Bongo the Monkey is one of the most famous mobile phone characters in Australia and could soon be coming to phones throughout the world. The Information SMS service, Ask Bongo is the brainchild of Business Development Manager, Caroline Thompson who has already seen the brand rise to the top of the Australian app charts and hopes for similar success around the world. The service is rated the number one information provider in Australia with Bongo the Monkey retrieving information for subscribers from a huge database built by a team of researchers.
Caroline Thompson began her career in Australia after graduating from the University of New South Wales and has attained a range of executive-level positions over the years. The idea for the SMS information service came from a party where a guest wanted a fast and efficient answer to a question using their cell phone. Since the party experience, Bongo the Monkey has grown with Thompson leading the company she founded in developing business plans and completing assigned projects. Alongside the existing projects being undertaken by Caroline Thompson, the technology expert is also looking to make sure her work includes a range of successful options for creating a globally-recognized business.
What attracted you to the technology sector?
While studying at the University of New South Wales, I noticed the influx of technology into our college and realized this was the way forward in business and life. My career has taken me to a few different executive roles at companies in various industrial sectors, but the technology was key in all. Now I’m running my own company; I see how staying ahead of the competition regarding technology places you at the top of your particular space.
What is the most important aspect of your brand?
Usability. Without a doubt, Ask Bongo cannot survive and prosper if we do not make the app as simple to use as possible. In the past, I have worked with engineers who have great ideas but cannot make them work for our customers. Each time the issue of usability has risen its head we move on to the next option for solving a problem.
How does your company make money?
We offer a paid service featuring answers to questions asked by text message from a mobile device. Each time a question is asked we charge a small fee which is a flat rate for every question asked by our subscribers. I believe the benefit of asking Bongo the Monkey a question is the fact a flat-fee is always charged which includes all taxes.
What motivates you?
When I started Ask Bongo, I had been working for others for some years and was disillusioned by the failings I saw in various companies I held executive roles in. I wanted to prove a point about myself and the role of women in business which, I believe remains undervalued in most companies, in my opinion. Establishing myself as a female executive is something I feel I have to do every day if I am to keep my company in the strong position we currently find ourselves in.
Did you ever have any periods of doubt about establishing your brand?
The technology space is very crowded, but I think the growth of the top technology companies, such as Amazon and Apple has pushed a lot of the creative entrepreneurs out of the sector. In Australia, the technology space is still growing and has yet to be tapped into by many major brands, so I had a little more freedom to do what I wanted. However, I did have some days when I doubted myself and the possibility of success with Bongo the Monkey.
How do you unwind?
Being an entrepreneur is stressful and can become an all-consuming way of living life. I like to think my career has been helped by living at Bondi Beach in Sydney and spending time relaxing throughout the year. Clearing my mind is simple when I head to the beach, some days I walk or get in the water to swim and surf when my mind is clear for a short period. When I get out of the water, I find my mind is far clearer than it was earlier in the day. I often surf in the morning when I first wake up to make sure my mind is clear and focused on the day ahead.
Do you have any advice for our readers?
Trust your ideas and run with them. Too many entrepreneurs abandon their ideas because of a lack of confidence and regret their lack of belief later on.