Stepping Down as CEO of Sweet Tooth

Sweet Tooth was my first company to make a significant impact in the world: used by 4,000 businesses across 15 different countries, rewarded millions of people, oversaw billions $$ in transactions, raised 2.3m in venture financing, built an all-star team and much more – all in less than 4 years. This made it an extremely difficult decision to step down as CEO of the company, but I believe it was the right one.

I will remain on the board of directors of the company and shareholder, and I will always be happy to connect to any merchants and partners any time to help. I will be spending my time in Toronto for the time being, but I’ll be in Waterloo every so often. None of my contact info has changed.

Sweet Tooth is Still Growing and Doing Well

The first thing you should know is that Sweet Tooth is still growing profitably. The #1 priority is still helping Sweet Tooth merchants succeed. Sweet Tooth will continue to grow and innovate, improve and adapt. Not much will change in the short term.

Sweet Tooth Logo

Why I Stepped Down

I love bringing in the energy, launching new products, helping people succeed and leading a team to the top. I’m a risk-taker, anyone who has worked with me will know that, but at this stage of growth Sweet Tooth needs someone who will carefully observe the fine details and build insightful conclusions out of the data over time. Mike is better suited to take over those responsibilities.

When I recruited Mike it was because I knew he was extremely intelligent, would/could learn any new skill in any field, he loved solving problems and was a fantastic leader. We were classmates and he was the first friend I made in the Engineering program I attended at UW. I’m glad I’ve been able to leave the company in the hands of someone so capable.

What’s Next for Me?

I’m still working with Sweet Tooth and I may continue doing so, but I recently launched websites for my two new projects: Coincart and Share To Give.

Coincart is an anonymous bitcoin eCommerce platform.

Coincart Logo

Share To Give is a social rewards app that helps merchants gain social referrals and sales by giving to charity. 

Share To Give logo

Feel free to reach out if you have any questions or just want to chat! I can usually be found at the new Google office building at 111 Richmond St West in Toronto.

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Mobile loyalty still not worth your time

I keep seeing all these mobile loyalty companies coming out that claim to have figured it out. I had the opportunity to sit down with the presidents from Loyalty Group and Points.com and to discuss this topic with them recently. At Sweet Tooth we have had the chance to launch a mobile app several times. Here is why we didn’t:

Crappy customer engagement: Do you seriously expect each one of your customers to download an app on their personal phone, register their details with your company, then visit your retail location – all just to be marketed to? Maybe you’ll get some sample people just checking it out to see what it is, but you sure as hell are not going to get that kind of adoption rate with anything beyond your early adopters.

Bad/unknown ROI: Currently no system can measure the ROI accurately or the companies that can just are not reporting it. If it was good, you’d see it on their front page. My educated guess: it’s not great.

Low/no integration: Mobile is another channel. I believe you should try to tackle many channels with your loyalty strategy, but don’t expect the functionality to do anything cool on your POS without hiring a dedicated development partners team to code something crazy up. Expect discounts in your system to be crude, and tacking the result to be disjoint.

All this being said, I do believe that mobile loyalty will eventually become something that everyone should look at in the future.

So when will mobile loyalty become something that retailers should implement?

The answer is when POS goes mobile. When we can accept mobile payments in-store then that link between the brick and mortar world and the online world will be together at last- a relationship that has been awkward for years now.

Square is working on some cool stuff, so is Google Commerce and so is PayPal Here. Watch these guys’ initiatives closely if you want to take your loyalty strategy to mobile. We certainly will be watching these companies in anticipation as well, but for now, don’t waste your time with mobile loyalty.