A Week in My Life: Mark Adams, VP and general manager EMEA of BigCommerce
BigCommerce is an open SaaS, global eCommerce platform provider founded in 2009 with over 600 employees across six offices.
Headquartered in Austin, Texas, it powers B2B and B2C eCommerce for more than 60,000 stores, over 2,000 mid-market businesses, 30 Fortune 1000 companies and industry-leading brands including Ben & Jerry’s, Carluccio's, Skullcandy, Sony and Toyota.
The EMEA VP of BigCommerce, Mark Adams, has shared what a week in his life is really life...
My week starts with a 6.00am wakeup call and then 10 minutes of exercise on the rowing machine. My morning commute is from Winchester to Mansion House, which takes an hour and a half on a good day. The long commute gives me plenty of time to check emails and prepare for the weekly team meeting and prepare notes for my day's meetings.
BigCommerce is relatively new in the UK, so we set up shop in a WeWork. It’s easy for people to get to and offers great flexibility with desks and meeting rooms. I sit next to the sales and solution engineering team who never seem to be off the phone. This is an extremely busy time for BigCommerce as we approach the final quarter, both internally and externally. With a constant stream of new hires as the team grows, new customers launching their sites before the festive season and European expansion, we are constantly on the go meeting new people and showing off our platform at events – so there’s no time wasted on the commute or in the office!
In a nutshell, part of my role is to ensure BigCommerce merchants deploy and grow successfully. We have many customers in the pipeline ready to launch or refresh their online store in time for Black Friday and Christmas.
A large number of retailers expect a third of their revenue to be generated during that sales period. We are in the process of getting as many customers over that line as possible, which is quite a mission! Tuesday is the day I am firmly in the office to ensure I am around to answer any questions from the wider team.
Come Wednesday, the week is well underway, and everything is usually a bit more settled. This is the best day for me to check in with the account managers on the customer success team, who update me on what customers are saying about the platform and their needs. While our sweet spot is mid-market brands (those selling between £1M and £50M in annual online sales), we also have thousands of independent, family-owned businesses using our platform to grow their business. It is an incredible feeling to know that our platform makes it easy for all types of entrepreneurs to build a successful business, and to see first-hand the impact that has on someone’s life.
This year, BigCommerce has picked up momentum with its presence at retail and ecommerce events. We’ve had team members from our HQ in Austin, Texas fly over to London to speak at a series of our partner summit events, which includes our tech and agency partners from across the globe. Here they can meet with other partners, share experiences and do workshops on how their platforms and plug-ins work. We’re incredibly proud of the diversity of partners we work with in the ecommerce space. Our commitment to maintaining a partner-friendly platform is an integral part of our DNA.
Aside from BigCommerce events, I get invited to speak at other industry and partner events on a weekly basis. This week, I’m speaking at the Internet Retailing Conference in London on how headless commerce can improve growth rates and drive better customer experiences and therefore loyalty. I’m also preparing for next month, where I’ll be presenting on our expansion strategy across Europe to the BigCommerce executive leadership.
On the days I am not travelling I tend to work from home on a Friday as the week catches up with me! It’s the 16 hours of commuting, believe me. Google Hangout calls take place from 9.00am to 6.00pm typically so I can do the school run before. Friday is also the day I check in with the Austin team. Whilst America is a very different market to the UK, it’s been invaluable to share ideas and key learnings on what is working in each market – and helps ensure continued alignment between our offices. The Austin office has over 200 people (they welcomed 26 new starters the other day) whereas the UK office has a tenth of that! But we’ve got a strong culture in both and it’s what makes BigCommerce stand out.
As an example of just how seriously BigCommerce takes its culture, I went to the company’s headquarters in Austin to interview for my role back in spring 2018 and had about nine different interviews. The one I was dreading the most was with the company’s chief financial officer, Robert Alvarez.
Prior to the interview, I swotted up on SaaS metrics and business KPIs so I could answer questions on business acronyms I’d vaguely heard before. The terms didn't come up once. Instead, we spent the whole hour talking about culture – how to build high performing teams, how to lead well and what leadership actually means. This mindset is what really defines BigCommerce’s success and epitomises why I love helping to grow the company in Europe.