February 1, 2011

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Article

Tom Stockham

Matching Tech Solutions with Human Needs

Maurianne Dunn

February 1, 2011

When discussing what leads to success, Tom Stockham always points away from himself. The newly minted CEO of SwarmBuilder instead focuses on the high-caliber people he works with. In fact, success, he says, is based on “surrounding yourself with people who are really good at identifying problems . . . and then solving them.” Before joining SwarmBuilder as CEO, Stockham worked with the likes of Ticketmaster, CitySearch, Match.com and Ancestry.com. Stockham loves building companies and fondly recalls writing, with his wife, the business plan for their first company on their kitchen table in 1993. Stockham spent many of his childhood years in Utah, and it was his father, an engineering professor at the University of Utah, who initially sparked his interest in building companies. He told Stockham that the world needs people who not only have great ideas, but also are capable of turning ideas and technologies into businesses. As a serial entrepreneur, Stockham says, “Building a real business is mostly about problem solving: What problems can we help our customers solve? What would our customers like us to do better? What can we do differently when things don’t go as planned?” In fact, Stockham mentions that it’s easy to get caught up with a good idea and lose focus of the customer. In short, “Either you’re really solving a problem for your customers, or you really don’t have a business,” he says. Solving customers’ problems is exactly what he hopes to accomplish in his new position. SwarmBuilder seeks to build a connection between manufacturers and the people who are selling their products. In essence, SwarmBuilder helps create a close relationship between two entities to more effectively sell the products. Solving real problems and finding hard-working people who can work as a team is vital to a successful company, says Stockham. “A person does not make a company by any stretch—it’s the quality of people,” he explains. “The more people you get . . . solving the problems together, the more mass you build [and] the more clients you can serve.”
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