bit about your background, your hobbies, your human experience?
I was the second-tallest kid in my Hebrew School for a little while. I won a juggling contest when I was 12. Didn’t know what I wanted to do when I graduated college so I moved to Paris and then London. I’ve bartended a bunch and realized you can learn a lot by asking people about what they know. I’ve got what someone called “Reverse Impostor Syndrome” because I’m more than happy to admit when I don’t know something (yet).
It is no secret that you are a New Yorker through and through. Originating from Long Island, pursuing SUNY Albany for your education, and now residing in NYC, what are some of the recognizable shifts in workplace interactions that you have noticed over your career and what makes it different in the Big Apple?
New York is fast. We talk fast, walk fast and listen fast. I think remote work is allowing everyone else to take advantage of that same quickness. Remote work is here to stay whether hybrid or otherwise. The upside is that my colleagues in North Carolina, Ohio, Florida and Indiana are all connected with me and each other in a way they wouldn’t have been before. The best workplaces (and cities) are both resilient and agile. So, there’s the urge to try to communicate the way we did before, but it has to be coupled with newer and better practices and tools (like SuperQuickQuestion, thanks for letting me plug it…).
You can’t expect things to be like they were before because they aren’t. The world is changing, tech is changing and the ways in which we work are changing. Adapt or die.
You are certainly well traveled and have had an extensive career prior to earning the title of CEO and introducing an elegant software solution to the world. Tell us a bit about your early career and how you originally navigated some of the most recognizable logos on earth.
I was never a tech guy, like you and my pals at Cause. I was a radio DJ in London, a journalist in NY and then got into sports media before moving over to marketing at IBM. Each of those experiences geared me up for what I’m doing now, but I’m an absolute novice CEO. It’s been great because I was forced to learn a ton of stuff from loads of smart people. I had no preconceived notions because I actually didn’t know anything.
You created a brand out of a problem. SuperQuickQuestion is rooted in brevity. The opportunity to keep meetings, engagements, interviews, and just workplace questions, short, sweet and productive. What was the inception for the idea and why was the need for SQQ so apparent that you were willing to pivot a whole career, and jump into SaaS, investor land, and the CEO life?
I moved from sports media to IBM and everything took too long and I’m not a particularly patient guy. Meetings upon meetings that were often far too long. I started zipping over to people’s desks and promising to only take a minute (and never going longer). I’d get the answer I needed and then they’d cancel the 30 minutes we were scheduled for. Win-win. That was the genesis of SQQ – a one-on-one video chat with a 60-second time limit. Of course, now we’re using it for fans to engage with athletes and musicians, experts to give advice or writers to talk to their followers.
I never intended to start my own company, let alone a SaaS one, but the idea took off, investors came along and then I quit a job that I liked a lot in order to take a crack at this. So far, so good.
CEO life is a funny one because it’s really the same as my old life. The biggest difference is nobody can create problems or stress for me other than me. So, if I end up having to work extra hard on something it’s because of something within my control, which is good.
You are packed with wisdom, a ton of comedy and very practical advice for, well, anyone, that can catch your attention. Why do you enjoy mentorship so much? What are some simple strategies that other leaders can deploy, which would make them as accessible and willing to nurture future professionals?
First of all…thank you.
I think any time someone learns something they’re eager to share it. Almost any time I’ve asked someone to share their expertise, the answer is yes. It’s also a great exercise to help reinforce learning – tell someone else and you’ll get smarter about it yourself. So, I do really enjoy trying to tell others stuff that I know because it makes me feel smart (wink) but also it makes me smarter. It’s also extraordinarily gratifying when someone who was an intern for me tells me years later that something I told them was actually helpful.
Where can people find you or get in touch? How can people get involved in ultimately giving back to things you truly care about? What are some projects, initiatives and adventures you're really proud of and would like others to learn about?
Linkedin. Or email me. [email protected] The good/bad news is, there are tons of projects and initiatives that need help. There have never been so many worthy causes to donate to, march for or talk about. Just pick something and get to work!