I’d like thank Lilypad and its parent company Fintech for the opportunity to work with them as a mobile developer. I’ve enjoyed the past few months sinking my teeth into a massive codebase that drives their mobile app, which functions as an always-available sales tool for beverage alcohol vendors, from the smallest craft brewery to the largest global alcohol conglomerates. I also enjoyed working with a tight-knit, friendly team with ambition for miles and the talent to pull it off. I will always be grateful to them for taking me on in September.
Fintech created the first EFT (electronic funds transfer) payment system for the alcoholic beverages industry in 1991, and in the 18 years that followed, their system gained approval in all 50 states. Since then, they’ve built systems to improve the way alcohol is managed, priced, promoted, ordered, and sold. They’re a “work hard, play hard” place with a reputation for treating their employees well, and I’m fortunate to have seen that for myself.
Lilypad is a scrappy startup that was founded in 2013 and was acquired by Fintech in 2019, a few months before I joined. Their original application was a tool to help alcohol sales teams in the field, and has since grown to become a system that helps the industry manage the entire sales process. Lilypad’s customers run the gamut from the smallest kitchen-table craft breweries to global conglomerates whose products are everywhere — perhaps even on your shelves at home. There’s a strong sense of camaraderie and esprit de corps at this company, and I was happy to be part of it.
One of the proudest moments I’ve had this year came in January while I was flipping through Beer & Brewing’s Brewing Industry Guide 2019, when I stumbled across a full-page ad for Lilypad software. By that point, code that I’d written myself had actually been incorporated into the app, and real customers were using it. My work fixed some long-standing bugs and added some much-requested features, and the rest of the team’s efforts, from sales to account management to product design and testing, took it the rest of the way.
While I did see the result of my efforts while testing the app, seeing the ad made it more real. I couldn’t resist taking the photo above.
Life in a startup is full of adventures with its fair share of ups and downs. We’ve just seen an unprecedented “down” with the global pandemic and ensuing economic situation. When faced with a challenge like this, it’s the companies who maintain their focus while controlling their spending discipline that will survive. When faced with such a predicament, it is the mandate of a responsible business to look at ways to stretch their dollar and cut their costs.
In order to ensure that there would still be a Lilypad at the end of the COVID-19 crisis, the company had to make some cuts. The Powers That Be at Lilypad and Fintech had to make a tough call, but they made the right one for the organization: they had to lay me off. My final day was last Tuesday, April 7th.
Things will get better. I have faith in my community, my industry, and people in general. Humanity is a team sport, and one that — once we get focused — we play well.
To those who were laid off along with me, please stay in touch, and if you need a favor, recommendation, or just someone to listen, I’m here for you. To my former fellows at Lilypad and Fintech who still have their jobs, count your blessings, and I’m also here for you. To everyone — watch this blog, because I’m going to be devoting even more time and energy to it, and there’s going to be a lot of useful information here.
Once again, thank you, Lilypad and Fintech!
While I’m here, let me point you to Lilypad’s curated blog series/ebook, Beer Sales Best Practices. It comprises experience-based advice from sales leaders of some of the best craft brewers around — CANarchy, Allagash, Left Hand, and Two Roads. If you’re in the craft beer industry, you’ll find the articles and ebook full of hidden gems and actionable takeaways that may reshape how you manage your sales teams, adapt in an ever changing market, assess the future of craft, and everything in between.
Are you looking for someone with both strong development and “soft” skills? Someone who’s comfortable either being in a team of developers or leading one? Someone who can handle code, coders, and customers? Someone who can clearly communicate with both humans and technology? The first step in finding this person is to check out my LinkedIn profile.