FastSpring’s Employee Spotlight is a Q&A series that features the hardworking, intelligent, and fun people that make FastSpring great. Get to know the fantastic team behind the ecommerce platform!
In this post, we’re featuring our Senior Director of Product – Product Management, Bill Wilson!
Describe your current role at FastSpring.
Right now, I am spending most of my time with the Halifax team working on the SalesRight product roadmap and trying to build out all the features and functionality that our customers need. But on top of that, I’m also working with the product management team on all the new initiatives coming up and figuring out how SalesRight and FastSpring will integrate!
How long have you been working in the SaaS/Tech industry?
I’m going to date myself. My first job in tech was in 1998 as a software developer. I started with Java 0.9 and have been working in tech ever since. In about 2002, I got into more of a leadership position for satellite offices of larger companies. In 2007, I decided to build my first company, MindSea, and in 2018 I went on to start SalesRight.
What challenges have you faced working remotely during COVID-19? How was the experience of going through an acquisition fully remote during a pandemic?
I don’t know if we have enough time for this conversation. Working through the pandemic, in the beginning, we did what a lot of other people did every week –– Friday afternoon beers, games, that kind of stuff. It got old and tiring quickly. The hardest thing about working through the pandemic has been not being able to be with the team in person. Of course, we’re all set up with all the remote tools, but that doesn’t replace the kind of face-to-face conversations that you can have by being in the same room.
Going through the acquisition during the pandemic was a challenge because, I guess, for all the obvious reasons. You are not able to sit down at a table and have a conversation in person. You end up having very long, large meetings about tech and doing your due diligence. It can be challenging when you’re just a floating head on a Zoom screen. On the other hand, there are some benefits, but I would’ve still rather have been in person.
What did you do before SalesRight /How did you get to where you are today? What inspired you to build SalesRight?
So before SalesRight, I was running MindSea. The inspiration for SalesRight came from a need we had inside MindSea. We needed to figure out a way to sell our service in a productized way, kind of like a SaaS product. We looked around for different options, and nothing fit our needs. When we were trying to sell a service, we wanted a tool that would replace proposals and create a faster buying process that would initiate engagement when displaying our pricing. That is how we built an internal tool to help us sell at MindSea.
At the time, whenever a customer or prospect saw the tool, they were like, “Hey, where did you get this tool? This is really great.” After a while, I heard enough, then Taylor Bond and I started talking about how we could really do something with it. And that’s when we decided to build out the platform into its own company, SalesRight.
When did you know FastSpring was the right fit for SalesRight’s new home?
The very first conversation I had was with Brian Deignan. I booked a demo call with Brian through LinkedIn, and even though I was coming in cold, Brian took the meeting and eagerly participated in the demo. It is always really cool to talk to sales leaders, and Brian is a genuine down to earth guy. He understood what we were trying to do and understood the value very quickly. After our conversation, he sent me to Kurt Smith, the SVP of product, to talk about possible integrations. Once I began speaking with Kurt, things just started to align. We all had similar views on how buyers should buy and what the buyers’ experience should look like from the seller’s point of view. When everything was starting to line up really well, we thought, “Hey, this could be something.” I met David Nachman next, then the rest of the executive team; it was obvious they had assembled a really great group of people that care about their team and want to build great software and company. This was when I knew that FastSpring was the right home for us to continue to realize SalesRight’s vision.
What does a typical day look like for Bill now that you are with FastSpring?
I spend most of my day on SalesRight and its roadmap, helping our customers and working with the engineering team. But also, I am now digging into the product work at FastSpring with the product team. Working with the team to sink my teeth into what the B2B integration will look like with SalesRight. I spend a lot of my time thinking about where we are going to go, how we will integrate, and learning as much as I possibly can about FastSpring.
What excites you every day about working at FastSpring?
Honestly, the thing that excites me is the idea that there are still so many companies out there offering point solutions for four pieces of what FastSpring does. We focus on the buyer and seller’s journey, which gets me the most excited. This isn’t a new realization, I continue to get excited to support buyers and sellers during their journey.
Describe a favorite memory during the acquisition.
Impossible to choose one single memory. So, everything. This has been an amazing experience that I will never forget.
What are your favorite hobbies and activities outside of work?
Given that I was running a startup for the last two and a half years, I don’t have many hobbies. But I do enjoy running an awful lot. I try and get out and run multiple times a week. Oh, and I have a 5lb Chihuahua that I really love; she’s kind of a hobby. Since she is so small, the hobby is don’t step on the dog.
What is a fun fact most people may not know about you?
I used to spend a lot of time building, designing and flying kites. I would travel around the world flying kites at festivals. I would love to be able to start doing that again.