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Thought Leaders in E-Commerce: Jimmy Duvall, Chief Product Officer of BigCommerce (Part 6)

Posted on Sunday, Jul 28th 2019

Sramana Mitra: I can think of two entrepreneurs that I’ve talked to within our program who would appreciate talking to BigCommerce about what they’re doing. But taking advantage of your ecosystem, how do we connect these dots and how do we explore such opportunities?

Jimmy Duvall: On a personal level, I’ve worked with TechStars. I am a big proponent of this engagement model of helping these entrepreneurs find their way in a sea of everything.

Just on a general note, I’d point them to our blog. We’ve got a tremendous amount of content and best practices around how to think about commerce and channel strategies. As it gets bigger, our direct sales teams can help. Our business development team can certainly have these kinds of conversations if they’re providing services that would be similar or useful to our customers.

It depends. We’re happy to have those types of conversations. It would either be a business development conversation or more sales type of conversation.

Sramana Mitra: You have a deep and long perspective of the e-commerce platform space. As you look around, what open problems do you see that you would advise new entrepreneurs to look at solving?

Jimmy Duvall: There are things that just don’t seem to change – relationship with your customers, understanding the problem better than anybody else. It sounds so simple, but doing that really effectively is what sets entrepreneurs apart.

We’ve a lot of entrepreneurs on our platform. Firewire is an example. How does he do it? He does need technology that doesn’t get in the way. That’s the value that’s in us. It helps you and it doesn’t hold you back.

So many times, these companies become a technology company versus what their business is. You don’t want a surfboard manufacturer worrying about technology.

Sramana Mitra: That’s not my question though. Let’s say you were not running product for BigCommerce. You were thinking of starting a company today. What open problem would you think of solving? I look around and see problems all the time that would be great for someone to solve.

Jimmy Duvall: There are so many problems that are underserved. I’m a technologist. I always think about how to use technology to solve those problems. 

Sramana Mitra: I was thinking if there was anything that you had spotted in the e-commerce world that seems like it’s an unsolved problem. 

Jimmy Duvall: It’s a great question, but I really haven’t thought of that. There are all kinds of little things from inventory to how to think about making your customers feel like they can interact with you.

Sramana Mitra: Let me actually put something more constrained and concrete in front of you. You told me earlier that you were looking to provide BigCommerce for WordPress.

You went to the WordPress community and asked for somebody to help you solve that. Is there any other ecosystem that you’re trying to create an extension of BigCommerce into?

Jimmy Duvall: There are. We’ve a number of pretty interesting areas that are pretty core to commerce. The technology has advanced to the point where we can service very different use cases. Content is a great one. How do we rethink about bringing commerce into content? Content is so valuable.

Sramana Mitra: Content-driven e-commerce. The other obvious one is community and community-driven e-commerce.

Jimmy Duvall: I agree.

Sramana Mitra: Thank you for your time.

This segment is part 6 in the series : Thought Leaders in E-Commerce: Jimmy Duvall, Chief Product Officer of BigCommerce
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