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CEO Spotlight: Mike Brochu, GMI (Global Market Insite, Inc.)

By The Sterling Report

Inspiring and encouraging others, and watching them grow and succeed, is the best thing Mike likes about his job. His biggest challenge is getting the right team, for people make the biggest difference in a companyís success. Mike Brochu, President and CEO of GMI (Global Market Insite, Inc.), discusses with The Sterling Report his idea of an ideal CEO, his companyís successes and future strategy, and areas in the industry that will cause significant changes in the future.

The Sterling Report (TSR): Who were your biggest influences growing up? Did you see yourself as an entrepreneur when you were younger?
Michael Brochu (MB): My biggest influence growing up was first and foremost, my father. He taught me that I could accomplish anything I set my mind to, and told me that no one remembers second place. I also had many mentors who, for unknown reasons, took me under their wing and helped guide me through life.

I didnít really see myself as an entrepreneur or CEO until I was at least 30 years old, had worked my way up the corporate ladder and felt I had the leadership qualities to drive an entire organization. I was interested in losing the bureaucracy that comes with organizations of size and running a real business. Then I got my chance.

TSR: Do you ever feel that youíre lacking in any areas as CEO? What part of the job do you feel least comfortable with?
MB: I feel Iím always learning new things and new ways to handle different situations. Iíve come to realize that you never stop learning, no matter your age. And turns out that on many occasions, you are even forced to re-learn things you thought you already knew and acquired.

TSR: And what part of your job do you like the most?
MB: What I like the most about my job is leadership, the ability to inspire, teach and encourage others to be the very best that they can be, so they progress in their careers and their lives. And then when I watch them grow and succeed, thatís when I know I did my job well.

TSR: What was the biggest challenge you have had to face as a CEO?
MB: The biggest challenge I face as CEO, no matter the company I lead, is making sure I have the right team in place to succeed. Eventually, it is the people who really do make the difference.

TSR: You have been in this industry for more than 20 years. What would you say have been the most significant changes to the industry in that time?
MB: I would say definitely technology. It continues to transform everything that we do, making everything neater, sweeter, faster and cheaper. We can work from anywhere in the world, and communicate 24 hours a day in many different ways. This makes customer response immediate and much more impactful.

TSR: And what areas do you think are set to cause significant changes in the future?
MB: I think technology will continue to shape the future of the world we live in, as both professionals and consumers. We continue to try and figure out what people will do or say before they actually do or say it, so we can craft goods and services to match. Technology will continue to evolve, ultimately to a point where we can accurately project needs and desires into goods and services tailored individually in real time.

TSR: Can you share one or two of your companyís most exciting successes?
MB: Certainly. Since its inception in 1999, GMI has leveraged the advent of the Internet to revolutionize the market research industry, building products and supplying services to gather market data online, accurately and in real time for market researchers to use around the globe.

TSR: Recently, GMI has formed a relationship with TechTarget to serve a broader community of IT professionals and decision-makers worldwide. What was the inspiration behind this collaboration?
MB: Technology is still the arena of the most advanced and accelerated innovation, which is the reason why the opinions of IT professionals are in such high demand. It is very important to gather intelligence from a wide variety of professionals to understand the future evolution of technology. Our partnership with TechTarget seemed like a natural fit for us as they offer a huge pool of highly profiled IT professionals worldwide.

TSR: What sets GMI apart from its competitors?
MB: Our goal is ultimately to make global research better, faster and cheaper for market researchers. To do that, we deliver a full range of technology-enabled data services spanning the life of a study, from survey programming and hosting all the way to data processing and dashboard solutions. Our panel is one of the largest in the industry, reaching 10 million households in over 200 countries and territories. Our extensive global footprint, spanning 26 cities around the world, provides the local presence to support our customersí needs in a timely fashion, in their language. What we hear from our customers over and over again is that they appreciate our global capabilities, the quality of the data we deliver and our fast project turnaround.

TSR: Tell me about your core initiatives right now Ė what are some of the focus areas for 2008?
MB: Our holy grail is to gather real data from real people in real time for market researchers worldwide. Some of our focus areas for 2008 center around panel quality and growth, as well as flawless service delivery while maintaining our current global footprint.

TSR: What kind of people can make the best CEOs in this industry?
MB: I believe the best CEOs in this industry are the ones who are innovators, and not afraid to take risks, but with a strong sense of business management. Leaders who can inspire and motivate talented individuals and rally them to a common vision to deliver great things.

TSR: What do you think is the ideal style of leadership?
MB: For me, the ideal style of leadership is one that sets a vision with clear objectives, hires the best people, guides them and then lets them run, so they reach their full potential.

TSR: How do you maintain a balance between your professional and personal life?
MB: For me, maintaining balance between my professional and personal life is all about constant vigilance. Seeing, doing and feeling many different experiences leads to forging a better individual all the way around.

Mike Brochu is President and CEO of GMI (Global Market Insite, Inc.), a Bellevue, WA-based provider of technology-based solutions enabling corporations and market research firms to conduct global research. He is a seasoned technology executive who brings over 20 years of senior-level experience and operational excellence to GMI. Mike most recently served as the President and CEO of Loudeye Corporation, a global leader of digital music platforms and digital media distribution services, which Nokia acquired in 2006. Before Loudeye, he was President and CEO of Primus Knowledge Solutions, Inc., an award-winning provider of e-service software solutions. In 1999, Mike took Primus public, and facilitated the acquisition of the company by Art Technology Group (ATG) in 2004. Previously, he served as the President and COO of Sierra On-Line, Inc., one of the world's largest publishers of interactive entertainment, educational and home productivity software. There, Mike spearheaded efforts that increased sales by more than 300 percent, culminating in the sale of Sierra On-Line to CUC International for US$1.1 billion in 1996. He currently sits on the board of directors of ATG, Emphysis Medical Management and the advisory board of Seattle-based venture capital firm Voyager Capital, which is also one of GMI's early institutional investors. Mike was named Ernst & Young's Entrepreneur of the Year in 2000. For interview feedback, please contact Mike at mguilbert@gmi-mr.com 

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