Featured on Mar 15, 2011
"JFDI - Mark Suster, Dave Cancel, et al"
I'm a data guy who has run numbers and pretty rugged analytics for Fortune 500 companies across all major industry verticals. If there's one thing I learned, it's that they're all solving all the same problems over and over. No one's unique. We launched Profitably to help smaller businesses get their arms around many of the same problems in a lighter weight, more scalable way, and in doing so we accidentally created the Finance Automation category.
- Title: CEO at Profitably
- Age: 30
- Location: Flatiron
- Contact: Profitably
When you get into the office in the morning, what are the first three things that you typically do?
Emails, twitter, then real work. I am pretty neurotic about keeping a clean inbox. I can't imagine living with a backlog of hundreds (thousands?!) of emails lined up, so first thing is pushing through the emails that got away the day before. Then, I suck it up and check out "the twitter." I am a pretty reluctant social media guy better known for poking fun at perfectly awesome technologies, but the morning is a good chance to soak up some awesome tweets and say something inane (I'll get better). Then, I usually use most of the early part of the morning to get "real work" done before the office gets crazier. I love the calm of the morning before things pick up because I tend to write my best code (or whatever) then.
Profitably was one of the first companies in the awesome co-working space General Assembly, located in the Flatiron District. What's it been like being part of that community, and how has it impacted Profitably?
General Assembly has been great. The team has really done an amazing job of community building in a remarkably short period of time. We've probably benefited the most from the community, since we were fundraising when we came in. Not only are there tons of investors walking around the space talking with their portfolio companies, but I think the close proximity to such great companies means that you're often getting to bounce ideas, talk through pitfalls, cross-pollinate, etc. We met the lead investor in our current round through a GA introduction. It's the real deal.
You went "all in" when you started up Profitably, which included quitting your job and cashing out all of your equity in your previous startup. What is the most important piece of advice that you’d give to a first time entrepreneur who was looking to get started?
Sure. Go all in. JFDI. There's a reason why Sun Tzu burned his ships when he reached enemy territory, right? For me, the dramatic moment wasn't actually quitting my job or putting cash on the table, though. For me, the point of no return was telling all my friends and family! I was newly married at the time, you see. Because I was no longer working, it didn't make sense to pay Manhattan rent, so my wife and I moved into my mother in law's home in Clinton, NJ (1.5 hours west--2 hours in traffic) during the early stages. Imagine, you just got married, and you're telling your wife's extended family that you're quitting your cushy job, moving in with your mother-in-law, putting all your savings into a startup almost certain to fail instead of a down payment on a home...it was after telling everyone all that when I really started thinking, "...man, NOW we better make this work." So if you're going to take the risk, don't do it in the dark. Let everyone know what failure looks like, add all your in-laws to the mailing list, and don't screw it up!