Lessons Learned Building Moz


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Rand Fishkin's presentation on lessons learned building SEOmoz.

Published in: Technology, Business
  • Marketing is far more important than your product.
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  • Thanks for sharing this Rand.

    I definitely think point #8 is what most startups and entrepreneurs should take away: you are not Facebook, Apple, Dropbox, Instagram or Google, so stop using them as your benchmark!

    It always feels silly when people say 'We're the next Facebook!'

    No, you're not. You're building something different (or at least I hope you are) and you should use your own measurements for success.

    Thanks again!

    PS. I didn't think someone would bring a baby as a team member in a startup, but... I guess their adorableness is an asset.
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  • @kevgreen18 bunny? Not sure I'm familiar with that.

    In terms of debt, it was primarily credit cards, some equipment loans and some small business lines of credit. The total we took out was ~$200K, but once you can't make the minimum payments, the debtload quickly spirals. We eventually paid it back on the strength of a few consulting clients and were nearly debt free just prior to taking our first venture round in 2007.

    In terms of profit - our gross margin has been ~80%, but we reinvest nearly all of that into growth, as is the venture-backed model. We don't take or pay dividends and don't intend to for a long time to come, as we've got far more projects to invest in to drive growth :-)
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  • Well done you. If the turnover is profit more than vanity then that's even better. We remember you coming into play as a bit of a fruitcake with that frickin bunny. People laughed then as they did with us, but who's laughing now? BTW, our t/over is as good but like you, we hit hard times. Guess we both made the mistake of not doing a PESTEL or SWOT first?

    Perhaps adding these kind of tips to the budding entrepreneur would work, along with letting the reader know how you got out of the hole? Was it venture capital, putting up your houses etc. People need to know how hard it is, but equally as you've proved, how worthwhile it can be if you persevere.

    Good luck and may your turnover double each year now. :)
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  • These are great lessons for any entrepreneur!
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Lessons Learned Building Moz

  1. 12 Lessons LearnedBuilding SEOmoz Rand Fishkin, CEO Download at http://bit.ly/mozlessons2012
  2. $450K+ in personal debt sucks… a lot.
  3. On track for $20mm+ this year
  4. #1: Establish Core Valueshttp://www.seomoz.org/blog/what-we-believe-why-seomozs-tagfee-tenets
  5. #2: Stick to Your Values, (Especially When It’s Hard)“The core values embodied in our credo might be acompetitive advantage, but that is not why we havethem. We have them because they define for us whatwe stand for, and we would hold them even if theybecame a competitive disadvantage.”- Ralph S. Larsen, CEO of Johnson & Johnson http://www.jimcollins.com/article_topics/articles/good-to-great.html
  6. #3: Build a Team that Matches Your Values http://blog.eladgil.com/2012/04/never-ever-compromise-hiring-for.html
  7. #4: Marketing Matters as Much as Producthttp://www.seomoz.org/blog/i-disagree-with-fred-marketing-is-for-companies-that-have-great-products
  8. #5: Make Customer Acquisition Cost a Competitive Advantage Paid Channels Only 15% of Moz’s customers come via paid channels; hence our cost to acquire customers is ~$73 and payback period is 0.7 months! ThisInbound meant we could grow and invest, even when we couldn’t raise outside funding.
  9. #6: Don’t Be Afraid of Letting People Go
  10. #7: You Are Not the Customer.
  11. #8: Don’t Let Outliers Become a Yardstick or a Trend AKA: You are not these five companies
  12. #9: Humility is the Most Overlooked, Undervalued Trait in Startupland
  13. #10: The Price of Success is Failure After Failure After Failure.This is when Geraldine started her blog
  14. #10: The Price of Success is Failure After Failure After Failure. This is where people usually give up.
  15. #10: The Price of Success is Failure After Failure After Failure.Past 3 months are averaging 3.5K visits/day
  16. #11: Best Way to Get Startup Experience – Join a Startup
  17. #12: Don’t Go It Alone
  18. Download this deck:http://bit.ly/mozlessons2012