For entrepreneur Matt Bullock, his life as a boss began back in the 1990s, when he built a payment gateway long before the days of buying online was standard buyer behaviour.
“I used to be really happy when we got one customer a week. Then it became one a day. I had it set up so that my phone sent me an SMS when we got a customer. Eventually, years later, the phone was beeping too much and I had to turn it off.” He’d tried other businesses, but a visit to a trade show showed him there was a gap for a better online payments system.
“I gave someone a case of beer and they made the logo. Then I built the website, wrote the code, put an ad in an internet magazine and sold accounts. [Sometimes] when you start something you just think ‘there’s really something here’.
“But e-commerce has taken so long to be somewhere,” he says:
Now, with eWAY processing $1 in every $4 spent online in Australia, and clients like Canon, Qantas, Puma, Nissan on the books, Bullock finds himself the boss of 50-plus staff.
“For me it’s about having the right structure – at one stage I had 30 direct reports. Now I have five who are awesome, and underneath them we have a bunch of awesome people who really care about what they do,” he says.
Bullock also attributes part of his success to working with a business coach, something he’s now done for six years.
“The CEO’s job is the loneliest job in the world. You can bounce things around [with] your reports, but it’s great to have another level.”
Name: Matt Bullock
Current position: Chief executive and founder of eWAY Responsibilities: Driving strategic direction and performance of eWAY. Also closely involved in product innovation and customer satisfaction.
Education: Bachelor of Computer Science (majoring in mathematics), The University of Wollongong.
Additional training/courses: n/a
Professional associations: n/a
Honourable mentions: Former finalist, BRW Entrepreneur of the Year, 2011, Winner, Industry Recognition Award, 2010 Online Retailer Conference.
Strength: “When we have a problem I get everyone in the room. We listen. I listen. We throw ideas around and then we make a decision.”
Weakness: “Patience; at least that’s what my wife says. I’m in a crazy hurry for everything. You want everyone to run at your speed, and that’s hard for other people to be around.”
Management style and tips: “When there’s a problem it’s all about fixing it. Sometimes I wish I could turn that off, but I can’t.”
Work motto: “Never, never, never, never give up. I’ve got it written on my wall. It took us six years to get into Asia. Most people would have given up 20 times over.”