Rod Drury, the CEO of Xero, is excited about the growing number of Xero users, the pathway Xero is innovating, and where Xero is headed in the great beyond. In sitting down with him near the end of XeroCon I could tell that his excitement had actually grown over the days since his opening keynote. I must say that I found his excitement about Xero very contagious. I probably could have sat and chat with him for hours as opposed to the roughly 45-minutes we spent together focused on a series of questions I had formulated in my mind prior to our meeting.
"Xero now has more than 60,000 subscribers in North America, and more than 717,000 customers worldwide. We’re on a steep growth trajectory, having added an extra 242,000 subscribers in the 12 months prior to 31 March 2016. We’re at an inflection point in the accounting industry. In the past 12 months we’ve processed more than $1 trillion worth of transactions and now, with the ability to leverage AI and machine learning, we can put all that data to work for our accountants, bookkeepers and small business customers." Rod went on to say, "Our vision for millions of small businesses on a connected platform is centered on making accounting magical."
After having seen a number of improvements in Xero since last year, including some of which I have already written about including the new 'Reporting' innovation that excited me to no end, I asked Rod about what I perceive as Xero's 'Innovation ahead of the curve.' To which Rod replied, "Cloud accounting has become the heart of small businesses globally, connecting them with digital services in real-time through one platform, rather than separate manual processes. For many customers, the Xero platform is not just an isolated accounting ledger – it has become integrated into their business alongside the other tools they use daily to get the job done. With a platform like Xero, small businesses are now able to gain an overall view of their financial standing all in one place and manage banking transactions safely and securely."
Rod and I then had a brief chat about the future of computing, and technology in general. I think he could perceive I was a bit of a sci-fi nut, and I mentioned what a big fan of Buzz Lightyear1 and Toy Story1 I was; at that point I through out Buzz's famous saying, "To infinity....and beyond." I then posed a form of that saying to Rod, asking how would you answer the question, "Xero....and beyond", Rod replied: "Xero is well on its way to rewiring the small business economy as we know it. Our platform is making accounting more efficient, more productive and more useful to both our customers and the millions of businesses worldwide who have not yet accessed the cloud.
Developing a nimble team that’s always shipping is a key part of the Xero philosophy. With the move to AWS, and the opportunities of having access to the boundless computing power of that platform opens up for us, the pace of innovation will again step up a gear.
In the past 12 months we’ve released more than 1,400 product updates and features. We owe it to our small business customers, accountants and bookkeepers to continuously be innovating. It’s built into our DNA. If the business owner has a great experience then their customers will too. And a rapidly moving economy is good for everyone."
As you can tell, it doesn't take much of a question, to get 'a lot' out of Rod Drury about 'Xero the company, the product, the users and the ecosystem.' I think Rod and Buzz have a lot in common in terms of their excitement, especially about the future. As I said, Rod shows a lot of excitement, excitement that is highly contagious, and I'm confident that is one big reason why "Xero is adding up the numbers in more ways than one."
My thanks to Rod Drury and his entire team for the hospitality and assistance they provided in turning a short time at XeroCon USA 2016 into such a learning experience.
1 - Buzz Lightyear and Toy Story are trademarks associated with Pixar Animation Studios and Walt Disney Pictures.