Today we’d like to introduce you to Shaelyn & Jose Delgado.
Shaelyn and Jose, please share your story with us.
Once upon a time (actually, about three years ago now…), Jose and I made the life-changing decision to step away from our current jobs, Jose as a business lawyer in Phoenix and me as an analyst at a Chicago-based research firm, to step outside of our comfort zones, travel through Central and South America and reassess what was most important to us as we entered the next chapter in our life together.
In late-December of that fateful year (2015), we got engaged, and by mid-January, we had sold the majority of our belongings and set off to Guatemala with one-way tickets and a rudimentary grasp on the Spanish language. Over the course of 2016, we traveled through Guatemala, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Cuba and Colombia, blogging the entire way to keep our families and friends up to date on our adventures (and, more importantly, to provide tangible evidence to our future-children that we did, indeed, do cool things at one point in our lives…). We learned Spanish, acquainted ourselves with local communities, and worked freelance as well.
Our close friend (and eventual Founder & Lead Innovator at Hootology), Stefanie Francis, was on an adventure of her own making as well, adamant about creating a new type of agency – one that currently did not exist.
Stefanie and I had worked together for nearly 10 years in one capacity or another, and we started to talk at length about taking all of our experiences – in group dynamics, creativity, tech and research and creating our own unique agency, focused on thinking differently about how information is gathered and used compared to the way that it had always been done (think: the last time you saw an episode of Mad Men). At one point, I was so excited by our conversations that, before the idea for Hootology had been fully formed, I already built us an entire website, bios and all.
There was one catch: as big-time introverts (and self-proclaimed research nerds), neither Stefanie nor I had any desire to pick up the phone to start selling projects. That’s where Jose came into the fold. With his background in sales at the Phoenix Suns and his attention to detail from years of practicing law, he was the final piece of the initial Hootology puzzle.
Thus, after nearly a year traveling through Central and South America, capped off by a wedding at our original stop in Guatemala, Jose and I returned to Arizona and settled into our new home in Tucson. In January 2017, Stefanie, Jose and I formally launched Hootology, and within the next several months, we had our first client. Since then, we have added to the Hootology team and we have all set out together to continue to work with awesome clients and build a unique, modern and caring company.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
As we’re sure anyone who has created their own company will tell you, there tend to be a lot of restless nights spent worrying over all the moving parts of operating a business. And, as a relatively new and bootstrapped company, stressing about all the details can, at times, seem overwhelming. Add on top of that, that Jose and I are a married couple, and you would think we would be pulling our hair out at this point. But after spending nearly an entire year living out of a suitcase in Central and South America, we have had ample opportunity to work out our communication styles and understand each other’s unique strengths and weaknesses. So, a few road bumps aside, so far, so good.
Plus, we have an amazingly supportive team at Hootology, and our fearless leader, Stefanie, to always pick us up and put us on her shoulders when times get truly tough. We have certainly made our mistakes, but we do our best to maintain a growth mindset, learning from these mistakes and leveraging them as opportunities to grow.
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Hootology – what should we know?
At Hootology, we are working with radically open-minded business leaders to help them make smarter business decisions by modernizing and extending the market research process.
Collectively, our team has worked with 1/3 of the Fortune 100 companies over the course of our careers, and we bring that experience to the table on every new project we approach.
Our modernized market research process marries the latest technology (like artificial intelligence, skin conductivity and eye tracking) with the nuances of modern-day social sensibilities (no more stale focus groups) and insights from the arts and sciences (psychology and sociology), to gather information in a way that makes sense for today’s rapidly changing society and culture.
But we don’t stop there. Hootology is extending the market research process by using design-thinking to create ideation experiences for our clients to help them transform research insights into marketing and business strategies.
Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
Don’t get us wrong, we love celebrating our growing list of clients. But, to us, success also means creating something we enjoy and doing this with a group of people that we cherish. We believe that most successes come when there is a healthy work-life harmony, and when the inspirations from interests at home and outside of work are allowed to bleed over into creative ideas we bring into the office. And this creativity is often times where our clients end up benefiting the most. Now, that’s success.
- Website: www.hootology.com
- Phone: 602.448.1611
- Email: Jose@hootology.com