Nathan Firth - Founder of NewRocket
ServiceNow continues to change the way our modern-day world works. But the world of ServiceNow has many layers, it's not just one company/software set to impact the business world. For Nathan Firth, the platform also created an incredible opportunity. Firth has worked with/around ServiceNow for over 11 years and has made a huge impact in the ecosystem with the founding of NewRocket, a ServiceNow partner focused on improving the employee portal experience.
Who are you and what is your business about?
“I’m the founder and former CEO of NewRocket, a San Diego based ServiceNow partner. Originally from Örebro, Sweden, I now live in San Diego with my beautiful wife and three kids. With over 3 decades of experience in web development and design, I began my ServiceNow journey in 2012 as an early employee at ServiceNow, working on the User Interface (UI) team. After a brief stint with a ServiceNow partner, I was invited by the founder, Fred Luddy, to return to ServiceNow and lead the development and architecture of the Service Portal platform. Recognizing the demand for ServiceNow-based portals, I founded NewRocket, Inc. in 2016,” said Firth.
NewRocket launched in 2016, and Firth led the organization as its CEO for the first 5 years. During that time the company grew to over 50 employees, building a strong workforce made up of UX & UI designers, web developers, and strategists, that could help deliver extraordinary experiences and results for its customers.
How long were you with your own company?
“After five years of growth, many lessons learned, we made the decision to sell it in 2021. Although I'm no longer the CEO, it's been incredible to see the business continue to grow and thrive with over 500 employees today,” said Firth.
While his journey into ServiceNow and starting his own business was rewarding, Firth admits there were many sleepless nights. After all, as a bootstrapped start-up, resources are limited, and demands founders stay incredibly flexible and resourceful, working across multiple roles and doing whatever is needed.
What’s it like to run your own business?
“Running a growing business is not for the faint of heart. It's a wild journey filled with lots of opportunities and excitement. It demands long hours, working on weekends, and juggling lots of different tasks and roles. Especially as you bring employees on board, the added responsibility for their financial well-being introduces an extra layer of stress. But despite the challenges and stresses of running a business, entrepreneurship is still an amazing and rewarding experience,” said Firth.
Before starting NewRocket, Firth was actively involved in the ServiceNow community, writing blogs posts, tutorials, and creating many free resources. Those posts helped him gain a sizable audience within the ServiceNow developer community. Little did he know that it would help lay a great foundation for starting a business, with many of those followers becoming some of his early customers.
Were there any key factors in your start up and what were they?
“Teaming up with my co-founder, Todd Bashor, whom I had previously worked with at ServiceNow, was a key factor to our success. We work great together; our skill sets are complimentary, and we pushed each other to think bigger and find new creative solutions to problems,” Said Firth. “Never stop innovating. We’re constantly looking for new solutions, creating new accelerators, themes, widgets, and products. The goal has always been to deliver as much value as possible to the customer in the shortest amount of time. Finally, we chose to grow the business organically, without taking on any external investment, which forced us to be very frugal and expand the business based on customer demand.”
According to Firth, NewRocket specializes in improving the end-user experience on ServiceNow through the design and development of employee portals, intranets, and native mobile apps. However, since its acquisition, NewRocket has expanded its services across the entire platform, now with offerings spanning IT, employee and customer service workflows, as well as risk and resilience.
If you had one thing you know now that you wish you knew when you started, what would that be?
“Don’t be afraid to fail. Dream big and just go for it. Having a plan is great, but no amount of planning can prepare you for the future unknowns, so just start, but be quick to pivot and adjust as you go,” said Firth.
Firth has made those adjustments over the years as he watched the ServiceNow ecosystem continue to grow. With an ever changing environment, Firth has been able to adapt to various challenges and circumstances. Through his adaptations and adjustments, Firth gets to see the industry from various points of view.
What does it mean for you to be here and contributing to the community?
“ServiceNow has a great and vibrant ecosystem, and ServiceNow has managed to maintain over 20% growth year over year. By working in the ServiceNow ecosystem, whether that is as a services or technology partner, we get to tag along for the ride and benefit from that growth as more and more customers adopt the platform and require services and solutions,” said Firth.
To Firth, it's more than just a program that helps companies manage themselves. Of course at the base level, it's just that, a business tool. But in the hands of someone like Firth, ServiceNow can build business relationships, which in turn makes the community around ServiceNow more cohesive.
What do you like most about being in the ServiceNow community?
“Definitely the people. Going to Knowledge is one of the highlights of every year, because I get to see so many old friends and be surrounded by so many quality people. Even when I first founded NewRocket, two other ServiceNow partners rallied around me and paid for my ticket and hotel for Knowledge. In what other tech community would you see something like that,” said Firth.
As in any industry, people look to make their mark or excel. Firth is no different, wanting to see companies take full advantage of their investment in ServiceNow. Firth focuses on reimagining the end-user experience on ServiceNow, and in turn is helping to improve the working-lives of millions of employees from around the world.
What type of impact do you want to make in ServiceNow?
“I hope to inspire people to push the limits of the user experience within ServiceNow. Today, as consumers, we have become too accustomed to great experiences in our daily lives, whether that be Uber, DoorDash, or Netflix, so why wouldn’t we design our enterprise systems to provide that same level of experience at work? I hope to see more customers and partners invest in UX and UI, integrate new frameworks, try new ideas, and deliver new innovative user experiences across desktop portals and mobile apps,” said Firth.
Thanks to his hard work and dedication, Firth is seeing a huge increase in demand for NewRockets services, with a thriving and growing team, and a long list of “raving-fan” customers. From his roots at the beginning, to growing and eventually selling the company, Firth remains committed to improving the digital workplace experiences within enterprise companies world-wide.
What advice/tips do you have for upcoming entrepreneurs?
“Find your niche. There are a ton of general companies out there, so find something you’re passionate about and specialize in it. This will also make it easier to determine who your customers are, who to hire, and how to differentiate yourself from competitors,” said Firth.
"I try to stay pretty active within the ServiceNow community, usually by blogging, creating tutorials, or videos that I post on www.serviceportal.io. Also my latest website, www.snjobs.com, where you can search all the latest ServiceNow jobs around the world or create a candidate profile where employers can reach out to you directly with opportunities."
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