Rearden: Proof that an Objectivist Outlook Will Always Win Out

Last week, along with a handful of other fellow Enteprise Irregulars, I had the chance to catch up with Rearden’s Patrick Grady over his companies progress in recent years. As someone who has long been an adherent to the author that inspired the naming of Rearden Commerce, I'll admit that I've always had a bit of a soft spot for the procurement provider and those behind it. For those who aren't familiar with Rearden, I'd suggest reading these two earlier posts from Spend Matters on the provider which you can find here and here. More recently, there's been quite a bit of news out of Rearden, including a recent acquisition in the T&E area. I plan to get more into the details of this news in the coming months, but until then, I thought it would be worth sharing a few notes from my call with Rearden's founder and CEO.

Patrick shared with us that the original Rearden team set out on a journey to build a user-centric, personal services procurement solution over eight years ago, leveraging the power of a true web-based service oriented architecture that allows Rearden to rapidly scale and incorporate both internal capabilities, third party features and content. Given this lofty goal, Patrick suggested it took far longer for Rearden to realize its growth vision than most companies. In this regard, Rearden really represents the tale of two companies: the pre- and post-Amex Rearden.

To show the difference between the two companies in terms of growth, Patrick mentioned that Rearden now signs "more corporate customers per day" than it signed from the company's inception through the middle of 2006. They also process more spend weekly than in the entire first six years of the company’s operation. Today, Rearden has 1.5 million active users. Numbers like this speak to the success of Rearden’s channel-based approach to growth. Consider that Rearden has only seven employees in sales and marketing compared with 350 in the entire company (that's a ratio of one sales and marketing employee to fifty in the rest of the company -- an exceptional ratio). Indeed, these are remarkably low numbers considering Rearden's overall traction. Perhaps Rearden is really just taking the advice of the author who inspired its name sake, having once written that "to deal with men by force is as impractical as to deal with nature by persuasion."

- Jason Busch

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