On His Professional Journey
I'm Jonathan Smalley, I'm the Founder and CEO at Yaguara. My role here is really to enable our team to build great product and empower eCommerce and retail companies to reach their full potential. So that means leaning in in-product in-company vision and then really aligning our team around that and making sure that they have the resources to achieve everything that they need to.
My entrepreneurial journey, looking back on it, started quite young. I started writing code and in middle school and began volunteering on a research and development project at a medical university in South Carolina near where I grew up, so I did that through high school and college.
After college, I started my first company. We worked with everything from, you know, Fortune 500 companies, down to small startups and really saw across these companies that the way that work happened, at least for technology and technology-enabled businesses had kind of changed over the
last ten years. That while teams were able to work faster than ever before, in many ways they were more separate than ever before. And we really envisioned that as work has changed it's time for the tools that empower work to evolve and change as well, and that's the inspiration for Yaguara.
The right technology can be built to empower users on an individual level, giving them predictive and prescriptive insights and recommendations based on the data that they tell us that they actually care about.
On Habits and Traits that Lead to Success
Thinking about the habits or the traits that have been able to make myself and I think Yaguara is successful is, I think, always this dichotomous approach to things, which we talk a lot about internally as well as in interviews. That there has to be this dichotomous balancing between confidence and humility. I think it takes extreme confidence to to start a company or to join an early-stage company. You have confidence in yourself, but also at the same time this humility knowing that the best products, the best marketing campaigns, the best customer experience
come from having that humility to listen to your fellow employees, your end-customers and being able to learn rapidly from them.