I started my career working for a company that was providing a B2B commerce service, selling market research information online. I then moved into the B2C world, where I went on to work in the fraud department at Amazon. And then at the beginning of 2002, I took a leap of faith and joined a startup called Venda, a UK company that pioneered the first-ever SaaS eCommerce platform. This was at the time when the dot com bubble had just burst. The concept of renting an eCommerce platform was unheard of and the term SaaS had not even been coined. Still, at the time, I could just tell it was going to be the next big thing.
That was definitely a defining moment for me, and that’s when I really started to understand the world of eCommerce. The company was acquired by NetSuite and then by Oracle a couple of years ago. In 2015, I joined Demandware which, a year later, went on to be acquired by Salesforce.
I rarely have a typical day. A workday can range from talking to a prospective Commerce Cloud ISP partner to better understand their technology and how they potentially can complement our services, to onboarding an ISP, or working on go-to-market activities with a partner that has a fully-fledged third-party integration with us.
I love the fact that I work with so many different technology partners. For example, content management partners, mobile app partners, review partners, payment partners, translation partners. And they’re all doing something unique and specialized. These companies are all at different stages of growth. I’ve personally known some of my partners for over a decade now, but we have new partners joining all the time. It’s interesting to see exciting technologies emerge — and to watch how partners new and old leverage them.
Right now is such an exciting time to be in tech, especially for women. I would say instead of being a jack of all trades, specialize in a particular area that interests you and become an expert. Since technology is so fast-moving, specializing in a subject will allow you to grow your expertise and become a thought leader.
I think we’re already seeing it right now: machine learning, automation, AI. Artificial intelligence is going to become so deeply embedded in everything we do and experience on a day-to-day level. We are just starting that journey, but I think all of our technology is going to become even more intelligent.
Natalie Massenet, the founder of Net-a-Porter. I admire her because despite the adversity, she proved that there was a considerable addressable market for buying luxury branded clothing and accessories. She was the biggest success story for online designer fashion, and in many ways, she paved the way for designers to start selling their own collections online. Even after leaving the company after the merger with YOOX, she’s continued her success. She was chairman of the British Fashion Council and now is chairman of Farfetch, and she also runs a VC supporting retail startups.