3 concepts the Bigcommerce CEO lives by when running a tech company

Bigcommerce founders & CEOs – Mitchell Harper and Eddie Machaalani.

Bigcommerce has had a rocking year.

It’s a Sydney startup which managed to strike partnerships with Alibaba, Paypal and Intuit, has former Twitter engineering boss Chris Fry on the board and to-date has landed $125 million in funding.

And that’s not even an exhaustive list.

Launched in 2009, the company now has more than 350 employees, 90,000 retailers and is expanding its US presence.

Company CEO and co-founder of the e-commerce platform Eddie Machaalani told Business Insider it’s a journey which has required him to learn quickly. However, there are three concepts that he lives by when running a business.

1. Model everything.

“The concept of success leaves clues,” he said. “Figuring out what it is that you want to do and then going and finding someone who’s done it before and hopefully getting that person to mentor and coach you. I do a lot of that.”

“I do a lot of modelling, looking at companies that have been successful, companies that have made certain transitions, companies that have been able to scale and grow and raise a tremendous amount of money. What is it that they do? What are the systems and processes and tools and techniques that they’ve put in place? I’m constantly modelling and looking at other companies.”

2. Attract the right talent.

“I’m a big believer of continuing to surround yourself with a phenomenal team. Nothing beats it. Every new team member that we add to the business brings another layer of knowledge, another layer of skill set, another layer of partnership opportunity and another layer of strategy to the business. It’s a multiplier effect,” Machaalani said.

“You bring in one talented executive and they plus one to the business, you bring in two and it’s not just plus two it’s a two by two, you bring in three and it’s a three by three. Every time you add a phenomenal team member you’re multiplying the effect on the rest of the team.”

3. Constantly learn.

“I’m constantly learning and asking myself, what don’t I know? The more you learn, the more you realise you know less than what you did and there’s so much more to learn. Staying hungry, staying humble and asking a lot of questions and thankfully being surrounded by some smart people,” he said.

“Every six months, every year, every three months you have to reinvent yourself. I read a lot, I study a lot, I get coached, I meet with a tonne of people, I ask a tonne of questions. I look at what’s working and what’s not working and try to model successful companies and people.

“I read biographies about successful entrepreneurs. You hear about companies with a great culture, I’m trying to understand what that means. Having a phenomenal culture is the key to success for any company, let alone a technology company, where people are getting offers left, right and centre.”

Machaalani explained the company’s growth had been because of the team.

“I’m really proud of the executive team that we have,” he said.

“That was a long process of continuously looking for great people to join our business. It’s never-ending.

“Especially the team we have today, they’re really a step above.”

Machaalani said one of the company’s key growth strategies is ensuring it is “partner friendly”. Today for example, Bigcommerce announced its partnership with shipping company WebShopApps to deliver ShipperHQ, a real-time shipping rate calculator.

“We believe that this space is won by being partner friendly and partnering with the Alibabas and the Intuits of the world,” he said.

To establish a solid growth trajectory Machaalani uses a “bottleneck approach”, where he looks for processes or strategies within the business that are slowing it down.

“In every business you should be able to grow at a phenomenal rate. The question is why aren’t you? and what do you do to grow faster?”

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