Last night I got to attend the Vator Splash SF event, which featured a keynote address by the Andy Kurtzig, CEO of Pearl.com (where I currently work). The session was fun, and Andy’s speech had some real pearls (pardon the pun) that every business leader can benefit from.
In case you don’t know Pearl.com, it was founded in 2003 and has grown to over 150 employees, with customers in nearly 200 countries. Last year the company completed its first round of fundraising ($25 million), with annual revenues now around $100 million.
The story behind the company is compelling, and these are the three big lessons Andy learned along the way:
1. Make sure customers want your product or service.
Andy told the story of how he started the company as a site for his pregnant wife to get answers about her health. He programmed it for a month, then marketed it for a month. After the first two months, he had enough customers to keep going for two more months, and so on.
The slow but steady process helped convince him that customers wanted the service and were willing to pay for it.
2. Mission and values matter.
“Your business is about people,” he said. You have to pay attention to values of your employees and make sure they mesh with yours.
A core value statement that characterizes all Pearl.com employees is that they are “smart, fun, and get things done.”
3. Make a difference.
Make sure your efforts are ultimately geared toward making a big impact. At Pearl.com, for example, the ultimate focus is on making a difference by helping people’s needs for professional services at any time, no matter where they live. This sense of purpose unifies everyone in the organization.
For more on his speech, see the summary at Vator’s site.