Name: Bill | Title: CEO | Zodiac Sign: Libra
What does a day in the life of Bonanza’s CEO look like?
My morning starts around 6am, when I descend a pearly staircase that stretches from the heavens down to Ballard. By 8am I'm ready to depart for Bonanza HQ. I hop into my pants (both legs at once) and jog to my car to improve the chances I might beat Jordan (our Chief Technical Officer) into the office (an effort lately in vain).
I open the door to HQ, passing through a sea of approving nods, as I stride toward my discontinued Ikea desk. I take a seat, and begin the work of delegating everything possible. What duties remain vary by day. It's usually some mix of attacking todo lists, building reports, and harassing people on Slack. A happy day for me is one with no meetings, and hopefully 10-15 items moved from my "TODO" list to my "TODONE" list.
If I were to boil down my daily mission, I think it is to "listen hard, make the pragmatic choice." Even (especially) if it's a Hard Thing. As long as I cover that stuff, and ensure that the managers have the resources they need to do their best job, the business seems to move in the right direction.
What are some things that have changed since Bonanza was founded in 2008??
It's probably faster to list things that haven't changed since 2008. Bonanza is still inspired by simplicity in general, and the principles espoused by Don't Make Me Think in particular. We still exist to help entrepreneurs build thriving businesses. eBay and Etsy are still around, but most other marketplaces we considered competitors at the time have long since folded.
As far as salient things changed, our headcount is amongst the most apparent. By year, our size has charted something like 1-2-2-8-7-6-10-20-40. It's weird to pause and think back through the different phases. I'm happy to say that I've enjoyed (almost) all of them, for one reason or another.
My favorite change of the past two years has been for Bonanza to nail down its value proposition. It sharpens focus to remember why we're here: to power sustainable revenue growth for small business entrepreneurs. With an absolute minimum of busywork. I love having the chance to make progress toward this goal every day.
What about Bonanza keeps you inspired through ups and downs?
Relative to the usual startup story, we've had it awfully good. Bonanza has yet to endure a year where merchandise or sales went down. Being able to watch Bonanza help more and more sellers every year makes it easy to stay inspired. Working with an ever-growing team of like-minded creators to improve the lives of entrepreneurs makes this gig sweeter still.
Like any business, there are definitely "better days" and "worse days." When I'm dealt the latter, I try to see it as an opportunity to learn, or to drink heavily. Often both.
What do the next few years look like for Bonanza? Where are we headed?
Our blueprint from the past couple years has been to listen and understand the pain points of entrepreneurs, then work harder than our competitors to alleviate sellers' pain. This strategy has helped us build hundreds of thousands of fledgling ideas into sustainable online businesses. I'd like to keep doing that!
Long-term growth companies like Atlassian, Jetbrains, and Airbnb make me confident that hard work and attention to detail will always win in the long run. Our responsibility is just to make sure we're building something that makes our customers lives better.
Bonanza is nearing a tipping point. What makes marketplaces fail is the near impossibility of cultivating the right balance of sellers and buyers. It takes patience, attention to detail, and time. We're on a good mixture. Every year, more customers are repeat customers, recognizing the brand and associating positive past experiences. If we keep growing at this rate for 5 years, we'll be able to afford clever TV commercials on New Oprah.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
I had a hard time believing in adulthood. But I've enjoyed building software since my parents brought home our first Packard Bell 486SX/33 computer when I was 12.
In my college years, I bounced around between thinking I might want to be a Physical Therapist, Psychologist, Physicist, or Physician. Eventually I settled on "none of the above, let's do that thing I liked when I was 12."
What was the last book/article you read?
The last book I read that I'd highly recommend was No Ordinary Time: Franklin & Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II. FFDR was the consummate overachiever, and Eleanor Roosevelt used her influence to accomplish some incredible stuff. All Bonanza employees benefit from the legacy of FDR in the form of my informative yet entertaining "Fireside Chats." The book is doubly intriguing when viewed through the prism of how technology has changed... in less than 100 years. I like to think we're a small part of that.
Favorite sports team?
Whichever Seattle team is winning. Call me a fair weather fan, or call me a guy that would rather not spend hours watching his team slowly lose.
Today's scavenger hunt item is: something for an 8-year-old's pool party. Once you find something on Bonanza that fits this criteria, share it on Bonanza's Facebook page. The guidelines to participate in the Facebook contest are as follows:
- Users may participate in all 8 days of scavenger hunts, but you only NEED to participate once to be eligible for the contest.
- Users may post a maximum of twice per day.
- Users must post an item from Bonanza.
- Users may post their own item if relevant to the day's theme.
The winner(s) will be selected at the end of the week, with responses from all 8 days considered. The winner(s) will receive our Great 8 Prize Package. This package includes:
- 1 TurboTraffic Package
- 1 month of Background Burner Personal
- A booth consultation
- Item(s) from your booth featured in a homepage HPL
- A Custom Badge for profile
- An Item feature on Facebook / Twitter
- A Bonanza T-shirt
- A Bonanza Sticker variety pack
Be sure to check back here to find out each day's theme. Happy Hunting!
We want to say thank you for being loyal users of Bonanza. Without your feedback and input, we wouldn't be able to build a site that sellers recommend over Amazon, Etsy, and eBay. This week, we are featuring huge discounts from Bonanza sellers on the homepage. Discounts start at 20%. Don't miss out - check out the homepage for hand-picked lists that feature great deals throughout the anniversary promotion.
Here are some handy lists with discounts you won't believe.
We’ll also be offering a steep discount on annual memberships during our anniversary celebration. Enjoy an additional 25% off when you sign up for a new annual membership, upgrade from a monthly membership to an annual membership, or upgrade your current annual membership to a higher annual membership level. Don’t miss this opportunity for huge savings on membership-only features that will benefit your store long-term!