*This was originally posted on Linkedin
How do you say what you do at a cocktail party? For me, this is the hardest part about networking: how much do I explain about zlien without losing the interest of my audience. Usually it depends on the crowd.
– At a family function? I work for a “software company”
– At a tech event? I work for a “construction tech startup”
– At a construction conference? I work for “zlien, a platform that makes construction payment cycle management easier for the contractors and suppliers”
Over the last three years I’ve described what I do and who I work for in so many different ways, and I still feel like I haven’t yet figured out exactly how to explain what we do here at zlien. I’ve had my head down in a business that very few of my friends or family understand. They know I travel a good bit, they know I work in tech, they know we are growing quickly, they know I do something with construction, they might even know that I work with liens, but I would bet good money that they would not be able to describe zlien and how we provide value to the world. Even my wife or my parents wouldn’t be able to completely explain zlien to a stranger. What the hell is a lien anyway?
The truth is, it doesn’t really matter what a lien is. You don’t need to understand construction finance to understand what we are doing at zlien, because what we are doing is simple: we are building a great company filled with amazing, talented people who are solving a real problem in the construction industry.
My zlien story
Before I started at zlien in January 2013, I worked at a startup (Feelgoodz), founded and raised money for my own startup (Giftmeo), rode a pedicab in the New Orleans French Quarter, and even sold health insurance for a few months. The funny story about how I ended up at zlien is that I tried to sell our CEO Scott Wolfe health insurance, and thank God because he saw that I clearly didn’t belong in the insurance industry. I belonged at a startup. I belonged at zlien.
I was employee number five and the first sales hire on our team. Since joining we have grown in revenue by more than 10x and we have built out a product that sells as well into the Enterprise as it does to “Joe the Plumber”. Our product has improved immensely, the composition of our revenue and the customers that we serve has matured, and our knowledge of the construction industry is so much better than when we started out. But the story of that journey, and the culture that we have built means so much more than the revenue multiples or the UX of the platform. And that culture is exactly what allows us to experience growth at a level that is on par with some of the fastest growing companies in the world.
The best part about working at zlien has to be the people. The sales team, our marketing folks, user success, JobSight and development, its the people on the zlien team that makes coming to work so much fun. They are driven, they are resourceful, they want to get their hands dirty by talking to customers and fixing problems. They challenge each other to be better, and they constantly come up with new ways to move the company forward. As long as we keep getting the right people, we will continue to grow like we have over the past three years, and we will have a TON of fun along the way.
Become a fellow conspirator
In his recent book , Peter Thiel wrote “The best entrepreneurs know this: every great business is built around a secret that’s hidden from the outside. A great company is a conspiracy to change the world; when you share your secret, the recipient becomes a fellow conspirator.” The team at zlien is a band of conspirators who believe that the construction industry is broken, and we are hell-bent on fixing it.
If you or someone you know wants to join a high-growth SaaS startup, you don’t need to go to San Francisco or New York. Come to New Orleans and look at what we are building here at zlien. Become a fellow conspirator, you won’t be disappointed.