“Who are we serving?”

Braintree’s recipe to disrupt a market full of giants.

Braintree’s global payment platform powers payments for thousands of online and mobile commerce innovators including Airbnb and Uber. The exchange with the COO Amitabh Jhawar in San Francisco provided insight into how Braintree successfully executed its strategy through customer identification.

Braintree’s product is made for developers. This simple statement is one central recipe for their success. Amitabh said: “You need to define your customer and understand their need first. When you chose to serve one customer, you are also choosing to sub-optimally serve the other. When you try to serve everybody, you end up serving anybody. Your competitor will take advantages of those niche needs.”For Braintree, that target customer was the engineer/developer in start-ups. This in turn also means that business people or large merchants were not who they served. This was risky. Nobody had targeted programmers before, but they had reason to belive that their influence as decision makers would only grow.

By knowing who to target and focusing all energy on it, they were able to eventually get to the clients who were notoriously difficult to get. This meant engaging them during development to build a product that programmers want to use.

Braintree’s values, behavior, organisation and structure mirrors this. They are willing to go through internal pain to achieve customer success. They hired people from ideal customers to understand their need better. Engineers need to work in customer support for their first two weeks and participate in focus groups and other feedback mechanisms. Employees who combined customer empathy and technical skills and new idea generation were promoted fastest.

He uses the Congruence Model to illustrate the different ways in which they pursue company-wide alignment to their strategy (Comment from Claudio: This would be redesigned to match blog-design):

This is key to keep a competitive edge. Amitabh said: “To become a senior leader at a big financial provide you will have been there 20 years. You have no idea anymore what goes on in coding on the frontline. But you can always give people the opportunity to try new things. It doesn’t matter how long you work for the company, but it’s about trying.”

When you know exactly who your customer is, you get faster and more relevant feedback. Braintree talks to their developers a lot because they are the people they are serving.

Other examples:
  • Pharmaceutical company Merck: They don’t focus on patients (their ultimate users), or doctors. What they really need is the best researchers to come and develop great products. They spend 5x as much on university programmes than their competitors. This is their way to stand out, so that’s where they put their money.
  • Southwest Airlines: Famous for their focus on employee satisfaction. They see it as the heart of the business. They pay above average wages, and when business is slow, they cut back on marketing, not employees. They prioritise their employees above everything else. The result: Great punctuality ratings and employees who provide first class service, their unique offering.

Screenshot 2016-03-12 19.14.57Background BRAINTREE

Key people:
Bill Ready, CEO
Amit Jhawar, COO
Juan Benitez, CFO

A catalyst for the next-generation of commerce, Braintree provides the easiest way to pay and get paid across any device. Braintree’s global payment platform powers payments for thousands of online and mobile commerce innovators including Airbnb, Fab, LivingSocial, OpenTable, TaskRabbit and Uber.

Merchants in more than 40 countries across North America, Europe and Australia can accept payments in more than 130 currencies using Braintree.

Today, Braintree powers single-click purchasing for more than 40 million consumers and its top-rated mobile app, Venmo, gives people an easy way to pay using their mobile devices. Braintree was acquired by PayPal in 2013 and operates as a separate service.

Key figures:
– Merchants in more than 40 countries
– Powers single-click purchasing for more than 40 million consumers
– Acquired by PayPal in 2013 and operates as a separate service

2019-03-31T10:27:48-06:00March 29th, 2017|Blog, Company Visit|0 Comments