GE 318: How Ex Semi-Pro Chess Player Danny Rensch Grew a Website to ~5 Million Active Users! (podcast) With Danny Rensch

Danny Rensch
Hey everyone! Today, I share the mic with Danny Rensch, the Chief Chess Officer at Chess.com, American Chess Master, event organizer, lecturer and commentator.
Tune in to hear how Danny transitioned from playing professional chess to owning a domain with 30 million accounts, how Chess.com was able to tap into their market’s needs and why Danny finds riding his lawnmower his most useful tool.

Time-Stamped Show Notes:

  • [00:41] Before we jump into today’s interview, please rate, review, and subscribe to the Growth Everywhere Podcast!
  • [01:35] Danny played chess somewhat professionally throughout his teens.
  • [01:56] When the Internet boom began, he started moving away from professional chess and more towards creating content.
  • [02:42] Danny bought ChessCoaching.com in the hopes of creating a place for tips and tricks for chess players, when he ended up doing more work for Chess.com.
  • [03:36] Danny’s title is supposed to be a clearer indication of what he does, as opposed to being called a Vice President.
  • [05:40] Chess.com works hard to grow their domain.
  • [06:35] They try to create unique experiences for the community.
  • [08:30] Chess.com has 30 Million accounts, which comes out to 4.5-5 million active users.
  • [09:42] Danny has been worked for Chess.com for nearly 11 years.
  • [11:25] A Diamond Membership costs $100/year.
  • [11:30] A Platinum Membership is $75/year.
  • [11:42] A Gold Membership is the lowest tier in the system and gets you the basics.
  • [15:20] Chess.com was able to tap into the needs of their market.
  • [17:35] They are building a social following and have just started using Instagram.
  • [17:50] Chess.com just hired their first social media person.
  • [22:00] The biggest misconception about top chess players is that they are savants.
  • [24:45] One major struggle Danny’s company faced has been figuring out how to pick the right tech stacks to build for the future.
  • [26:38] There are 3.5 million chess games played on their site every day.
  • [29:31] One new tool that Danny has found useful is his riding lawnmower.
  • [30:12] Danny recommends the book Game Changer. 

Resources From The Interview:

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