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My first month at Runa, Formerly WeGift

James - Customer Success Manager - My first month at WeGift

About James

My name is James and I am one half of the Customer Success team at Runa. I’ve spent the last 3 years in the tech startup scene, working on customer retention and success with different companies around the world. Originally my plans were to be a lawyer (hence the law degree!) but realised this wasn’t the right path for me. Startups were a really appealing alternative because I want to make an impact in a small company, to be able to see my contribution, to be flexible and fast-moving. I enjoy building relationships with customers but also building processes and trying to make these as simple and efficient as possible. I get a lot of satisfaction finding better ways of doing things.

Choosing Runa

After gaining some great experience at some great start-ups I wanted to continue my career with a company that was aiming to experience a high level of growth in the next 12-24 months. When I came across Runa and saw they had just closed Series A with the view to scale from 20-50+, I was really intrigued. In addition to that, it was always important for me to understand the mission of the company and to think the idea is good myself! I felt that with all the changes that technology is making to the financial system, gift cards and branded currency was an exciting possibility to contribute to that.

I was set on Runa when I spent time reflecting on the first interview I had. The approach in subsequent interviews cemented this for me. It was fast-paced and you had to know your stuff, the style of interviewing fit well with how I like to discuss and work through problems, trying to come to the right answer even though that may not mean you yourself are right.

Becoming part of the team

From day one, you definitely hit the ground running fast. I was mainly on-boarded by the sales team and people who had to do the CS role on top of their own before the team arrived. My first day had a load of sessions and there was a lot to learn and before I knew it, I was in doing workI enjoy. The department I joined had lots to do, so there was an emphasis on learning on the job with plenty of leeway for you to learn from mistakes and lots of support when you need it.

What I think makes Runa different from a lot of companies is the degree of autonomy and trust you get from Day one. Runa put a strong emphasis on their hiring process so they know that when you are hired, you are the right person. If you want to make changes or improve on how something works, write a case for it, get it approved, validate and then implement it. For Startups, it’s essential to improve quickly and it’s all of our responsibility to contribute to that. Everyone is open to hearing new ideas, you just need to make a good case for why it would work.

An important thing I have learnt from my short time here is to be more patient, to improve a machine, it’s better to do a small number of things well so that the machine can still function. Also, to take time to see the wood from the trees, constantly executing is great but only to an extent, you want to make sure that the actions you are taking are working towards achieving your goals and business objectives. 

Advice for new joiners

Get ready to get to work! It definitely is a startup, there’s a million things to do and not a lot of time to do them all. That being said, Runa are also big on making sure you get a work/life balance so you won’t be overworked at all. I’ve found Runa receptive to letting you try new things and be flexible, so long as the quality of your output remains the same. It’s a very rewarding experience. 

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