Points.com, one year later – Progress, not Perfection

It’s hard to believe but today marks the one year anniversary I joined Points International, the company that runs Points.com. I remember the day vividly because it was also the day of the move to the new space. I remember waiting anxiously at Starbucks for 10 am because that was the time I agreed to get to the office. I remember finding my way to the 5th floor on foot because we were the first tenants in the building and the elevator wasn’t working yet. I remember being greeted by Erika Boyd, our then VP of HR with a big smile on her face and a mamosa in hand. I remember being shepherded around by Dave as well as a slew of various folks despite having to manage the chaos of being in a new building. This would sum up a lot of the themes of my first year at Points.

To me, the elevator not working represents the constant theme of “Progress, not perfection.” Dave says this a lot and it comes from our COO, Peter Lockhart. We’ve made much progress last year – we re-launched 2 major products in that span of time (Points.com and Corporate, our partner-to-merchant platform), launched 16 new offerings into the market, launched features like PayPal redemption – this is a huge milestone in the industry as it marks the first time you can convert your loyalty points into liquid cash. From a tech perspective, we introduced BDD in our development cycle, switched from CVS to Mercurial, and started to introduce other technologies like RabbitMQ. From a process perspective, we have been continue to mature our Agile adoption. This included having about 20 people trained and ceriftified for SCRUM. At the same time, there is still so much we want to accomplish as a technology organization, a product organization and as a company in general.

There are so many things that I continue to appreciate while working here such as the focus on hiring. We take a really long time to hire because there is a recognition that it’s easier to change process and tools then to change people or culture. I have to say that in the past 12 months I have seen concerted effort in always trying to make the right decision on people. No one is willing to make the easy decision if it’s the wrong one for the people. Despite how long it takes us to hire folks, we’ve hired 9 people including co-ops in the past 12 months. The culture and people are still two of the most compelling reasons to work here at Points.

Whenever I get discouraged, Dave constantly reminds me – “Progress, not perfection.” Don’t get me wrong – it’s not that people here are willing to settle for “good enough.” It is more of a reminder of not getting so caught up with the utopia that we cripple ourselves into not being able to move forward at all. And the elevator works great today.