Success Wears Sneakers Preview: Meet Chris Paul, Squarespace VP, Media & Acquisition

chris paul squarespace

Today, Tuesday, June 23, 2015, Vivaldi will host a panel discussion at our New York office you won’t want to miss.

Moderated by Vivaldi’s CMO, “Success Wears Sneakers: What Big Brands Can Learn From the City’s Savviest Startups” will include perspectives from panelists Chris Paul (Squarespace), Marie Cosnard (Happn), Liz Wald (Indiegogo), MaryAnn Bekkedahl (Keep),  and Andrew Lin (Caviar).

To give you an idea of what’s to come, we talked with Chris Paul  about the upcoming panel and his experience at Squarespace.

Squarespace targets both individual customers as well as businesses. How do you bridge such different audiences in your marketing, communication and advertising strategy? 

We actually find that there’s more overlap between those audiences than you’d expect – a large number of our individual customers are creating businesses for the first time via the platform.  But it’s true that on either end of the spectrum, there are opportunities to demonstrate a deeper knowledge of the challenges facing each segment by providing best practices through our content, best-in-breed design through our templates and unprecedented efficiency through media targeting strategies.  And don’t forget our Customer Operations strategy, where we take advantage of the thousands of direct connections with our customers to provide customized support and direction.

Anthony Casalena, the founder and CEO of Squarespace, started the website building platform from his dorm room in order to solve the problems he was facing building his own website. Now that you are a multi-million dollar business, how do you continue to innovate and what is your biggest source of insights?

That exact drive that spurred Anthony to find a better solution for websites 12 years ago is currently propelling our product, design and business teams. We’re inspired in our design efforts by all kinds of sources – photography, architecture, local art – and in our technical efforts by healthy frustration with current systems as well as direct customer feedback.

You started out your career in technology. How have you seen the field evolve, and where do you believe it is heading?

Pretty broad question, but I’ll answer for the marketing side of things. The most important development I’ve seen is the increasing availability of genuinely useful data to take the guesswork out of communication.  We don’t have to rely on year-old surveys or syndicated research to make messaging and media decisions. Self-publishing platforms and communities give customers of all kinds the chance to declare their needs, concerns, likes and dislikes.  If we listen the right way, we can respond in near real time.

4. Squarespace is expanding beyond US borders, with the opening of a Dublin office. How does a start-up maintain its culture when it goes global? Has international expansion affected the culture and communication within the firm?

Tech crosses borders more fluidly than many industries, as does the highest quality design. We actually had customers in 100+ countries before we even opened that office. But with the opening of Dublin and the increasing outreach to potential customers overseas, we’ve seen a welcome adoption of our unique product offerings and service ethos that were cultivated in the US.

What’s your favorite part of working at Squarespace?

I got my start working in technology built to support the first generation of webmasters. It’s nothing short of mind-blowing to see how far computing and publishing have come in that time, and the potential for individuals to see their business ideas or personal passions brought to life.

What’s your favorite website built on Squarespace?

There some brilliant ones built every day.  Right now I’d have to say