Character matters

Eight years ago my business partner and I sat down at a Panera in the heart of the heartland to design a system that will change the way businesses manage employee life cycle.

Before people imagined that you can have a single system to manage Payroll, Human Resources, Benefits, Applicant Tracking, Performance Reviews, we set out to build such a system. Our goal? A single user-friendly system that employees, payroll administrators, and HR managers can all leverage to improve their experiences, processes and productivity.

Before people imagined that you can have a single system of record, one employee record, no integrations, no shuffling data between systems, no screen scraping, no “payroll” talking to “HR”, because Payroll and HR are the same system, before all of that, we chartered new territory.

Before the term SaaS became hip on Wall Street and Silicon Valley, before it became to symbolize companies burning investors cash in order to “grow” we built the first complete SaaS system in our space.

We did not have venture capital backing us. We did not have big banks rolling us. We did not have prior exits to roll into our venture.  We only had the trust and faith of our clients.

We had to make a choice, do we chase growth at any cost? We knew once people saw what we built they will try to copy us and go get big money to bankroll them so they can leap frog us.

We had to make a choice. We chose growth with purpose instead of growth of at any cost. We chose clients wellbeing instead of VCs wellbeing. We chose to become one of country’s best companies to work for instead of becoming the next unicorn.

We chose to be profitable instead of burning other people’s money in losses. Because when your are not beholden to other people’s money you can easily chose to put clients and employees first.

Recently others came along, with catchy names, claiming to pioneer concepts that we have been offering for years. While they operated int the limelight we continued to innovate. To build today what they will “pioneer” next year. To offer features focused on our clients needs not on selling vaporware hoping to land a prospect while ignoring our existing clients.  We continued to invest in our infrastructure while they “invested” in marketing and Facebook ads.

As our elders knew long ago, character matters and the cream always rises to the top.