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Growing Up with GiftCards.com

By Ryan Dew | Published October 15, 2013 | Google+

I joined GiftCards.com in April of 2011. During my search for employment, the company intrigued me for the following reasons:

  • With only about 30 to 40 employees, I believed I could get involved with and impact all levels of the organization.
  • GiftCards.com is a forward-thinking company that focuses on innovation and is part of a multi-billion dollar, growing industry.
  • The company has a reputation for being one of the best places to work in Pittsburgh.
  • And the CEO, Jason Wolfe, has long been recognized as an innovator and successful entrepreneur in the region.

Shortly after I joined GiftCards.com, the company hired several executives with success influencing and leading startups plus talented employees in various departments, all in an effort to reorganize the smallish business into a more established “grown-up” company. For the past two-plus years, the overall vibe in the office has been one of continual excitement and optimism for a bright and profitable future.

Not surprisingly, we have also experienced growing pains. At now nearly 100 employees, some old practices became outdated and new processes put in place to keep everyone organized and to help us deliver high quality output.  Things like setting standard procedures, tightening up our documentation, and upgrading the internal infrastructure have been welcome and challenging changes all at the same time. Since GiftCards.com continues to focus on releasing new gift card products while maintaining our existing stronghold as the most-trafficked gift card website on the Internet, the balancing act is sometimes difficult with contradictory goals.

Through this transition, however, I learned some important lessons as follows:

  • Trust your team. When there is a lot going on, it’s tempting to take on more than your share. But I found that GiftCards.com’s commitment to hiring only the highest quality people pays off, particularly in crunch time. As we trust each person to do his or her job individually, the team as a whole succeeds.
  • Be open to other perspectives. It is easy to fall back on your own experience. But I have found that progress is most frequently made when we are willing to collaborate and mesh ideas together.
  • Grow with the company. You may be the person who instituted practices that served the company well for a time but are insufficient going forward. Being defensive and resistant to change is counterproductive to you and to the entire organization. At the same time, newcomers need to be respectful of those who built the company from the ground up by listening and learning as much as possible. Everybody needs to adapt.

GiftCards.com has gone through a tremendous year of change, and we are pushing the envelope even further in the year ahead. As we strive to make gift giving fun, fast, and easier than ever, our successes will most likely not take place without a few setbacks. I look forward to continuing to grow with this company by trusting the individuals I work with, being open to other insights, and learning from the perspective of others.

Together, it is our goal to “make ‘em smile : )”, and that includes our internal as well as our external customers.

~~ Ryan Dew

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