Sramana: Your customers seem to be your best form of marketing.
Amy Pressman: We think about things like client services as a form of marketing. If you really wow your customers, they will take care of you.
Sramana: What was your revenue in 2002, and how did the company ramp?
Amy Pressman: In the beginning it was lumpy, but over the past several years we have been growing in the 40% to 50% range. Today we are doing over $30 million.
Sramana: Essentially you have built a $30 million company in 10 years?
Amy Pressman: We got a very late start in 2001, so I would say it has been nine years. We talked with Hilton in early 2002. Our first paying customer came in mid-2002 and we were profitable by 2003.
Sramana: A lot of my readers are young women and entrepreneurs. They are trying to figure out if they can be entrepreneurs and have a family and relationship. Would you talk about that?
Amy Pressman: I think that this is an ongoing topic. I am a member of a group of women CEOs, and we talked about it there. There is no magic solution. Some have stay-at-home husbands. Some are married with no kids. Some do the company with their husbands. Some just spend a lot of money on a lot of nanny help.
I have done the company with my husband. I don’t have a lot of nanny service because I force myself to spend enough time with my kids. It works because I split the CEO job with my husband. We meet every morning for 15 to 30 minutes to talk about what happened the day before. We each feel that we know what the other side is doing. At the end of the day, all companies are run by teams. Sometimes women have a hard time delegating, and that is what must be done.
Sramana: How old are your children, and how does your household run?
Amy Pressman: My children are seven, nine, and 13. My house runs chaotically! I do laundry between 5 a.m. and 8 a.m. I do shopping as late as 2 a.m. I do a lot of errands on weekends. It is not optimal. I don’t exercise enough, but I am passionate about the company and I do know my children very well. Can you have it all? I think you can over a lifetime, but not all at once. The hard part is that something must be given up.
Sramana: This is a great story. Thank you for sharing it with me.