Tag Archives: Account

Landing a Massive Account May Put Your Company Out of Business
April 12, 2018 6:02 pm|Comments (0)

I was in the first 24 months of my first startup, a B2B services business. My team and I had been pursuing a contract at one of the highest-profile early stage companies in the United States, and to our amazement we actually won the deal.

Our revenues tripled overnight, and it put our company on the map.  As excited as we were to win the business, had I known then what I was about to experience I would have managed things very, very differently.

Winning this deal nearly became a death sentence for my business.  Here’s why:

Servicing the account consumed all of our resources.

Winning this deal was akin to the dog catching the car: we latched on to the bumper and quickly realized that we had zero control over what would happen next.

I knew that this account would require us to marshal most of our resources – cash, time and people – to deliver on our promises. Quickly we realized just how understaffed we were in order to meet expectations, and pulled nearly everyone into the mix; we more than doubled the company’s headcount within 60 days of the program going live.

Our cash funded the headcount growth, our new hires consumed all of our management time, and our inability to do anything but service this customer prevented us from developing the systems and processes that would have made the model replicable.  Our lack of bandwidth also prevented us from winning any new business, which became problematic down the road.

This customer knew they were our biggest account by far, and they took full advantage of that dynamic. Every meeting request, every late night phone call, every weekend email barrage — we couldn’t say no.  

Customer concentration put our balance sheet under immense stress.

I didn’t have the bandwidth to service new business, and I didn’t have the cash flow to expand the sales team to add more business. In fact, the last thing I wanted at the time was another account to service. This was flawed thinking, as I came to find out soon enough.

Our customer’s business was growing exponentially, and our relationship with them grew in lockstep. It was exhilarating, but it was during this time that I learned a priceless lesson about hyper-growth: it’s a cash furnace.

Our billings with the customer doubled, we doubled our headcount, and our payroll would also double. The payroll debits hit every two weeks, but our customer’s checks came every 60 days.  Before I knew it, I was tapped out on a $ 1 million line of credit (personally guaranteed, of course) just to float our customer’s growing receivables.  They weren’t aging more than 60 days, but they were growing so rapidly that my credit line couldn’t keep up.  I nearly grew myself out of business.

Losing the business was catastrophic.

I received the call two years into the relationship at the contract renewal: this company was bringing these operations in-house. There was no hint that this result was going to happen. Over forty percent of my revenue evaporated overnight.

We hadn’t done the work to diversify the business (we were cash poor, after all) so I had nowhere to put all of these now-idled people. In one of the toughest days of my entrepreneurial career, I had to send 20 amazing individuals packing on little notice.  It was one of those soul-crushing moments that hardens you as an entrepreneur.

About those receivables: the customer’s interest in paying us in a timely fashion for services already billed dropped precipitously after the cancellation. I spent the next six months fighting off the bank while I worked to get this now former customer to pay their outstanding invoices. On more than one occasion, I tapped personal savings (including a 401(k) loan) to make payroll. It was a decidedly not-fun experience.

Looking back on this entire episode, the mistakes that I made are glaringly obvious. Seeing only massive revenue gains, I failed to anticipate the negative impact on our operations.  We didn’t add new customers, because we didn’t have the cash flow or bandwidth. I was naive about setting a customer credit policy.

Sometimes, landing the whale can be the worst thing possible for your business.  In this case, the worst thing for my last company became the best hard-knock education as an entrepreneur that I’ve ever received.

Tech

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An Ex-Twitter Worker Claims He Shut Down Donald Trump’s Account
November 30, 2017 3:38 am|Comments (0)

SAN FRANCISCO – A German man has come forward as the former Twitter Inc (twtr) employee who shut down the account of U.S. President Donald Trump for 11 minutes this month on his last day of work at the social network.

The technology news website TechCrunch published an interview on Wednesday with Bahtiyar Duysak, whom it called a 20-something with Turkish roots who was born and raised in Germany. He was a temporary contract worker in San Francisco for Twitter, the website said.

Duysak, who had not previously been identified as the person behind the takedown, told TechCrunch that he considered Trump’s temporary silencing a “mistake” and never thought the account would get deactivated.

It was not a planned act, he said. Rather, he said, the chance to shutter the account fell into his lap near the end of his scheduled final shift, and he decided to take it.

“There are millions of people who would take actions against him if they had the possibility. In my case, it was just random,” Duysak said in a video of the interview posted online. He wore a gray sweater emblazoned with the American flag.

For more on Trump and Twitter, see Fortune’s video:

Twitter on Wednesday would not confirm whether Duysak was the ex-employee in question or answer other questions. Reuters could not immediately reach Duysak.

BuzzFeed News, citing two anonymous sources, reported separately that Duysak was the ex-employee responsible.

Duysak is a former volunteer security guard at a Muslim community center in California, BuzzFeed reported. Trump has been critical of Muslims, calling during the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign for a “total and complete shutdown” of Muslims entering the United States.

The takedown of Trump’s account on Nov. 2 sparked concerns among Twitter users over how much power employees have over sensitive accounts and whether abuse of their power could lead to international incidents.

Twitter said in a statement on Wednesday: “We have taken a number of steps to keep an incident like this from happening again.”

Duysak did not shed much light on the incident. Near the end of his last day at the San Francisco-based company, an alert came to him that someone had reported Trump’s account for an unspecified violation, he said.

Duysak put the wheels in motion to deactivate it, TechCrunch said, although the account did not go offline until hours later. Neither Duysak nor TechCrunch explained the delay.

“I didn’t hack anyone. I didn’t do anything which I wasn’t authorized to do,” he said.

Tech

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Pippa Middleton’s iCloud account reportedly hacked, with thousands of private photos stolen
September 26, 2016 4:46 am|Comments (0)

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Pippa Middleton, the sister of Kate Middleton the Duchess of Cambridge, has had her iCloud account hacked and thousands of private photographs stolen, according to The Independent.

The information retrieved is believed to include personal photos of the royal family and of Middleton with her fiancé James Matthews.

The publication noted Middleton’s lawyers confirmed her account has been accessed and that her and Matthews have requested their privacy to be respected. 

The royal correspondent for the Daily Mail reported that 3,000 photos had been taken from Middleton’s account and a person going by the name “mas” was attempting to sell them to media organizations.  Read more…

More about Pippa Middleton, Icloud, and Tech


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Public and private cloud now account for a quarter of infrastructure spending
July 6, 2016 1:50 pm|Comments (0)

Brexit and tech: Three scenarios from alright to awful · Cloud computingCloud computing: Why the hybrid approach makes sense right now …


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