Company Spotlight: GasBuddy

Oct 30, 2016

Company Spotlight: GasBuddy

Oct 30, 2016

Planning a roadtrip? These guys will have you covered. Meet GasBuddy – a company that provides sources of accurate, real time fuel prices. Here’s Joshua Herzig-Marx, VP of Product for GasBuddy on why they’ll always be a small organisation managing a big product.

 

GH: What is GasBuddy?

JH: GasBuddy is the source for accurate, real time fuel prices. Founded in 2000 and now with over 11 million monthly active users spotting 2 million prices per day. GasBuddy was an early pioneer in crowdsourcing and gamification.

GH: How did GasBuddy get started?

JH: GasBuddy started back in 2000 in a small town in Saskatchewan in the middle of the Dot-com boom by two middle school friends. They had an idea to make it easy for consumers to find the best prices on gas by going to a local website. Over the years they turned a site into a community of users and introduced gamification by adding points, challenges, and a leaderboard. When iPhone and Android smartphones became popular, GasBuddy pivoted to become a mobile-first company.

I’m still a “NewBuddy”, having only joined in January of this year. I came as part of a new leadership team in Boston, including CEO Walt Doyle and CTO Max Metral. No one would confuse a 16 year old company for a startup: We have real revenue, real systems, real clients…but part of Walt’s genius (and our fantastic board’s vision) is that by running ourselves like a startup we can take an already successful brand and just blow it out. And have a ton of fun.

GH: How did you build your team?

JH: When I joined the company there was no Product Management function and no product roadmap. There was, however, a great product and a fantastic team. To build my team I started by grabbing as many allstars as we already had working within the company. It’s great that all my product managers and one of my leads were already working here. For roles I couldn’t fill internally it’s just been networking networking networking to find great candidates.

GH: What is the company philosophy driving your company culture?

JH: We’re always going to be a small organization managing a big product. So it’s important that we build a team that can stay 100% focused on creating value. Walt, our CEO, talks about looking for, “Been there; done that,” people and that’s a nice lens within which to view company culture, too. That means a culture that is hard on problems but soft on people. Give each other benefit of the doubt, assume the best of intentions, but still run towards challenges and conflict.

GH: What is the Boston ecosystem provided you?

JH: Boston is a small tech ecosystem, but it’s friendly and it’s deep. Any time we’ve needed advice or assistance there is a company doing exactly what we need. And, whenever we’ve reached out looking for help–whether a vendor, a partner, or just for advice–someone has always responded. In addition, Boston is full of talented people who understand and thrive in an entrepreneurial environment.

GH: What is the ecosystem lacking in your perspective?

JH: Honestly? I’ve never felt like I’ve missed out on anything important by working in Boston. It’s been great for me and all of my companies.

GH: What’s the best/worst piece of advice you were given along the way?

JH: Many years ago, at the start of my career, I had a boss who told me, “When it’s good news, say ‘We’ but when it’s bad news say ‘Me’.” Share credit, take responsibility.

GH: What was the best thing that happened to you last year?

JH: Taking this job! I sold my prior company to Google back in 2012 and stuck around for a few years. But while Google was an incredible place to work, it stopped being the right place for me. GasBuddy is the most fun I’ve had in years.

GH: What does the future hold for GasBuddy?

JH: Already this year we’ve rebranded the company, redesigned and rebuilt our app, launched in our first non-North American country, and released a major new B2B SaaS product. And we’re not done with the year yet – stay tuned!

Learn More about GasBuddy at gasbuddy.com

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