In history, humans, species, and civilizations have evolved, adapting to their changing environments. To expect that things will remain static is naïve as change occurs at a much more rapid rate in modern times. For some, evolution can take millions of years, however, for others the process can be instantaneous. Here I stand, having only graduated from college less than one year ago, having transitioned through the three category hubs of gap intelligence, and having been given the opportunity to be the analyst for three categories at what I believe is the world’s best business intelligence company. So how did I get here?
In my mind, I think the best and wildly absurd explanation is that I was born with every skill required to work at gap intelligence. Another reason, although equally as doubtful, is that I am the next Thomas Bayes. While I wish these were the reasonings behind my fast track growth, I think the real basis for my growth has come from my desire to prosper, learning as much as I could about tasks that were not just required for my roles. I like to think about my evolution in terms of how a business develops over time, going through the four stages of the life cycle: introduction, growth, maturity, and decline. This is not going to be a boring explanation that one might find in a marketing 101 text book, but rather a story of how I have moved through the life cycle more than once during my one year at gap intelligence.
The Story Begins in the Land of CE
As a senior in college, one quarter from graduation, I couldn’t believe how fortunate I was to already be working in a job that aligned with my core values and career goals. However, as most college graduates soon find out, while my college education gave me an arsenal of knowledge, most of it was useless in the context of the workforce. I was in the introduction phase, gaining skills, tools, and knowledge specific to gap intelligence as these would ultimately help me perform my role. How many of you have said that you were very comfortable with Excel during your first “big kid” job interview? Now how many of you, once hired, were googling how to better use Excel because you realized that you overestimated your understanding? This was me, and initially, I was only doing a small portion of the tasks I would eventually own. However, as time progressed, I challenged myself. I was not competing with my coworkers, but rather competing with myself, improving my skills and fine tuning my working industry knowledge. I was entering the growth stage.
From there on out, every week, my writing improved strides while my ability to manipulate data in Excel even shocked me. A project that once took me three days to complete, now took me no longer than a single day. With more of my time freed up, I began taking on additional tasks, reading books to develop skills, playing with gap intelligence’s large datasets, and so much more. I was approaching the maturity phase within my role in the CE hub, and as all good companies do, they create a new arc of growth as the decline stage is not far behind.
The Journey to the Print Empire
My work flow had improved more than I could have dreamed, allowing me time to devote to further developing my skills, as well as venturing into unknown territory, learning new skills and processes from some of the best analysts at gap intelligence. I wanted more, and through this came an opportunity to be the analyst for the Print Media service. While I resided comfortably within the maturity phase of my CE life cycle, a new arc of growth was formed as I entered the introduction phase of my Print hub life cycle. Unlike my Excel skills which I had initially overestimated, I underestimated the time it would take to ramp-up in my industry knowledge and product knowledge within the Print Media category. When moving from a hub focused on consumer electronics products, I did not anticipate Print Media to be so complicated. I mean, it’s just paper, right? That’s where I, and most people not in the Print Media industry would be wrong. I started digging through data archives, understanding the different types and sub-types of paper, learning about the unique specifications, which was just about every single one. Then came additional training on developing my perspective as an analyst and how to convey that in words.
Can you guess what comes next? If you said the growth stage, you would be correct. I honed in my writing technique, fine-tuned my analyst perspective as I grew in my understanding of the industry. This is when check off lists became my best friend. Throughout the growth phase, my main concern was improving my workflow because not only was I growing in my newfound print category, I was also carrying out my role in the CE hub as it headed into the decline stage. Juggling workloads within two separate hubs seemed a bit daunting to me, but once I had a better grasp on my new role as Print Media analyst, it seemed as though the work flow fell into place. While you might think my life cycle in this hub plays out like it did with the CE hub, you would be wrong. As I ended my time with the aforementioned hub, one of gap intelligence’s best analysts (or at least this is what I believe) became pregnant! As with Print Media, I became entrenched in ramping up my working knowledge of ink supplies. This presented new growth as the ink category views and utilizes its data differently compared to Print Media.
However, I noticed something that was a pleasant surprise. Even though I was learning a new set of specifications within the print industry, my mastery of workflow and developed skills for quickly learning a new category were second nature. Through this I was approaching my maturity stage within the print team as I was currently the analyst for Print Media and ramping up to become to temporary analyst for Ink Supplies. I was only just reaching what I believed to be the very beginning on my maturity stage for the analyst role within the Print hub, however, a new opportunity arose which would create yet another arc of growth of which I could glean more skills from the Home Appliance hub both in terms of clients and industry knowledge.
The Voyage to the Realm of HA
Having gone through the song and dance of learning a new category and becoming an analyst, I never before felt nervous about the task ahead of me. This was a new challenge, a new introduction stage that required me to draw on my growing bank of skills in a way that I had not previously done. I would soon be the vacuums analyst. To give you an idea of the hurdle before me, imagine you are a child again. You know the alphabet by heart and can legibly write out each letter. Then in the second grade, they tell you it’s time to learn cursive. Usually you are eased into the motion and the technique before you are shown how to write out each letter. Given that children are learning other subjects at the same time, it is likely that they only spend a few hours a week on cursive. Therefore, it is multiple months before kids can write cursive and have the process be second nature, even with the preexisting knowledge of how the alphabet normally appears. So here I was, knowing how to be an analyst, however, instead of getting months to learn how to be an analyst for vacuums, a hub I had not yet ventured through, I had two weeks. Drawing on the studying techniques I acquired in college, I engulfed myself in gap intelligence’s data, LinkedIn, and Google, taking so many notes I nearly filled up 20 pages of my notebook. I had acquired a great deal of knowledge, but the one thing I discovered through this process was confidence in my craft. There is only so much someone can learn before you go down a rabbit hole, and once I had acquired confidence in my new team, confidence in the data, and confidence in my understanding of the category, there was nothing stopping me from becoming a top-notch analyst of any category I undertook.
So here I am, a seasoned analyst of one year, having dipped my toes in multiple categories while learning the basics of what it means to be an analyst at gap intelligence. I have to say, that while my journey is unique to myself, I wouldn’t want it any other way. There is something so invigorating about knowing that my path through gap intelligence is one-of-a-kind, fraught with its own trials and hiccups. Through this, I have been able to engage my critical thinking skills, build my confidence in my ability to adapt and take on more, and learn that it’s okay to say I don’t know because I have the drive to find the answer. I know this is not the end of my evolution at gap intelligence, but I can’t tell you how excited I am knowing that I am steadily entering what I hope will be the long and prosperous growth phase of my tenure as the vacuums analyst.
For more than 15 years, gap intelligence has served manufacturers and sellers by providing world-class services monitoring, reporting, and analyzing the 4P’s: prices, promotions, placements, and products. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 619-574-1100 to learn more.