Staff Spotlight Series: Bill Harding

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! 

Sign up now and save.


23 responses to Staff Spotlight Series: Bill Harding

  • Ask helica1 thumb128
    LuvHelica says:
    06/20/16 at 09:28:39

    Long Live The Bonanza King! Super stoked for all the exciting things to come. Keep up the great work and looking forward to seeing Bonanza continue to kick royal booty!

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    CindyBear says:
    06/20/16 at 09:51:43

    Hi there..long time no see..

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    DiVASHACK says:
    06/20/16 at 10:10:17

    Your the best Bill, an we ALL appreciate you! I’m excited to be apart of something with GREAT roots, and winning feeling folks make Bonanza’s team WONDERFUL and a very DIFFERENT market place, than anywhere else, on the planet. KUDO’s to EVERYONE behind the scenes, I Know you keep your hands full, and THANK YOU for that

  • Avatarstitchncraft thumb128
    stitchncraft says:
    06/20/16 at 10:34:40

    Hats off to you and your staff! It’s a pleasure to be here. Thanks for all that you do for us.

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    CUNRENO says:
    06/20/16 at 10:44:02

    Congratulation Bill on the first 8 years. The next 8 years will even be better for all of us. You have a great team. I love being a seller on Bonanza. Together we will make Bonanza the number one marketplace.

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    gravityvideo says:
    06/20/16 at 11:57:24

    I was absent about 5 years of the last 8 years on the site, usually because life was too hectic to try to sell and I didn’t want to damage my reputation here. Now that I am back stronger than ever and dedicated, I can see how everything that has happened at Bonanza has made the site the way it is now. The support is great, booth management tools are terrific, and buyer experience is good. A lot of new buyers come to me and never return, so that is my big concern for the site, how do we get them to stay here? With 20 million items, just about anything they would want is here.
    Overall though, great job Bill. Take a lap and a nod, you deserve it!

  • Krestol.mentholated thumb128
    Whittaker3 says:
    06/20/16 at 12:39:55

    Bonanza has come a long way since Kansas City. It’s been fun watching it grow. May the next 8 years be even more successful!

  • Profile bluepenny thumb128
    bluepennylady says:
    06/20/16 at 12:48:17

    Congrats Bill! Last 8 years have been wonderful and here’s to 80+ more Bonanza years!

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    pishposh59 says:
    06/20/16 at 14:09:38

    Congratulations! You’ve created an awesome website and are backed by a great team. Thank you!

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    MyTexasTreasures says:
    06/20/16 at 14:50:37

    Thanks for the memories! Happy 8; wishing you many many more. Congrats on all of your successes.

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    tomwayne1 says:
    06/20/16 at 15:36:31

    Congratulations, Bill on the success of Bonanza. Eight years (and counting) is something to be very proud of. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to work for Bonanzle/Bonanza during the “formative” years. Looking forward to many more years of Bonanza successes. You and Bonanza have got something going’ on.

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    sequins_sunflowers says:
    06/20/16 at 15:47:27

    Bill! Bill! Bill! (chanting voices). So cool to hear more about you and read all about the different stages of Bonanza! I’m very excited to see what’s to come and be on this crazy fun journey with the whole Bonanza Community!

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    Stellarstarseller says:
    06/20/16 at 17:24:52

    Nice to see a different side.

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    06/20/16 at 17:49:42

    Bonanza hands down is the BEST online marketplace for buyers and sellers. We closed our ebay store and have not looked back!! Thanks to the Harworking Staff of Bonz

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    AuntieLulu says:
    06/20/16 at 18:03:27

    I’m so happy your seeing what a gold mine this can be when putting your people first. xo

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    Teas2u says:
    06/20/16 at 21:32:44

    Thanks for listening to Bonanza sellers and trying to make things easier for buyers and sellers alike. Congratulations on reaching your 8th anniversary!! Continue to strive to be a different and exciting marketplace, and you will have many more anniversaries to celebrate!!

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    T_SHIRTS_KINGS says:
    06/21/16 at 04:10:20

    Hey!! A big chesapeake bay blue crab salute to Bonanza!!!! We love you all on the east coast!!!!

  • Da vinci thumb128
    Fathertime says:
    06/21/16 at 05:23:59

    It is nice to see and hear the real human side of Bonanza, and appreciating real human beings behind the computer screen. Bill Harding you are appreciated as is your staff.

  • Bluirisesavtr thumb128
    misskeech says:
    06/21/16 at 05:44:07

    Congrats on a great 8 years Bill, and many more to come!

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    ladilu_emporium says:
    06/21/16 at 06:54:59

    Loved this profile. Thanks, I’m just getting stared here but it has to be batter than eb__!

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    sharsgiftmart says:
    06/21/16 at 09:55:33

    Congratulations on 8 great years. Many more to come!

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    SFOSEA415 says:
    06/21/16 at 15:31:03

    Congrats and thanks for building such a beautiful online marketplace! I love the site’s ease of use and all the special features. My favorite this month is the “Add and duplicate this item” button. It makes adding new similar items to my booth a breeze.

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    mastoyshop says:
    06/21/16 at 18:47:41

    Congrats from member number 9001 or was it 9002. yep it sure has grown. Now if I will just put my shoulder to the wheel. lol

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