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Scaling Up [S8.E1]: “Taking the Pain Out of Payments” – Hiroki Takeuchi, CEO of GoCardless

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Ed Cowan  (00:00):

Scaling Up is back. And my guest to kick off this new series is Hiroki Takeuchi, the co-founder and CEO of GoCardless started in 2011. GoCardless is a star of the Blossoming UK FinTech scene last valued at 2.1 billion dollars. The business is on a mission to take the pain out of recurring payments for businesses of all shapes and sizes from your local gym, collecting monthly memberships right through to some of UK’s largest utility companies. Of course, payment collection is a problem as old as time. Huge companies have been built right across the value chain. And with this, the opportunity for GoCardless is enormous in creating a global bank debit network to rival the card networks like Visa and MasterCard. It’s also operating and navigating an incredibly complex ecosystem. But within this, GoCardless has already seen tremendous success, currently processing over 35 billion in payments annually from close to a hundred thousand customers.

Aside from the regulatory complexity that is only heightened when you throw in cross border payments, the challenge of scaling a business that has from day one had such a wide variety of customer shapes and sizes gives rise to some wonderful lessons for operators. Hiroki’s personal story is also one I find incredibly inspiring. The founder’s journey always involves a level of grit and determination to overcome adversity, but Hiroki takes this to a new level. Five years into the GoCardless journey, he had a bike accident that resulted in a spinal cord injury. If anything, gave him a perspective on life and leadership that has enabled GoCardless to flourish like it has. This episode is a wonderful way to kick off series eight of Scaling Up. Hiroki, welcome to Scaling Up. While we have listeners from all around the world, you’re in fact our first ever guest from the UK. We’re recording this late at night and maybe the time zone between London and Sydney has something to do with that, but I’m excited to tell the GoCardless story today.

Hiroki Takeuchi (02:08):

Thanks for having me. I’m really honoured to be your first UK guest.

Ed Cowan  (02:12):

A good place to start I think is always the founding story. So if you can give us a little snippet back in 2011, I think it was recent graduate entrepreneurial spirit, what was the opportunity that you saw in the payment space that you wanted to go after?

Hiroki Takeuchi (02:28):

We started in 2011, and at the time I was 23, Matt, my co-founder was 22. Tom, my other co-founder was 24. So we didn’t have a lot of experience and certainly no experience with payments. So we were coming in very naive into this space. And so the initial idea that we were first working on was more about helping groups to manage money. So it is a much more tangible problem for us at that age, being captain of your local sports team, running a student society, going on holiday with your friends, that kind of thing where we’d found that it was really awkward keeping track of who had paid, who hadn’t, asking the same people over and over again and chasing them. But it was only when we were going and trying to solve that problem that we started to learn about payments. And one of the things that really struck us from very early on was how complicated payments was and how difficult to access the systems that were.

So at the time, really the only way that people were paying for things online was using credit and debit cards. And we thought, okay, well there must be other ways. And especially given the cost of card processing, the idea that an individual would soak up like three or 4% of a transaction to collect money from their friends was just something that felt impossible to us. And when we were looking for alternatives, we were really struck actually by how few there were. I think we were looking at things from first principles as a result of not knowing anything about payments. And I think one of the things that really struck us was you had these card payment systems and we were trying to figure out, okay, why does it cost so much to process a car payment? I mean, in the world where the internet exists, it feels like a lot of this stuff should just be simple.

And then you start to investigate and you go, okay, well there’s like four or five, maybe even six intermediaries in between each and every transaction and each of those intermediaries is taking their cup. And I think one of the stats that I’ve always looked at and has always surprised me even to this day is if you look at the payments revenue in the world, and this is just direct payments revenue, this isn’t even the indirect costs and all the costs around collecting payments, just how much there is in payment collection itself, there’s about $3 trillion dollars almost in revenue around the world. I mean, global GDP is $90 trillion dollars I think a year. And so you’re talking about a tax on society of almost 3% for payment processing. So it is a huge, huge industry, but one that we felt coming into this that with the advent of the internet, it should be a lot simpler, it should be a lot cheaper, it should be a lot easier.

Ed Cowan  (05:11):

What a great lesson for entrepreneurs. I always think by the very nature of the risk that they’re taking off on, the first idea is not in fact what the business ends up solving for, but the skill to pivot and not be stuck on a singular problem can obviously lead to wonderful and initially unintended outcomes. History’s littered with examples of this. Slack comes to mind of course, with Stewart Butterfield, but there are plenty of others. So many parallels to someone who I’d love to interview in Kristo who started Wise. Also London-based FinTech, a partner of GoCardless, but same issues that you’ve just described, an outsider’s view of a complex ecosystem and creating simplicity and also utility for customers in a variety of ways. And of course, GoCardless bread and butter is recurring payments from accountants, invoices that might come quarterly or annually even to utility bills that turn up on businesses and consumers doorsteps, but also of course businesses who need to collect payments from other businesses, be it locally or cross border as well. So I just want the listeners to really focus in on the recurring relationship your customers have with their customers. And so let’s start with the larger question as we break down the ecosystem, and that is why direct debit, which is where GoCardless plays compared to the card networks. You touched on cost, I’m sure you’ll touch on churn in your mind at a very basic level. Why is direct debit a better way to collect recurring payments than the card networks?

Hiroki Takeuchi (06:45):

The first thing I’d say is that oftentimes people think of payments and they go, okay, yeah, payments. That’s a big market and it is a big market, but the reality is it’s actually quite a fragmented market. Depending on what you are collecting payment for and in what context the right way or the optimal way, it can be very, very different. For us, we were looking initially at bank payments really because of the cost. These are payment methods that are much more cost effective, but the reality is that because you don’t have all of those intermediaries, there’s also some other really meaningful benefits that you get from those rails. And so when you think about direct debit, specifically, if you think about the context in which that was built, and every country has its own version of direct debit, it really was built for the kind of large utility type companies that were collecting payments on an ongoing basis from their customers.

But there’s lots of those kind of examples. As you said, recurring payments. It is a very broad set of use cases, especially over the last 10, 15 years. I think we’re seeing more and more of the economy move in that direction. People are subscribing to things more than they buy things. People are moving more towards usage-based models. So there’s all these kind of trends that we’re seeing, which are pushing the direction of travel towards more of these kind recurring type relationships. The real benefits of these kind of bank payment systems are firstly, yes, cost, it’s much more cost effective way of collecting payments. But I think secondly, and really importantly, that they’re much more reliable payment mechanisms as well. If you think about cards and what they were built for, they were really built in an age before the internet existed to enable someone in a restaurant to pay their restaurant bill.

In a world where none of that internet infrastructure existed, how do you connect a card that someone held to the banking system? That’s really what all of the card network was built for, and it was really very much primarily focused on in-person and one-off transactions. And then obviously they’ve tried to layer on all of these things to bring that to an online world, bring it to more of a recurring kind of model with things like card on file. But these are all things that are built on top of that fundamental infrastructure. And as a result, and especially given that there’s so many intermediaries, you see a lot of failure on those kind of card payments, especially on recurring payments. So the stats vary depending on the industry, but you’ll typically see somewhere between 10 to 15% of card payments fail for a recurring transaction. So if I’m a business with a subscription model, that means that every month, 1 in 10 or maybe even more of my customers are having payment problems, and that ends up being one of the biggest causes of churn for a lot of these businesses.

One of the big benefits with direct debit is that because you’re collecting payment directly from someone’s bank account, really the only reason that payments fail is because there’s not enough funds in the account. And for us across our network, we see failure rates are around 2-3%. So it’s almost an order of magnitude difference, and that’s actually one of the primary reasons why a lot of our customers use us and use direct debit as a payment method. So there’s a lot going on, but I think it’s three simple things of it costs reliability and preference.

Ed Cowan  (10:03):

You can only imagine the local gym, the amount of lost cards, the amount of expiry dates on cards, and the hassle for that gym to try and collect payment as opposed to account to account direct debit and knowing more likely that in fact they will be able to collect payment. So you’ve touched on the benefits of direct debit, but of course direct debit is built, as you’ve mentioned in the banking rail system, the legacy direct debit players, be it the banks or other legacy players have relied on a manual system, essentially a bulk batch manual system to process these direct debits. Can you give some colour and unravel the complexity of what the cloud native players like a GoCardless has provided and how they’ve been able to do that within this ecosystem?

Hiroki Takeuchi (10:54):

I mean, it was almost like a natural thing for us to do, which was we were starting in 2011, we wanted to set up a way of collecting payments online. There was no real other option than offer this as an API, right? And make it cloud native. There wasn’t really any, it just seemed like the natural thing to do. And I remember when we first got access to these direct debit systems in the UK and saw how they worked, we were quite shocked. We thought, okay, wow, there’s no real technology here at all. Almost it is just batch based file-based mechanisms. There wasn’t really any kind of meaningful transaction level data that was shared in a way that was easy to interact with. And so we had to build a lot of that cloud layer just to build our offering. Now, when we did that, we weren’t explicitly thinking about solving that cloud problem for others.

We just thought, okay, if I was a small business that’s trying to get access to direct debit in this day and age, how would I want it to work? I would probably want it to work with an API or with a simple interface. And so that’s what we built, and the problem we were solving was really for small businesses to get access to these systems for the first time. And that was where all of our early momentum and customers came from. But what we found was that as we were scaling and building more awareness in the market, we started to see larger organisations approaching us and oftentimes organisations that were already collecting payment via direct debit, so they didn’t necessarily have an access problem, which was the first problem we were solving. What they had was a technology problem, and so they were looking for someone to help them solve that. And it turned out that all of the technology that we built and the APIs that we built were a really good solution.

Ed Cowan  (12:31):

Something that you did mention, just to clarify, given the regulation, you talk about access. Back in the day, the small gym down the road couldn’t even process direct debit in many instances because of regulation.

Hiroki Takeuchi (12:43):

Well, it was actually never really about regulation. What it was really about was that there needed to be a level of oversight around how these businesses were collecting payments. I mean, if you think about it, you are enabling someone to pull money out of people’s bank accounts. So as you can imagine, there’s a bunch of rules and regulations around that. And so there was nothing in the regulation that specifically said, okay, if you were a small business, you can’t collect payment this way. It was more just that from the bank’s perspective, they couldn’t make it work from an economic point of view where they couldn’t say, okay, well we’re going to oversee how this small independent gym down the road is going to be setting up all of their direct debits and collecting payment. And so what we were able to do, and the reason we were able to open up access was because we built a cloud-based model where we were operating the system on behalf of all of the customers we were serving.

So we hosted the checkout, we submitted the payments, we sent the notifications, everything was being done through our platform. So the banks felt comfortable because they could oversee us and say, okay, are you doing things correctly? And then if we were doing things correctly, we were doing it on behalf of all of these small businesses. And so we could say, okay, well we don’t need to worry about whether you’re doing this in a compliant way because we’re doing it for you. And so that was the kind of layer that we built that enabled us to open up access to these small businesses for the very first time.

Ed Cowan  (14:02):

That’s a far better description than what I provided. So hopefully the listeners by now have got a sense that GoCardless provides both access and the technology to small businesses and big businesses alike. And probably the last lingering question in their head is, what about these large payment service providers that have been technology first, be it back in the day, PayPal and now Stripe? Why does GoCardless have such a dominant position in direct debit against these massive payment services providers?

Hiroki Takeuchi (14:34):

I think it really comes down to the point about fragmentation and then as a result of that focus, when you think about those companies, and I have a tremendous amount of respect for them, I think Stripe is a phenomenal company and has clearly done amazing things, but really what they’ve been focused on is cards, right? That’s like 95% plus of the volumes of they’re processing and that’s where all their energy goes. And they’re solving a very different problem, which is how do you streamline and optimise card payments for e-commerce transactions predominantly? And they’ve obviously gone beyond that now, but that’s the large amount of their focus. And these bank payment systems, they work in a very different way. They’re not the same payment method and they operate in very different ways. And so that’s where we are able to really shine, I think, is that we’ve stayed very, very focused just on these bank payment systems.

More recently, we’ve gone beyond just direct debit into other bank payment methods, and I’m sure we’ll touch on that in a bit, but it is that focus on these bank payment systems that’s really enabled us to create a much more robust and unique offering. So everything from the optimization of how quickly you can get paid and how quickly you can process transactions, optimising the level of failures that you see connecting all of these bank payment systems around the world into a single API and a single contract. There’s all of these things that we’ve done which have only been possible because we’ve been very focused and have been the reason why a lot of our customers choose to work with us.

Ed Cowan  (16:02):

It’s as though you’ve been reading my notes because my next point is part of a TDM framework that we call one mission, one platform, which is exactly what you’ve just described. The ability to provide a single solution in a fragmented industry and be solely focused on driving that mission through your singular platform every single day is a huge competitive advantage. So thank you for spelling that out. The other two real competitive advantages in my mind, and feel free to add some colour here, are the process power and what you do. And you’ve touched on the technology and infrastructure being very hard to replicate, but of course the massive network effects that are in place. And people, when they think of the great network business, they think of the credit card networks. But of course, you’re doing exactly the same thing in the direct debit space and the data and payments intelligence that can be provided through that amongst other things provides a really powerful moat for GoCardless.

Hiroki Takeuchi (17:00):

Yeah, I mean it is actually something that I think we’re only really just starting to scratch the surface on. As you said, there are massive network effects that you can leverage in payments. The reality though is that you need to get to quite significant scale to be able to really unlock those. And we are starting to be able to do that. So there’s a couple of areas in particular that we’re really excited about. The first is one that you already touched on, which is around what we think of as payment intelligence and is really about leveraging the data that we have to optimise the transaction processing. That’s something that happens very much behind the scenes. How do we estimate whether a transaction’s going to be successful or fail and act accordingly? How do we minimise fraudulent transactions, that kind of thing. But the other area that we haven’t actually really been investing in to date, but it’s something that I’m very excited about and I think it’s something that we’ll be exploring in the coming years, is on the actual payer experience side.

And we now have taken in the UK, which our home market quite a high level of density of use. So around 60% of the transactions that we process now are for customers that we’ve seen before. So when someone’s setting up a new authorization, we’ve seen that customer before in 60% of cases. That’s actually a stat that I’ve been tracking for many years now, and it starts to really accelerate. And so when you think about that, then you think, okay, well if you are coming back to our platform over and over again and paying to different merchants but through the same platform, what can we do to make your experience easier and more streamlined and improve the conversion rate for the merchant, but also make life easier for the consumer? And that’s another area where there’s this huge network effects that you can create. So I think it’s absolutely right that payments is an area where there is a huge opportunity to create very strong network effects, but actually it is something that I think is still, we’re just scratching this up.

Ed Cowan  (19:00):

Hopefully by now the listeners feel like they’ve had a bit of a crash course in payments if they weren’t familiar with it. And it gives a great launchpad to discuss about the specific scaling challenges that you’ve faced as a founder from 23 to now 13 years later, some of the strategic decisions you’ve made that have caused pain points hopefully will provide great lessons for all the operators listening. And some of these, I’m pretty keen to touch on. One you’ve already very briefly touched on that is international expansion. Many fast-growing technology businesses of course have global ambitions, but the operational challenge to do that is hard, but it’s not just the operational challenge for you, it’s the technical challenge. There are various banking systems in every single geography that you want to operate in. So I’m really keen to unpick the lessons that you’ve learned on opening new markets and the steps that you’ve taken to really solve these problems both effectively and efficiently.

Hiroki Takeuchi (19:57):

I think for us, that experience is probably quite unique, not unique to us specifically, but to FinTech as a general kind of category. One of the big challenges around international expansion is not just technical, it’s also regulatory. And there’s a lot of complexity that comes from trying to satisfy the different and often conflicting demands of the various regulators around the world. That creates a lot more complexity than I definitely realised going into this and is a huge lesson that we’ve taken is how do you scale up across markets whilst maintaining both the kind of compliance that you need to the regulatory requirements, but also not creating a huge amount of complexity whilst you do that. The other challenge that I think we faced is around go-to market focus, right? We have a very broad customer base. If you take the UK as a home market, it spans all the way from your tiny SME and other kind of organisations through to really, really large ones.

We work with some of the biggest energy companies in the UK, as you can imagine. The go-to market focus between that spectrum is very different. And I think one of the mistakes that we made as we were going into our international expansion was that we were also still on that journey of going up market and developing these different go-to market motions. And as a result of that, we were quite scattered in the way that we went into our initial international expansion. We were trying to serve small businesses, but being more of our focus on trying to win larger customers. If I was going through this journey again, I think one of the things I would’ve been much more disciplined about is sequencing those expansions, really getting the go-to market across the different segments of the market right before going and internationalising the business rather than trying to do both of those things at the same time.

Ed Cowan  (21:52):

Maybe this is a good time to tackle this scaling challenge more broadly of go-to-market. And as you mentioned, you’ve got two very distinct customer bases and one is often very self-served focused, and one is sales at the other end of town. The enterprise sales is a very different motion. One thing that does strike me though in regards to go cardless is go to market is the ability to both have these two strategic levers, but also a really big focus on the partnership channel. So the direct channel has been very good too, albeit hard and keen to unpick that, but also trying to balance that out with a partnership channel. And maybe you can bring that to light for us.

Hiroki Takeuchi (22:34):

Well, I mean, partnerships has always been really core to what we do. I mean, the very first customers that we got when we first launched GoCardless, were in partnership with an accounting platform in the UK called Cashflow who, I mean they were effectively our first customer, but they were actually a partner. So from the very first day partnerships was a key part of our success. Right now, the business is roughly 50/50 split between partnership and direct, and it continues to be a really, really important part of how we grow. And I think in particular, one of the big reasons why partnerships has always been core for us is we’re a really big believer in the importance of software plus payments. And this is a theme that I think has been going through the payments market for a while now, but it is really important because one of our early insights was that people don’t really think about payments on a standalone basis.

So wanting to create a general purpose payments platform, you’re going to be working with customers across many different verticals, and in our case, many different sizes. And as a result, trying to build that software is out of the question. You can’t build a software stack that serves small scout groups and also large utility companies at the same time. And so our view was that rather than trying to combine software plus payments, let’s empower the software platforms to enable payments within their platforms. And that’s always been a real big driver of our success. And one of the ways in which we entered the Australian market was really due to that partnership that we had a big partnership with Xero who continued to be one of our biggest and most successful partners. And they obviously have a big, big home market in Australia and New Zealand. That was a big part of what took us into Australia and is a big part of what’s driven our success in the market. And so we’re really big believers in that partnership model.

Ed Cowan  (24:21):

What about your own personal journey as a founder, a first time founder, as we’ve touched on, it’s a really interesting view that you hold. How has your view on the importance of culture changed from 2011 to now? And I guess further to that, what is really distinctive about your culture? What’s been intertwined in your culture from day one that has remained the same?

Hiroki Takeuchi (24:45):

My view on the importance of culture hasn’t changed at all. We were very clear from the very beginning of GoCardless that culture was going to be a really important thing. And it was actually one of the big drivers of why we wanted to start our business in the first place was that we wanted to build somewhere that we could be really proud and excited to work. And the biggest part of that really is about the people that you’re working with. So we placed a huge amount of emphasis from the very beginning around making sure that we were hiring people that we felt would create a really great culture. I think what’s changed is more around how I think about enabling that culture and fostering it. And as you can imagine, the ways in which you can foster and grow your culture when you are really small, when you are 5, 10, 15, 20 people versus when you’ve got hundreds of people.

It is very different. And I think that that’s where as we’ve scaled, we’ve become more values oriented. Not to say that we weren’t values oriented before, but we became more explicitly values oriented and secondly, embraced the organic nature of culture. I studied maths when I was at university, so I think in terms of equations and culture for me is the sum of everyone’s behaviours. So it is a very organic thing. Everyone every day is defining the culture of the organisation. And as you scale, as you can imagine, you want to foster that diversity, you want to encourage it, and that means that your culture is always changing. And that was something that took me a while to realise and to embrace was the importance of that organic nature and the ever evolving nature of culture. And so I think those are the two main lessons for me, is embracing that evolution of culture and that it’s always going to be changing and then also becoming more values oriented and being very clear about in the context of a always evolving culture, how do you ensure that there’s certain pillars of your culture that stay true and that you don’t see change.

Ed Cowan  (26:55):

In terms of embedding and living the values? I’ve picked up a pretty interesting tidbit around the GoCardless hiring process, and that is that every single interview process, there’s one interview purely on values, and so it doesn’t matter if it’s c-level or a junior hire, they have to go through a separate values interview, 15 questions three on each value. You’ve got no idea on the role of that person what they’re going to be do. It’s solely focused on. Can you determine if there’s an alignment on values?

Hiroki Takeuchi (27:22):

Yeah, I mean I think it’s important not just in order to identify the values fit of an individual, but it’s also important signalling, signalling to the team that we have already about how much we care about this. But it’s also signalling to the candidate about this is something that we take really seriously and is an important part of our decision process. For me, it is not just about the hiring, right? The hiring process is super important, but the reality is you’re never going to get it right every time. And it’s also about how you manage people once they get into the business, how you eventually say goodbye to the people when they don’t live the values, how you make decisions as an organisation, and ensuring that people feel like they can hold each other accountable to those values. And so there’s lots of different parts to it. I think it’s hard to boil it down to a sort of a specific silver bullet, and it is always a challenge, I think, right? Something that I’m always worried about is as we scale, how do we maintain the values orientation of the culture?

Ed Cowan  (28:26):

Just touching on the personal growth journey of the entrepreneur, it’s one of challenge and adversity from day one, but yours is, to be honest, face more than the average entrepreneur. And for those that dunno, you had a horrific bike accident that resulted in a spinal cord injury and it’s a story of pure inspiration of grit and determination. I’m curious how the accident, if you’re happy to talk about it, has impacted how you lead as a CEO emotionally.

Hiroki Takeuchi (28:55):

Well, I mean I think firstly gives you a bit of perspective. I remember as I was going through that experience, I was out of the business for about three months entirely. And then even when I went back into work, I had to do it in a very gradual way. There was a lot of rehab that I had to go through. I wasn’t really fully back into my role full time for maybe 12 to 18 months post my injury. And so you have a lot of time to reflect. You have a lot of time to think about what’s really important. And that perspective I found really valuable. But also I think one of the things that I found valuable about that experience, and I truly believe that it made me better professionally may have taken a bit of time to realise that and get there, but I did find it was something that made me better professionally.

And a big part of that reason was for that was that I had to be very, very conscious about my role. When I went back and I was working one day a week initially, and two days a week and three days a week, I had to really ramp up in a very gradual way. You realise how many things that you were doing that you were either micromanaging or you weren’t delegating or you didn’t need to do, weren’t really adding value. And it makes you really assess what your role should be. And so I found that was quite a formative experience in many ways, and I still take many lessons from that experience today and especially as the organisation grows. One of the things that I think is really important about the founder journey, and especially if you are continuing to run the business as the CEO, is that the needs of your role are changing all the time. What you should be spending your time on, how you should be interacting with the team, how you should be doing your job, they change in quite fundamental ways. And so you need to be able to reflect on that, be very open-minded about doing things wrong. I’ve made so many mistakes along this journey, and I’m always very open-minded to thinking about doing things in different ways. And I think that’s something that’s a really important part of scaling.

Ed Cowan  (31:10):

Lends itself perfectly to my last question in regards to how your leadership has changed, how you’ve grown, what are the gaps that you’ve had to fill? How have you filled them? Can you just bring a little bit of colour maybe with a couple of examples of mistakes and errors that you’ve made or gaps that you’ve had to fill in your own leadership capability to ensure that you can scale as a founder from one employee or three in your case to many, many hundreds?

Hiroki Takeuchi (31:35):

I feel like we could do a whole another podcast on this question. If I was going to boil it down to just a few things though, I think firstly, one of the things that took me a while to really embrace but made a massive difference once I did was valuing experience. I think that when we first started, we were very young, did everything from first principles, and that’s super important, that ability to think from first principles and tackle things on a first principles basis. But I think I appreciate more and more that you have to do that in not everywhere. We were talking about innovation before. I think innovation is expensive and you have to really try and focus that innovation on the things that really matter and the things that really matter are what your customers care about, not how you are managing your teams.

Or I remember when we first started out, we built our own expense management tool internally because we thought all the other ones out there sucked. And I look back on that and I go, what was the point of that? None of our customers care about how we manage our expenses internally. So that was a wasted effort in terms of innovation. You need to be really disciplined about where you think from first principles and apply that approach. And everywhere else you kind of just want to rely on experience and copy from what’s worked before. And so I think that’s something that for me was really important. Hiring people with more experience than me, learning from what they’ve done before, not necessarily trying to figure everything out from first principles, and that enabled us to accelerate significantly. So I think that’s the first thing. I think the second I would say is transitioning from doing to managing to leading.

I see those three things as quite distinct, especially for me, having never really ever even managed anyone before. That was something that I had to adjust to, especially as the organisation grows bigger and bigger, realising the way in which your words, the way you show up, what you focus on, can have big effects on the team and effects that you may not be aware of. That’s something that I had to become very cognizant of and took me a while to learn. And then finally, the thing that I think has been really important throughout the entire journey is being just very open-minded to being wrong. I always tell the team, I’m the least experienced person at GoCardless because every step of the way, this is the first time I’m seeing it, right? So I’m learning on the job the entire time. As a result, you make a lot of mistakes, and I think that’s fine. I remember when we were doing Y Combinator, Sam Altman used this analogy with us around building a startup is like riding a wave on a surfboard. And as long as you don’t crash out and you’ll end up being successful, you’ll end up back at shore. And so it is fine to make mistakes, but it’s about learning from them and being open-minded to doing things differently. And I think that’s super, super important as you scale as a founder.

Ed Cowan  (34:35):

Hiroki, by now, I’m sure everyone’s got a sense of your egoless humility is part of the reason why you’ve been able to scale so successfully as a founder and a leader, and the success of GoCardless is so intertwined with your own personal growth. So thank you for sharing. I think that’s a great way to wrap. Thank you for joining Scaling Up.

Hiroki Takeuchi (34:55):

Thanks for having me. It’s been great to join you.

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Scaling Up: A TDM Podcast

Podcast

Scaling Up: A TDM Podcast

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Podcast

Scaling Up: A TDM Podcast

Podcast

Scaling Up: A TDM Podcast

Podcast

Scaling Up: A TDM Podcast

Podcast

Scaling Up: A TDM Podcast

Podcast

Scaling Up: A TDM Podcast

Podcast

Scaling Up: A TDM Podcast

Podcast

Scaling Up: A TDM Podcast

Podcast

Scaling Up: A TDM Podcast

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