Comprendia Turns Two! What We’ve Learned, and Are Still Learning…

Comprendia Turns Two Years Old

It’s hard to believe that just two years ago in June of 2008, I started Comprendia. Colleagues at Stinson Brand Innovation helped me with a logo and branding, and I set up the Comprendia website using the free WordPress platform. Now, in June 2010, we find ourselves as a two year old company with what I consider to be a good reputation and solid experience. Maybe I have too many friends with little kids, but I can’t help but to try to think about what we’ve learned, and what we have yet to learn, from a two year old child’s perspective. Here goes!

Sharing is good. A lot of what we find ourselves doing is providing resources for others, whether they’re scientists in the San Diego Biotechnology Network (SDBN), life science marketing professionals, or any of our network of around 9,000 biotechnology professionals. Are we good people? Sure, but we also see benefits from sharing daily, which gives us a business case to continue. We get new leads, we learn from our peers and our clients, and we get many perks from being connected, such as media access to conferences, etc. In our two years, we’ve definitely learned the benefits from sharing, much as a two year old learns that sharing a toy is the right thing to do.

Learn from your mistakes. I love telling people about the mistakes I made early on, so we can all learn from them. Here is one: I set up a social network for biotech marketers, thinking it would be a great way for us to share experiences and connect. What I didn’t realize in these early days is that many of these free standing networks take a LOT of effort to get going, because they don’t become useful until a minimum number of people join, something called the network effect. So, the group didn’t ever take off, but we did succeed in creating a great group on LinkedIn, where we can take advantage of the fact that so many biotech marketers are already there. We learned from this mistake, and make sure that our clients don’t make them as well. We’ve encapsulated these ideas in our STIR Social Media system to help life science companies create successful campaigns and applications.

You can’t do it all by yourself. We’re lucky to have many great partners who help us to meet our clients’ needs, including Stinson Brand Innovation and WHITECOAT Strategies. We’ve also been very lucky to hire Rebecca Watson-Beattie as Business Development manager, she has brought a wealth of experience and focus to Comprendia. If you’ve met her you know, she’s a great asset and a pleasure to work with. We’ll also be bringing on Julie Mazziotta soon as our WordPress Web and Social Media Manager. Julie’s web, search engine optimization (SEO), and social media experience will help us and our clients to grow. Related to the first point, through our network, we continue to meet exceptional companies and individuals to work with and are very excited about the capabilities we will be able to offer our clients in the months and years to come.

Saying ‘No’ can be empowering. Every small business goes through growing pains–what should our focus be, and which projects should we take on? Like a two year old, we are learning that there are choices we can make that will affect our lives. Sometimes this means saying ‘no’ to some project areas and focusing on where we can have the biggest impact. This strategy benefits everyone, as we prosper, and our clients get the best we have to offer. So, while we don’t say ‘no’ quite as much as a terrible two year old, we hope that by continuing to focus on our strengths, that we’ll be able to help companies focus on theirs as well. If you’ve been reading this blog, hopefully you know, but to clarify, we are a full service marketing firm specializing in web-based tools and social media.

What we can do is quite remarkable. We hope that by building Comprendia and the SDBN from the ground up, you can see what is possible, even for a small outfit. In our Bootstrapping Biotech event with the SDBN last year, we talked about all the cheap or free tools which empower small companies, and our dream is that our success can help yours as well. Like a two year old, we can think about what it was like to crawl, and walk, and now how great it is to now be able to run. Running along with others is perhaps the most fun of all, and our dream is that you’ll all realize how much is possible with today’s tools, and leverage them for your benefit.

It’s a big, wonderful world we live in. These past two years have been nothing short of fantastic. We’ve met so many great people, from famous scientists, to amazing entrepreneurs (latest here), to professionals who are making the best of this bad economy. The number of fantastic life science and biotechnology product and application ideas we’ve heard about over these two years leaves us in awe, and like a two year old we’re anxious to explore and see what’s around the next corner. We sincerely hope that, also like a two year old, we’ve been able to soak up a fraction of your collective knowledge and make sense of it in a way that benefits the community.

Like a two year old, we will grow a lot over the next few years, perhaps in ways we cannot imagine right now. We’ll be unveiling some great client projects over the next year, which we think will open up some new doors in life science marketing. Stay tuned!

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