Evolution of a Startup Operator

Recently, I was asked by a founder how my role changed as Choose Energy grew. I thought this was a great question, and honestly wasn’t…

Evolution of a Startup Operator

Recently, I was asked by a founder how my role changed as Choose Energy grew. I thought this was a great question, and honestly wasn’t something I’d spent too much time considering.

Now that I sit on the investor side of the table, I realize founders and executives should hire to take things off their plate. As an early-employee, you want to be the person that gets the first chance at those opportunities.

What didn’t change:

1. The pace - in a high-growth, young startup there’s no shortage of things to do. I always spoke up, sometimes out of turn, and tried to stretch myself beyond what I knew.

2. The boring stuff — here are things that no one writes blog posts about or starts a podcast to cover:

- daily data-entry when the product is new

- using Excel to track down missing payments among a dataset of 100K+ customers or determine LTV because you grew too quickly

- building basic reporting, and I do mean basic, so customer contacts can be champions inside their orgs

3. The fun — At times, Choose was stressful but it never stopped being fun. I worked with people who remain close friends today and one is my current business partner. It’s hard to beat those bonds forged by high-stress, high-stakes decision-making.

What changed:

1. The role — I worked in business development and customer engagement, product marketing, and product management.

2. The challenges — by definition, startups are full of opportunities and new challenges. If you love technology and enjoy taking on things that stretch your capabilities — startups are great.

3. The levers — the business went through cycles of growth through product improvements, new product offerings, fine-tuning acquisition, and expanding within existing customers. Many of these levers were happening simultaneously.

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