Jacqueline Corbelli, CEO and Founder of BrightLine, is one of the most prescient, engaging and inspirational women I've ever met. Consider this: a decade ago she saw that digital technology across multiple platforms (DVD, game consoles, TVs, smartphones, tablets, and soon, smart TVs) would become THE way we interact with content. What does that mean? It means that advertisers no longer have to entertain, cajole, shout at and/or beg you to pay attention to their 30-second spot that interrupts your favorite program.
Instead, you now want to click the "get recipe here" button, "click to play" a 10-minute game or "click for a chance to win" a sweepstakes prize. And in the process, BrightLine is aggregating a ton of data -- about how viewers are interacting with brands (American Express, Kellogg, Unilever, L'Oréal, General Motors, etc.) that support the content coming through their devices.
Corbelli explained how BrightLine has defined its industry and still has no competitors: "We're the only ones capturing click behavior (data) across every platform out there dynamically. We're able to then use our algorithms and analytics to drive the best practice answer to the advertiser's question about how to reach their target audience with a flip of a button. The key to it is this: it's not an interaction from the brand to the consumer. It's an interaction with a source of entertainment or information (or guidance of some sort) that fits the consumer's need or desire in that particular given time. With our data analytics, we can tell our client, 'Listen, the way to get three million people in one week to interact with your product or brand, for 10 minutes or more, is to deploy this experience across six different platforms.' It's not rocket science. But it is uncommon common sense. What we do is completely agnostic to distribution platform or technology type -- as long as it's digital. Digital technology in the living room offers all kinds of ways to raise an advertiser's productivity and returns. Use data-driven analytics to follow the curve, and you're going to win, no matter which direction the content comes from."
That puts BrightLine and Corbelli at the leading edge of where television is going. And by the looks of it, her business is only going to grow. You know how indispensable your smartphone has become? Well get ready for smart TV: a television or game console connected to the Internet.
According to Corbelli, "By the end of this year, many sources predict that somewhere between 50 and 60 million homes in the U.S. will have smart TVs. Homes -- not people. Multiply that by three to get a lot of new viewers and advertising experiences." Prescient, indeed. Corbelli has created what some might call the new Nielsen on steroids. BrightLine has the data, the analytics, and the ability to deliver interested and engaged viewers to advertisers when and where they want the experience.
An Inspirational Leader
Given that Corbelli had this vision more than 10 years ago, it's difficult not to become inspired by her success. I asked her if she had any words of wisdom for younger women in business. Not surprisingly, she had several nuggets:
"Focus. Zero in. Really understand and be able to communicate -- in really crisp terms -- the value that your customer, or client, or whoever it is, derives from the solution you've built. Be really clear on that.
Block out all the rest and be disciplined. Get out that clean sheet of paper and ask, 'What's the ideal outcome if I completely hit this out of the park? What does it look like?' Knowing where you want to be is half the battle. That's your compass.
Gut it out because this game is not for lightweights. You've got to stay true to your convictions and you've got to be prepared to challenge your predisposed thinking and your instincts. It's an opportunity to strengthen your overall vision."
Corbelli went on to say that she thought women were actually better at business than men. She listed four reasons why:
1. "We women are more open-minded and we know we work harder. And that's an advantage because men have an almost unfounded confidence that allows them to move forward without testing, whereas women can be much more comprehensive, thorough, deep and patient. Patience is a big one. Rushing to solution is wasted value."
2. Second, bring the right people to the table. The old adage of 'you don't know what you don't know' is so true. So why get tripped up? Get yourself smarter on what true management is versus leadership.
3. Third, women are more risk averse. We're conscious of failing so we step back and systematically think through things, but we stay very, very focused. Men tend to take shortcuts, and they're not afraid to make mistakes because they know they'll get another chance. We know failure is expensive.
4. And finally, as women, we tend to defer. It's a respect thing, respect for authority. We're prepared to back down and we can't do that anymore. When men start to play hardball, they think, 'at some point she's going to get scared.' Even if you're scared, you can't show it. You just have to play through. What's the worst that could happen?"
Are you inspired yet? I certainly felt like I got a backbone transplant while listening to her.
Corbelli closed by telling me her wish, "I hope we can get to a point where, as women, we are not as influenced by the fear of failing. I see that every day. We women are just not going to make it unless we marshal our inner strength. And it's there. We just have to believe in it and ourselves."
This article first appeared on Forbes.com.