Advice that sticks: Focus on what you can affect

- - Leadership

The best piece of advice I ever got: focus on the things you can affect. This is advice I’ve drawn on again and again in my career. It’s been a challenge to master, and it’s still a work in progress.

The first time I heard this advice was early in my career. I was working in sales at Accrue Software, and I had highly successful colleague who never seemed the least bit stressed, not even at the end of the quarter. I asked him what his secret was.

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Why sales should never lose alone

- - Sales

Sales can be a very lonely role. You’re out on the front lines with everything exposed. You put out a forecast, pipeline or end of quarter report, and everybody in the organization feels like they can take pops at you. You can quickly go from being the hero–which every salesperson lives for–to being a zero because you didn’t post anything.

With half your income riding on your ability to sell, the only thing worse than posting a zero is having your colleagues throughout the company second guess you. The best way to combat this is for sales leadership to create a culture in which no one loses alone. It’s not easy to do, but it’s a win for the entire company.

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Evolving from a software company to platform company, partnerships are key

Back in 2011, Marc Andreesen penned his now famous essay, “Why Software Is Eating The World,” outlining the coming economic shift in which software companies take over large segments of the economy.

Gartner in 2012 predicted that “The Nexus of Forces”—mobile, social, cloud and information–would give rise to “entirely new possibilities and creative business endeavors.”

Five years in, we’re seeing that take shape with the rise of platform businesses and market places such as Uber, Airbnb and Amazon.

Solving problems with software

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Why my startup said goodbye to 1,200 paying customers

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

“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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