My Story (In Celebration of International Women’s Entrepreneurship Day)

Allison McKeever

On the 9th anniversary of International Women’s Entrepreneurship Day, I want to share my “why” for co-founding Rutabaga, a transition in my career that marks my entry into entrepreneurship.

In short, I was tired. I’ve been consulting or working for organizations from Fortune 500s to small and medium sized enterprises, to start-ups for over a decade. A throughline in my experience is that tools available to people building products are broken. Worse, the tools enforce silos on product teams and lead to inefficiencies, misdirected efforts, fragmented customer data, and sowed seeds of doubt and frustration in the impact of my work, leading to burnout.

When you’re analyzing research data, there’s a moment where you’re overwhelmed and cannot imagine a way through. The piles of evidence and how those connect to reasons why an organization should care about their meaning, seem like you’re in the abyss of the hero’s journey. You’re already at your wits end, and it’s in these moments where tools can significantly impact your emotional well-being. You need a tool that is there, meeting all of your needs and making the process smoother. Those tools don’t exist.

I’ve spent too many hours of my life context switching between a mishmash of different tools – all of which promised me more and then some in regards to how they’d help streamline my workflow, increase productivity and collaboration, and lead to greater incorporation of evidence and insights into the product development process. Instead, they left me pulling all-nighters, and at times, wanting to throw my computer out the window or punch a hole in the wall.

What kept me going were the moments of sharing insights and knowledge that emerge from research, and seeing colleagues understanding and empathizing with the user. That’s when I felt like the work I was doing mattered, and the part I loved the most. Yet, the struggles to get there, because of tooling, and the struggles that lay ahead to do anything with the insights and knowledge, were daunting. I knew I didn’t want to keep doing this line of work with tools that offered the antithesis of the work itself – a good experience.

Because you listened, because you diligently worked through analysis, someone, somewhere should be having a better experience. And that matters. But the reality of the way teams work today, likely means your insights are sitting on a digital shelf collecting proverbial dust. What I like to call, the research report graveyard.

Now that I’ve seen what’s possible with the vision of our platform, and the features we’re releasing in 2024, I cannot imagine a world where Rutabaga doesn’t exist. So, I am now devoting my career to bringing this to market, improving the experience of teams building products all around the world. If you’re interested in what’s possible, consider signing up for our waitlist through our website.

Rutabaga is the platform to help people field research, analyze data, leverage knowledge, and field experiments ultimately leading to better, more meaningful products, services, experiences, and bottom lines.

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