The SinglePlatform team is pretty awesome, if we don’t mind saying so ourselves. In 2014, we’ll be sharing interviews with some of our key members so you can get to know us better. Q: When did you join SP?
A: I joined SinglePlatform in March of 2013.
Q: What drew you to the company?
A: I wasn’t actually looking for a job, but the head of HR at the time had seen my work and reached out to me. The way he positioned the company and what they do to help small businesses seemed like something I really wanted to be involved in. When I came in for my interview, I ended up staying for 4 ½ hours! I wanted to work with every single person I met—everyone was so passionate and I could tell they really loved what they did.
Q: What’s your favorite thing about working for SP?
A: I love how collaborative everyone is. On the product team, no decision ever gets handed down without a discussion. When working on a project, team members are able to approach it from their unique viewpoint, and we discuss until we’re all on the same page. It’s great to work with a team who wants the best possible outcome for our customers and who respects everyone’s expertise and input.
We’ve also been able to collaborate with the sales and account management teams to kick around product ideas and test new features. It’s been really valuable to be able to work across departments to get different perspectives on projects.
Q: What do you see as the biggest opportunity for SP in the next year?
A: Exploring where we fit into Constant Contact’s Toolkit offering is a huge opportunity, as well as being able to improve our current offerings from a product standpoint. For example, we offer our custom mobile page as part of the standard SinglePlatform package, but there’s a huge opportunity to do more with mobile and figure out how we can better serve our customers in that experience. It’s one of the most appealing features for people when they sign up, and we want to figure out how to customize our offering to meet the needs of customers in vastly different industries so that everyone has the best possible experience.
Q: What do you see as the biggest challenge for small business marketing today? How will that change 10 years from now?
A: People start small businesses because they’re passionate about what they do—not because they’re excited to market their products or services. Most business owners don’t have an interest in marketing or the skills needed to run a full marketing program on their own.
I think the biggest challenge for businesses today is the number of resources and amount of information available to them. It’s hard to know where to start with online marketing. Everyone has a different opinion about what’s most important, and it can be overwhelming, especially if someone doesn’t really understand the technology people are using to find new businesses.
That’s why we have a unique opportunity to help small businesses with Toolkit. Everything is in one place so they don’t have to worry about where to start. This allows for owners to focus on the stuff that really needs their attention—finances, inventory, competitive research, and all that jazz.
It’ll be a drastically different landscape in 10 years. As we begin to see younger people get into small business, it’ll be easier for them to market online because entrepreneurs will have grown up using technology and will be able to come up with better ways for technology to solve the problems they face in their business.
Q: What’s the best learning moment you’ve experienced from something not working out the way you wanted?
A: When I first started at SinglePlatform, I was tasked with updating the design of our widget template (this is what consumers see when they look at a menu or product & service list on one of our publisher sites). At that point, I didn’t really understand the nuances of the data structure behind it. I went forward and made something that looked nice for the example I was using—but when I actually started putting real data in, it just didn’t work. I should have done more research into the architecture of the product and less research on the design part of it. Now, I make sure to consider our users’ information and needs in tandem with visual design. As we continue to serve customers in a variety of industries, figuring out how to meet their evolving needs will be an interesting challenge.
Q: Who’s your greatest inspiration in your professional life?
A: I have a bunch of people I geek out over who do really great, smart work. On the UX side, I look at how Jeff Gothelf at Neo, or Courtney Hemphill at Carbon Five, approach problem solving in a more collaborative and holistic manner. Lean is a big buzzword in the industry right now, and it's not about jumping on trends, but figuring out how to look at the different pieces of process and know which one could work for your team.
I’ve also been super inspired by the way that Ariadna Font Llitjos has completely transformed product design at IBM by fully embracing the notion that "good design is good business." I think the companies that respect design, incorporate it into their strategy, and really understand its importance are usually the most successful.
On the design side, thanks to design sharing sites like dribbble.com, designspiration.net, and behance.net, there’s a plethora of interactive work to draw inspiration from. I also love the work coming out of Google—I'm a big fan of modern, minimal design that allows the content to shine.
Q: If you opened your own small business, what would it be?
A: I would have a lifestyle shop that sells stationery, beauty products, accessories, and home goods. It’d be a curated collection of things that I love. There are so many boutiques in NYC, but none of them offer exactly the right mix of products. My business would also help me accomplish my mission to bring good stationery to the world—long live paper!
Q: Who would you cast to play you in a film, and why?
A: I would really like Natalie Portman to play me. I respect her a lot as an intelligent individual who knows what her convictions are and stands by them.