David Potts – Founder and CEO of SalesWarp

You need a relentless spirit to win as an entrepreneur; without a spirit to overcome, you’ll have a hard time surviving the ups and downs of being an entrepreneur.

Leading SalesWarp, David works with retailers to improve their operations and sales by leveraging technology. Prior to founding the company, he was Senior Vice President at SafeNet, a major security software and hardware company. Before that, he served as Director of Wireless Applications at Texas Instruments. His career includes roles as an executive, senior manager, and engineer at a number of high-tech companies including serving as Founder & CEO of 6th Street Inc., an e-commerce solutions firm that was the foundation for SalesWarp. David holds an MBA from the University of Texas Austin and Bachelors of Science in electrical engineering from Kansas State University.

Where did the idea for SalesWarp come from?

SalesWarp originated during an executive transition as I was deciding whether to move back out west, where most of my semi-conductor management skills fit the best, or stay in Maryland, which my family had grown to love. During this break, I decided to stay in Maryland for a few years and help several family and friends take their brick and mortar businesses online and sell through marketplaces like eBay and Amazon. After the first business went from zero to over a thousand online orders a day in less than nine months, I realized this first generation of SalesWarp could be helpful to retailers of all sizes. From that point, I bootstrapped the development for a few years and built the core of SalesWarp before officially taking it to the market in 2012.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

I’m typically up by 5 am and have most of day planned by 6 am. My most effective creative time is now early am (compared to late nights a decade ago), so I plan my travel to the office accordingly. So if I’m working on architecture, difficult problems, or creative writing, I try to get up early enough to knock it out before traveling to the office.

Mid-days and afternoons are the best for tedious tasks that need to be done but require less creative skills. This is usually when I’m ready for a mental break, and the repetitive tasks are easier to complete.

How do you bring ideas to life?

Bringing ideas to life is relatively easy and second nature for me. I love inventing and building things and I have a hard time going too long without building something new. But there’s also a big difference between building something new and building something that goes into production. Our processes focus on quick prototypes (inventions) and verifying if something is useful before we spend the considerable effort to put it into production.

What’s one trend that really excites you?

Analytics are really becoming more affordable and useful thanks to major investments in cloud solutions using big data; both the hardware and software tools have become more affordable. Using these tools with SalesWarp, we’re creating some really interesting capabilities for our clients in analyzing and improving all their operations.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

You need a relentless spirit to win as an entrepreneur; without a spirit to overcome, you’ll have a hard time surviving the ups and downs of being an entrepreneur.

What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?

We’ve all had a negative job or boss experience; mine was working with a superior who was morally corrupt. Since then, my goal has been to work with high integrity groups and demand integrity from my team. As a result, we measure ourselves by Results, Professionalism, and Integrity (RPI).

If you were to start again, what would you do differently?

Raise money faster.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Analyze and adapt. If you’re doing things correctly and the market you’re after is hot, then the situation will change rapidly and you need to respond.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.

Ensuring our customer success is key to our survival. We handle difficult operations and our customers are diverse with many needs. Looking for ways to help our clients within their realistic budgets has been key to helping them succeed and in return helping SalesWarp grow.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

There are people who are really good at raising investor money. This is an area that I’m steadily improving in, and also learning to distinguish between who promises versus who delivers.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

Malls could leverage a pick-up zone for all “orders”… they are missing out on traffic and giving too much away to Amazon.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

Spontaneous Friday lunches for my team are one of my favorite spends … they are an effective way to say thanks after a stressful week. They have to be spontaneous or they quickly become another expected perk and lose value.

What software and web services do you use? What do you love about them?

NewRelic (another web service) is a bit expensive, but a great monitoring tool for our web services.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

I normally read a lot of technical and business articles on subjects ranging from quantum physics and AI to economics … especially when traveling. Last year, I added Game of Thrones (electronically) to my reading list when traveling to Asia. Game of Thrones was creative and not at all predictable, which was very refreshing.

What people have influenced your thinking and might be of interest to others?

I find news aggregators to be more useful these days; Feedly, Flipboard, SmartNews. Also, check out a new one from our Emerging Technology Center in Baltimore – NewsBox.

These aggregators allow me to read a wider range of topics more quickly and accelerate my learning.


email: [email protected]
linked in: linkedin.com/in/david-potts-286479