That’s the dilemma I faced at the end of last year when I sat down to dinner with Darin Archer, CMO at Elastic Path. I’d spent the last five years working at Forrester Research, helping some of the smartest people in the world shape the digital future of leading global brands. Unequivocally, I loved working at Forrester; it was a blast.
I wasn’t the final decision-maker, and the business model got in the way of my grand ambitions.
I never had full responsibility for the outcome of any of my projects.
I was trying to change the world and had no ownership to do so.
I craved more.
So Why Elastic Path?
Any other ambitious person could anticipate what happened next — including Darin himself. He had already made the jump to Elastic Path after spending years at established tech powerhouses like IBM and Adobe, and is certainly no stranger to risk-taking. (Seriously, have you seen the man’s LinkedIn profile pic?)
I saw something I never expected to find: a team of leaders whose vision, passion and conviction so closely mirrored mine. I saw an opportunity to play a critical role in something so much bigger than myself. Shortly after that dinner, my instincts told me that my time at Forrester would soon come to an end.
Joining Elastic Path means working on a team filled with ambitious people. It also means working for a company that looks at the current state of B2B commerce and says, “well, this sure could be a hell of a lot better.” I couldn’t agree more.
Here’s the thing about B2B commerce that most won’t tell you: it’s a total bastardization. B2B vendors took the tools B2C companies started with, made tweaks and modifications to create the “B2B solutions” you see today and thought that was enough. B2B customers don’t need more of the same solutions and don’t need even more functionality duct taped to a B2C foundation. B2B commerce doesn’t need another evolution. It needs a shock to the system. A revolution.
Elastic Path owns that vision. They’re ready to break stuff and they’ve allowed me to lead the charge in breaking things. It’s the reason I said “yes” to becoming the company’s new VP of Product Management.
The Vision vs. the Reality
So, what does my new role at Elastic Path look like on a day-to-day basis? I’m the guy who’s in charge of long-term product strategy and direction. My job is to look 12, 24, 36 months into the future, paint the picture of where Elastic Path needs to be and create a plan to get us there. I try to think like a chess grandmaster; instead of looking one move ahead, I’m calculating 15 to 20 moves in advance.
And that’s the way Elastic Path wants me to operate. I’ve been here for a few months and I can’t count the number of times I’ve been told “no,” or “I don’t believe in that.” That’s because the number is zero.
Elastic Path puts its full backing behind my vision for delivering B2B commerce without compromise; the company is unapologetically B2B focused. That means no more minor improvements over the status quo. Instead, it’s throwing the status quo out the window and building solutions geared towards how B2B businesses actually operate, not based on the technological limitations of over a decade ago. We don’t want to solve yesterday’s problems. We want to digitally enable all buying and selling interactions for today’s and tomorrow’s B2B buyers and sellers.
None of this would be possible without senior leadership that believes in empowering its team to challenge what’s possible. I’ve never needed to be the loudest voice in a room, but at Elastic Path, I’m guaranteed to always have a voice and an audience — and guaranteed a chance to change the world.