Welcoming Gary Nakamura & My New Role
Wow, what a difference a year makes. Twelve months ago, there were days when I felt like we were ahead of our buyer (usually the head of communications and HR), and only selling to “early adopters”. Now the opposite is true: we are working really hard to keep pace with the ambitions and needs of our global enterprise customers. This one of the reasons we have hired a new CEO for SocialChorus. I’d like to share with you how we got here and what both of our roles will be going forward.
Since mid-2016, we have seen a real acceleration in our business. The heads of employee and internal communications started to partner with both HR and IT to evaluate, select and implement a new platform to solve the “employee communications” problem. I think the frustration level with existing options (email and most commonly, MSFT SharePoint-powered intranets) has reached a breaking point for some – a distributed workforce does not need to mean a disconnected workforce, and other options are now available.
As a result, we’ve seen growth across all aspects of our business – customer growth (over 100% YoY), user growth (5 times YoY), global needs (we now have users in 180 countries) and enterprise requirements (50+ integration requests and counting).
It’s taken a while, but now that it’s happening, we want to make sure we can serve this global market and our customers. To do so, we’ve:
- Significantly expanded our Client Strategy & Success team, adding experienced change management consultants from companies like Deloitte and Accenture, and are opening offices in Chicago and New York. London is next.
- Added a new Product & Engineering team in Portland.
- Doubled the size of the Customer Operations team to handle global support – in part by opening an office in Seattle.
And at the start of the year, we also decided to hire a new CEO to drive execution excellence in all aspects of our business, from pre-sales to 24/7 global support. This will also allow me focus on what I love to do – leading our external efforts in creating this new enterprise software category.
Since I am not leaving SocialChorus, our CEO search needed to find a candidate who:
- Had previous experience growing an enterprise SaaS company over 75% a year for consecutive years.
- Could lead our growing partnerships with global IT, so that our platform becomes part of the enterprise software ecosystem.
- Would want to work alongside me for the next several years!
Once we had short-listed candidates, one emerged as our first choice. And then he had to spend a lot of time with all of us, as we all looked for experience, culture and style fit with the company, the management team and myself.
We are very happy that Gary Nakamura accepted our offer and has started as our new CEO. Gary brings more than 20 years of experience building enterprise technology companies. He understands how to serve demanding global businesses, and how to do that while growing quickly but efficiently.
To reiterate, I am not leaving SocialChorus. I will continue to do what I have been doing over the past couple years:
- Supporting our product strategy and our “employee-first” promise.
- Articulating how our software fits with other enterprise platforms, and developing those business relationships.
- Making sure our vision is heard and understood by everyone that matters, including industry analysts and agency partners.
It’s going to be great for me, the company, and most importantly, our customers. It’s now clear we can build a significant enterprise software company, measured by users and revenue, serving hundreds of global enterprise customers. Gary and I are committed to making that happen.
Our press release about this – and other good news – is here.