Meet Poppy Tucker - an incredible fire ball of energy, ambition, intelligence and laughter! We first met at Pinksheet (more on that later on) but for the interview resided in the secret garden at South Place Hotel with a glass of wine (not quite breakfast!). Poppy is the Chief Instigator at CRUXY & CO, a very different consultancy. They help restless business people deliver growth that they didn't imagine possible. It is their energy, momentum and charm that differentiates them. You can find Poppy at all the tech events, watching pitches and continually challenging how things are being done. Take notes!
Current Job Chief Instigator, CRUXY & CO!
Education Economics & Politics, University of Exeter.
Hometown It will always be my parent’s farm in Hertfordshire, but I am torn between there & Bondi, Sydney where I lived for 3 years.
Favourite productivity tool When done right there is nothing better than a properly organised list - if you know something will not get done that day, move it to your full week’s list. Make sure everything in your day list gets done – or else!
Go to meeting spot South Place Hotel – they have a secret garden on the first floor. Even in winter when it is covered, it can be a quiet sanctuary.
How do you switch off I am lucky enough that I still have horses at my parent’s farm. I try to get out there most weekends. I take my horse out into the woods – there is no phone signal and it is uncomfortable to be truly out of contact, but a necessity for switching off.
Guilty pleasure I very rarely watch TV, but I cannot get enough of suits. Jessica Pearson – what a boss! Her attitude, her intelligence, her wardrobe. I am in awe!
Top networking tip
- Go it alone – If you want to network, don’t go in a group. You stay in a group.
- Be everywhere – There is no excuse for not networking in tech in London. If you want to you can be at 10 events a week.
- Overcome the fear of approaching people - Some people don’t find this difficult but I did, now I love it. I have met the most inspiring people through making sure I found a way to talk to them at an event.
How did you get to where you are today?
I had been living in Australia for three years when I decided I was ready to come back home and serendipitously join CRUXY at the beginning of its journey - a provocative consultancy which sharpens brands and repositions businesses. CRUXY feels that the way most people perceive marketing is flawed. It is easy to think that by raising awareness you are moving forward, but CRUXY questions: Who needs to care and what do you really want to be known for to this audience? What does raising the bar look like? Don’t do what you have always done or copy what everyone else is doing. In order to really make a mark you need to do things differently.
What has been your biggest challenge?
Deciding that we knew there was an opportunity for us to make a difference in technology. Tech companies and particularly those founded by technologists are obsessed with the ‘what’. The product they have built is their baby – they want to tell you each and every detail of how it works. But what really matters is their vision. We identified this opportunity to help founders articulate their ‘Why’ and paint the picture of their vision, which is so pertinent for both their customers and potential investors. We help people tell their story in a way that inspires.
What is the key factor in your success to date?
I have had the support of a number of amazing mentors throughout my career, all of whom have been women. Each time they have inspired me to see a different way of doing things. The most inspiring people I have met have been really clear on their vision. Having that clarity and executing against it is in itself success to me. Factors can come into play that mean you have to take a different route, but ‘successful’ people I know are ones that see this, adapt and still stay true to their vision.
What would you like to be remembered for?
Bringing to life the vision of the most pioneering tech entrepreneurs in the world.
CRUXY & CO
What is Cruxy and Co’s vision and differentiator?
CRUXY was started to inspire people to focus on what matters. It is very easy to view marketing as a budget line, as the ‘stuff’– the PR, the website, the logo. Too often it is an afterthought, companies erroneously think SEO or PR will solve it and too many people think awareness is a deliverable. We don’t believe any of that matters until you have answered the big questions: why do you exist; who are you for; why should anyone care? True strategic marketing should service the business plan and it is about making choices. Why do a white paper if you haven’t yet worked out if your audience reads them? We find a lot of businesses ‘spin’ into action without thinking about these key questions. We work by challenging the company and digging to answer the difficult questions, injecting momentum to deliver what needs to happen to meet the big objectives seamlessly.
Why did you decide to work with tech start-ups?
It is old news that tech is driving every business - why would we not want to be part of that journey! The pace of change has shifted, even in the last 3-6 months. The attitude to blockchain for example – being something that provided the infrastructure for bitcoin to run on and there has been a lingering question over it’s credibility. In a short space of time it has begun to be viewed as something which WILL (there now being no question about it) transform the way the finance industry operates globally. Being able to work with those who are making this happen is something which I feel very lucky to be a part of.
You talk about ethos led business in your narrative - where do you think your clients and potential clients fall down most?
Many of our clients are owner founded and run businesses. They have created something incredible; they have seen an opportunity to transform and have acted. But in the process of creating, they focus so much on WHAT their product does. The functionality – how fast, how much, time to integrate, price… the details. They have had to obsess over the details, but in doing so think these are what make a difference. In every case, these businesses were started with an amazing vision.
At CRUXY we love Simon Sinek’s 'Start with Why'. We show our clients this video & instantly you see something change. They say – that is what I started out to achieve. I have a WHY! I just don’t know how to say it!
We just help people articulate what that is and then help them translate what that means for the way they behave. It should be like a stick of rock – wherever you cut it, the business should look the same. Everything you do should come from your WHY.
Women in Tech
Why do you think there is such a gender imbalance within technology specifically?
This is a really interesting topic and I personally, from speaking to the women I know in tech, think there is a disparity between perception and reality. I think there are amazing people making a difference – Jennifer Arcuri, Russ Shaw, the guys at FIN4FEM. But it crops up on generalist agendas as a vanity exercise. We will see real change take place when there is a genuine call to action coming out of each meet up. It is simply not enough to talk it anymore. I see Jennifer doing this really well. She is so relentless & passionate, I don’t think she even sees any barriers. She works in a way that transcends them.
What advice can you offer women who are looking to start their own business?
- Know that you won’t always get it right. As women we can be so hard on ourselves, but this can be what drives us. Balancing that relentless quality with an understanding that failure is not always bad, I think is a huge quality that the most successful women I know uphold.
- Get stuck in. Don't hold back and don't approach any situation as an outsider. Be brave.
- Be the master of your own destiny. Entrepreneurs don't question they just do - so more of the same!
What business support networks do you value?
Without a doubt, Pink Sheet Database is the best for women in tech. Completely unpretentious, open and inspirational. Anyone who wants to make a dent in tech should be there. I also make a point of getting to every New Finance event, less for support but more that I see the most interesting fintech companies coming through there at sometime or another. Eddie George does a great job of finding the ‘ones to watch’ and he is always on the front foot. Finally I think everyone running their own business should have a coach. I work one on an ongoing basis. I have found that having a completely fresh perspective has added colour to the big decisions I have had to make.