London calling

Last night in London after a frantic but fun week meeting partners in the UK.  I landed last Sunday, heading directly to Bristol’s balmy 30 degree weather and since then we’ve hit the Midlands, London, Newcastle, York and Manchester. Close to a 1000 miles in a week.

One of the highlights was presenting in the ICAEW Accountants Hall. An amazing building. Here’s Gary in full flight …

Another big highlight was meeting a few of our team in person for the first time.  Paddy, Glen, Debbie (who’s online demo’s are so good they are called Debinars) and Darren of the North. Here’s Darren, me and Gary in Newcastle.

It’s a great feeling to be part of a global team of really smart and fun people.  We talk at each end of the day over Skype and Yammer but there’s nothing like spending a few days on the road to get in sync.

Some of the things I noted during this trip:

  1. The UK is tough market, the GFC really knocked it around, but we’re receiving an overwhelmingly positive response to what we’re doing. Many partners have tried a few online products and now know the space and vendors.  It’s very gratifying to see them understand the depth of what we’re building into Xero.  We’re starting to pick up quite a few customers from other products as experienced partners realize the investment required to do things properly.  It’s also good to see that they understand how online accounting products need a client-side and accountant-side view.  The market is quickly becoming more sophisticated.
  2. I was impressed by the network of ‘Virtual Assistants’ around the UK.  Smart and energetic people who are providing a variety of services to many small businesses.
  3. Social media is huge in the UK.  Everyone is on twitter.  We were leaving a virtual twitter trail behind us.  I was impressed the Virtual Assistants run a Skype public chat and have a great community going.  Gary was asking questions over Skype chat while we were driving between venues.  We’re seeing very strong communities and friendships being made online.
  4. Everyone has an iPhone, and in a country like the UK the iPhone is super useful.  It’s a GPS, it finds the cafe’s, it tells you what plane is flying overhead, it joins you to the conversation 24×7.  The iPhone knew about the platform our Newcastle train would be on before the station board.  Or as Gary said “did the iPhone decide”

We had a good session with BT.  If you thought it was hard work getting a marketing partnership with a big carrier, that was nothing compared to the work required to link into their provisioning process.  After a long time and a lot of effort in the UK, India and NZ our order journey on the BT site is now live.

We’re building a good profile in the industry and we finish off tomorrow with four media interviews.

In terms of market acceptance we’re probably a year to 18 months behind where we are at in NZ, but we have a great team in place and a rapidly growing network of fantastic partners in the UK. It’s been very nice to meet many of them in the past week.


Helen Stothard
May 28, 2010 at 11:55 am

It was great to meet with you this week in York and I have to say how impressed I have been by the effort Xero make to ensure that their Partners are happy and that the product meets the requirements of not just accountants but end users as well.

You already know I am a huge and very vocal fan of Xero and I hope more people check it out and see just how amazing it is.

And of course thank you for chatting with the VA community this week, we really appreciate all the effort that Xero have gone to in helping us get up and running.

Have a safe and pleasant journey home.

Sarah Bradley
May 28, 2010 at 12:55 pm

Xero is simply phenominal!

I have ‘Xero’ doubt (sorry, couldn’t resist that one) that market acceptance in the UK will catch up with NZ sooner than you think here in the UK.

It is indeed causing quite a stir within the UK Virtual Assistant community – for good reason too.

Thanks to Helen at HLS Business Solutions for bringing it to the attention of VA Support Group. We’re deeply indebted to you Helen.

Nicola Wilson
May 28, 2010 at 6:20 pm

It was great to meet you all in Manchester. I really enjoyed the presentation as it confirmed my belief that Xero is the way forward.

Manoj Ranaweera
May 28, 2010 at 8:33 pm

Hey Rod (Gary, Bob and Nathan)

Good to see you yesterday. Xero is truly amazing. I am not saying this because you are my customer (as well as I am your customer) twice, but its stopping me going back to spreadsheets, which three products did in the past, and one of them been a SaaS product.

I see many people within Techcelerate community moving to Xero due to my prolific tweeting and Gary and Bob engagement in person with Techcelerate community. I can see a massive adoptation within the community, a massive migration from spreadsheets to Xero, and a massive migration from competitive products to Xero.

As you clearly said, if you build a beautiful product, a product that works well, people will come. And I think you have clearly achieved this.

And now, let’s get you fully engaged on and we can drive further traffic to you.

I came to realised the importance of VA market thanks to Xero chatter on twitter. Meeting one of your VA partners today to understand the market better.

I will be catching up with Gary over the coming weeks to see how else we could help you get traction.

Good to meet you and say hi to Hamish for me. Next time let us know bit more in advance, so we could help you fill Manchester for you.

Best regards

Rachel Brett
May 28, 2010 at 10:21 pm

An excellent introduction to Xero and meeting like minded people who want to bring their businesses into the 21st century at the press of a button.

I have moved all my books over to Xero as a result of this as I think that it makes keeping an eye on the financial ball so much easier for a small business and other small businesses like myself.

Thank you for taking the time and trouble to come over all the way from New Zealand to talk to us and also thanks to Helen of HLS Business Solutions and Darren Glanville of Xero

Carl Reader
May 28, 2010 at 11:12 pm

Rod, great to meet you earlier in the week.

Burning question… Which app gives you platform numbers?!

All the best

Carl Reader
June 4, 2010 at 9:30 am

Thanks Gary!

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