Introducing Our Vice President Of Engineering, Soren Harner

Hi everyone!  I’m Soren Harner, the new Vice President of Engineering here at BigCommerce. I’m here to lead the talented people who design, code, test and run BigCommerce.  We were born global. I’m based in Sydney, Australia, and Engineering started and remains mostly here. Other teams are working out of our Austin, Texas office. Our culture is a nice fusion of the two.

I’ve been incredibly fortunate to lead some great engineering teams over the years, starting in San Francisco and more recently in Sydney. I was VP of Engineering at Atlassian, a global software success coming out of Sydney. Atlassian gained a reputation for engineering excellence and has won awards including the World Economic Forum’s Technology Pioneer award.

In his book Drive, Dan Pink showcases Atlassian as a case study on how to motivate creative people. Atlassian’s products are now the standard for technical teams. In fact, we use Atlassian products every day at BigCommerce, so I feel quite at home.  Prior to  Atlassian, I led a Sydney-based engineering organisation for Austin-based web content management giant Vignette. The Austin connection is another reason I feel at home.

Engineering at BigCommerce is growing rapidly. I’m part of a new wave of specialists.  In addition to software engineers, we’re bringing on more user experience designers, system administrators, test automation engineers and many others with deep skills in important areas.  Our goal is to listen and understand what makes you successful and then streamline and enhance the product to maximise that. This involves tuning user experience while building out critical functionality. A lot of work is going into the foundation and infrastructure to ensure that it remains rock solid as your business experiences explosive growth.

On a personal note, like Larry, I play music and often end up singing.  I look forward to breaking out the guitars when I make it over to Austin, and we even have plans for a Sydney band.  My two girls, both in primary school, play trumpet so I finally have the horn section I always wanted.

I’m also a cycling fanatic.  I ride to work rain or shine, and I love exploring Sydney’s beautiful nature reserves by bike.

Nothing gives me more joy than working with great people to create great software. The team here is second to none, which for me was a real attraction. BigCommerce creates opportunities for millions of people in such a direct way. What we’re doing here really matters, and that will inspire us to inspire you.

The future is coming at us at 100mph and I look forward to co-creating a new economy with (and for) you!

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Introducing Our Vice President Of Client Success, Larry Streeter

Hello everyone!  My name is Larry Streeter and I recently joined the team at BigCommerce as the new Vice President of Client Success.  I feel very fortunate to be working for such a terrific company and look forward to building on the success our co-founders Eddie and Mitch and the rest of the team have already achieved.

Just a little bit about myself…

I’ve spent many years in various customer support positions, working in industries ranging from timeshare exchange, biometric security, financial services, and my most recent company Constant Contact where I was Vice President of their award-winning customer support organization (my team grew from 25 to 290 people during my tenure). Along the journey, my passion for building awe-inspiring customer experiences has grown as I’ve witnessed how driving customer loyalty can fuel the growth of world-class companies.

Within the contact center community, I guess you could say I’m a bit of a maverick.  I don’t follow the more traditional ways of running a contact center; focusing on driving down call volumes, measuring customer support staff by the number of calls they took, or outsourcing support with the intent of lowering costs.  I tend to take a different approach to running a support organization – one that has brought recognition and industry awards (finalist in 2010 for Emerging Executive of the Year from the Massachusetts Technology Council, American Business Stevie Award winner in 2008 for Best Customer Support Team).

Here are some of my personal principles:

  • Customer support organizations should be seen as an arm of the marketing department, not a cost center.  We don’t just represent the company’s product – we represent the company!
  • The quality of a single interaction between the employee and the client is more important than the quantity of interactions overall
  • The single most important role everyone in customer support plays is providing that “voice of the client” back to the entire organization
  • We’re not about call avoidance, in fact we want to talk to our clients! But we also respect our client’s crunch for time, and as such want to help build a product that’s intuitive and easy to use. Success comes when the level of conversation between the employee and client becomes focused more on how to help drive the client’s success, less on “how do I…”
  • We should always be striving to create a relationship with our clients that is defined more as a “partner” as opposed to a “vendor”
  • When our clients succeed, we succeed!

I consider myself very fortunate to have found such a great company to work for.  The culture here at BigCommerce can best be described as a fantastic group of people with an unrelenting focus on helping our clients succeed, working in an environment that is “wicked cool” (that’s the New Englander in me coming out!).  And being a musician and a big time foodie, I couldn’t have picked a better location than Austin, Texas to start the next great chapter in my career.

I’m looking forward to doing big things here at BigCommerce!

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