After an incredible 5 years of leading GatherUp from a scrappy start-up to an acquisition (2019), this incredible time in my career is ending. I’m leaving my position as CEO of GatherUp, leaving behind an amazing team, customers that feel like family and a product that makes a valuable impact. A huge thank you to everyone part of this, you’ve made it amazing.
It’s time to go back to zero and do it all again.
Sounds crazy I know, but the chance to do it all again is what fuels me. I love to create, build and solve problems. Not just the software product part, but the team, the company and especially the brand.
The next adventure will be building a solution that will better connect businesses with their customers using messaging (SMS, Facebook, Chat, Google My Business). That’s the space I love to create in, connecting consumers and small businesses.
It’s a chance to take a new vision and make it a reality. More on that in the coming months, but I wanted to share a bit on what has stood out to me the last 5+ years with GatherUp.
Opportunity Is Everything
My biggest takeaway from my time with GatherUp is just how much opportunity matters. I experienced this over and over again, with the biggest opportunity coming when co-founder Don Campbell gave me the reins as CEO 3 years ago after leading sales and marketing prior.
While I have spent 20 years in executive and leadership roles, having the opportunity to directly apply my vision was refreshing and empowering. It allowed me to spend my full energy executing instead of internally selling the next move, change or idea. That made a ton of difference in our work, don’t underestimate this for yourself.
The success of GatherUp is now affording me the time, resources and confidence to go back to zero and get the chance to see if you can make it to one, 100 and hopefully 1 million. I’m not talking dollars, just whatever the effort, steps and stages look like.
Selling GatherUp and getting to run the race all the way to a finish line provides a new feeling of confidence and knowledge. Getting to spend a year with our acquirer, who also owns 7 other SaaS companies, allowed me to see what other solutions are made of and how they operate. I found out a lot of decisions we made were really sound ones. I picked up a few new things too. Seeing outside of my own bubble, but inside of similar solutions was super helpful.
Make Intentional Decisions Fast
For the SaaS world and most of business, time and prioritization are everything. The faster you make decisions the better off you are. I discovered and grew my decision making framework incredibly in my time at GatherUp and it’s now one of my biggest assets.
I learned that being intentional with every decision benefited our team, our product and our customers. Don’t waste time on the fence, gather the information you can and make the best decision you can. Most decisions can be rectified if wrong, lost time can’t be.
Be As Open As You Can
Thanks to Twitter coming along and creating an account in 2008 my way of working changed significantly. I started to work out in the open, sharing so much of what I was doing. That led to some very important connections and friendships. The first being David Mihm, which led to LocalU, which led to Mike Blumenthal … and that landed me with GatherUp.
In 2019 I started a podcast, The SaaS Venture with Whitespark founder and good friend Darren Shaw. I had been longing to talk about running a SaaS company after giving hundreds of talks on digital marketing. I wanted to openly talk business, not just tactics. These monthly talks with Darren allow me to rewind so many things in running GatherUp, learn from Darren and why I enjoy working in public. Talking out loud is so good for you.
I know that “building in public” has become a thing in SaaS especially, but I think you can work in the open in just about any industry (maybe not if you are a spy). Do it, be as open as you can.
Trust Is The Biggest Hack
Building a team that has trust across the board allows you to hit another gear others can’t. Having trust in your team makes everything easier for a leader. Your team having trust in your leadership and vision is a must, you ask a lot of them.
When you find the trust flowing at every aspect of your company, people really excel. They can do their job at an amazing level because they don’t have to cover for anyone else and they know if they make a mistake the team will be there for them. I’m going to miss the GatherUp team as they had this trust in spades and I’m truly grateful for their trust over the years.
No matter how it comes about, if you earn it, give it right away, or model it, you need it. Once you have it, watch out.
The Sweet Spot Might Be Where You Are Standing
The best thing just might be what you have right now. My over-drive gear to succeeding has often robbed me of these moments. I hope to embrace that more on my next journey.
Selling GatherUp was the right move for many reasons, but there was a time before acquisition where everything was aligned and I didn’t realize it. I was busy pushing, so I couldn’t just sit in the moment very well. That’s something I’m trying to apply to life overall. My 4 kids are getting older and soon enough one by one they will leave our wonderful home.
I’m more aware of right now and not just the next step or future.
That said, I’m 🔥 fired up for what’s next and I’ll share more on that in the coming months. I’m also going to snowboard as much as I can this winter.