Victoria Crone is the new Managing Director at Xero New Zealand
Prior to joining, I’d had a reasonable amount of exposure to Xero through my past business relationships/deals – I’d heard the Xero story at events like the Disruptive Innovation conferences, had a quick visit to Xerocon, and I’d seen a fair bit in the media.
Now that I’m officially a ‘Xero’ the first thing that speaks volumes for me and stands above everything is the people and the culture. I have been overwhelmed by people’s friendliness, energy, pride, willingness to help and the excitement about what I can contribute. It doesn’t stop there. There’s a fun and energy to this place that’s infectious. Disruption and innovation are at the heart of the way we think around here.
I love a company that eats its own dog food. Over the years, I have embraced everything technology and cloud in my family and home life, so it’s super exciting to finally have that in my work life, as well. In joining Xero, I’m loving the shift to all things Google, Cloud, video, etc. By the end of Week One, I had it all set up and I’m in heaven – Google Docs, Hangouts, Evernote, MyThoughts, SaneEmail and so much more.
Whether it’s talking to Xeros, our partners or our customers, I have a much greater understanding of the impact Xero’s product has had on their businesses. While I kind of knew this, it’s the fundamental difference that our products make to their businesses that stands out. We must find a way to tell this story better.
There’s so much opportunity to add more value for our partners and customers, to shape the future of how small businesses operate, and to collaborate with government and New Zealand’s largest companies to build better platforms for businesses to seamlessly interact with. We think there’s more to be done in aligning government with business and that Xero can play an important part in this, and we are going to do it first in New Zealand, with the ultimate goal of freeing up time and enabling Kiwis to focus on what’s really important.
Xero is definitely the poster child for the new business model; the big question for me was, where’s the customer? Are they truly at the heart of our business? From what I’ve seen, the answer is a resounding yes. Xeros are incredibly well connected to both our partners’ needs, as well as those of small businesses – and this is led from the top.
As with any product, and especially software, there’s definitely a few issues we need to fix. And we’re aware of what they are. And we’re aware of the pain points they cause. The investment in product development this year is astounding. We’re so excited to have achieved the key milestone of 100,000 customers in the New Zealand market this year, and I can’t wait to reward our hugely loyal partners and customers with the latest improvements and new features – new ways to run their businesses more efficiently.
I sometimes think because of our geographic isolation we can become a bit disconnected from what happens outside our beautiful country. While much of the focus of Xero in the news here is around the share price, what’s not so well understood is the incredible growth and progress of Xero globally. The resources, capabilities and skills that we have across our 17 global offices are just awesome. Businesses from 120 countries around the world use a product that was designed here in NZ Inc. That’s pretty cool.
And let’s not forget that with the roll-out of ubiquitous broadband over the next 3-6 years connecting 98% of both our urban and rural populations. New Zealand is certainly one of the most connected countries on earth – you just have to look at Xero’s 100,000+ customers, and the extent to which online banking has been adopted. But there is more to be done, and Xero is leading from the front, setting the scene for New Zealand to emerge as an electronic business super-power.
I came to Xero because I’m a huge advocate of small business; they represent over 90% of businesses in our country. I love NZ Inc and passionately believe the technology changes lives. Global economic power shifts and the rise of consumerism will bring New Zealanders opportunities to positively grow and position our country as that super-power. And I love technology. As I look at the 10+ roles I’m currently hiring for in NZ, I think, who wouldn’t want to be part of this?