Why my startup said goodbye to 1,200 paying customers

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In the life of every successful company, there comes a pivotal moment early on where the fledgling company has to scale. You’ve built a product, and on boarded some early customers. Things are humming along and you’re poised for growth.

This is actually a precarious time. Will your company be able to handle the increased workload that comes with growth without breaking and while maintaining profitability? Probably not without making some very difficult decisions. The first and most painful may be kissing some part of your product line–and the revenue it generates–goodbye.

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Making the Platform Economy Big and Hard to Miss

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“Why did WePay wrap a train car?”

I’ve been getting that question a lot lately. Actually we wrapped two Caltrain cars that shuttle daily between San Francisco and San Jose. Maybe you’ve seen one of them –they’re big and blue and bearing the logos of WePay and our customers.

This is one element of a campaign to start a conversation about the rapidly emerging platform economy. Business platforms such as eBay, Uber, Etsy, Airbnb –sometimes also called multi-sided marketplaces–are transforming the economy. Many of our customers are part of this movement.

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Building Your Own Personal Advisory Board

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I’d recommend to anyone–no matter where they are in their career–that they find a diverse group of mentors and assemble a personal advisory board for themselves. This is especially important when you’re just starting out. You need people that are invested in your career and your success that aren’t your parents. But be prepared to work hard and give something back. Mentoring is a two way street.

When I was in college I found two mentors for myself. I really wasn’t looking for mentors; I was looking to meet people that could help me get a job. Instead, I discovered the value of mentoring, and I’ve had many more mentors throughout my career.

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My Metric for Success

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#MyMetric for Success: Engagement

As a sales leader, my professional life is filled with quotas, metrics and dashboards. But if I had to pick just one thing I’m optimizing for, it would be engagement. Why? Because I’ve learned that engagement is the leading indicator for success with whatever else you’re optimizing to achieve.

Early in my career, I was always optimizing for percentage of quota attained, which is a typical sales metric and usually tied to your compensation. Although I wasn’t insightful enough at the time to recognize it, my level of engagement with a prospect was usually a good indicator of the likelihood of making a sale. If a prospect was asking questions, working through their process, showing increased understanding and asking more questions, those were all signs of engagement. It took me a while to see the value of that.

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The hottest role in business today: Data Analyst

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The hottest role in #MyIndustry right now, or any industry, is that of data analyst. Businesses today have access to more data from more sources than ever, and there is a huge need for people who can get insights from data in order to make decisions that will help drive innovation and profitability.

Back in 2012, the Harvard Business Review called data scientist “the sexiest job of the 21st century.” At the same time, there is a well-documented global shortage of data scientists. Not every company can have a data scientist, or needs one. Technology innovation is bringing a lot of data science functions out of the realm of PhDs and putting them within reach of ordinary business users. These days, whatever your actual job title is, you also need to be a data analyst.

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