Archives For Thought Leadership

We lead.. with our thoughts.
Just kidding, but we do have some thoughts we’d love to share with you.

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Spend Trends is our analysis of today’s most popular, fastest-growing, and emerging business expense trends. As you can imagine, after 10+ years in the expense management game, we’ve gathered some pretty cool insights into the top trends in business spending. We’re excited to share them with you!

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While we’ve heard about automation and AI for some time, 2018 was the year where technology was more fully embraced by accounting practices and their customers in the UK. According to Accounting Today’s “Year Ahead” Survey, adoption of cloud accounting is now between 45% and 58% depending on the size of firm, and the global accounting software market is estimated to be worth $11.6 billion by 2026. Continue Reading…

Last week I spoke with Byron Reese, the host of Gigaom’s “Voices in AI” podcast. We chatted about everything from what the “artificial” in AI really means to the importance of what’s in front of the curtain rather than what’s behind the curtain, and how AI can be used to solve real-world problems by focusing less on advanced technologies and more on what we can do with that technology.

Read or listen to the full podcast here!

Tips and tricks for scaling SQLite for 4M real-ish queries per second on a single server, and how bare metal compares to EC2 for this workload.

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Nobody likes to talk about firing.  It’s not something to celebrate: if you need to fire someone it means you screwed up.  Either you hired the wrong person, or — more common — you hired the right person, but failed to enable their success.  Either way, the blame falls on the company (not the individual), so it’s no surprise that companies tend to avoid talking about their failures.

But despite that discomfort, firing is an important topic because in the long run, careful application of firing is actually more important than hiring.  To understand why, consider this simple chart:

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There’s an old adage in Silicon Valley:

A people hire other A people, while B people hire C people.

Said another way, great people want to work with other great people, but not-so-great people prefer to work with people worse than themselves.  This is because great people love to be challenged by their peers, while not-so-great people prefer not to be challenged at all.

The Vicious Cycle of Mediocrity

It’s easy to agree with the above in theory.  But building a company that adheres to this in practice is very, very hard.  So hard that extremely few companies actually do it, despite the best of intentions along the way.  You can tell if your company is doing it by seeing if it’s followed this path:  Continue Reading…

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One of the greatest perks of working at Expensify is that you are surrounded by passionate, mature people naturally motivated to do the right thing.  This works because we hire people who have three key characteristics:

  • Extreme natural talent
  • Long term ambition
  • Deep humility

All three matter in different ways, but the third is particularly relevant here because it’s what ensures everybody has an appreciation for the limits of their knowledge — which translates into a low-drama, super collaborative environment.

Now, when people hear “collaborative environment”, they typically think about the various off-the-shelf management techniques, like Scrum, Agile, Holacracy, or whatever the pop-business gurus are selling these days.  We don’t use any of those.  Rather, we try to live by two main principles:  Continue Reading…