I started out as a market research intern at a B2B payments company in Charlotte, NC. I knew nothing about accounts payable automation or the B2B payments landscape, but knew I had to become an expert quickly. My onboarding process was full of long readings from industry reports to blog posts from fintech VC’s. Quite frankly, I was overwhelmed.
I remember the first report I was given was <ahref="https://www.goldmansachs.com/insights/pages/reports/the-competitive-value-of-data/report.pdf" target="_blank">The Competitive Value of Data. from Goldman Sachs’ Global Markets Institute. I was instantly intrigued by the world of data for these payments leaders, specifically the monetization strategy for companies like AvidXchange and Coupa. I was printing all of these reports out, hundreds of pages highlighted and annotated by hand. There were so many notes I had and questions for my managers, my brain immediately started spinning.
I remember to this day, I was staring at hundreds of marked up papers and almost a full notebook of handwritten notes on my desk. I then started to compile an email of learnings to my team. Shuffling through the pages, I knew I needed a better way to organize my takeaways.
Especially on the go, I knew I wouldn’t be able to keep printing out these reports, but I knew I still needed to do my annotations. The issue was that most of these reports were PDFs, and it was a hassle to find tools to make these active annotations. This is when I found Polar, an incremental reading and annotation tool that helps me organize and create incredible insights for all my readings.
I was really looking for a way to add value to my team in a new way, I had done all this reading and work, but I needed to produce something. With Polar I created a personal process for learning new topics and becoming an expert in B2B payments. I am now obsessed with having all my readings and annotations in one place, organized. After sharing the tool with my team, it seemed like we all went digital overnight, allowing our transition to remote working to be a seamless (and paperless) process.
Learning and ability to learn fast is actually the biggest catalyst to becoming a high performer for your teams. I’ve noticed with my managers and co-workers the most successful leaders all place a huge emphasis on reading consistently and finding new ways to learn. This is why Polar is always the tab I have open, and one of my first recommendations to young leaders in tech.