Position: The new president and chief analytics officer at Razorsight, a Reston company that provides cloud-based analytics for communications service providers.
As a child, Chris Checco’s professional aspirations ranged from geology to gymnastics. It wasn’t until he began a career in IT that his focus became clearer. As a consultant at Nextel, he saw the power of analytics and was “bit by the bug.” He has looked to make strides in the analytics field ever since.
You’ve had some influential mentors. What is some important advice you learned from them?
I had a mentor who was boisterous and animated. He wore everything on his sleeve. From him, I learned to tackle things head on. There’s no room to dance around issues. One day I walked in his office to tell him about an issue I had with another person in the company. I expected to give him my story and then he would go and talk to that person later about the right thing to do. But instead he literally got that person on the phone right then and there and brought the person into his office with me there and said, “This is what Chris told me. Chris explain your side.” The person explained his side. And he made a decision right there. He didn’t take a side. That encouraged me to take responsibility for my story. It was all done immediately. That moment in my life, I realized it made perfect sense to do that in business.
You wrote a business plan in college that turned into a real opportunity. How did you go about it?
The plan I developed at Georgetown was all about embedding analytics into call center operations to differentiate call centers and drive revenue streams exponentially. I ended up calling a company called DHSoft. I told them, “Your business problem is that you only have one customer. My business problem is that I have no capital and no staff. Let’s work together to make it go.” They agreed. We landed about a dozen new clients in the next couple years.
Was there anything you would’ve done differently?
For one, we sold our marketing customers on a project basis instead of a subscription basis. It made our revenue streams lumpy, which for a small business is hard to sustain. I also would’ve structured my contract differently so I could’ve bought the business out. I would have liked to have the first right of refusal for buying out the business.
— Interview with Vanessa Small