How You Can Learn Best Practices From Other Startups

A few weeks ago I wrote about ‘Why You Should Hang Out With Like Minded Individuals‘ in reference to the CTO Round Tables that our team setup. But they didn’t just setup the CTO round table, they created the business development round table and the customer service round table.

The customer service round table met the other day in downtown Vancouver with representatives from Ubertor, RideBooker, Function Point, Advisor Websites and of course PayrollHero.

I decided to organize the round table to provide a forum for customer success professionals based in the Vancouver/Whistler area.  The aim is to allow us to collaborate and strive for excellence at each of our individual companies.  Ultimately it will be a group that can share best practices, overcome roadblocks and discuss the best tools to create industry leading standards for our customers.
– Kieran Peppiatt, Customer Success Hero, PayrollHero

customer service round table(Clockwise) Kieran Peppiatt from PayrollHero (with laptop), Bryan Garcia from Ubertor, Emma Lauder from Function Point, Alex Wingert from Advisory Websites, Michael Joy from Advisor Websites, CJ Stephenson, Crystal Lai from Ubertor and Jericho Shone from RideBooker.

Interested in joining the customer service round table? Contact Us.

How To Hack An Event To Get The Most Out of a Speaker


Some of our team members including Mike Stephenson, Adam Baechler, Ron Maravilla and myself attended the Vancouver Chapter of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) event today which was led by Jack Daly, world renown sales expert and coach. We had the honour of being able to showcase our product and meet with other business professionals from diverse industries. As a fun and exciting way to surprise everyone, we set up our iOS TeamClock app to have almost everyone that RSVP’d for the event in a PayrollHero account setup as an employee and ready to clock in. Seeing the surprised look on peoples face to see their own photo was quite entertaining!

The focus of Jack’s presentation was around smart selling in regards to creating leveraged growth with systems & processes. Through his 50 years of sales experience, Jack has more knowledge and passion for the subject that anyone you have ever met. He kept everyone engaged, inspired and laughing with his charisma and insightful techniques in the sales management arena.

How To Hack An Event To Get The Most Out of a Speaker;
Knowing Jack to be extremely sought after for events with a very busy schedule, we worked hard to arrange in advance that we could provide him with a ride to the airport on us to both thank him for his time in Vancouver and pick his brain on subjects of importance to our team. Always being the true professional, we learned more about his background and personal experiences while still finding time to give us direct feedback on our companies objectives, systems and requirements. As a group we can all agree Jack is a magnificent speaker and coach on sales and we highly recommend him for your next conference. Check out his site for more information!

This is not the first time we have used this technique to get more face time with someone. PayrollHero co-founder Steve Jagger once offered to drive a member of the media to work after she mentioned on Twitter that buses were not running due to snow. Steve jumped at the opportunity to meet with her, learn more about what she was writing and talk more about our company. He offered to drive her to work as he was “on his way downtown”. Which of course he was not, but took the opportunity to meet up with her.

Another time, Lean Startup visionary Eric Ries was in Whistler, Canada with his wife for work and tweeted that he had some downtime. This was long before we had an office in Whistler, Steve responded on Twitter that he and Mike would love to meet up for a beer. Eric responded that he could do that, thinking that we were in Whistler as well. They hopped into their car in Vancouver and drove an hour to Whistler to meet up with him.

Moral of the story, we keep our eyes open for opportunity and are not afraid to hustle!

Here are some more photos from the EO Vancouver event with Jack Daly

booth2 Jean Loic Jason Lindstrom jack dalyteamclock

Shannon Susko guest speaker at Acetech in Vancouver

Today Adam Baechler and I (Brandon Strong) attended the 4th Acetech session this year in Vancouver which focused on how to create a foundation for profitable growth.

Acetech is an organization for Ceo’s by Ceo’s in relation to technology based companies in the lower north west.  Monthly sessions on specific topics are lead for company leaders to discuss their implementation successes and constraints.  Acetech has been extremely valuable for both PayrollHero as well as for several other companies in providing unbiased advice for current issues within our business or industry from experienced leaders who have already encountered similar scenarios.  Not only are these events informative but they also lead to great business connections within your community and are a general great time.

Shannon Susko, President of Subserveo – DST Brokerage Solutions led a fantastic session today revealing the importance of knowing your companies core values and purpose and how it relates to creating a culture that will propel your business upwards.  We are looking into how we at PayrollHero can strengthen our team to achieve our goals. Looking forward to the next event already!

Check out Acetech,

Screen shot 2013-12-04 at 7.03.37 PM

EO Vancouver Presents Allison Mooney – Pressing The Right Buttons


Adam Baechler and Allison Mooney

Adam Baechler and Allison Mooney


On April 9th, 2013 my colleague Bryan Garcia from and I attended an EO Vancouver event entitled to Pressing the Right Buttons presented by Allison Mooney. Allison is an award winning speaker and the author of Pressing The Right Buttons.

It was a full house at the Fairmont Waterfront Hotel. As we eagerly awaited the start of the talk.



After a nice light breakfast (Thanks EO) we got started.



Alllison gave a presentation that was both entertaining and funny but informative using anecdotes from her own life .

Her talk explained the importance of understanding and respecting each others differences is the key developing high performing teams. This allows us to push the right buttons so to speak to motivate individual and our team as a whole.

First thing we did was self identify ourselves as 1 of 4 personality types. I self identified as a  peaceful personality. This type by no means defines my entire personality but it is the one I most identified with.

This personality type is the happy go lucky type of person and it means that I have a tendency to be the diplomat and I try to build cohesiveness in teams. Peaceful personalities are also know for being easy to get along with and listening well.

Unfortunately, we are also know as procrastinators which can annoy most of the other personality types Allison described.

My key take aways from the talk were:

  • Great teams are made from a mix of all personality types.
  • Treat people how they want to be treated to get their best performance.
  • Be aware of my personal personality quirks and how they can affect the motivation of others on my team.

Do you have any leadership tip to help motivate and recharge the people around you?

Fun Times at Zendesk University in Vancouver

This week, Mike and I (Adam) attended an Customer Service education event in Vancouver hosted by Zendesk.

Zendesk is the leading cloud-based customer service software solution. More than 25,000 companies such as Gilt Groupe, Box, and Disney are using Zendesk to lower their support costs, raise productivity, and increase customer satisfaction. Loved by both service teams and their customers for its beautifully simple interface, Zendesk is easy to try, buy, implement, and use.

We have been using Zendesk for over a year now with much success, but we know there is always room for improvement when it comes to communication in customer service and communication within our teams. Our goal was learn more about how to use Zendesk for our customer support and to meet other Zendesk users to share and learn with them.


The event was a full house, with most participants following along on their device of choice: laptop, ipad, smartphone or just plain old eyes and ears! In attendance were companies of all sizes, including start-up tech companies like ours.

Mike, Adam & Bryan with Avandi from Volo

Mike, Adam & Bryan with Avandi from Volo

We met Avandi from Volo, a local start up – they have built software for the Fitness Industry including online scheduling, billing, lead & member management, automated work flows, POS, reporting, and payroll in one system.

Adam and Brandon Knapp (Customer Advocate at and the instructor for the event.)

Adam and Brandon Knapp (Customer Advocate at and the instructor for the event.)

Living in Whistler, we are well-versed in the term “Après” and always enjoy the socializing and networking that comes after an event with other startups and tech companies! Here we are at the Mix and mingle (aka après!) after class. From left to right, Bryan from Ubertor, Jack and Keith from, Bart and Alex from, J.D. Peterson (Vice President, Product Marketing) at, Mike and Adam from

Après. As all good events should have!

Après. As all good events should have!

All in all, it was a great use of our time. When you can combine learning, inspiration, and networking with like-minded business-people, it’s been a good day.

Check back to see our follow up posts on Customer Service Analytics, How we are using Zendesk Automations and Triggers to help with our business processes.

Vancouver JS Meetup Recap

This is a post from PayrollHero Senior Engineer Suman Mukherjee who recently arrived in Whistler, Canada from the Manila, Philippines office.  #AdventureEngineer

On February 12th, the PayrollHero dev team in Whistler travelled down to Vancouver to attend the Vancouver JS meetup. We reached town a bit early, so we spent some time coworking from Launch Academy. Later in the evening, we went to SFU Harbour Center where the event was being held. Around 150 people attended the event. Two top notch speakers presented in the meetup. Robert W. Hurst of Chloi presented a talk on LucidJS and Perter McLachLan of Mobify presented a talk on Mobile performance.

Screen shot 2013-02-28 at 12.11.32 AMRobert’s talk on Lucid started with giving us some background of event driven programming, how events are emitted and handled and we can structure our javascript around that pattern. Then he introduced LucidJS, a library, that he has been working on. Lucid allows you to set custom event, chain your events and even pipe your events together. Lucid also successfully handles subevents. The event emitters in Lucid also provide meta information about the event bindings and triggering. The library lets you encapsulate any object (not restricted to DOM nodes) and turn it into an event emitter. Specifically when used with DOM elements it allows you to take full advantage of the meta events. Robert’s talk gave us some new insights into the world of event driven programming.

Peter was the second speaker. Peter’s talk was mainly focussed on performances of apps on the mobile browsers. He shared the concept of adaptive websites, one that is not only responsive, but adapts itself based on the device. He discussed several strategies to optimize client side performance like trying to minimize JS and maximize the use of CSS, conditionally loading assets and keeping the DOM tree light so that it is easy to parse, simple CSS selectors, watch out for libraries that generate lengthy CSS selectors etc. Peter shared a list of common JS functions which restructures the DOM and how that affects the performance on mobile devices. He also discussed some other low hanging fruits like gzipping resources and non blocking scripts in the beginning of the page. This can bring returns at the lowest cost. He also showed us how the optimization strategy of domain sharding has become an anti-pattern. He also discussed how in some cases prefetching resources based on a user’s common pattern of navigating a website can be very effective in delivering content faster. Peter’s slides are also available on speakerdeck.

Both the speakers were awesome. It was the first meetup I attended in Vancouver and totally loved it. Those who love JS and are live close to Vancouver can sign up for the VanJS meetup group here.

– Suman.

Founders Dinner: Q4 Restaurant, Vancouver

The latest edition of the Founders Dinner was last night at the fabulous Q4 Restaurant on Broadway in Vancouver.  I have been putting together these dinners in Vancouver and Manila for the past little while and it is always a good time.  The idea is to get founders of tech companies together for a meal to chat about the startup world.  No speakers, no presentations, just networking with some of the cities tech founders.  Last night we had a great group that included;

Michael Stephenson – co-founder of and
Nick Molnar and Matt Friesen – co-founders of
James Mazur – founder of
Olivier Vincent – founder of Hipparcos Technologies
Andrea Shillington – founder of
Christian Cotichini – founder of
Jeff Booth – co-founder of
Jason Billingsley – co-founder of Elastic Path and
Barry Allen and Ryley Best – co-founders of
Harry Yeh – founder of Comet Computing
John Vogel – founder of
Brent Holliday – partner at
Bret Conkin – co-founder of
Craig Hunter – Vancouver Manager –
Devon Ash – founder of
Jon Cartright – co-founder of
Andrew Covato – Analytical Lead at
Meredith Powell – CMO of