I joined MerchantCircle about three weeks ago. It happened as one of those serendipitous moments in life akin to finding a future love or a sale item you can't resist buying. As I came closer to finishing my MBA at Stanford Business School, I decided to pay attention to my entrepreneurial gut and satisfy my curiosity for innovation and the startup world. I met Ben, Doug, and Walt at MerchantCircle on my birthday and four days later I was working away.
So, three weeks later I finally decided to synthesize my experience at MerchantCircle and think about answers to the questions I repeatedly get asked: "What have you learned? "Why MerchantCircle?"
In these three weeks I have learned that one of the most important things is to know your customer. As a new business grad student I learned that understanding local business is pivotal, and something we work hard at. And when I say understanding our industry, I mean getting to know what merchants like, what they don't like, what is important to them and their customers. That is why we are such a big family and growing- almost at 200K merchants!!
I also learned that with passion and determination there is nothing you can't learn and change fast! Part of getting to know your customer is the discovery process. At MerchantCircle nobody takes that for granted and learning about merchants, is a dynamic process in which gathering feedback, developing solutions, and executing fast are what makes our relationship work. On a personal note, this is what I was taught at the d.school at Stanford and what makes working for a startup so exciting...
I also finally understood that local businesses are at the core of our day-to-day lives, like family and best friends...you can't live without them. Local businesses are like our good old neighbors. However as children play video games and adults become dependent on the internet, we no longer take time to stroll around the neighborhood and get to wave at our neighbors. Instead, we email, chat, and find them on Google maps. That is why we must seek to keep our local communities alive as an extension of our lives, which nowadays translates to being online and adopting new technologies.
So, in saving the best for last, I can now answer why I like MerchantCircle. I love the people, their energy, good spirit, determination, and creativity. I love our merchants, who are passionate about their work and about caring for their customers like they care for their families. At MerchantCircle every day brings a new challenge and a new laugh, but I also know that everyone is working towards the same goal. What is there not to love?