SaaS Founder Interview with Scott Campbell, Co-Founder & CEO of PayStand
Tony Zayas 0:06
Hey everybody. Welcome to another episode of the tech founders show. This is Tony Zayas here joined with our co host, Andy Halko. Andy, how’s it going today?
Andy Halko 0:17
It’s great. It’s sweltering outside. I think a lot of people, my wax statue that I had made, is starting to melt of myself. And so I don’t know, I’m gonna have to put some air conditioners on it.
Tony Zayas 0:29
It’s a common problem people are having in here. It is. So awesome. Well, let’s dive into it. This week. I’m excited. We have Scott Campbell is the co founder and head of solutions and services at PAYSTAND. And PAYSTAND is rebooting the commercial finance and building the open infrastructure for b2b payments. So some cool things that are going on with that. Hey, Scott, how are you doing?
Scott Campbell 0:57
Pretty well. Thanks, Tony. How are you?
Tony Zayas 0:59
Awesome. Real? Well, Andy, nice to see you.
Andy Halko 1:02
Thank you. Good to see you, too. Yeah,
Scott Campbell 1:05
Sorry about all that heat up there, man. So I’ve got a number of people struggling wax trash statues aside.
Andy Halko 1:11
I know it’s a common problem, you get one made of yourself, mad to yourself, personally for you, and it sits in your house and melts? So
Scott Campbell 1:22
it’s not the kind of disruption we’re looking for man? Exactly.
Tony Zayas 1:26
We’re talking disruptions. But that wasn’t the kind of we were thinking. Awesome. Well, Scott, why don’t you go ahead and kick it off just by telling us about PAYSTAND and kind of where the concept came from? And we’ll dive into the solution.
Scott Campbell 1:40
Oh, sure. Sure. I think that conversation starts best by asking ourselves what it would mean to have a genuine conversation about helping businesses about helping small businesses, large businesses, businesses in the United States, businesses anywhere. And I, where I begin in that conversation is for an organization or a person to really owns destiny, they have to own all of the components that they are responsible for their processes, their customers, the things that they’re offering, how they offer them, the costs that are involved, the reconciliation of that, and if all done correctly, the profit and where that profit is applied to afterwards. When we look at it through that lens, when I look at it through that lens, what I see are three problems or three challenges become clear very quickly. The very first is that, that the financial systems as they are today are broken. And I think on a good day, that is to say good for you and me and for businesses, on a good day, they’re broken just simply by being antiquated. That that’s how I would define broken. I think a good example of that would be, you know, our ACH network today, cannot instantly or even really in the matter of doing business all that quickly, secure funds for business. And and when I say secure, I mean, that’s everybody was wanting to marketing hat today, or excuse me, an accounting hat today. On the bad day, it’s broken in a manner that is biased for somebody else. A good example of that would be credit card fees. They’re not there to offset risk. They’re not there for infrastructure. They’re there to essentially cover the incentives that the card issuer has to acquire more card a card holders. The second challenge that you come into is that this is all all antiquated and slow. You know, a good example of that might be that there are payments, while we think like when we go to our local coffee shop, and we swipe a card, or we’re buying something on Amazon, we think that that transaction is instantaneous, and it’s not the actual clearance of funds. Again, speaking to all the accountants in the room, the actual clearance of funds, takes several days. In some cases, actually, I think one of the latest guidelines out of Nacho was 10 banking days. 10 banking days, could you imagine trying to do business right away 10 days for payment. Last but not least, is that the organizations that are in control of all these networks, have little to no incentive to make improvements. And now that’s where you start to see PAYSTAND become manifest. What we see from PAYSTAND is changing the way that businesses are really rather the transactions that businesses depend upon, are being transmitted or being conducted or being organized or being reconciled. And and ultimately, how do you bring this to the same level as almost everything else we enjoy? We get our data instantaneously on our phone, almost an unlimited amount of data. I can send an email to a friend with an attachment. That means they can get virtually any amount of data, any amount of information anywhere in the world. They’re receiving it essentially instantaneously and essentially for free. Why are financial transactions any difference, especially when you start to peel back the layers and seeing how all this stuff really works, you begin to realize that there are absolutely people who are just sending an email back and forth. And, and that’s all financial transactions taking place, it’s being moved back and forth for free. It has for decades, just businesses and individuals are not allowed to take advantage of that. And it’s again, coming back to some of the breaks in that financial system. And then from that, everything else spills out pretty pretty simply, you know, I’m a big fan of just you have a stake in the ground. For me, it’s the why statement. And from walking it back from there, all the other decisions become clear, why did we go to b2b before b2c? Why is there not a card reader things along those lines?
Andy Halko 6:02
So that that’s daunting, right? You know, taking on the big challenges. I guess, first, walk me through how someone, you know, at the ground level utilizes your platform, or how organizations utilize the platform.
Scott Campbell 6:20
We know very early on that businesses had a number of pieces of software that were trying to help out, at least in the organization of this, if not the actual conducting of a transaction, if not the actual movement of funds, at least trying to organize at the end of it. Or what what you have today, and probably why there’s maybe not as many bookkeepers and accountants on the call as I would like, is it’s the end of the quarter. It’s the end of the quarter of the end of the month. And so what you start to hear from a lot of accountants is, I’m not free right now, I have to go put myself into a room, probably with just stacks of spreadsheets to try and organize all of this data. Okay, so first off, that’s ridiculous. Like, why are we in the age of computers? And we still have to figure out spreadsheets between I received $1 inside my bank account, and what did that actually go and pay for? We knew that there were there was tremendous amount of software there that was trying to help out their opinions various to how well of a job it was doing. And that’s where if we could optimize payments and optimize the organization of payments, that’s where it would most easily flourish. You’re actually in a sense touching on why did we choose b2b before b2c? One could argue the arithmetic is obvious, it’s two to three orders of magnitude larger of a market. I also there because that’s where you really had massive pain points, where you had organizations that were spending hundreds of 1000s of dollars a year hiring somebody just to move money back and forth on a spreadsheet. You know, and these are things especially if you think of mail merge. If you think of VoIP, if you think of social media, if you think of lead generation, if you think of all the software out there that actually executes the products and services that businesses are using today. Why hadn’t nobody changed any of that it changed the the accounting component of it? It should be trivial for a computer to say that if $100,000 arrived in your bank account, here are all of the bills, refunds, invoices, etc, that went to feed that net deposit.
Andy Halko 8:31
Yeah, that makes sense. So I’m always you talked about the product and where you are now a little bit, but I’d love to go backwards and talk about origin story. How do you even get into all this?
Scott Campbell 8:46
I’m, I’m blessed with a very good friend of mine, Jeremy Almond, who if I brought a number of tools to the table, he was the one who really brought the vision. And what he and I were aligned on very quickly was number one, this had to change. Number two, this could change. And number three, how would we change it? And that’s it. That’s an oversimplification. But that is essentially the conversation that he and I had had, that we knew it didn’t take the 2008 financial crisis to show this was broken and needed to change. If anyone thinks that that was the only example then really just not paying attention. We also we’re just really big fans of taking a look at the landscape and asking where are their breaks? Where are their inefficiencies? Where is there room for improvement? Finding those executing those fixes, improvements, increases in efficiency and delivering on that. So we certainly we actually in the genesis of PAYSTAND and prior startups, it was very individual and small business motivated. And then we started realizing when large organizations were arriving with slightly different needs. But coming in saying this is a real pain point, we started looking at the numbers looking at the data and realized there’s a much larger problem to be solved. There is no way to solve it all at once. And I think that’s a key detail for many founders is, there’s no way to solve it all at once, which means you’re going to build an a sequence of events you’re going to build, what shall I solve today? What am I going to solve tomorrow? What am I going to solve the day after that? And, you know, I can talk about pay stand in the 10 year roadmap of where the grand design, the grand goal is, money can move feeless. It will be cashless, it can move to any software, it can be organized any way that you need it to be. It’ll be just as secure as being handed cash. But I think the the more tangible conversation is, what about your number one? What about your number two? What are we doing to get to that 10 year goal?
Andy Halko 11:10
Yeah, I love that not trying to solve every problem at once. I think that is important for founders to know.
Tony Zayas 11:18
So Scott, I would love to hear just some of the underpinnings of PAYSTAND, from a technology standpoint, that allows you guys to go to first of all look at things so differently, but to be able to attempt to address these challenges, and really move in a different direction. So is that the cloud technology and blockchain? What else?
Scott Campbell 11:43
I think one thing that that blockchain did. That was that was monumental to PAYSTAND, before blockchain became a part of PAYSTAND was very similar to like back in the 1960s. When Berkeley and Los Angeles were sending the very first emails to one another. Because right before those first emails were sent, the folks that were involved in that knew this could be done, but you couldn’t prove it. You know, like Denzel Washington and training day, it’s not what you know, it’s what you can prove. And they knew they could do it. But the moment after that email was sent, they now had proof that it could be done. And now you you can’t start a business without having email. It’s ridiculous. You know, 50 years ago, it’d be like you can’t start a business without having telephone. And now today, lately, you actually couldn’t start a business without having a telephone. But you never dreamed of having a business, starting a business without an email address. And now it’s ubiquitous and everywhere. Now, they’re also similar. And I think this will become pretty important later in this conversation as well is you had the 20 30 years that it took for email really to take hold of the population of the popular mind, it really become integrated everywhere. And that and that’s what blockchain did. That’s the moment in time that we are here in blockchain. If I was to use the timeline for email, it’s about 1975. Right now, as far as blockchain is concerned, Blockchain proved first, it showed that it proves that money value can move from point A to point B, virtually instantly, at virtually no cost. And you needed no financial institution to be involved. There was never any risk of a conflict of interest, where you had an organization that needed to prioritize something that actually ran in conflict to the very simple act of your business, you have a customer, there is a transaction involved. And, again, when looking at it through that lens, we begin to realize that is when businesses get to be in control of their destiny. That is when businesses are truly unlocked and unfettered from a lot of the problems that have been plaguing but just coming back to the genuine philosophy of this is when businesses will be in control of their of their destiny. So what blockchain ultimately did was said, this is now all possible. What are the next steps and the next steps and that is wrapping around it. How the blockchain can apply to businesses wrapping around it? How businesses can integrate this into their other processes, how they can wrap around, or sorry, how do you wrap around it so that businesses can really benefit from it without having to go out and get experts in blockchain or build their own blockchain? Etc.
Andy Halko 14:38
Just to unpack I’m curious what you talked about with email and the length of time, do you see blockchain as an opportunity to move at a much more accelerated pace? You know, it took 30 years to get from that first email to MailChimp. But, you know, what do you see happening with Blockchain as far as adoption And and, you know, speed of innovation and monetization or or or leveraged in capital environments. What Where do you see that going right now?
Scott Campbell 15:12
I mean, Andy, I I can’t emphasize enough, what a great moment in time we all are in, where, you know, it must have been like those, those frontiers, people in the wild west when you roll over the Sierras, and you just see unbridled potential, where anything can be reinvented. And that that really is that feeling that what we have today is really the opportunity that we have today, you can take a look at Robin Hood, you can take a look at AWS and what it’s done for the industry. You can even take a look at the innovations coming out of companies like Apple, etc. All of these things from you know, those are the highest examples are maybe rather than the most obvious ones. But all the way down to two people sitting in a coffee shop building, you know, the next, the next thing that we’re going to be using, um, there, there really is no barrier anymore to radically approach challenges that we have inside this world and try to solve them. One of my favorites is, you know, there’s the organization’s zip line, who just said, you know, it doesn’t matter where you are in Africa, it doesn’t matter what type of countryside you’re in. We can put medical supplies on a drone and get it to you. Is there is there anybody who would have entertained that conversation 10 years ago? So email, I think creates a really nice analogy. You know, it’s a timeline, I don’t think it’s going to follow along the same levels of timeline. I think, especially if you give if you consider how absolutely interested and invested banks are in blockchain technology. And for every article, you read about a bank deriving blockchain, you’ve got 10 people sitting in a room figuring out how they can use it. You know, PAYSTAND today supports several banks, because it turns out the way that we do transactions is actually better banking than they were able to execute. So this technology is already getting everywhere. You know, in that sense, it’s 1985, It’s 1990, when email is showing up inside the big financial institutions, but not everybody uses it yet. Got shucks, let’s just call them on the phone. So I think, you know, email creates a great analogy. I think blockchain is actually far more into all these things than than we realize, I would imagine you’re gonna see mass or popular adoption, certainly in the next 10 years. I think the question just simply is going to be well, is it really going to be five? Or is it going to be six or four? Right?
Andy Halko 17:50
Yeah, and I’m always interested in the skeptics too, because you think with email, I think back to the days where you would hear of, you know, someone’s saying, Hey, I’m not going to use that I’m just going to have somebody, you know, call for me or type an email out for me, and like you said. Now, it’s ubiquitous, and now, does it and, you know, for blockchain and some of all these technologies, the skeptics, you know, how long does it take to get them on the bus to?
Scott Campbell 18:18
Well, it’s interesting, you bring that up, Andy, because there’s two details, that that points out in my mind that I think are worth bringing up. One of them is a little bit of history. Jeremy and I, we both realized we would work very well together when we both happened upon the same philosophy, the similar philosophy being and I’ll use a quote from Aaron Sorkin’s Sports Night, where Isaac is telling Jeremy coincidentally, it’s only Jeremy, if you don’t think you’re that smart, surround yourself with smart people. If you think you’re smart, surround yourself with smart people who disagree with you. And so, Andy, I love the skeptics of blockchain. I love banks asking questions about blockchain. I love banks entertaining, the notion that they’re going to use blockchain. I think the world that maybe the other answer to your question about what are we going to see in the next 10 years is I don’t think you’re going to see banks go away. In fact, I find more problems with the sort of, you know, get rid of the old guard. Just in lieu of the new guard. I see a lot of problems actually, with that motion and a lot of unnecessary friction. The second thing that we that I come to on that one is, is actually it gets really that point is I think we’re going to see all services enhanced by the benefits of any technology that is produced. I think we’re going to see not the removal of old and the incoming of the new I think we’re gonna see the enhancement of what is and you know, the new will be a better version than what we had yesterday. And spoiler alert, tomorrow is going to have a different version than what we have today. I think if we’re learning anything nowadays speaking of this point in time, it’s how can we be more flexible, so that we can always evolve, we can always iterate so that tomorrow when tomorrow’s thing comes, it’s not about a removal of the old, it’s about an enhancement of what is.
Tony Zayas 20:25
that there’s totally fascinating. I love that perspective. But I have to go back and just ask, you know, who in the financial services industries, are the antagonists that are concerned about seeing this type of disruption and change? That, You know, is that something that you guys are dealing with? Or that you see? And how do you work past that? Because it’s, it’s such a big industry with so much width? And yeah, not not simple? Not something that you can go away? Yeah. Nothing less.
Scott Campbell 21:03
I, I think for you know, mass consumption, it would be great to have an answer that is sort of just a simple. You know, here’s the villain, here are the heroes, you know, let’s go do battle. I think though, we’d be remiss to think that the financial institutions and the relationship with businesses and vice versa, it should be over simplified like that. The antagonists, if you do want a simple hero versus villain, the antagonists are fees, and probably even more especially unnecessary fees. They’re their toxic biases. Those are the villains. They are not banks per say. They are certain representative representations of where the market is today. And what is its incentive to move. Look, I promise you that if if there was more money to be made in blockchain, and making every transaction free, every organization in the world would pivot to be able to do those things. But the largest investor in solar power, and electric and fossil fuel alternatives, is the fossil fuel industry. Because they see that’s where that’s going. What was the number one investor in, in email and internet lines, the organization that everyone presumed, stood the most to lose if people stopped making phone calls and just started transmitting things over the internet, I find a lot of great ideas and really smart people being misled and lost to the notion that you have to break down the big villain. So it’s not that I don’t think there’s villains. It’s not that I don’t think there are biases that just absolutely abuse, businesses, and people have even referenced a couple of events that showed those moments. I just don’t see a lot of progress coming by trying to better identify the villain. I think I’m just gonna sit over here and spend more time trying to identify what the best solution is.
Andy Halko 23:15
Yeah, and I think it’s, you know, to your point, a little bit like Blockbuster, if you’re an incumbent, and you don’t think about new technology, you’re gonna eventually not be the incumbent anymore.
Scott Campbell 23:27
Certainly, Blockbuster is, you know, a great example of that, or, I’m, you know, I’m a big fan of, I’m a big fan of, of Andy Grove`s days at Intel, when, you know, they had to pivot, because Motorola was kicking their butt. And that whole motion that would that was happening. The villains were inefficiency, the villains in that story, were, were being motivated by slowing things down or doing things the way that they that they’d always been done. And Intel tried a different approach. It was a reasons data approach, and they ended up winning. So I don’t, I don’t subscribe to the notion that you need to have a hero and a villain in order to win. I do subscribe to the notion though, that you have a problem. And you need to solve that problem. And so that’s what I’m doing.
Andy Halko 24:21
So we talked to a lot of founders, I’m interested in going back to how you actually got started, was it you know, were you in another role? And it was a side project? Did you go out and raise a bunch of money? What you know, what was the story of actually how this came to fruition?
Scott Campbell 24:41
Great question. Um, and, I mean, it is amazing how far, how far you’ve come in so far, how far things have come in nine years. So I think in one hand, what it was is, you know, Jeremy, and I were, we’re sitting lamenting a lot of the issues that we were having in our prior startup. And just we knew we wanted to do something bigger, we wanted to do something better, we wanted to better serve the community in the world. And if the lessons that we were learning from the current startup were to teach us anything as to what those problems to solve, we’re, then alright, let’s go solve those. Um, I was enormous fan of a little app that had just come out, you know, Starbucks mobile app. And I was like, I don’t know exactly how they built this thing. But this is where so much of this is going to go if not everything. And, you know, now you hear reports about how Starbucks mobile app still dominates the number of transactions that are taken on a mobile device, which is sort of ridiculous. But um, I, we started with, we, you know, we started with, not with like, huge rounds of money. We did not, we were not a part of that type of mythology. You know, we didn’t have anybody who showed up in a coffee shop. And we showed them our POC, and they wrote us a check for $500,000. But what we did start with was a clear drive towards the problems that were challenging to us. We were a small business, what was what was unnecessary? What did we say? Like, why? Why did we have to? Why do we have to sit here and download an Excel spreadsheet from our bank, and then spend a whole bunch of hours where we ought to be building a better business? Trying to figure out oh, you know, somebody paid me an invoice, oh, that’s where that money came from. Okay. So now I get to mark this as it’s done. Or even just less, less crazy things like that, like, tax law, as a law, as it’s written down, is fairly predictable. So why do you have to spend countless hours sorting this stuff out? Or even more simply than that, why is there such a profound difference between when I swipe my card and my funds are taken away, versus how quickly the business actually gets those funds, especially if everybody’s running around paying for what we’re told it are the costs that are involved in making sure that that transaction is fully secured. That doesn’t, that doesn’t make any sense. And from that bore, a lot of the initial roadmaps that came out came out for PAYSTAND, and we still occupied the same same office that had zero installation. So we actually had those moments like, we’re like you guys are having today. We’re like, Oh, shucks, if the temperature gets too high, we have to let everybody go home, because ah, because the insulation was so missing at our earlier offices that we were, we were too close to literally cooking, cooking our team. So
Andy Halko 27:44
in your journey with PAYSTAND. So far, you know, you mentioned nine years, what’s been one of the biggest challenges that you think you’ve faced as an entrepreneur founder?
Scott Campbell 27:55
Um, uh, gosh, shucks, Andy asked me a tough question. Um, the challenges? I think, I think what makes that actually what I think what really makes that that question challenging is, it’s a very long list of challenges. Pick just one. If I if I had to pick just one, um, I actually, this is this is one from yesterday, we had a had to get on a call with the lovely head of accounting for a fairly large marketing firm in the United States. And, and she she was to skip it skip over a lot of details. She was having a bit of a meltdown. She was very frustrated about how all this was working. She couldn’t understand where this this thing connected. And that thing didn’t and what was it supposed to do and everything. And, and I think a lot of the challenge was this simply because she was not ready for what PAYSTAND was doing. So I took her to just do a simple exercise. What as an accountant, if she just scooted back for a moment, we all get it to the end of the quarter. And everyone’s stressing out. If you just scoot it back for a moment. What would you like to see in your job? And she was like, I would love to see that I’m spending more time pulling data out of our ERP to figure out where our best customers are and where we should be selling. And I’d like to spend no time on downloading files from banks and having to call them on the phone because data doesn’t line up. Okay, that’s great. That’s wonderful. Why don’t you go ahead now, come back to the table, open up a Google meet. Let’s do some screen share, and take me to your ERP. And then I pointed to her where we had automated this component and we had automated that component. And she was like, what? And she was like, oh, yeah, but what about timing, timing? I was like it’s instant. Because it’s absolutely ridiculous and has been for decades, that when a payment occurs It’s not instantly put into your system. Absolutely ridiculous, totally unnecessary. Look here, look there, look there, by the end of what was supposed to be a 30 minute call ended up being an hour long call. I had her in quite literally tears, because she had never encountered anybody in her segment of business that had figured out that hadn’t even taken the time to approach what it meant to fix these things, these these redundant repetitive tasks as they had for everything else, you know, they had VoIP, somebody revolutionize that they had email, everything else had this amazing piece of software that automated all of the really manual tasks and everything like that. And nobody had ever done that for accounting. And even just down to the to the thing that she was one of the things she was she was responsible for was how much do How much do all of her transactions cost the business? So if they’re doing $5 million a year, in transactions, what’s the cost of that, and she couldn’t put her finger on it. But I was like, Okay, we take the transaction costs, you take the labor involved, oh, one of your staff takes two hours to go down to the bank to deposit checks. Congratulations, your checks have a transaction cost. There was a lot of those moments over and over again. And the reason I use it as an answer Andy to what are some of the most surprising challenges I’ve ran into? It was how unprepared people are for this space to be changed how much people are expecting that the next thing that comes out is just going to be doing more of the same. Just with, you know, maybe 10 basis points saved? Who gives a shake? Like, come on? Like, this is ridiculous If, if that’s what we’re calling a solution? No. Um, so I think it’s how unprepared people are for really even even accepting the notion that somebody has actually changed the stuff.
Andy Halko 32:04
low expectations for innovation.
Scott Campbell 32:08
Yeah. And then of course, you know, well, if you’ve done it for this one business, why haven’t you done it for everybody? Yeah, but slow down. One problem at a time, we can only do so much.
Tony Zayas 32:18
Scott, just shift gears a little bit too. But to go along the same idea of with innovation comes I think a theme here is looking at things differently. How does that affect what your team looks like? And how do you bring on people to the PAYSTAND team that look at things from a different perspective, moving away from the way it’s been done for so long? And really get the right, you find the right people? You know, go so this goes into culture and hiring and growing.
Scott Campbell 32:53
God, I love that question, Tony. Thank you. Um, so, again, not the easiest question to answer. Um, I will say, culture is very important. It will, what does that mean? What it means is, have a clear definition for everybody. Everybody in your company, even the ones that are just entertaining looking at even just the folks or even your customers reading the about page, have a clear definition of not just what your company stands for, but how it operates. What are the expectations and get granular man? Like, you know, what are the expectations that you want in your company, when somebody sends an email, everyone should be aligned with the same expectation of you know, what, let me shoot a quick note over to this person to say, Hey, I got your message, I acknowledge it. I’ll get back to you as soon as I can, or here’s a date and time. And so all the way from the very granular all up to the very philosophical, have a clear definition of what your company stands for, and how you want to operate. And I think that’s a good place to start with. Culture is important. For hiring people. You have to have the right people find the true believers. One of my favorite scenes from a movie is from Ashton Kutcher`s, I think it was a jobs or Steve Jobs. One of the two movies that came out from a forum about Steve Jobs, Ashton Kutcher was starring in it. And there’s a scene you can find it on YouTube, where they’re trying to release the software and everything and he fires that one developer and he said, and one of the other staffers retorts, like he was the best developer and and Ashton Kutcher, Steve Jobs, turns around and says, he was the best developer who did not believe in our vision. And now that that I think is huge. Hire people who believe in your vision, and if you can make peace with that, shouldn’t be that hard. But make peace with that statement. Because once you do, everything else becomes easy what your salaries are supposed to be, how are you going to be interviewing people? Where are you going to be looking for new staffers? All of those things become a lot easier when you realize you need to have people who are blue Leaving in your vision that are dedicated and passionate about what they’re about what they’re doing and who they’re doing it for, is very important part of my philosophy is service beyond self service above self service to others. And that makes clear to come back to your question that makes clear pretty quickly some of the questions that I want to be asking during an interview. And then, um, you know, I think after that, you become also a lot less interested in exactly the credentials that people have, um, you know, you’re sure it’s, it’s fantastic to hire people who have, you know, Master’s in financial accounting or whatever. That sounds great. And that seems fairly obvious. But if you have the right curiosity, and you have the right drive, and you have the right, dedication to the vision, I won’t discount anybody who has a background that seems almost opposed to what we’re doing. And I think those are where you get the best results from, from having the most diverse background. Again, coming back to it if you think you’re smart, surround yourself with people who disagree with you. And so the more varied perspectives and opinions that you can have qualified opinions, you know, not hiring disqualified people. I know how to find qualified people. But there’s all walks of life should be able to be in that inside that maxim. Yeah, that’s great.
Andy Halko 36:29
Any tips on how you get people really, you know, one evaluate, folks if they really believe that vision, but then really over time, I think you need to continue to evangelize and get people excited about it. You know, are there ways that you’ve leveraged in the company to, you know, continue to excite and inspire people to, to love the vision of the company and drive Forward?
Scott Campbell 36:55
I think the the answer to that question, Andy actually also comes back from having a clear definition in everyone’s mind, what the culture of the company should be. Number one, because if you have that clearly defined, anybody who’s coming in will learn it, maybe even as as bluntly as you’re having them read your culture documents. But then that means that the person they’re going to hire will also come in with that culture. The there are several channels to be able to acquire new staff, new talent, highly qualified, wonderfully dedicated to the vision. One of my favorite actually springs from some of the more product days, where it pretty common tactic and successful product development is reach out to your customers and ask them how is it going? How are you liking the product? Oh, you’re pissed off? Excellent. Tell me why, oh, you’re ecstatic about this and telling all your friends and family about it? Excellent. Tell me why. From that, to come back to your question, you start to find a lot of people who really like what you’re doing, and are really dedicated to that vision. Some of the best people we have at PAYSTAND we’re working for customers of ours, who were bogged down and frustrated with how things used to be done that cause that merchant got PAYSTAND, they loved it, and then realize what they really wanted to do was not just accounting and books and such forth, and, and so on. But what they wanted to do was actually change all of that that was happening. And so they joined the PAYSTAND team to find out how could they actually make all of these things better, but not just for that one business that they have they used to be working for, but for all businesses, you know, and then oh, it’s Oh, it’s bigger businesses. Great. What about medium business? Well, that’s smaller businesses. What about enterprise businesses, where that’s what they became really passionate about solving? And it started with them actually using PAYSTAND.
How has your role evolved from day one to now? What, what have you had to do as a founder? And what do you do every day to, you know, contribute within the company?
Again, another one that’s got a very long list, if we were to dig into it to the full answer of that one, um, I think I think we’ll summarize it as this. I, again, coming back to sort of being blessed with the, with the relationship if if, again, if Jeremy is the visionary, I’m the guy who would sort of occupy whatever whatever tool task challenge etc. was necessary at the time to get that done. And so, you know, he’s a strategist, I was the tactician. How was my role evolved over time matches that description? You know, it started off with helping the other the engineering team building, what it was needed to be our what needed to be our MVP. And then from that, what is a lifecycle for what the next iteration was supposed to be? What is the next sprint? What is the next roadmap And then when we grew to a point where either we needed to move faster than that, or I couldn’t move forward, or I was moving too slowly, we then realized, okay, that’s where we needed the next level in leadership. So we went on, we hired that person. And in that time, now, you know, it’s like, or what’s the next rule that needs to be filled? Excellent. We have a sales role that needs to be filled. Because here we’ve got somebody who there’s nobody who knows more about the product. And nobody knows more about the industry. What would happen if we put that person into a sales role? What challenges would we find in our sales lifecycle that would need to be solved? Because if it’s just about expertise, that excellent, then we know that when we’re hiring more salespeople, we need to build more tools for them to pm experts in this space. Is that elocution? Okay, great, then we know that when we’re hiring people, we have to look for these sorts of these sorts of qualities. And so fulfilling a sales role for a period of time. And now on the solutions, the solutions team, really what we operate is the intersection of those two components. How do you as a business, need to have your financial transactions and movements innovated? How do you need to integrate to your current systems to make it easier to use? And then what are all of the things that PAYSTAND is going to bring to the table that not only is ease of use and integrating to your current systems, but also, you know, re envisioning how you’re going to handle transactions? What would happen if you had 0%, transaction fees for credit card transactions? What would happen if you had a free way to move money from one person to another person? What would that look like to your business and starting people down that journey like like the lovely lady I was referring to earlier, starting them down the journey where they become educated and become become hip to the idea that all of this can change. And all of it is changing, and changing for the better.
Tony Zayas 41:59
Scott, you told that story about you know, that lady who was in the midst of her frustrations and whatnot, but how do you go about, you know, from a feedback perspective from your customers? What does that process look like for PAYSTAND? And how do you guys gauge you know, what your what your customers are seeing frustrations, pain points, things they’re enjoying, so on and so forth?
Scott Campbell 42:27
Certainly, yeah. Um, I mean, there’s so many different avenues and channels to receive data. You know, put Google Analytics in anything you put up online period end up like don’t even that should never ever be a question. Take a look at the database, sit down with a DBA and start running a bunch of queries to see like, how are things going? Wow, there’s a lot of declines over there. Why is that? Yeah. And well, that business over there is using a lot of bank transfers. Why is that? So I think the first quality that I would make sure that you have is curiosity. Get used to asking why ask more questions than you are giving answers. Just constantly ask why, you know, you know, that kid in the back of the room who would always ask questions and slow every lesson down and make the teacher end up being late. Be that kid fine, just just dig apart and ask why constantly, then the other thing is just delight in hearing what customers have to say, certainly delight in it more than it hurts to hear that you’ve been doing a bad job. And whether that comes from a place of humility, or whether that comes from you just absolutely enjoy hearing about this information more than you hate being criticized. However, you want to approach that as fine. My preference is to just sort of try and turn off the subjective side of my brain and take the hits and just say, Well, I’m getting I’m getting data, I’m getting feedback and just keep talking to myself about how, how that’s a good thing. But all of it is coming from, I sought out a customer who was experiencing PAYSTAND, I wanted to know what their experience was like and how it worked. I wanted to know how it was helping them, I want to know how it wasn’t helping them. And from there, everything else sort of becomes easy. Another thing I would throw down, actually, also back end to your earlier question about the things that surprised me as to how effective these things were, or how how big these things were. Document everything. Like oh, you had a 10 minute conversation with a customer great, write it down super quick, email it to somebody, email it to your product team, email it to your customer success team. Just document it. Oh customer asked you a question. That sounds an awful lot like a question a customer asked you last week. Go out get your public documentation, right. The question at the bottom of the page, right what the answer is, boom, done, move on. And the more that you can document the stuff, the easier it’ll become for your staff the easier to become free product development, the easier it becomes for your customers. So I think documentation is certainly an underestimated tool. But even before that, just get comfortable talking to people get comfortable pulling in data from every avenue you can think of.
Andy Halko 45:13
So a question that I asked every tech founder, and I think it could take us down a really good rabbit hole is, you know, what technology in the next five to 10 years do you believe is going to be the most, you know, impactful to society, but for you, you know, either not answering blockchain or giving a very specific, you know, concept of how that’s used, but what do you think’s going to be most impactful in the next five to 10 years for for people in the world? Um, the question
Scott Campbell 45:53
certainly one with big implications. Like I, I look at what Amazon did with AWS, that you can now with ease, spin up massive infrastructure, and dispose of it. And without actual real disposal costs, and then spin up a new one and innovate on it. I think the next piece of software that’s going to come out, that’s the next tool that’s going to come out that’s going to really change things is going to be on that level. And I don’t, I don’t think it’ll be, you know, the next programming language. You know, everybody said that Ruby was going to undo all of the other programming languages, and anybody who knew anything about programming knew that that wasn’t true. And it isn’t, you know, I think, you know, Amazon created an amazing infrastructure that can be easily distributed to anybody, I think it’ll be along those lines. I think the next major innovation will include what, what businesses are going to be meeting, what I see at the moment is, especially in physical products, the manufacturing of it. Being able to change where manufacturing is, I think a helpful exercise in one certainly we’ve done a patient a number of times is look at that landscape and find out where your inefficiencies are, however, gross or minor, those are the spaces that need to get fixed. So you look at manufacturing, and one of the major vulnerabilities that we have to it is the resources come from one place, and the manufacturing gets done in one place. And if either of those places get disrupted, then you know, everybody’s in a really, really bad position. So I think I see, I think I would say in the next 10 years, the tools that are gonna be coming out are going to be focusing on those things. How do we not have to rely on one location for manufacturing? How do we not have to rely on our infrastructure being limited by the the individual organizations capacity to deliver that infrastructure, they depend on the infrastructure, so can somebody else build it, and everybody can use it? That’s that I’d like to see more of.
Andy Halko 47:59
it’s interesting. Especially along the lines of like, 3d printing, when you’re talking about manufacturing and doing it anywhere.
Scott Campbell 48:09
3d printing is a good example. Um, you know, And um, mRNA printing for viruses and proteins, that’s, that’s another one. Let’s talk about, you know, hardcore manufacture like, like large object manufacturing automobiles, you want to talk about building houses and things. Um, you know, I think, I think fossil fuel alternatives is going to be another example, where we’re going to see suddenly a mass distribution of, of the infrastructure of the manufacturing of the infrastructure. And because of that distribution, we’re going to find it becomes an order of magnitude more accessible. And that’s when even the even the naysayers are going to begin to see shifts in what’s what’s happening.
Tony Zayas 48:55
Yeah, very cool. I would like to ask Scott from PAYSTAND. Hey, Scott, what is the next, you know, three to five years look like, for the business?
Scott Campbell 49:09
Um, you know, sucks, man. We’re just, we’re just trying to figure out how to turn coffee into productivity. So I think there’ll be a lot of that. But I think more seriously, the next three to five years, is going to focus a lot on how if we take all of the organizations in the world, how can we optimize what percentage of them are we helping and emphasis on almost every single word that’s in there in the world, you know, moving out to other countries, you know, the United States is not the only area that is going to benefit from this. And in that, and not just benefit but needs it and can use it. Where we’re talking about digitizing payments and transactions. There’s no reason why that should be limited by border. Same as email. Transact, you know, email goes to any border. Transactions should be able to go to any border, you should be able to wrap data on it to make it easy to integrate the thing like, all of this stuff should be boundless. So International is really sort of a layman’s way of saying, we don’t want to be bound. I don’t think payment should ever be organized by border period. I think we’re going to see more practical, more practical businesses being able to take advantage of this. So you know, maybe you’re not using very sophisticated software, fine, we solve that. Maybe you’re using, you know, you’re sharing a piece of software. Great, we saw that too. Maybe you have more presence online than just simply having a piece of accounting software, right? It was all that to. You, especially, you know, if you take a look at these, these times, in COVID, we see this massive shift towards being online being in a digital infrastructure, that’s going to be massive shifts all across the board, and it should mean a massive shift, especially for accounting and bookkeeping. Why are they still doing this in an analog world? So I think we’re gonna see a greater, greater push and adoption in those areas. And three to five years is a long time, I would say pretty much everything I’ve listed, we’re actually already seeing signals of that movement. So I don’t think my answer is actually really great for the three to five year question. It’s really so far looking like it’s, it’s, it’s the right answer for the next one to two year section.
Tony Zayas 51:29
It’s exciting. Thank you.
Andy Halko 51:33
How did the I’m just curious, how did the pandemic impact your business from, you know, a customer perspective, but also employees and culture.
Scott Campbell 51:45
Um, for employees and culture, I really have to hand it to our team, to the whole team, to the whole patient and family. We have offices in different countries. So we had offices who had to deal with different struggles. You know, when you’re in a country that is, you know, that is rapidly rolling out a vaccine versus a country, that’s not the office operations starts to look very different. But we have people who are loving what they’re doing and are dedicated to making these changes. So all of a sudden, it’s not the chief priority of Oh, my gosh, I have to work from home, all of a sudden it is how do I get my stuff done? Oh, it’s gonna be from home. And it’s interesting, the the shift in productivity that occurs when, when you just put that stake in the ground, or rather, when the priority is getting the stuff done, not from where you’re getting it done. But the team responded really well. So I think that was good. And I think having the clear definition of culture made it very made it much easier, not very easy, but made it much easier, because everybody knew what what we were going to be doing. Like this was our culture. Great. So from that, I can predict what answers I’m gonna have about how to deal with the pandemic, for our customers. I mean, PAYSTAND grew by leaps and bounds during during COVID. Because customers now merchants, businesses, organizations needed to shift to a digital space. One of my favorite stories was so COVID starts spinning up, and it becomes clear hospitals need ventilators. And big check was written to, to the different ventilation, ventilation manufacturers, and I’m not being dramatic, quite literally, it was a check was written. And there was a ventilator manufacturer who said, we don’t know how to cash this cheque like we can’t personally go to the bank, we’re not allowed to, we don’t want to handle a paper check coming in the mail. You know, at the time, people were worried about could COVID be transmitted on a piece of paper and seven envelopes. In one day, in a day and a half. We had them fully spun up. They were taking payments, they were taking the bank transfer, they were able to get the funds, even though they had they were second or third in line for receiving for receiving the grant for saying that their grant had been approved. They ended up actually receiving their funds ahead of folks who had all of these payments approved earlier, simply because PAYSTABD said, why are you waiting for a paper check in the mail? Like why don’t we just do this digitally. Banks are already doing that. So paysanne dropped in its network. We connected the two sides and they were paid. And that was the second largest ventilation manufacturer ventilator manufacturer in the United States. And they were able to turn around they were able to get the ventilators made sooner, better, faster, distributed out to the hospitals faster. All because they didn’t have to wait for an antiquated system to figure itself out.
Tony Zayas 54:50
Well, Scott, before we ask our last question and wrap up here for the hour, where can our visit or viewers find out more about PAYSTAND, maybe connect with you just see, you know, following you guys and what you’re up to.
Scott Campbell 55:05
Sure. Um, I mean, if you’re interested in not having transaction fees, you can do a search for feeless. If you’re interested in digital payments, being able to move things around and how they improve look for cashless, but you also can just go to PAYSTAND.com. That’s a great spot for us to find, uh, for anybody to find what we’re up to what we’re doing, and how to interact with us. We’ve got a great team that’s that’s willing to want to reach out and help out. That’s, that’s where I would start the conversation. Awesome.
Andy Halko 55:35
So just as a closing question, you know, I always like to ask if you went back in time, right before you started the business, and had coffee with yourself. What question or what, what advice would you give to yourself about the future?
Scott Campbell 55:51
Yeah, I’m, always coffee. Well, I think, um, I, I think I would have to come back to advising myself that it was always a good idea to double click and triple click and, and get dig deeper into curiosity. And in asking customers things. I think every time that I happened into doing that, I did it. It was satisfying. And I realized, gosh, shucks, why wasn’t I doing this more sooner? So if I had to go back to the beginning and have a cup of coffee with myself, I would say, Hey, man, you’re you’re going to be kicking yourself for not doing more of that sooner. So I’m here from the future to tell you you should do more of that sooner. Yeah, I think that’s I think that’ll be the answer I give to that question today.
Andy Halko 56:46
of the searching it up to a DeLorean so you can go back and hang out with your so
Scott Campbell 56:52
I need a Mr. compost then you know,
Andy Halko 56:55
Tony Zayas 56:58
Awesome. Well, thank you so much, Scott. Everybody, Scott Campbell from PAYSTAND. We appreciate the time you spent with us here today. It’s been fantastic. Everybody, please join us next week. We’ll be back for another episode. But again, thank you for your time here today, Scott.
Scott Campbell 57:15
Hey, Tony. Andy, thank you for yours. This is a great podcast. Looking forward to great things, man.
Tony Zayas 57:21
Awesome. Thanks so much. Take care everybody.