ITA Spotlight: Tony Newcome, CTO, ActiveCampaign
Friday, June 7, 2019
Posted by: Kaylin Berg
Tony Newcome, CTO, ActiveCampaign @ActiveCampaign
Tony Newcome, CTO at ActiveCampaign, started his career in consulting and SaaS, then met the ActiveCampaign team and hasn't looked back. With a passion for juggling and finding ways to achieve the seemingly impossible, learn more about his career, outlook for the industry and passion for technology.
How did you come to work with ActiveCampaign?
I used to work with Sri Rao, one of our board members here at ActiveCampaign. He gave me a call and convinced me to take a look at the company. In the process, I also spoke to one of my greatest mentors, Ed Frederici. Ed and Sri convinced me to check the company out more closely. When I heard the passion for helping small businesses grow when I spoke to our CEO, Jason VandeBoom, I knew I had to become a part of the team. I’ve not looked back since.
What about ActiveCampaign was appealing?
We are in a hypergrowth scale-up stage. Now serving over 70k customers, we are rapidly advancing toward our mission of helping one million small and mid-sized businesses grow. This growth creates an environment that evolves often and rapidly and I enjoy the variety and challenges it creates.
What other roles have you held in the industry? How did they lead you to where you are now?
I spent the first nine years of my career in consulting and then the next nine years working on a growth oriented SaaS platform. The consulting leg of my career gave me a wide variety of client facing sales and presentation skills to augment my technology background. After consulting, I spent time working at a scaleup that went public and then was acquired. That was an amazing experience and really opened my eyes to how much success is possible with consistent execution.
Out of all the positions you've held, which one is the most interesting?
My current role as CTO has been the most interesting to date. Having the opportunity to lead so many dimensions of our platform brings a tremendous amount of variety. We’ve added over 100 new hires to my team in the past year, we’ve opened a second engineering hub in Indianapolis, and the variety of things I work on each day is awesome.
What do you like most about what you do?
The variety. Everyday presents new challenges and opportunities. In a typical day I may be on a call with a vendor negotiating a contract, meeting with my team to discuss new product designs, meeting with clients to understand their needs, planning an opportunity to help our community, reviewing financial statements, or authoring content for a blog or press release. The variety really requires me to use different skill sets and it has truly been a blast.
Which achievement at ActiveCampaign are you most proud of?
I don’t spend much time looking backwards. I am incredibly pleased with the technology and product leadership team we’ve been building, it is the most talented group of individuals I’ve ever worked with and I believe will prove to be one of the strongest teams in this industry. We are just getting started.
What’s your outlook on the local tech industry?
Technology will continue to create opportunities. The landscape is evolving quickly though, companies and professionals need to keep pressing innovation forward. I have never been more optimistic about the future of our industry.
What did you want to be when you were in kindergarten?
I wanted to be a garbage man. The idea of hanging off the back of a truck all day seemed really cool. Nowadays they’ve replaced that role with mechanical arms, so I am glad I chose a different path forward in life.
What is the hardest challenge that you’ve faced on your professional journey?
At one point I flunked out of Purdue. I soon got back in, but that really taught me that the line between success and failure was very small and also self controllable. Life can be very unforgiving and you can’t let up at any time. There are days I feel exhausted and really need to remind myself that doing just a bit more today will setup my success tomorrow. Sustaining this pace is challenging and at the same time well worth it.
What’s the best advice that you’ve ever received?
Expect success. People have a tendency to get in their own way. My dad taught me when I was young to ask myself a very simple question when facing a problem or situation I don’t know if I could get through: Can you think of anyone who could solve the problem or who would be happy to have the situation you are facing? If so, you know it is something you can get through and you just need to figure out how to do so, then go do it. It is proven very empowering advice and I’ve yet to encounter a situation I couldn’t think of someone I thought could get through it, which opened my mind to finding the path to getting it done.