Ask Bongo - Interview with Caroline Thompson

Caroline Thompson is one of the leading business executives in Australia who has spent a large amount of her career working in various executive positions. Thompson recently embarked on her first entrepreneurial venture of Ask Bongo, an SMS information service based in her home nation of Australia. Her role as the Business Development Manager at Ask Bongo has given the surfing enthusiast the opportunity to play a part in every aspect of the deals and projects the information service has developed since its launch.

As a resident of Bondi Beach, Sydney, Caroline Thompson remains a fan of a range of outdoor activities involving both the beach and Ocean. A graduate of the University of New South Wales, Miss Thompson has developed some skills over the course of her short career which have been put to good use through the launch of her information service which includes many marketing and sales areas.

How did you get started in the technology industry?

I have been a big fan of technology since I was a student and I always felt there were opportunities to carve a business career from emerging technologies. After working at the executive level for many years, I spent much of my tie developing marketing and sales strategies for various Australian and international companies. Ask Bongo was an idea which came from a friend wanting an answer to a question at a party.

What has been the biggest accomplishment of your career?

Without a doubt launching our SMS information service and seeing it rise to become the number one app in Australia. After working for others for so long, it was a difficult decision to take a step into the world of the entrepreneur, but I felt it was an important one to take. Believing in Bongo, the Monkey as I do make the decision a little easier.

Is technology your biggest passion?

In business it most certainly is, but in life, I think surfing has always been my great love. I live at Bondi Beach which is one of the world's great beaches with surf to die for. I've been surfing since I was a child and can't imagine living my life without the water being nearby.

What motivates you?

This is 2018, and I have been inspired greatly by the "#MeToo" campaign and the work done to remove the glass ceiling. I'm proud to be a female executive taking her company to great levels of success in a society which often does not value women as highly as men regarding equal pay. I believe the world is changing and proving a woman can be an effective business leader provides a lot of motivation to become a success for women around the world.

Which business leaders, past or present, have inspired you the most?

One of my business heroes has to be Vanessa Wallace, the former chair of the AMP Holdings brand which made her one of the top female finance experts in Australia. As a financial expert, Vanessa Wallace has been one of the top female Australian executives for more than three decades and has inspired me greatly.

What is the next step for you?

Caroline Thompson and Bongo the Monkey have far from finished our business journey together. An amazing tea of researchers have been working to develop the knowledge of Bongo, but he is still learning all the time. We are already the largest information SMS service in Australia, so the next step will be to take the project overseas.

Technology can be taxing, how do you relax?

I live in one of the most beautiful coastal areas in the world, and I love spending time exploring Bondi Beach. Surfing and other watersports can take my mind off anything I am struggling with in my career. Australians also love to travel, and I enjoy exploring my home country and the wider world. The Internet makes it easy for me to travel and stay on top of work no matter where I travel to.

What advice do you have for others who want to enter your sector?

When you get a good idea, you should run with it until you achieve success or decide to move on to other projects. I found using my friends and family as sounding boards for my ideas made it a lot easier to get my project off the ground. Some of my most trusted friends gave me great advice when I was working on my SMS messaging service and led me to make better decisions.

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