In this Employee Spotlight, we introduce Rich. Based out of Honolulu, Rich joined Dispatch as our Vice President of Product in June of 2021. Read on to learn more about him, his extensive experience with multi-sided marketplaces, and why we were the right startup for him.
A fourth-generation Japanese-American, Rich Matsuura grew up in San Jose and went to college in Hawaii. Although he eventually returned to the mainland after graduating to work in Silicon Valley, Matsuura has always gravitated toward The Aloha State.
So when he received the opportunity to go back early on in the pandemic, Matsuura jumped at the chance. But this change of scenery brought with it a desire for other changes, and he soon found himself looking for a new role and new challenges.
Where It All Started
At the beginning of his tech career, Matsuura started his own consulting business to offer web design, web hosting, and coding services. He then moved on to Cisco, where he first worked in product management. After which, he went to eBay and worked his way up from a contractor to a director within his first five years. Matsuura remained at eBay for nine years, where he managed a mix of product management and business strategy teams. These teams included the shipping team, B2C and C2C seller tools teams, eBay Feedback, and seller experience.
“The most valuable experience I gained from eBay was getting a deep understanding of how multi-sided marketplaces work and how to build high-performing teams,” says Matsuura. “And it was working at eBay in a product management role that cemented my love for this line of work.”
Matsuura went on to expand his marketplace knowledge with two startups that he co-founded and for which he built products. The first being, Crowdera, a crowdfunding platform for social good. And the second, PandaTree, an online platform for kids to learn foreign languages with live tutors.
With all of this product experience behind him, Matsuura knew exactly what he was looking for in his next company and position.
"I was looking at the stage of the company. While I've always loved working with startups, I specifically wanted a startup that was past the early stages and had traction in the market. Dispatch ticked all of the boxes. The company had a good product that people were already using and had a strong growth trajectory."
Taking On Dispatch
Matsuura had learned a lot at eBay about logistics, so he felt prepared to take on some of the pain points of delivery that Dispatch was currently facing. He could see that, like any startup, Dispatch had built out a product team that could execute on vision but wasn't yet empowered to ideate or develop solutions based on objectives for the business. For Dispatch to truly get to the next level, it needed a product team that could deeply understand the business, the data, and the customer.
As the Vice President of Product, Matsuura focused on setting expectations, breaking down barriers, and moving Dispatch from an unmanaged multi-sided marketplace structure to a managed one. His efforts since joining Dispatch have led to a team of empowered product managers and designers who work cross-functionally to deliver positive outcomes for the org and a better experience for customers.
But the type of startup and the industry space that Dispatch operated in weren't the only factors. Its culture and people were also important to him.
"Everyone I interviewed with was so nice, and it seemed like a great place to work. There was an emphasis on the core values and, in particular, putting people first. Sometimes you hear these values but don't see them. Dispatch, however, seemed to really act on them. Until I began working here, I didn't have an exact name for the servant-based leadership philosophy that I've always had when it came to managing a team."
Servant-based leadership is the concept of helping each person on a team become the best they can be; this kind of management philosophy is something Matsuura enjoyed doing and one that he's glad Dispatch practices.
People First wasn't the only Dispatch core value that Matsuura resonated with, though. Transparency was another one that spoke to him. For Matsuura, being as transparent as possible is part of building trust. One of his goals at Dispatch is to ensure that the rest of the org trusts what the product team is doing.
"Trust has been an important component across all the work that I do, and something past managers and mentors have stressed to me. It's why I prioritize building trust across all the stakeholders of an organization. When I worked at eBay, the sellers lacked trust in us. My team and I helped to restore this trust with the work we did. I want to instill trust throughout the process both internally here at Dispatch and externally with our customers and drivers."
When asked what piece of advice or wisdom he would like to leave readers with, Matsuura passes along two of his favorite quotes from astronomer and science writer Carl Sagan:
Words that Matsuura is certain can set product managers down the right path in their careers.