GE 218: How Mike Dudas Grew His Mobile Monetization Biz Button to Tens of Millions in Revenue in 3 Years (podcast) With Mike Dudas

Mike Dudas - Button

Hey everyone, today I share the mic with Mike Dudas, co-founder and CRO of Button, a company that helps retailers realize the power of mobile by allowing seamless interconnected services to complement relevant products.

Tune in to hear how Mike has leaned on a unique combination of sound business and dumb luck to create a habitual winner, what the team did to grow Button 10X in 1 year and drive tens of millions in revenue within 3 years, how a fortunate change in Uber’s business model allowed Button to succeed early on, and the process they go through to find, court and hire the right people.

Download podcast transcript [PDF] here: How Mike Dudas Grew His Mobile Monetization Biz Button to $10M in Revenue in 3 Years TRANSCRIPT

Time-Stamped Show Notes:

  • 00:34 – Review and subscribe to the Growth Everywhere Podcast
  • 00:54 – Eric welcomes Mike Dudas
  • 01:00 – Button helps retailers realize the power of mobile by allowing seamlessly interconnected services to complement relevant products
  • 01:22 – Mike has been working in the technology industry for 10 years now
    • 01:33 – Started with Medianet Technologies, a startup based in New York City. He spent another 3 and a half years at Google and worked at Braintree/Venmo for a couple of years before starting Button in 2014
  • 01:53 – Shifted his focus from media and ad technology to commerce and payments
  • 02:05 – Got a chance to work on Google Wallet which helped him make the transition to commerce and payments
  • 02:38 – Button has a fantastic team consisting of ex-Google and ex-Facebook employees
  • 03:23 – Works with retailers and merchants to acquire new mobile app users from a number of publisher sources
  • 03:40 – Hard to find cost-effective options to acquire new users outside of Google and Facebook. Button is attempting to address this market gap
  • 04:10 – Mike shares the important numbers around Button
    • 04:15 – Button has more than 50 people
    • 04:21 – Have raised $34 million on the back of a strong revenue story
    • 04:30 – Revenues have increased 10x in the past one year
  • 05:03 – Looked at pain points for consumers and builders for mobile commerce businesses, and discovered that the affiliate channel on desktop was totally nonexistent. Button is attempting to bridge this gap between advertising and commerce
  • 06:52 – “Button” permits product integration on the publisher page and is incredibly effective in driving traffic to another merchant website
  • 09:21 – Merchant pays for the lead driven by the publisher. It can be a flat fee or a percentage of the transaction
  • 10:03 – Large scale shopping and loyalty apps are using “Buttons” in a big way. Metasearch sites like Skyscanner are also using “Buttons” to streamline the payment process and increase conversion rates
  • 11:30 – What is the one thing that is working really well for you in terms of customer acquisition? – Referrals and an experienced sales team
  • 13:11 – You will have to answer 3 questions when you are selling: Why should I do this, why should I do this with you, and why should I do this now?
  • 13:44 – Difficult to convince clients to invest in “Buttons” since most companies are resource constrained on the mobile side
    • 14:25 – Secure money and secure advisory roles from people who believe in your business
    • 15:14 – Really challenging to find the right people — Using your referrals and partner recommendations is a great way to facilitate this
  • 17:12 – Take a casual approach to courting talent and investors
  • 18:14 – A great internal recruiting team does intensive outreach and negates the need for using outside recruiting agencies
  • 19:53 – What’s the one big struggle you faced while growing Button? – Initially Button tried to sell the concept of coalition loyalty. But they found that retention via loyalty was not a top priority for companies in hyper-growth mode. They faced a difficult time till 2014 Q3.
  • 21:40 – Uber opened up their API which enabled adding an Uber button to other websites. Eventually other companies opened up their API’s and the need arose to have a company like Button handle this business function in a dedicated manner
  • 23:10 – What’s one new tool that you’ve added in the last year that’s added a lot of value to you? – Slack: Enables Mike to be in constant contact with teammates, peers and customers
  • 24:54 – What’s one must-read book you recommend to everyone?
    • 24:57 – The PayPal Wars: Battles with eBay, the Media, the Mafia, and the Rest of Planet Earth – “Reading about how incredible people in technology like Peter Thiel, Elon Musk, Keith Rabois, Reid Hoffman and so many others were working together and battling this behemoth eBay and creating a trust based new payment economy”
    • 25:47 – Chaos Monkeys: Obscene Fortune and Random Failure in Silicon Valley – “About growing your business in Silicon Valley over the five years”
    • 25:58 – Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike – “My favorite recent business book and a must read for everyone”
  • 26:24 – Connect with Mike on Twitter
  • 27:44 – Check out Growth Everywhere for a ton of additional resources
  • 27:50 – Subscribe to our podcast and get access to value packed content

3 Key Points:

  1. Secure money and secure advisory roles from people who believe in your business.
  2. It is really challenging to find the right people — Using your referrals and partner recommendations is a great way to facilitate this.
  3. You will have to answer 3 questions when you are selling: Why should I do this, why should I do this with you, and why should I do this now?

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