Archives For CEO Friday

Coming up with a company tagline isn't always easy

Coming up with a tagline isn’t always easy…

“Expense reports that don’t suck!”

People often chuckle when they hear our tagline – it’s memorable, it’s catchy, and it captures a feeling that they’ve probably experienced before. As an occasional advisor to growing startups, I often get questions about product branding during our early days. Where did our tagline come from? How did we decide on this one? Here are three quick points to consider: Continue Reading…

myths about great leaders expensify

To be a great leader, you can’t just put on a mask…

So much reading on the internet today revolves around what makes a good leader, what characteristics a good leader has, and ultimately, how to be a good leader.  What we forget is that leaders are inherently part of a team, and without a team of supporters, leaders don’t exist.  A true leader relies on his or her peers and surroundings to help be the most effective they can be.  Bulldoze over these myths and avoid common misconceptions when trying to identify the leaders at your organization.  You’ll be glad you did.  Continue Reading…

David Barrett Travel Expensify

With the faithful sidekick, Lemony, of course! Photo by Robert Chen

Every year, I spend 1-2 months overseas, with probably a trip every month in between. In the last four weeks alone, I spoke at conferences in Norway and Tunisia, before heading to Portugal with the team for our 2014 Offshore. Currently, I’m writing this on a 30-hour journey from Portugal to SFO — which due to the miracle of timezones, happens in a mere 16 hours.

With all this movement, you can say that I’ve had my fair share of both delightful and horrifying experiences in business travel. Along the way, I’ve developed some core nuggets of knowledge that I live by, and I’m passing them along to the next travel-savvy entrepreneur (aka YOU).  Continue Reading…

At lunch with the Tunisian Minister of Technology, M. Tawfik Jelassi, at the International Innovation Summit of 2014, the topic of the day was: how do you bootstrap a startup ecosystem?

Don’t Reinvent What’s Already Been Done

To be clear, the question isn’t “How do you recreate Silicon Valley?” I think Alberto Sillitti (Free University of Bolzano, Italy) has answered that question best: Silicon Valley simply cannot be replicated. It is the unique product of 100 years of risk, return, and reinvestment, starting with vacuum tubes and leading to the present. Silicon Valley is a petri dish of large corporations, startups, and industry/university partnerships, concentrated into a 100 km strip of land, and fueled by a global base of private investors. The conditions that created Silicon Valley exist nowhere else in the world, and probably never will again.  Continue Reading…

Cloud Computing

With ambient services, companies will be able to predict where you’re headed, before you get there.

This is a pretty popular topic, and since I’ve been asked this question a lot, I wanted to share my thoughts on paper.

The future of cloud computing is what I would call “ambient services.” What this looks like in real life: over time, cloud services will look less like Google Search, and more like Google Now.  Continue Reading…

What do you mean we can't build it?

What do you mean we won’t support that customer?

Note: This is my guest post, originally published in Pando Daily.

Flat management structures are all the rage, and with good reason: innovation is the lifeblood of a startup, and nothing kills innovation like micromanagement. But scaling a flat management structure is harder than it seems. Plenty has already been written about the risks of accidentally creating the stuff of highschool nightmares, but even if you dodge those bullets you’re in for a little discussed treat: full out mutiny of your team.  Continue Reading…

Just a quick update to let you know full mobile expense reporting is now available on all platforms — iPhone, Android, BlackBerry, and Windows Phone. Plus, we’re releasing updates fast and furious (new iOS update today!) in preparation for a very, very significant upgrade happening on May 8th. I think you’re going to really like it, thanks for your patience!

Founder and CEO of Expensify
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PS: Incidentally, we’ve removed business card scanning from the mobile apps: if you’ve used the feature, please go to and click “export to CSV” to download your data. It was a cool feature, but a bit out of our scope and not widely used. In the interest of keeping a simple, tight, and focused product, we opted to remove it. Sorry for the inconvenience!