At the heart of this pursuit of "building better businesses" is a belief that one can always do better when the focus is on improving the right things at the right time.
New ideas are generally a dime a dozen. In evaluating which ideas are worthy of time, energy, and attention, it should answer a few “why?” questions.
Why this specific idea? Why now? And why should I (specifically) be working on this?
That is what I aim to answer about Cogsy in this article.
More importantly, though, I also aim to answer a why question that is more specific to you: Why should you even care about this?
We believe in building better businesses
At the heart of Cogsy is the belief that one can always do better. This is especially true when the focus is on improving the right things at the right time.
Pursuing “better” is not a blunt instrument in this sense. After all, merely increasing the force or speed you build a business does not guarantee that it will be better.
Similarly, not all types of growth are considered good. Some growth is considered cancerous.
So, building a better business should focus on the holistic well-being of the business, its people, and its operations. It is a pursuit of sustainability and profitability, whilst always ensuring that the balance between input and output, risk and reward, compromise and alignment never gets out of hand.
What do we mean by "better?"
Especially recently, ecommerce businesses have benefited greatly as a global rising tide has seen all boats lifted. Platforms like WooCommerce, Shopify, and Bigcommerce have democratized the space and built apps and partner ecosystems that power all ecommerce business functions.
Not to mention that consumers worldwide have shifted more of their spending from offline to online too. Thus, further creating rise to the opportunity for ecommerce brands to build great businesses.
In such a bull market, the predominant focus is on growth. And it's becoming a bit of a land grab as more brands try to claim their share of the market. Often, this has meant trying to hyper-scale at warp speeds just to meet customer demand.
The companies that tried this typically saw an influx of capital with high-profile acquisitions (Bonobos, Dollar Shave Club, MVMT) or undertook an IPO (Casper).
Mattress company Casper, however, is probably a prime example of how the neglect of business fundamentals (they lose $300 per mattress sold) has led to stock prices that underperform. And 12 months since listing it is still well below its initial offering price.
Some analysts have already speculated that this trend is changing. And, likewise, that the landscape for DTC brands is also changing.
And progressive entrepreneurs with new brands and businesses have been early adopters of this paradigm shift. For example, Helena Hambrect, co-founder of Haus, does not mince her words when she simply says: “We don’t want to be like the previous era of startups.”
As the tides then change and we enter a new phase of opportunity and growth for ecommerce brands, we want Cogsy to be a progressive advocate and devoted enabler for the brands that want to maximize their pursuit of better.
What the road to better looks like
Way back in 2007 (as I was finishing my Accounting degree), I built the first products. Those products eventually spawned WooThemes (and later WooCommerce). And I found my passion for building tools that would help - especially small to medium-sized - businesses grow.
Initially, that meant enabling businesses to create beautiful websites and online stores for a fraction of the cost that they could before. It was with WooCommerce that I cut my teeth learning how to better serve ecommerce brands.
The jump I made eventually to found Conversio (now CM Commerce after Campaign Monitor acquired it) was thus a natural one.
Along the way, I’ve gotten to know incredible ecommerce brands, entrepreneurs, and operators from whom I’ve learned a lot. I've also applied much of that learning in real life, supporting my wife, Jeanne, to build her own ecommerce business.
Having skin in the game (both financially and romantically) has only further fueled this thirst for finding solutions that help build better ecommerce businesses.
In fact, the original idea that became Cogsy was inspired by the challenges Jeanne faced in her business' inventory operations. And years later, when it came to executing the idea, she was responsible for coming up with the name too. (She subsequently holds the title of Cogsy’s CIO or Chief Idea Originator.)
Starting this journey with Cogsy today then feels like the perfect marriage of so many historic events that led here. As well as a testament to the exciting - albeit changing - opportunities that are ahead for ecommerce brands.
Borrowing from Jeff Bezos. This is Day 1. Tomorrow - as we pursue our own version of better. And we’re excited to help others build better businesses themselves.