After acquiring a degree in biology, and then working 23 years at IBM as the first ever female Salesman in IBM Bristol, Jude Holden retired and became an entrepreneur. In 2014, she launched bluecondo.com. Her “best ever” achievement is being the proud Mum of 2 extraordinary sons (25 & 23).
Interview Q & A
1. What is your business/Business Name? Bluecondo.com. What does your business do?
In a nutshell, Bluecondo is intended to serve as a comprehensive and affordable Holiday Home Directory for IBMers, past & present, around the globe, with the added assurance that we are members of the same professional community. Bluecondo.com currently offers Holiday Home Rentals, Home Exchange, B&B, Timeshare and Sale opportunities, exclusively available to IBMers.
2. Why did you get into this field? What opportunities did you see?
When I retired from IBM in 2009, I really wanted to see the world through fellow IBMers’ eyes, learning from their local knowledge and having peace of mind whilst I enjoyed staying in their holiday homes.
I have always enjoyed working with new ideas and developing solutions to business problems. I am also a team player and as one of life’s ‘connectors’, I love the process of building new communities, combining many talents, to focus collectively on the business challenge in hand. Bluecondo is currently growing a new Travel Community, unique to IBMers, yet if (when?) it is a success, I should like to take the offering to other major corporations with similar cultures and scale.
3. What have been your biggest challenges?
The first major challenge was finding the right website development partner. After 2 failed attempts, I was delighted to sign up with Label Media (Leeds, UK). The second greatest challenge was establishing my route(s) to market. Following a successful document-based (and free) Bluecondo pilot within an IBM UK location, I was offered lavish internal marketing support, yet this was immediately withdrawn when I launched my commercial website.
4. What has been your greatest reward?
Continual and extremely positive feedback from IBMers who ‘get’ the Bluecondo proposition, plus, primarily making the first Bluecondo holidays in 2014 happen successfully!
5. If you could change something, what would it be?
I should like to have 4 words in small characters at the bottom of my homepage, namely, ‘in association with IBM’.
6. If you could give a new entrepreneur advice, what would it be?
Allow plenty of time up front for detailed planning and market research. Also accept that you don’t have all the answers on day one and seek advice from those within your social / business network who you trust most to advise you.
7. Social Media. Yay or Nay?
8. How do you market your products?
Initially through my extensive IBMer network of contacts developed throughout my 23 years of tenure within IBM. More recently, via my growing Bluecondo community within LinkedIn.
9. Is your business a service or a product? If you are a product, how do you handle production?
Bluecondo is a web based service business offering.
10. What is unique about your business?
Bluecondo is the only online global ‘Holiday Home Directory’ available to IBMers (past & present).
11. Sell me your product/service.
Bluecondo is a unique (to IBMers) corporate service, offering a range of global travel residential options, rarely seen on external websites in this combination, and at a fraction of the market prices for such services.
12. How can people get in touch with you? What’s your website/Contact information?