Caroline Thompson, of the leading SMS information service Ask Bongo, is a businesswoman with a vision. She’s poured her heart and mind into the Ask Bongo company, and that dedication has paid off. Australian-based Ask Bongo has grown significantly recently, with Thompson in the role of business development manager. Thompson attended the University of New South Wales, and lives on Bondi Beach, in Australia.
Ask Bongo is a unique SMS messaging service that provides informative responses for the questions that people message in. Australians can send a text message to a specific number. Those questions might be about the future, love, gossip, or assignments. Bongo, a clever monkey character, “thinks over” the question and types back an answer within a few short minutes. The responses are witty, personalized, and often quite accurate! The intelligence behind the Ask Bongo responses comes from both human researchers and software that is processing big-data.
Caroline Thompson, as well as other technically inclined visionaries behind the company, have been working hard over the past few years to put together a service that uses all of the information available in a new and exciting way. With the Ask Bongo texting service, they’ve given data a fun purpose. People can ask questions from the heart — not necessarily fact-based questions — and Ask Bongo will act as a detective and piece together a concrete response based on all of the data available. This concept is relatively new in the business world, and Thompson and Ask Bongo are pioneers of the industry.
What is the purpose of your company, and what problem is it solving?
Ask Bongo is a fun service made for people that are embracing technology and love to be curious about themselves and their future. It is a bit cheeky, which is what I love about it. Ask Bongo features a silly monkey character who is actually very smart. The character we’ve put up as the face of the service is actually backed by an incredible amount of data and information. When a customer types a question up and sends it in through SMS, the Ask Bongo service responds with a message. The messages can be really funny and informative. Essentially, we’re solving the problem of boredom and curiosity. Instead of a person digging through information on their own, our service digs through and sends them a snappy answer to whatever they want to know.
What is the primary market for your company? Who are you serving?
We serve anyone who can think up a question and be bold enough to send it in provided they are over the age of 16 and live in Australia. We can also work with people who have Australian numbers and are roaming, even internationally. Many of our customers are of the younger set, I’d say in their late teens and twenties.
Have there been any significant changes in the past five years within your industry?
AskBongo is currently the biggest, most well-developed SMS service in Australia. Within the tech industry, I think we’ve all been noticing that phones are no longer an option. Everyone has a phone these days, including kids, teens, adults, and the elderly. That is new; I remember that ten years ago often students and young adults would make do without phones. That’s just not the case anymore. We’ve also seen an accumulation of big data, as the information age ripens. All of the info collected over the years adds up — and now we can capitalize on it!
What kind of feedback have you received from others about your service?
People really love using the Ask Bongo service. The responses that Bongo gives are lively, humorous, and full of wisdom, and I think people appreciate that.
Do you think that there are any other companies similar to your, or do you stand out from the crowds? Why?
Ask Bongo stands apart in a league of our own. We are the leaders in the SMS message information provider in Australia, and in that role, we’ve really had to pave the way. Our character and the flavor of the company makes it unlike any other. We’ve paired an adorable monkey, who lives on Bondi beach, with loads of information. That makes us stand out!