Today on the Longcut I caught up with Nathaniel Talbott, CTO and co-founder of Spreedly. Spreedly is a universal payment vault that makes it easy to ingest, safely store, and make wide use of payments data. Spreedly enables merchants to work with over 120 different payment processors, including Authorize.net, Stripe, and Braintree, through a single API.

For the first 10 years of his career, Nathaniel was focused on building custom software for businesses and especially entrepreneurs, primarily as a contractor. For the next 10 years, leading right up to today, he has worked on Spreedly, the payments software company he co-founded in 2007. Now the CTO, he codes occasionally but spends most of his time working with the awesome people at Spreedly, engineering and otherwise, to advance Spreedly’s vision of democratizing payments. When not noodling on Spreedly, you’ll probably find him eating dinner with his wife and 8 kids, reading on his back porch, or gaming.

Sell Your Byproducts: Sometimes you have to operate a particular business for a while to recognize that a hole that exists in the market. If you’re watching for it, you may realize that the hole is more valuable than the business you’re actually operating.

Don’t be afraid of a big pivot. Spreedly started out as a subscription management service, similar to Stripe. Several years into it, they realized that what customers really wanted was a way to store credit cards in a PCI-compliant payment vault. They eventually decided to sell the subscription product, which had until then been their bread and butter.

What are your customers telling you?  Your customers are talking to you; listen to what they have to say. It’s tempting, especially for startup founders, to double down on what we perceive is the problem that needs to be solved. Instead, open up to the idea that you may be wrong, or that there may be something that you haven’t thought of yet.

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