Thomas Pendergast Vladeck home

Gradient V3

When I tell people why I started Gradient, I typically say something along the lines of “I had a math/econometrics background, went to Wharton without knowing which way was up, found out I could be a professional nerd in the marketing world, and over time built a small team”. I often leave out the fact that, well, I wasn’t so good at getting anyone to hire me, and I didn’t really see too many attractive career options, and kind of wound up on my own as a default.

I say that my time freelancing was Gradient 1.0. That was about one year. I didn’t have too much of a vision, I just thought I was better than I would have gotten credit for working for someone else. That lasted about a year.

Building up a team, an ethos, some infrastructure, and some customer financing has been Gradient 2.0. During this period, we built up a core team, a core group of clients, and some deep expertise in a few high-value areas. This has been the last two years, more or less.

The theme of Gradient 3.0 is scale. Not, like, puff-piece-in-Wired scale, but the kind of scale that takes you from “nice-alternative-to-a-real-job” to “real-company”. To do that, we have to take every opportunity we have to productize (or at least “process-ize”) the things that we do as high-value consultants, and to build new capabilities in sales and process management.

We have a lot of ideas, R&D efforts that are starting to materialize, and a wide field in front of us. More than anything, we have a long way to go. As always, I’m daunted by how much there is to be done, and trying to balance my attention on the next-new-things that keep me excited with determinedly brute-forcing my way through the long lists of tasks just need to be done.

We’ll see!