Agora Insights and Deirdre Caren Shares A Founder's Journey

 Today, I'm thrilled to share a bit about my founder journey with Agora Insights and reflect on the past seven years of growth, learning, and the adventure of being an entrepreneur. It's been a wild ride, and I'm excited to share into some of the insights I've gained along the way.

"You have to really understand what it is you want to do.
Be clear on your strategy, on where you want to go.
Then you have to focus your efforts to carve a niche.
This is harder than you think."
- Deirdre Caren

The Genesis of Agora Insights

Seven years ago, I founded Agora Insights in Christchurch, New Zealand. The vision was clear: to provide training for architects and analysts. I had no funding or investors, only a home office and a laptop. The goal was to acquire my first customer so that I could survive in the market. It was difficult for me to turn down job offers in order to accomplish this goal. When you have little, it's easy to go "safe."

I would be remiss in not mentioning that, statistically, only about 2.5% of female startups get funded. And, in my experience, the process of trying to get investment was just too hard. At the end of the day, it boils down to grit, tenacity, and optimism. Most of us are aware of the statistics surrounding business start-ups, which is why this seven-year milestone is so significant. This is why I'm celebrating seven years of running Agora Insights today.

The Power of Adaptability

The strategic decision to move Agora Insights to an online platform in 2019, just before the pandemic, was a watershed moment for us. We thrived during the global shift to digital because of careful planning and an adaptable mindset, not by chance. This adaptability is something I emphasise with all professionals. The ability to pivot and embrace change is more than just survival; it's about discovering new ways to connect, grow, and succeed. Our readiness enabled us to reach learners from nearly 100 countries, demonstrating the global nature of today's digital economy and the universal language of business management. 

The Value of Learners

The diversity of our learners has been an informative experience for me in and of itself. It has made me even more sure of the power of community and learning together. The problems professionals face may be different in different countries, but the basic ideas behind analysis and architecture are the same everywhere. Insights have been improved by the global community's many different ideas and experiences, which have led to better products and knowledge. It's a positive cycle where the growth of each person helps the field as a whole forge forward.

The most significant benefit however is the positive reviews and feedback. I really do put my heart into the work I do and getting feedback matters. Personally, reviews have, with all honesty, been the fuel to carry on when days are tough. 

"It's very important to me that our customers, clients, and learners achieve their goals.
Receiving their affirmation is like emotional fuel for me to keep going."
- Deirdre Caren

Looking Forward

When I think about the future, I can't ignore the fact that AI is becoming an important advancement. It will change the way we learn and work. I routinely advise businesspeople to learn AI because it is more than just staying current; it is also about advancing their professional careers. AI tools are becoming more and more important in efforts to bring about change, and our ways of learning need to change to keep up. At Agora Insights, we are committed to incorporating the latest innovations to fully prepare learners to use AI in their future careers. But, at the end of the day, helping professionals achieve their learning goals is at the heart of what we do. This is unlikely to change anytime soon, regardless of AI.

The Birth of

The relationship between Agora Insights to is a story of synergy. While Agora Insights remains my primary focus, teaching architects and analysts the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in their field, accelerates this mission a step further by providing a platform for professionals to put their learning into practice using Architected AI.

By training AI models that can generate comprehensive outputs, such as strategy formulation, requirements documentation, and user stories, allows professionals to practice, refine and deliver the tasks they have learned through Agora Insights' training programs.

"As an entrepreneur, I like solving problems,
primarily to stop the puzzle from playing in my head
while I am trying to sleep." - Deirdre Caren

Debunking Entrepreneurial Myths

While I don't want to overshare my actual age, I will sheepishly admit that I was wondering if age is against me. But fortunately statistics show that I shouldn't worry too much. The average age of successful startup founders is around 45 years old. This is contrary to the common perception that most successful entrepreneurs are in their 20s. Studies and analyses have consistently shown that middle-aged individuals, not young adults, are more likely to start high-growth businesses. For instance, a 2018 study using U.S. Census Bureau data found that the average age of entrepreneurs at the time they founded their companies is 42. Similarly, research highlighted by the Harvard Business Review indicates that among the top 0.1% of startups based on growth in their first five years, the founders started their companies, on average, when they were 45 years old.

This suggests that experience, industry knowledge, and perhaps financial stability, which tend to increase with age, play significant roles in the success of new ventures. Lucky me :)


So, in closing, as Agora Insights turns seven, I'm filled with gratitude for the journey thus far. We've built not just a business but a community that thrives on shared knowledge and a collective drive for excellence.

Looking forward, I'm excited about the doors yet to be opened and the paths we'll pave together. To all our learners and supporters, I say, "Happy learning, everyone!" Here's to many more years of empowering business professionals around the world. 

If you would like to get in touch, please contact me via LinkedIn

Post sponsored by Agora Insights Ltd 

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post