Last week was a pretty good week. Scratch that, it was the best of my career. We announced a partnership with Vista Equity Partners, valuing Gainsight at $1.1 billion. As a result of that, pretty much everyone we’ve ever met at Gainsight reached out via email, text, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and probably Tik Tok (I’m assuming there is a Customer Success trend now) to offer their excitement. I ended the week with an almost overwhelming feeling that our customers, community, investors, and partners were all rooting for us.
From one human being to another, if you ever get the chance to have the universe shower you with positivity, take it. I felt like I was on cloud 9999 all week. In fact, I had to wake up early each morning to process the congratulations notes!
I even had to consider what was most important to me in life:
My Steelers ended up settling the debate by losing this week to the Washington Football Team. So now, my allegiances are back to being 100% focused on Customer Success!
But in the process of reconnecting with so many people, I learned how much more of a moment this was than yet another “unicorn” financing. Here are the 8 things that were solidified in the last week.
1. I’m All In
First and foremost, I realized that we are just getting started – with category creation, with the Customer Success movement, with our Community, and with our Human-first purpose. This journey has been long and hard, and it was wonderful to get a jolt of energy to remember why we are doing what we’re doing. I’m not slowing down at all. I had 18 meetings with Customer Success teams last week! I couldn’t be more fired up for the next 7 years. We have so much more work to do, and from what I’ve seen from the Vista team so far–this will be an amazing experience for us all.
2. Category Creation Is Hard and Important
Much of entrepreneurship involves disrupting an existing category. This is the classic analogy of building “a better mousetrap.” Every now and then, companies have to invent a new field that doesn’t exist. While that may sound lofty and exciting, the reality is that category creation is expensive, risky, and maddening (sometimes). Yet, when it works, it’s pretty rewarding. And people notice.
3. Community Is Everything
We haven’t done anything on our own at Gainsight. This has truly been a community effort. 100,000+ Customer Success professionals around the world are working hard to define a space. They took a bet on a new space, and it’s starting to pay off. This moment is for them—for the CSMs and the execs and the consultants and the operations people and more.
And in fact, that’s why we are working with Vista. Vista got to know Gainsight because several dozen of their companies were in the Customer Success community and using our product. As they saw the power of Customer Success, Vista knew they had to be a part of it. So we were able to get to know them over several years and learn that they are the perfect partner for our next phase.
4. Customer Success Has Graduated
If we’re honest, the first decade of Customer Success was filled with some feelings of “imposter syndrome.” The profession was new, vaguely defined, and unproven. Yet, pioneers across the world leaned into this ambiguity and created a new career and a movement. When Vista, the most successful private software investor in the world, made a bet on Gainsight, they were anointing Customer Success as having “made it.” There is no question anymore of “if,” “what,” or “why.” Everyone is focused on the “how” and the “now!”
5. Companies Take a Village
Companies exist in an ecosystem of their teammates, clients, partners, investors, community – and alums. It was so heartwarming to see how proud the extended community was of the milestone. At Gainsight, one of our Values is “Success for All,” and this truly felt like a win for all stakeholders.
6. Human-first Matters
One that note, years ago, we canonized our Purpose statement:
To be living proof that you can win in business, while being human-first.
Human-first was our reaction to a business world that told us to leave our emotions at the door. It was responding to expectations of us acting “businesslike” at work and differently outside of work. It was a refrain to the constant drumbeat toward turning people into algorithms and transactions.
We hoped to be one of many companies that could show it was indeed possible. You can treat your stakeholders as the human beings that they are – and build a successful business. Last week was “living proof.”
7. Savor the Moment
As I mentioned, last week was pretty good. And it was really a celebration of thousands of people who believe in Customer Success and who are passionate about Human-first. As I tell our team constantly, things will not always be good. So when they are positive, take a moment to reflect and be grateful.
8. Make Mom Proud
There is no way to top that.
What a week. But the next 7 years are going to be even better!