When Thrillist bailed on RJMetrics, cofounder Jake Stein felt 'worthless' - Technical.ly Philly

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May 8, 2017 8:46 am

When Thrillist bailed on RJMetrics, cofounder Jake Stein felt ‘worthless’

At this year's FailFest, Stein gave us an inside look at another RJMetrics rough patch.

RJMetrics cofounder and Stitch CEO Jake Stein speaks at FailFest.

(Photo by Roberto Torres)

When Center City data anaytics firm RJMetrics was in its heyday, the roster of clients was flashy and long.

Names like Warby Parker, Bonobos and Thrillist jumped off the page. The problem is: one by one they also jumped off the company’s customer list as their data needs began to get more and more complex.

We heard some of this story before from former CEO Bob Moore, but 0n Thursday, it was cofounder Jake Stein who shared his woes as the first speaker at FailFest, our annual fireside chat — part of Philly Tech Week 2017 presented by Comcast — where entrepreneurs open up about that time when things didn’t go so well.

In Stein’s case, the hellish churn rate of clients in part led to the company laying off 25 people at the start of 2016. And it was hitting that client list from top to bottom.

“We would lose people on the high end, where companies start to grow their analytics teams and need more power,” said Stein. “The fact that we were full stack went from an asset to a liability.”

For a while, RJMetrics had one main sales person and account manager: Jake Stein. “That’s why when some customer dropped us, it felt like a rejection of me. I lived and died by the customers we got.”

According to the Stein, who’s now CEO of RJMetrics spinout Stitch, ecommerce and media company Thrillist calling to say they were dropping out of the Philly-made platform was especially painful.

“On my way home that day, a homeless guy came up to me. pointed his finger right in my face and said, ‘Hey … fuck you, man!'” Stein remembers. “And I was like ‘You, too?’ I collected myself and went home. The more I thought about it, he was giving me a great gift of perspective. His day was way worse than mine.”

As we know now, RJMetrics eventually was bought by Magento, and a the firm’s newer product was rolled out into Stitch. At the end of the day, Stein draws one big lesson: “Whenever you have a shitty day, just think of that homeless dude.”

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