Startups need to say 'no' more often, Docusign says

The business has expanded by knowing when to say 'no', according to its head of product engineering and marketing

Emmet Ryan

Technology Correspondent @emmetjryan
5th October, 2016
Startups need to stay focused on a core product

Staying focused on a core product early is vital for startups to stay relevant, according to electronic signature business Docusign.

“The question that a company has to ask itself early is what is it good at? No matter how many tugs they get in different directions, they need to stay focused on that particular piece and really doing it well,” Brad Brooks, head of product engineering and marketing told the Sunday Business Post.

“It might be odd hearing that from a company like Docusign where we are branching out into different areas but staying focused on what you came in to do is crucial for development. What kills more start-ups than anything is going with customers who move them in too many different directions and they start to lose focus.”

“One of the hardest things to do is say no, especially in a world where we have been trained to say yes to the customer no matter what. Sometimes saying no is in the best interest of everybody.”

He made the comments at Dreamforce, Salesforce’s annual gathering in San Francisco which is attended by 170,000 people.

Docusign, which has over 100 staff in Ireland and expects to break the 200 mark in a few months, has branched out into using its core product as a means to play a role in data analytics for businesses.

“We’re at that magic touch point where two parties get together and that first data is created by the two groups. As a result we capture a lot of unique data at the front end of the process,” said Brooks.

“We are working now a lot on tax, so governments can figure out where a transaction is actually happening. Related to those tax issues, having those compliance data is necessary for companies. They need the GPS and timestamp data and we capture all that.”

Follow Emmet Ryan live on Periscope (action81) for analysis before and after Wednesday evening’s keynote at Dreamforce.

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