Joining the Perka and First Data Families

How a Simple Tweet Landed Me a New Job

"What’s going on with that iPod touch there?" I asked the blue-haired barista at Pushcart Coffee, my coworkers’ destination of choice for seeking fresh air and an afternoon caffeine fix.

"That’s Perka, our customer loyalty program. It basically replaces the ‘Buy 10 Get One Free’ cards with an app." she replied as she swiped my credit card through her Square cash register setup.

"Of course there’s an app for that!" I exclaimed. "I love the deals, but hate those stupid cards." A firm adherent to the minimalist’s slim wallet, I never have them with me. I downloaded the app on the spot.

From that moment forward, I regularly collected “punches” for our group’s purchases on our frequent afternoon Pushcart escapades. It was no surprise that my coworker Sarah thought of me when she saw news of Perka’s acquisition on Twitter:

@sv02 @TechCrunch Wow. Go Perka app!— Matt Leiker (@mattleiker) October 30, 2013

@rbethge We’re pretty psyched too….— First Data (@FirstData) October 31, 2013

The Twitter conversation above led to an unexpected email inquiry from one of Perka’s founders, who presumably caught a glance at my Twitter profile and clicked through to my website.

Sidebar: See kids, have a consistent online presence, engage in social media (at least professionally), and take minimum steps to demonstrate your professional experience online in a way that’s consumable and accessible.

Fast-forward a few weeks, a handful of exciting conversations, and Perka asked me to join their growing team as a Project/Product Manager hybrid in their downtown Manhattan offices. I’ll be helping them to scale, organize, and create process as both the Perka product and team evolves.

There were a few elements that drew me to Perka beyond the potential of their existing loyalty product. The most prominent of which is their new ownership by global payments and e-commerce titans, First Data, the largest credit card processing company in the United States. This partnership coupled with another recent First Data acquisition of Clover, an Android-based point of sale system (i.e. cash register), makes for an exciting play. Here’s how TechCrunch described it:


  The move enables First Data to give customers that are using its old school credit card terminals an opportunity to upgrade without having to turn to the Squares and PayPal Here’s of the world. And, today, by adding Perka’s subscription mobile loyalty services to the mix, First Data is beginning to build out the other side of its fledgling in-store payment solution.


Another element that really drew me to the Perka team was the established track record for success amongst its leadership. It became very clear in my research and discussions with them that these folks have worked together in a myriad of capacities over a number of years:


  The startup is co-founded by Alan Chung, Rob Coury and Rob Bethge, all three serial entrepreneurs who count six exits between them ranging from $25 million to $1.5 billion, with buyers including Facebook (Zenbe), Aol, Sun Microsystems, and TD Ameritrade. (TechCrunch, 2011)


After six years working in agencies, I’m also excited to step back and work in-house on the product side of things. In the project-based, client-driven agency world, I’ve had incredible exposure to an astounding variety of projects, challenges, technologies, processes, cultures and talents. I’m looking forward to applying these learnings in a focused and ongoing manner.

Here’s to new and exciting challenges in 2014!

(PS: We’re hiring aggressively! Give me a shout if you have interest beyond the roles listed here or here.) High-res

Joining the Perka and First Data Families

How a Simple Tweet Landed Me a New Job

"What’s going on with that iPod touch there?" I asked the blue-haired barista at Pushcart Coffee, my coworkers’ destination of choice for seeking fresh air and an afternoon caffeine fix.

"That’s Perka, our customer loyalty program. It basically replaces the ‘Buy 10 Get One Free’ cards with an app." she replied as she swiped my credit card through her Square cash register setup.

"Of course there’s an app for that!" I exclaimed. "I love the deals, but hate those stupid cards." A firm adherent to the minimalist’s slim wallet, I never have them with me. I downloaded the app on the spot.

From that moment forward, I regularly collected “punches” for our group’s purchases on our frequent afternoon Pushcart escapades. It was no surprise that my coworker Sarah thought of me when she saw news of Perka’s acquisition on Twitter:

The Twitter conversation above led to an unexpected email inquiry from one of Perka’s founders, who presumably caught a glance at my Twitter profile and clicked through to my website.

Sidebar: See kids, have a consistent online presence, engage in social media (at least professionally), and take minimum steps to demonstrate your professional experience online in a way that’s consumable and accessible.

Fast-forward a few weeks, a handful of exciting conversations, and Perka asked me to join their growing team as a Project/Product Manager hybrid in their downtown Manhattan offices. I’ll be helping them to scale, organize, and create process as both the Perka product and team evolves.

There were a few elements that drew me to Perka beyond the potential of their existing loyalty product. The most prominent of which is their new ownership by global payments and e-commerce titans, First Data, the largest credit card processing company in the United States. This partnership coupled with another recent First Data acquisition of Clover, an Android-based point of sale system (i.e. cash register), makes for an exciting play. Here’s how TechCrunch described it:

The move enables First Data to give customers that are using its old school credit card terminals an opportunity to upgrade without having to turn to the Squares and PayPal Here’s of the world. And, today, by adding Perka’s subscription mobile loyalty services to the mix, First Data is beginning to build out the other side of its fledgling in-store payment solution.

Another element that really drew me to the Perka team was the established track record for success amongst its leadership. It became very clear in my research and discussions with them that these folks have worked together in a myriad of capacities over a number of years:

The startup is co-founded by Alan Chung, Rob Coury and Rob Bethge, all three serial entrepreneurs who count six exits between them ranging from $25 million to $1.5 billion, with buyers including Facebook (Zenbe), Aol, Sun Microsystems, and TD Ameritrade. (TechCrunch, 2011)

After six years working in agencies, I’m also excited to step back and work in-house on the product side of things. In the project-based, client-driven agency world, I’ve had incredible exposure to an astounding variety of projects, challenges, technologies, processes, cultures and talents. I’m looking forward to applying these learnings in a focused and ongoing manner.

Here’s to new and exciting challenges in 2014!


(PS: We’re hiring aggressively! Give me a shout if you have interest beyond the roles listed here or here.)

I absolutely love this picture that the audacious Victor snapped of me at the AMNH Planetarium event last week. It looks like it should be the cover to my other-worldly memoirs.


  io9 and the American Museum of Natural History hosted a special screening of Dark Universe last night. Neil deGrasse Tyson[’s voice] lead us on a journey through the ever expanding universe of dark energy, dark matter, red shifts, and all things that make one feel incredibly inconsequential and scared that something much more advanced than ourselves is somewhere out there.
High-res

I absolutely love this picture that the audacious Victor snapped of me at the AMNH Planetarium event last week. It looks like it should be the cover to my other-worldly memoirs.

io9 and the American Museum of Natural History hosted a special screening of Dark Universe last night. Neil deGrasse Tyson[’s voice] lead us on a journey through the ever expanding universe of dark energy, dark matter, red shifts, and all things that make one feel incredibly inconsequential and scared that something much more advanced than ourselves is somewhere out there.

Spotify’s 2013 Year in Review

It’s December, which means it’s the time of year that every media agency under the sun puts out their “Year in Review” listicles. This year, Spotify is no exception.

Their endless-scrolling, pseudo-parallax site is heavy on the Spotify slime green treatment, but custom account analytics at the end are a lot of fun. Mine (above) turned out a lot less embarrassing than expected.

My stats are a little inflated due to using my account as part of the office jukebox (hence “501 Tunes” playlist, our suite number), but Album, Artist and Tracks all seem fairly legit-Me.

Campfire Fun and Drinking From Streams

Toleak Point in Olympic National Park, Washington State

"Wait, you’ve never had a real hiking experience?” questioned my Seattle friends while visiting NYC early this year. “Well, when you finally come visit, we’ll take care of that.”

Maybe it’s a little too much Grey’s Anatomy, but I’ve always had a romantic fascination with Seattle—but never gotten the chance to visit. Having amassed an incredible group of friends there, their seemingly coordinated visitation campaigns finally wore me down and flights were booked over 4th of July weekend.

I had a confession to make: I’d camped as a kid with my Dad, but not since then as an adult (I don’t count Burning Man). Luckily, we’ve got some pretty crunchy friends who had the gear and know-how to make it easy and approachable.

It might not be obvious by my choice in hiking garb (life’s too short for drab clothing), but it turns out I was a natural. Our three days and two nights were fantastic: we explored the tide pools, we made our own amusement around the campfire at night, we drank (filtered/purified) water from streams. The stars shined brighter than I’d ever experienced, I laughed until I cried, and there was even a washed-up whale that Jason unfortunately mistook for a log. I’d never experienced a true pack-in/pack-out camping trip.

Comparatively, I only spent about a day and a half in Seattle, but I suspect I’ll soon be back; having such easy access to the outdoors is intoxicating. Couple that with the incredible people and it’s surprising my next visit isn’t already booked.

Photo credits: Dusty Hauck and Tom Hudson

Sit Down, Stand Up

I’ve experimented with a standing desk at Applico on and off over the past year. While I’ve been sitting on an exercise ball for maybe four years now (recent photographic proof here, here and here), I’ve always felt a little sad that, although slightly more engaged, I’m still sitting near-motionless, staring at a screen.

We’ve all seen an increasing amount of press (and scary infographics) around the dangers of sitting, including this recent FastCompany article about a very fancy new $4,000 desk that automatically raises and lowers when it decides you need to stand/sit. I liked their opening paragraph:


  Perhaps you’ve heard: Sitting is the new smoking. For years, a growing body of research has shown sitting for extended periods of time, the way most of us do for 50 to 70 percent of our lives, can cause a host of issues from lower back pain to diabetes to an increased risk of death.


I’ve also followed a few other nerdy types, including this report from Arshad Chowdhury after his two years of standing:

Some things that I feared would happen did not actually happen.
I didn’t develop any knee, foot, back, or hip pains.
I don’t feel exhausted at the end of the day or week.
My productivity and ability to concentrate did not go down.
What did happen:
My posture improved. My neck and shoulders no longer pitch forward.
My legs became more muscular.
I no longer get back pain.
My work day involves a lot more movement.
Side Effects:
Negative: Sitting for more than 2 hours at a time is now mildly uncomfortable.
Positive: I get less frustrated when standing in lines or on the subway. I bet half the frustration of standing in line is caused by the fatigue of standing. I have none of that now.

Over the past year or so, I’ve made some small changes that cumulatively impact my overall health. Except for late-night rides, I almost always choose to stand for my subway commute. When I’m not facing a 4-story hike, I’ll opt for the stairs over escalator. I hope to keep trying the standing desk for longer and longer periods of time. Stay tuned…

Looking for a standing desk? The Wirecutter has a good list of reviews. Interested in sitting on an exercise ball? I like this $18 one, made for tallish folk and includes sand so it doesn’t go rolling away.

Update 10/15: This content has been cross-posted on the Applico blog. High-res

Sit Down, Stand Up

I’ve experimented with a standing desk at Applico on and off over the past year. While I’ve been sitting on an exercise ball for maybe four years now (recent photographic proof here, here and here), I’ve always felt a little sad that, although slightly more engaged, I’m still sitting near-motionless, staring at a screen.

We’ve all seen an increasing amount of press (and scary infographics) around the dangers of sitting, including this recent FastCompany article about a very fancy new $4,000 desk that automatically raises and lowers when it decides you need to stand/sit. I liked their opening paragraph:

Perhaps you’ve heard: Sitting is the new smoking. For years, a growing body of research has shown sitting for extended periods of time, the way most of us do for 50 to 70 percent of our lives, can cause a host of issues from lower back pain to diabetes to an increased risk of death.

I’ve also followed a few other nerdy types, including this report from Arshad Chowdhury after his two years of standing:

Some things that I feared would happen did not actually happen.
  • I didn’t develop any knee, foot, back, or hip pains.
  • I don’t feel exhausted at the end of the day or week.
  • My productivity and ability to concentrate did not go down.
  • What did happen:
  • My posture improved. My neck and shoulders no longer pitch forward.
  • My legs became more muscular.
  • I no longer get back pain.
  • My work day involves a lot more movement.
  • Side Effects:
  • Negative: Sitting for more than 2 hours at a time is now mildly uncomfortable.
  • Positive: I get less frustrated when standing in lines or on the subway. I bet half the frustration of standing in line is caused by the fatigue of standing. I have none of that now.

Over the past year or so, I’ve made some small changes that cumulatively impact my overall health. Except for late-night rides, I almost always choose to stand for my subway commute. When I’m not facing a 4-story hike, I’ll opt for the stairs over escalator. I hope to keep trying the standing desk for longer and longer periods of time. Stay tuned…

Looking for a standing desk? The Wirecutter has a good list of reviews. Interested in sitting on an exercise ball? I like this $18 one, made for tallish folk and includes sand so it doesn’t go rolling away.

Update 10/15: This content has been cross-posted on the Applico blog.

Demand for thought-driven managers

I’m totally digging that Project Management and Product Management are the #2 and #3 spots, respectively, for hiring demand across “innovation labs” in all industries.

Take a gander at the August edition of Applico’s monthly Connected Revolution Report:


  Our monthly report documents key changes and evolutions happening in The Connected Revolution. In our August report, we also look at how the Retail industry is being disrupted by mobile-connected technology and which F100 companies are hiring for their Innovation Labs.
High-res

Demand for thought-driven managers

I’m totally digging that Project Management and Product Management are the #2 and #3 spots, respectively, for hiring demand across “innovation labs” in all industries.

Take a gander at the August edition of Applico’s monthly Connected Revolution Report:

Our monthly report documents key changes and evolutions happening in The Connected Revolution. In our August report, we also look at how the Retail industry is being disrupted by mobile-connected technology and which F100 companies are hiring for their Innovation Labs.

I’m moderately obsessed with this Bob Moses live set recorded on one of the last days of this year’s Burning Man, at one of the most favorite moving venues, Robot Heart. I stopped by a few times, but sadly never caught this set.

15:20 was my top pick, but that spot has easily been overtaken by 50:08.

For the NYC folk, he’s playing at Output in Williamsburg on October 4. Wanna join?

  • Source SoundCloud / Robot Heart