It was a fun 2+ years, but my experience at Closely is soon coming to an end. All things are impermanent, you know. While this ending came with a twinge of sadness, it would have ended at some point anyway and is a good reminder not to cling to those things over which we have no control.
In June 2009, Perry Evans called me to discuss an idea for a new product. We had breakfast in the suburbs and chatted casually about the idea. Six months later, Closely was born and we were off to the races to build something cool. Start-ups are in my blood and I enjoyed creating something tangible from scratch...I’ve done it before Closely and I’m sure I’ll do it again. Of course, part of building a start-up involves sacrifices - of time, of opportunity and of finances. There were plenty of all three, but I don’t regret a minute of it.
Many of you are asking what I want to do next. Well, I certainly wouldn’t shy away from another start-up, with a leadership role in product management, engineering, professional services or customer care. However, I was in a hands-on role during my entire tenure at Closely and I am pretty proud of what I accomplished as a sole contributor. So, indulge me and consider the following list if you are looking for someone to help out in a contracting capacity. I really can still do “real work”. :’}
Product Management and Development
- Developed 60+ product specifications from epic stories for new products to detailed specifications for individual features.
- Collected input from all parties to develop and maintain product roadmap. Led prioritization and iteration planning sessions. Conducted review of comparable and competitive products to serve as input to the roadmap.
- Evaluated commercial e-commerce solutions and selected Braintree based upon product and operational requirements. Completed all processes required to establish merchant and gateway processor accounts.
- Served as sole software test resource for the first year of the company. Performed acceptance testing for specific features as well as comprehensive regression testing for all releases. Developed test plans.
Customer Operations and Services
- Established accounting processes for merchant payment. Prepared all monthly statements.
- Evaluated solutions for customer support and community site. Based on that evaluation, selected Zendesk.
- Solely developed 100% of structure and content for Closely Knit, the closely support community.
- Solely developed all support and client services processes from scratch.
- Solely managed all channel partners (pre and post sales), including ongoing account management, technical support and project management of custom development projects.
- Established HR and benefits processes via TriNet. Managed ongoing HR and benefits issues. Research and established 401(k).
- Managed all facilities issues, including office network, janitorial service and maintenance of work space.
- Created Google Sites intranet for internal collaboration and document management.