James: Let’s talk about when you started your new business. Obviously, you had all this experience running a massive business before with a huge team. And I imagine, it was probably when you had the complicated business, it was probably a little dream that I think a lot of entrepreneurs have is, I just remember the good old days when it was simple.
You know, it’s like, you have this huge cappuccino machine and it keeps breaking and you’re just, I remember the good old days when I had a stove top, it was this simple. What was your little grab bag, your starter kit? Of everything you’d learned, what was your essential starter kit that someone listening to this episode, who’s in the early stages of their business, that they’re probably hitting the straps now and they’re starting to get some momentum, what would you say is absolutely essential?
Rand: Yeah, so big, big changes from Moz to SparkToro, for me, included how we funded the business, how we thought about profitability versus growth rate.
So essentially, funding, no venture, we raised some angel money, was in a very unique structure, we can pay dividends if we want, yada yada. If you google SparkToro funding and you’re interested, we even open sourced our documents so that other people can use them without having to pay a lawyer.
The second big thing was in terms of thinking about speed of progress versus sustainability. So one of the things that, unfortunately, the Silicon Valley Tech world, which definitely infected me up in Seattle, and infected me doubly so because we had raised venture, was this idea that growth rate is everything, and you have to grow at all costs. As a result of that, I really believed at Moz that hiring more people, building a bigger team, you know, juicing the numbers as much as possible, was the most important thing we could do.
At SparkToro, Casey and I have a very different philosophy, which is essentially, we want to be sustainable, we want to be very, very generous to customers and to our community, and the world around us, and rely on the fact that that goodwill will carry us through and build a great brand over a long period. And if we have to wait seven or eight years to pay back our investors and start making a lot more money, we’re okay with that. We’re comfortable building a business over a long period of time, instead of sort of burning out and growing fast to meet investor expectations.
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