entrepreneurship

I found myself reading an entrepreneurship  forum today talking about the Inc Article.     I thought I would post here as well as some others might find this useful.

1. I hardly call myself lazy or a sloth. I built the site in 2 weeks 5 years ago. Since then and even now all the user interaction happens in only a handful of pages. At the end of the day there are only so many ways in which you can reorder the search results. It’s like trying to rearrange the deck chairs on the titanic, it accomplishes nothing.

2. The only way to grow a site once its running its self is to have brilliant ideas. Great ideas don’t come from sitting in front of the computer screen for 8 hours of the day wondering what to do next. You have to inspired or have a really deep understanding of what is going on. So a Brilliant idea may start a business but you need to have many many more brilliant ideas if you are going to go from one of many to an industry leader.

3. Opportunity/luck doesn’t come to you, You are the one that creates it. I debated with myself for weeks before posting the million dollar check, and I figured the best way of doing that was by creating a blog and give myself a voice. I knew my free site competitors where going to venture capitalists and asking for huge sums of money, and my competitors where claiming to be first movers etc. After posting that check their chances of raising money went to 0. The wall street journal called after reading that post. WSJ article came out, next day the Today Show Called. The next week my total US site traffic was up over 50% and kept on growing. In Fact many things i’ve written on my blog have made it into the national papers. Inc Magazine story was a result of my blog, and i’ll be going on a national talk show next week again as a direct result of my blog. I post a lot of things on my blog, many of which seem like bragging, but when reporters read that it gives them an idea for a story which is the whole point of a blog anyways.

4. Work smart not hard. If all you do is work hard making incremental improvements you are just like a hamster running in a wheel and never really getting anywhere. If you want to get somewhere you need to come up with great ideas, or something that is significantly better than the competition and execute on that. Then you go back again and do the same thing over and over. Far too many people think entrepreneurship is like an attendance award, where you can win just by showing up.

64 Responses to “entrepreneurship”

  1. maybedrunk Says:

    While the RMMB isn’t exactly an “entrepreneurship forum,” it’s certainly filled with a lot of folks (including myself) who are interested in the topic.

    I really admire what you’ve done. A lot of people think that they have to build systems where they become more and more of a critical component, working harder and longer, but rarely ever smarter. There are only a few people on the Internet (you and Tim Ferriss come to mind) that advocate working hard to create a system that allows for “laziness” later.

    It’s pretty silly, if you think about it. Many people fantasize about “living the good life” but often wind up living a life the exact opposite of that in pursuit of the funds to pull it off.

    One thing that always gets me is the issue of work that isn’t considered work. When I was younger, I was always getting in trouble for spending too much time “playing” on the computer. In that time, I was learning how Google worked, how to code HTML and CSS, how to use Photoshop, and other skills that have since earned me a pretty nice amount of money. People often seem to discount the fun/interesting learning you have to work at to make your actual “work” successful.

  2. Michael Farah Says:

    This is my first time responding to a blog but felt that I had to say a few words. I run a mobile dating site in South Africa which we spent a lot of time, effort and money building and so I regurlarly read this blog for the great info you can get out of it.

    I read the INC article this morning and forwarded it on to some colleagues along with this response since both are insightful.

    The work harder \ smarter debate is something that often comes up in our business and so is subsequently something I think about quite often. Whilst I’ve always been a hard worker and felt that one needed to put in the hours in order to succeed, I’ve gradually come to learn and belive that working smarter is defintely the key and this is what seperates the mega succesfull from the rest.

    Markus, please keep writing your blog and we’ll keep reading it. Fantastic stuff!

  3. John Says:

    Hey Markus, you know how you say “never listen to your users they don’t know what they are saying” ? Its the same thing with critics, ignorieren! You’ve kicked some serious ass now get ready to exit when the markets come back and then do it again!

    Tschüss

  4. FN Says:

    Awesome! You’re my hero!

    I’m reminded of this Harvard study that shows that “market timing,” i.e. knowing when to start and exit a business, is a skill and not luck as many people assume. You totally nailed it with PoF and odds are you have the skill to do it again. Great stuff!!

  5. rnd Says:

    great post!
    I would add a 5th point:
    - When ever you think you found out a great idea, don’t start the development until few days later… some time great ideas dilute in just few days.

  6. eric shannon Says:

    Markus, I’m a diehard Inc. Magazine reader and was thrilled to find the article about you there. I think you came off very well – no need to worry about work ethic.

    Smart business people reading that article know how valuable the time is that you spend thinking about the business outside your office and you highlight that beautifully in this blog post.

    I admire you a lot for staying “small” – you hit a whole bunch of themes of great interest to me.

    Reading about you back when you posted your million-dollar check was inspirational and I am still working to execute on those ideas in the job board industry…

    Very glad to have found your blog – please keep writing:)

    Your fan in Boulder,
    Eric

  7. John Says:

    You are talking about inspiration. What inspired you?

    also can you please elaborate on how you got your deep understanding in the field?

    Thanks for an eye openning article and post.

  8. David Says:

    that’s a great article

    will be coming in here more often =)

  9. entrepreneurship « The Paradigm Shift | thepostingsecrets Says:

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  10. Claudino Says:

    Markus – I have lived most of my adult life in a blue collar field believing that hard work eventually pays off in the end. And I do believe there is something to be said about a person that can go out every day and exhaust themselves to create a better life for their kids. However, What I have come to learn is that hard work is not measured by sweat and blisters that accumulate over time, but by constantly pushing yourself to the edge, and every now and then jumping off. You may not always find that perfect wind to keep you going and it does sometimes hurt when you crash, but when you do catch it, embrace it and enjoy the ride.

    Looking forward to reading on

  11. James Says:

    I read the article yesterday. Interesting. I’m going to join soon, went through a divorce last summer … getting to the point to date again, I guess. You mentioned something about a new job site (in the Inc. article). An idea that I have would be strictly using video resumes and a brief bio/caption, something monster and careerbuilder are not doing. The videos have to be done well enough by people, realizing there are putting themselves out there to be viewed for a job. I am sure some of this is already being done on YouTube, etc … MySpace, Facebook might have people doing that specifically, I don’t know. Hey, with a lot of people out of work now, this could be a good market.

  12. Sockmoney Says:

    Great interview Marcus. I really appreciate your perspective on your business (and on life in general!). I was telling my wife I felt like I could relate to you in so many ways.

    Your tip on not going overboard with end-users advice since they typically represent a small fraction of your user-base really hit home with me. I use to find myself jumping through hoops to build every feature request that came in. Then I realized after building it, 95% of my users didn’t care to use it, nor did they care to even see it.

    Nowadays I simply stick to features I think add big value to the majority of users, and things that add big value to my bottom line (advertising revenue).

    It was very nice to read about someone very much like myself. I spent the last 8 years building my site up to be as self-sufficient as possible. I too am a solo-act. I spend just a few hours in the morning each day checking reports and stats and making sure all the lights are on and working okay. And I make six figures a year while doing it.

    I know there is a lot more of us out there… but it is really great to read about someone like you who has taken your business to the level it has achieved, and stayed grounded.

    I applaud you for sticking to your plan to keep things simple, and not selling out to try and go big and corporate. In a sense, you are a hero to all of us.

    Enjoy your days of leisure playing Risk (my favorite) and going for walks. You only get one life, and you are making the most of it.

    Regards,
    Sockmoney

  13. notimpressed Says:

    “The only way to grow a site once its running its self is to have brilliant ideas.”

    And your brilliant idea was?

  14. sejald79 Says:

    We have a “whale” of an idea in a different arena. Would you be willing to help?

  15. Howard Stern Says:

    Do you mind giving me the name of the “free software to manage ad inventory” they mentioned in your article? Or a link to it?

  16. Daniel Gibbons Says:

    @ Howard Stern: I imagine it’s Google Ad Manager. I use it on some other sites and it is pretty powerful and getting better all the time. We looked at setting up OpenX (and in fact they now have a hosted version), but it seemed far more complex without any significant additional features.

  17. Keep Your Hunting Website Simple « DayneShuda.com Says:

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  18. The New Internet Millionaires | GadgetPaper.com, Daily Gadgets, Cellphone, Computer, Electronics, and Related Technology News Says:

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  19. sky captain Says:

    Read the Inc article. Very interesting. I am amazed at the success of PoF, i had never heard of it before. and its so ugly, but thats just my opinion, obviously enough people are finding it useful.

    The only thing I wanna say is its quite ridiculous of you to complain about high taxes in Canada ( as you did in Inc interview), are you aware that most people around you work hard all day and make a fraction of what you make. And they still pay similar taxes as you?
    You are making 10mil/yr doing almost nothing, for you to complain about taxes is just shameless.
    How many fellow canadians who form your revenue stream, can afford to vacation on French Riveria sipping expensive wine??
    You come across very arrogant in the Inc article that just came out.

  20. B man Says:

    Markus,

    Love the picture in the article of your office and you behind the lonely desk. It’s perfect. It’s refreshing to hear your story among all the hoopla of junk people say you have to do to be a successful company.

    I previously helped create a lead generation site for mortgage leads. There were about 5 of us. We ran all paid advertisements, sent people to our landing pages and sold the info to various mortgage companies…all automatically. Our biggest year we made 8 million. So I hear ya on the automated part. We basically sat around all day playing Age. If you want a challenge, let me know. :) Thanks to the mortgagae and credit implosion, I have extra time on my hands lol.

  21. Paul Says:

    I take a very tiny issue with 4, its not neccessarily a “great idea” that results in success rather it is execution of an idea. A free online dating site is not rocket science. Anyone could have come up with that idea, and many have. I think your a good example of execution; how your site is laid out and how the user interacts with it is something unique and different than anything else and also the database design behind the whole thing. It is execution of an idea, great or mediocre, that will result in success.

  22. Howard Stern Says:

    Thanks Daniel!

  23. Pemo Theodore Says:

    Thanks Markus your words about entrepreneurship are indeed inspiring & very close to the mark! Best Pemo Theodore, AstraMatch

  24. Pemo Theodore Says:

    Check out Online Dating ~ Twitter Groups ~ onlinedating at http://tinyurl.com/6ut8o7

  25. DineSXM Says:

    I’m a regular contributor to WmW, which pointed me to the inc. magazine article. Your WmW posts from 2006, on the PoF site itself as well as the technical considerations have been incredibly inspiring. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    On the DineSXM blog, I just wrote “Bringing people together on a dating site is much like bringing guests into a restaurant.” – your comments on simplicity and volume are echoing our approach to the fullest. Glad to have found out about your blog and hoping to keep learning as I continue reading.

    Norbert

  26. drdr Says:

    You might want to work on the arrogance thing. I doubt that’ll help your traffic #s.

  27. Work smart not hard | nPost Blog Says:

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  28. ThisGlobe.com Blogs » Happy Quote Says:

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  29. Alexander Kintis Says:

    Well put.

  30. michaelferrari Says:

    Very good article. Love tha way you manage business “A la Tim Ferriss”.

  31. Yo Adrian Says:

    Hey Markus, been reading about you a lot lately, first in Inc.

    My favorite quote from the article hands down was this gem regarding the requests for new features: “I don’t listen to these users… the people who suggest things are the vocal minority who have stupid ideas that only apply to their little niches.”

    It took me years to fully understand how true this simple statement is. I run a decent size online affiliate program and have always tweaked things to appeal to people who request things… then I stopped, and a year later there’s been no drop in our affiliate base or activity. Even the people who would suggest features that weren’t implemented are still happy.

    What talk show are you / were you on?

  32. Spying on Customers & SEO Data Aggregation | GetBux Says:

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  33. JoeDuck Says:

    Proving that Canadians have all the fun. Way to go Markus.

  34. Spying on Customers & SEO Data Aggregation | SEO Tips Mashup Says:

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  37. ICSTARINTHEHOUSE Says:

    This is hands-down the best entrepreneurial pointers I have ever read, and I have read a lot. Please continue to writing relevant info on your blog and I hope you get into a venture capital role.

  38. Your Full of Crap Says:

    I’m calling you out for being full of crap. If you were so smart and rich you could afford a WordPress blog with your own domain and we would see adsense on it. You are full of shit dude!

  39. PK Says:

    Markus,

    Awesome inspiration and I agree. I would add that at the end of the day – everything begins with belief. If one can believe in a future – one can create it. Beliefs are powerful, words even more…action is the sum of belief in your words. So to all those that dream – believe, write it down, do something every day – even if it’s only for 1 minute of your day – do something and watch it grow. Avoid negative people and thinking. Fight the good fight.

    As I said before…all the money in the world will never buy you a second of yesterday. So make each day a great memory on which to begin the next…

    PK

  40. Adeel Says:

    Hi Frind,

    I am impressed with your smartness, keep it up. Is there any way I can get some piece of advise about the ventures I am working on.

    See my domesticList.com, eFirmSolutiosn.com

    Adeel

  41. business Says:

    You can baffle & bs people with brilliance most times but honestly listening to the public should give you clear idea’s of it’s wants & needs..more opinions will alway create better judgements for progress later..

  42. SEO Costa Rica » Blog Archive » Spying on Customers & SEO Data Aggregation Says:

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  43. nch Says:

    hi, you can learn me about SEO

  44. David Says:

    Hi Markus,

    Thank you for inspiring me to keep going. I have my own solo web business that has been off to a slow start, but your blog as well as reading and studying about asp.net, seo, adsense, adwords, etc, keeps me learning and growing. Just thought you might like to know that there are some of us out here that really appreciate you sharing your knowledge and experiences. Keep up the great work!

    Best wishes,
    David

  45. Brandon Uttley Says:

    Markus, the Inc. story was definitely one that will inspire a lot of people to pursue their dreams. I commend you for creating such an incredibly successful business model–on your terms.

  46. Spying on Customers & SEO Data Aggregation : india sem Says:

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  47. Wealth and Wisdom - Wealth and life balance through entrepreneurship » Link love-Several Great Posts on Entrepreneurship Says:

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  48. Red Says:

    Shit on those idiots that call you arrogant – I think you’re great – congrats on your idea/work paying off! You are an inspiration =) !!

  49. CasualEncounters.com Says:

    As above. It helps to be a little cocky. It hurts only to be so arrogant that you’re not interesting in learning.

  50. John Warraich Says:

    I agree when you say work smart rather than working hard.

    BUT even a brilliant idea goes down the drain with hard work and even a not-so-brilliant-idea plus hard work can earn you a decent living (sure it will not make you a millionaire).

    At least that is how i look at it.

    -JOHN.
    Matressqueen(dot)org Editor.

  51. Shailendra Singh Says:

    Really Very Good Information.
    Some new resources for your, thanks

    http://seo-genius/blogspot.com

  52. Eric Says:

    Good advice, I do the same..

    Sendn.com
    Email marketing and delivery

  53. Adam Says:

    Markus,
    I just read the INC article about you.

    I’ve worked for 3-of the “Major Job Boards”

    You could create the next “killer App” in Job Hunting.

    OVER NIGHT, you could single handedly cut the revenue in HALF of one of the Majors that has a 200+ person Salesforce going after Recruiters.
    (they do several $100MM in Rev to Recruiters).

    Recruiters (3rd Party/Sole Proprietor and or/Firms)—are ALWAYS looking for something for nothing.

    If I knew how to code, I’d figure out a way to “Mashup” all the Social Networks—offer up a complete “Profile” of a Candidate to a Recruiter.

    They’d PAY (if you did not want to rely on ADS)—BIG BUCKS for that!

    All these guys are TORQUED UP about “Social Sites” (now calling themselves Social Media Experts–HA! what a joke!).

    Anyway, here are some of the “Big Billers” if you want to track what they are saying:

    http://www.billvick.com/ramblings/

    and this guy (he’s doing NOTHING your average Joe SHOULD already know—-but making $$$$ charging people to show them how to Search Profiles on LinkedIN!..*HUH*?!?!?

    http://aces.arbita.net/shally/

  54. Rick Text Says:

    Great article about your thoughts. Great job on your site. I saw an article a couple of years ago about your google adsense income and that you were a one man operation.

    Great job on building this site and getting buzz.

    Rick

  55. Keep Your Hunting Website Simple Says:

    [...] Frind in the post “entrepreneurship” on his blog “The Paradigm Shift” [...]

  56. Kent Dinning Says:

    Markus:

    I would like to send you an email, or send you a letter ( not on a blog for the public to read ) how would I go about doing that )

    Thank you,

    Kent Dinning
    Aurora, ,Ontario, Canada

  57. dallas wedding planner – Quote: Work smart not hard! Says:

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  58. Lessons on Entrepreneurship You Can Learn from an Internet Dating Maverick | DreamAndSeek.com Says:

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  59. Fish Killer Says:

    Hey Marcus what are you doing about the serial killer on your fish site that has been killing women. How is it that its not all over the place yet. Your system sucks and it can not stay free forever. You will be forced to charge a fee to stop these maniacs from killing again. I recommend a paid service. Marcus is only init for the money the ads provide for him. I have met marcus in person years back and he really needs to do something before he finds himself in a bad place.

  60. Ron Says:

    Hi Marcus

    I love what you said “work smart not hard”. You can only make so much money from working hard, working smart can make you alot of money!

  61. Medical apps Says:

    SO how its going to smart work its just a hard work.

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  63. SAHAS Monthly Update — September 2012 » Kshitij Says:

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