Ep02: Moz CEO Rand Fishkin Reveals How He Built A Company That Did $21.9 Million In Revenue With Rand Fishkin

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Note: This is one of the earlier interviews I did and I forgot to enable my microphone so I apologize for the somewhat average sound quality. Please also forgive me for shifting my eyes around too much as I wasn’t accustomed to interviewing just yet 🙂

Today’s guest is Moz CEO Rand Fishkin. Rand was kind enough to stop by to share his journey on powering through debt to build a profitable business and thoughts on company culture. We also cover the topic of inbound marketing, a topic that has been growing in interest over the last few years.

Here’s the interview:

Key Takeaways

  • When it comes to content marketing, you should consider building a marketing flywheel.
  • Should every company blog in the traditional sense? No – sometimes it makes sense to spend a long time on cornerstone content. Need help doing that? Here’s a post on 5 strategic steps to big content.
  • Companies that are doing content marketing right:
  • On company culture
    • You need to build a strong culture and stick with it. How you hire and how you fire is based off of your core values. Some people might be exceptional talent-wise but if they aren’t a culture fit, they aren’t a fit at your company.
  • Don’t go into debt to finance a company
  • Stay persistent – for example, it took Moz a very long time to get their series C round of funding.
  • Rand’s favorite business book: Billionaire Who Wasn’t.

Image credit: Thos003

Transcript

Eric: Hello everyone, welcome to this week’s edition of growth everywhere where we introduce successful entrs and interview them and bring you successful work tips on how you grow your business. today we have Rand Fishkin who is a CEO and founder of MOZ which is inbound marketing software that helps you grow your business online and he is also a well known speaker in the inetrnet marketing space and he is also the co founder of inbound.org where you can get the latest internet marketing news. how are you doing today Rand?

Rand: I’m a little under the weather. But I’m sure I’ll recover soon. thanks for having me Eric.

Eric: Hope you get better soon. you know i wanna dive into this right here. in 2012, you know, MOZ was really doing well. i know you guys did 18 million revenue, 16 thousand customers according to the blog post that I’ve read. so how are things right now?

Rand: yeah, let’ see…. in 2012 we did 21.9 million in revenue and at the end of the year we got 19 thousand plus.

Eric: Got it. okay, so how are things looking today?

Rand: so what we’re trying to do in between 29 and 39 this year and we’ve got about 22 thousand in subscribers right now.

Eric: got it. okay, cool. do you wanna give our audience like a quick two or three sentence overview of what MOZ does exactly?

Rand: sure. so we make software primarily for professional land marketers _01:31_ or agency marketers to help them measure and improve inbound channels and social media content marketing branded mentions links those kinds.

Eric: Got it. okay, perfect. so you know, a few years ago you guys made a junk from doing consulting, like marketing consulting and you decided to go more towards like a product focus. what was kind of the aha moment that when you figured out that product is the right way to go and to move away from consulting.

Rand: Gosh, that was way 2007 when, it was many years ago now, but way 2007 when we saw that our subscription revenue from this new sort of very basic software tools that we have been offering. to us, our consulting revenue for a year or for the first nine months that it had been out and that’s sort of a wake up call. think software might be something where we are better at and a better path for us.

Eric: got it. and for the consulting, like, at the peak, how much do you guys were you doing on revenue.

Rand:I think our biggest year of consulting… oh sure we had two and there was an interesting story there. in 2006, we made about 600 000 or 500 000 in consulting revenue. but in 2009, we actually… and in 2008, it was a financial crisis and it was kind of that and if you remember it was that sequoia memo was like everyone was gonna die alright to the good times, all the startups are going to hell technology sectors are gonna be screwed which didn’t actually happen of course. but that led us to make a decision to rev up consulting even though we were about to turn it down completely. and so we acquired a full time consulting manager grew that team to couple of people in getting a million dollars. just about a million dollars in consulting revenue in 2009 and by November 2009, it was clear that our software was doing fantastic and taking off even if the market is not soft and so we actually shut it down entirely. we had an offer on consulting business to a company called Distille which had offices in UK. they opened a Seattle office by December of… or by January of 2010…

Eric: got it. so is there like a certain point where you decided, okay, you know, we’re doing extra mountain revenue for software. what was like the one defining moment where it’s like, okay we need to move over now and let’s shut down consulting.

Rand: so like i said it was two of those. one in 2007 and again in 2009.. when we were granted back up and shutdown again. uhm yeah one of the big take always for me is that i wish we had been treated in a more. we structured our guns more and not decide to do like in 2008. I’ve been scooped by the market and we’re starting back up in the consulting because I think it actually is created a beast that is very hard to get away from so even though it has been 4 years since we had any consulting revenue in our books.

Tons of people still think that MOZ is consultants and that’s really dangerous it’s really bad in fact it creates a lot of bad marketing impressions and creates a lot of bad marketing impressions that creates a lot of bad investor perception. You want your brand to be associated with one thing and for people to be very confident that they know exactly what it is that you do and that story is been hard for us to tell over the last 4-5 years. Because we didn’t make that initial decision to shut it down and I think we’ve done everything we could have done it would have been smart to change our name from SEO MOZ to MOZ back in 2007 when we did software and stuck with that name. so people don’t have the association of the consultancy with the SEO.

Eric: got it. so the key take away you know when you’re doing something like this for entrepreneurs is to focus right ? you want to focus and not connect you know distribute it where you’re not exactly sure what you want to do right?

Rand: absolutely. my god especially when you are building a brand and this is you know for b2b folks who are doing more enterprised style sales lots of the concern right? because the relationship are very 1 to 1. and if you’re given a little changing of offering new things that is hard. if you knew somebody like “We’ll be alright”. Which is technically obedient obedient in a very tedious fashion right.

But I think tens of thousand of subscribers hundreds of people taking a new trial everyday massive millions of business website and you have pretty much a consumer style brand in the marketing world. It’s deadly it’s deadly to have multiple association with your brand and brand confusion. I think that’s a something that the experts in BSC marketing world learned early on. and the other thing that is really hard is just that hedgehog concept right? that Jim Collins describes.

Eric: right

Rand: you are to be able to have that focus to get that singular flywheel going and to keep pushing on that. you will generally much better returns and continue on the same track. and kinna for being tagged for in 50 different directions.

Eric: cool. so you just mentioned the flywheel. can you explain to the audience what the flywheel is exactly

Rand: sure yeah. so for google flywheel the idea is it takes amount of energy prices industrial contraption that’s designed to generate electricity generally is electrical events. the idea is very tough to get a flywheel started because it is extremely heavy it’s slow on moving it’s a massive contraption but even though that 1st quarter of a turn or a cycle around the wheel takes an incredible amount of energy. the next quarter of a cycle takes a little abit of laps and then as you get that cycle of wheel going it’s easier to push up. and the faster it gets going the easier it is to push. the easier it is to make a new revolution.

And this is a great analogy for the way technology starts up for because in your 1st few 1st year developing is incredibly hard but once you have a product launch if you really run that product because it’s easier you learn lessons about technology and the software engineer behind it the architecture and infrastructure needed. you learn things about how customers are using it. you learn things that are marketing too well you learn things about which channels are fueled up. and as you have all those well.

You are going to apply them and make the flywheel of your business turn faster and faster. you are trying to flywheel effect in everything that you do. if you are looking at a how a business line that has an investment that is non flywheel that has an investment that is non flywheel essentially takes just as much energy and effort to do this thing the second time as you did the 1st time and the 10th time is it did the virtual setting time. and that’s not scaling ability. that’s not leveraging your strengths and finding in flywheel. what you want to do is find things where the 10th turn is 10 times easier than that 1st turn. and the 2nd turn was already you know half as hard as the 1st turn. that’s when you are seeking. and that’s why i sure with prefer of income marketing channel.

Eric: Got it. so would you say you’re blog the SEO MOZ blog is the perfect example of the flywheel maximum.

Rand: Gosh i don’t know about perfect. but it’s a decent example for sure right. the 1st few hundred blogs posts i wrote those were of mediocre quality and they do cater already a huge audience but even after that those first few got a little bit easier. i got a little bit better. Ilearned a little bit audio. i was getting more and more visit’s. and as that content grew up of course all of that is getting indexed in search engines it’s generating more traffic. those that traffic is being released back to the blog to learn and learn more it really is generating of follow us.

The beauty behind content marketing in general and a blog specific.

Eric: got it. so how important would you say the blog is you know for lets say comfort has a blog been from MOZ to success and how long would you say it took to get to that level of success. or what do you consider a success?

Rand: I would say, that was an instrumental and fundamental to our success because we are really a business that was built at the back of the blog. right, so the blog have started, i started the blog in 2003, by 2007 it already had about 10 000 visit’s a day and because that audience was the folks who we eventually were building software for, it was a fantastic market researching, testing tool it was a good brand building tool it was marketing channel that just turned into all of these good things.

But it really didn’t start that way. it started as, ” I just wanna share my knowledge with the world. let’s see who’s interested, let’s see who can generate valuable discussion.” and then as it did, that turned into a “Hey we should really grab this opportunity and build something that these people want.” so i’m kinda fan nowadays, of you knoe, the blog first strategy and you can see there are a few blog posts on the web now, i think it’s William Roadar who runs a starting management that’s kinda listing businesses that have all started on blogs first and that’s really interesting.

Eric: that’s a good post. so what would you say to people that are in really small businesses? let’s say i sell plungers or really mixed product. what would you say to these people that wanna get started with content marketing, like they say “oh i can’t do it because my product is too small. what would you say to these people?

Rand: So there’s two things. number one, if you’re trying to build a very scalable business, well like if it’s it’s gonna get all far and wide, you know, it’s gonna build a national or global brand, then i think investing in content marketing that probably has high level eventual high rates of return. it doesn’t matter how small your niche is so long as it’s a big market, content marketing would really make sense. if you’re atlking about small local business, so, someone who’s like “hey i sell plungers, i sell them in Clement, Ohio, i really have designs to take over the rest of ohio and eventually build this national brand. that’s fine, then content marketing for you might be any piece of content a year. one great thing that attracts some attention to your brand, that people are gonna come back to you and say “hi, there”, you know it’s a really great resource because he listed, you know, mabye uhm think of common problems that he will have on buying plungers, like that, and those might be primarily, you know, they’re selling plungers, they’re probably outselling other consumers, they’re probably selling them mostly to suppliers. and say, let’s say that the big thing with these suppliers, when they need a list of great independent local resource creators of all sorts of goods.

So i’m gonna make that. i’m gonna make the Ohio guide to sourcing locally. and it’s gonna have, you know all of these greetings and all those suppliers are gonna be like “man, what a great resource, and i’ll come back back to that again and again and again cause i love buying them again and again It’s just fantastic. you don’t need to be blogging every day. that’s the kind of content marketing that encourage to small local business.

Eric: that;s a really good example and that actually brings an me to the next question to more, you know, MOZ has done a lot of these. like, beginners like to add some all of these different things that are super helpful to people that are starting a small marketing. how long did it take to produce things like this and how remarkable would you say, to you know, these guides for the success from MOZ?

Rand: yes, so we do, we usually do two kinds of content, which would be things like MOZcast or the google algorithm history or the beginners guide to SEO or you know, the one that or the one that was released last night, this morning the web developers cheat sheet or the SEO cheat sheet. Those types of things can take between several weeks to a couple of months to develop build and launch. and they take multiple team members. someone who design, someone on the content side, proof reader, contributions from industry folks.

All those things are very intense, they really are. but the return is clearly worthwhile. I share a blogpost in twitter the other day called wide speed content worthwhile. and you could see some of these statistics around measuring from the count of one, you must perform against is vague content. I really encourage anyone who’s very studious on the content marketing world to make a considered decision around, “is blogging everyday the right move? or shall i be spending 2, 3 ,4 weeks investing on one project and have 10, 20 times in return of the best blog post that’s right on you.

Eric: Interesting. i’ll have to look for that one. so how do you, uhm, for entrepreneurs that want to create this you know cornerstone content, How would you say they were good about finding the right people to make this content? do you have any tips?

Rand: If you’re a small team, there’s just a little people on that team, right? it’s the founder, it might be, if you have a marketer or a designer or a developer and an engr, who’s has a great idea of “hey, you know what, we’re incredibly useful to the audience we wanna reach this day. it’s not just incredibly useful but also something that is likely to inspire share.

So you know, there’s a lot of folks who build something that’s very useful but when a particular segment of market season and they’re not particular people who are not on twitter and facebook and linkedin and google plus and they’re not doing all these blogs and they’re not doing all these kinds of sharing, they don’t have blogs and so they don’t have negative founds and so he are less likely to share and they might see the resourcing thing like “oh man, i hope nobody else finds it because it’s a great competitor advantage and for me to have and nobody else to have.”

That’s the lesson what you’re looking for, more what you’re looking for is “hey, here;s something that is massively useful or interesting or fascinating that lots of people who have those advanced phones will share and they will say “hey, it’s a competitor advantage for a to be the only person who has this and i’ll look good. it’s more valuable for me to share because i’ll look good to my audience and i’ll earn more followers if i share this piece of content.”

Eric: Got it, so it sounds like promotion is obviously a big part of content marketing. if you’re to produce a big piece of content what percentage would you say is the most part?

Rand: Yeah, if you already have a built in audience, it’s generally 80 20. 80% is the “what is you built and how great is it” and 20% is the “how did you do the application on it”. if you don’t have yet an audience, that sort of flips on it’s head. it’s 20% what you built and 80% can you start getting that going. going to building that audience. that doesn’t mean… i don’t mean by 20% that you should be investing less than in content and invest less in making something remarkable. i just mean don’t accept that you know, “hey i just made resource of it’s kind on the web by a mile. it’s so much better to that the other big company has done. like you go and share it ,and i don’t get much attention though. don’t attribute that to the quality. attribute that to “i don’t have much on my magnet phone yet.

I need to work on my phone. and working on your advanced phone is the best practice for sort of SEO and social media. that’s the primary channels. in e-mail marketing, if you’re doing a lot of e-mail sharing, those channels are the primary ones by which your content will be amplified.

Eric: Got it. and if you guys are wondering, there’s a lot of great folks on MOZ 18:49-50 building that magnet phone 18:56. cool, so the next things i wanna go talk about was 19:00. how did you come up with those in 6 specific trade centers?

Rand: Yeah, so this is back in 2007 again, we kind of managed the whole company decided you know, through this exercise, like you know, what are the values that are important to us and which ones of those are shared. a writer actually put together the tag fee guidelines and structure that one. So that’s you know the fantastic founding document and i believe a critical part of not necessarily our success in a financial perspective but certainly success from a culture building, team building and breaking laws of how people look. and certainly with friends i want go in work everyday.

Eric: So what are those 6 trait’s.

Rand: Transparency, authenticity. generosity fun empathy and being the exception

Eric: But i guess that brings people there is alot of companies that happened. for a valid reason folks did and the tendency or the tendency sometimes there older founder is just being cocky over there. how do you guys like have a team get together or is it you come what of most of good times.

Rand: You know like i said. this is back when there was only 6 people on our team and we created tag fee and actually it hasnt changed in the last 6 years. it’s a very permanent document and i just accepted and let it continue with it to be that way. so values don’t really change. the values do change are the ways that you build systems, structure and process and maintain tag fee. it is very when you are 10 people, it is a little harder at 15 and it is a lot hard in 30 in which were we are everyday. and there is a lot of work going in the new process written in the blog. many of the processes that we are working on. on making tag fee actionable and being accountable to tag fee and to the metrics that we set for ourselves so ive been back. and that work will be very interesting process someday and to get more of that earlier next year.

Eric: Yeah more fo that would be great. and would you guys say hire based on core values you guys looked at 6 things.

Rand: Yeah so core values the whole idea is you use in your hiring, you use it in your review. and you use it in how the company makes decisions, how you choose what to do and what not to do. it’s an architecture for all the important things we do. it should be a barrier entry that a person who doesn’t inherently tag fee should be someone that we have. A i don’t think they will be happy there. B the rest of the team isn’t going to be happy with them. and it’s just not a match. and that’s not to say that people work tag fee aren’t good people, aren’t playing wonderful employees for some other company which is not of that’s true.

Eric: Makes perfect sense. what would you say are the real big tactics that helped MOZ?

Rand: We already talked about the blog. it has been a big part of our growth as well. you know for us, building and maintaining a really measurable funnel so that we can track people who visit the site, people who get our product, and people who take a free trial, how many people get trials before they become a subscriber, you know in different cohorts of months and and then people who sign out, people who use different tools. so measuring all those things and having that data has been tremendously valuable to informing the kinds of growth tactics that we pursued.

Eric: Got it, okay. and a lot of you guys do is inbound marketing. what percentage would you say is the paid stuff? how much do you guys get?

Rand: About 15% of our budget on average of the last few years has been spent on paid marketing. those are channels like paid search, display, retargeting, social media ads, etc. this year actually has been a little bit lower but i suspect we’re gonna ramp up a bit in queue for we sort of had a very slow 4 months because we kind of shut down our funnel when we launched what we newly ran on MOZ and launched MOZ analytics and data. you know you could sign up in the invited list but taking a free trial of the old product was kind of a secondary behind the scenes. so we haven’t had actually been doing much promotion there. and our new product is launching probably in September..so then, publicly in September then we’ll kind of ramp up paid span again.

Eric: I’d like to see that. so in the tech start of growth, a lot have invested. okay. it’s all about we’ll give you in debts for 5 to 10 million and let it grow. let’s see on it…blah blah blah…obviously you guys have some struggles that have been getting with the investments, so do they have a lot of push backs, like in inbound marketing technology, i mean how do you convince an investor to go with inbound and that’s the right place to go long term?

Rand: You know actually, i think actually our acquisition and strategies and tactics were fascinating and clearly interesting. where we really had challenges was primarily on the model that we’ve got which is self service apps. as it is to classic enterprise apps. so investors always looked at us and benchmarked us against classic software service companies. those would be sales force or oracle, those kinds of things. the metrics that the company has are really based on how many people do you have, what’s your cost of customer acquisition, what’s you tension over time. when you’re self service, it looks really different and cost of acquisition, if you looked on our cost of acquisition, which is on an average to acquire a customer if you take all of our marketing cost, which is primarily SAF and a few page channels. you know, last time we fund raised on 2012, that was like $79 to acquiring customer, and customer payback period is one month. and so after that one month, “this is crazy, this makes no sense to me. you know.

If that’s the case, it got us to a.) we should need to raise money b.) we should be acquiring customers at low rate and and why don’t you pour in tens of thousand, hundreds of thousand or more of dollars every month into paid marketing. you wanna increase that cost of customer acquisition and just acquire, acquire, and acquire. but that’s not actually what we want to do. when you go in with that months, that’s hard to change. what they look at is triggering. so we give them what they ask for, you know, what’s your average monthly turning?

Let’s say i think my monthly turning is a year and a 3.5% and what investors wanna see is 2%. so but that actually is hiding a much more complex sort of what happens in the self service model is that in the first three months turning rate is like 16 to 17% and it drops after month three to around an average of 6% and the now i wanna drop it to 2%. so what’s actually happening is about 15 and 20% of customers that we acquire on a given day turned into long term customers with that 2% or less turn. that would be great, and when investors looked at it and said “hey, you’re acquiring all these customers, you’re like keeping them, you must have a good product. you know this is a turn and burn kind of game, which is the case. what we’re doing is we’re just acquiring a lot of people who a.) can’t afford us b.) this cannot use the product and c.) don’t know what they’re doing. there are a lot of people who think of SEO as a 1 time activity. like “okay, i’m done with SEO and i’m safe. i’ll see you guys in the company in years”…great. you know, you’re in kind of different metrics, different story, and so i think 28:04 was really the first investor who was sophisticated enough to understand the model.

He looked at our numbers and was like ” you guys don’t have a turn problem. you have a problem describing your term. like this is a marketing problem not an institutional numbers problem. you’ve got a fantastic business. what you’re really doing is acquiring these people at incredibly low cost. your turning out are still profitable for you, you’re crazy, all these investors would look and you’re all so great. so here’s how you should be viewing the business. since then, i think we have gotten much more intelligence and sophisticated and we have actually been able to work on some turn since this investment tip.

Eric: Got it. so that’s a really fantastic story. so if you guys are dumping all that easy money into acquisition, where is it going?

Rand: Let’s say we had 20 million dollars in the bank right after brad’s investment in april of last year. and i think we have gotten about 9 left today. and that has gone to 4 things. 3 acquisitions, we acquired 3 companies which is local sort of SEO council that goes on small business with SEO, that’s gonna be a new product line for us probably the end of this year. follower log, which does twitter analytic and details is a fantastic product. lots of people who use MOZ are already raising and we just say, “hey, you know what, that’s the part of our subscription. you paid for MOZ, you get firewall for free”. and that’s been awesome and Peter Gray the founder of Arwack is a kind of like a world genius, he’s very cool. and then we also acquire audience wise which is a consulting firm that had some primarily acquired for talent and have been instrumental to the growth and success of MOZ in the last 9 months.

And the 4th is we built several new data centers tafuela which is near Seattle one in Texas and one in Virginia so we can move off amazon’s cloud hover done over across our data centers. and we realized by building this big upfront investment i think nearly 5m dollars of upfront investment but for that we can actually what do you call it, save money save a considerable amount of money many of hundred of thousands of dollars a month and get it paid back in you know 6-12 months. of from running around private data centers as opposed using whatever we had in the US.

And then there is actually a 5th thing which is we hired the top. So we when April of last year. 6 people to narrow about a 130.

Eric: Wow, and you guys have an official in Seattle and one in Portland

Rand: That’s right, yes so get list to follow and walk and audience turned out to be in Portland Oregon and a small office there in Austats.

Eric: Awesome, so in 2007 how many employees do you guys have?

Rand: 6

Eric: And that’s all the way up to 130.

Rand: Well 6 years is a lifetime in startup plans.

Eric: I’m going to get through the speed ground right there and ask you some quick questions. What would you say are some companies that are continuing in inbound marketing

Rand: See if I can remember a good one. but uhm. You know I’ve actually got a few samples right here. Let me just pull them up for you. I’m 18 minutes to another half of you know pictures of that kind of stuff. Always I’m impressed when people do a good job at that. So let’s see. Full contact is doing a good job. Another founding portfolio company.

Rand: Yeah. That is one of his investments. Very early stage startup and travels space Math TF. Like it is in the verge of watching their product doing a really good job. I’ve seen some examples from Shutterstock. Which is the stock images company. Native which is a greencard company and actually it is a design of all kinds of all things company based downstairs. Aweber has been doing a good job both paid and inbound marketing but you know I think their virality combined with content that they do, promotions that they do, they are incredibly generous company. yeah their social media is 2nd to none. David Brand doing one of cool things with their products with their website, with SEO actually mailchimp has been doing a terrific job.

Eric: What would you say one must read book?

Rand: You know personally I’m always attracted to stories. So by favorite book the one that inspired me the most over the years. It’s called the “The Billionaire who wasn’t”.

Eric: Oh that’s my favorite book too.

Rand: Yeah, it’s the story of Chuck Feeney

Eric: good book. cool. How about a must use productivity tip.

Rand: I don’t use any specific productivity tools but I am addicted to inbox zero philosophy with gmail. So I try to keep everything simple if it doesn’t exist in my email or in my calendar it never existed. it’s not in my life at all. i never had to go to multiple places, to worry about what I’m doing. i always have this reliable system. if it’s not there well it never gets done.

Eric: That’s a good philosophy I like that. There is also one thing that you as.. there is very entrepreneurs that at first was like. When I first started email marketing my email responded immediately and it have been doing that ever since since 2008-2009. Why do we respond to every single email. What benefit do you get out out of it and why should entrepreneurs do that.

Rand: I don’t actually know if this is something you benefit from this is more a case of me. One of the driving emotions of my life is guilt. I always feel guilty I feel bad about things. I feel that I should do more. I feel like I’m a disappointment to myself and to what I should be accomplishing and so. the way you know that the reason i respond to every email.

If i was pissed off early at my career that i would email people and they would just brush me off never reply and i though you know what if my profile never gets to be larger in the stage and im running a business they are im not gonna do that. and that’s so where it really comes from. i do think i may need to wisen up one of these days and stop replying to every email i get it gets very challenging very overwhelming it’s very hard considering. and i didn’t know there was a big return to that investment. i would feel really guilty if i didn’t.

Eric: i think it’s very admirable and it’s something im definitely trying to try it more. i feel like im paying it forward when I’m doing it well.

Rand: well yeah. I hope for that positive result to. There is a lot email I get and reply to that it’s probably not. not an excellent use of my time.

Eric: i wanted to talk about the dark place of MOZ when you guys were starting up you know. having to go into that. i am sure alot of entrepreneurs have to go to this stage. what would be your big take away on that.

Rand: im such a newbie im such a greenhorn. I don’t really think there is a ton of learning from that experience don’t do that. learn something about the field that you are going into before you try that. and we try and learn and how do you build a great consultancy. oh let me talk to some people who have done if before and you know spend some time in the web looking around for resource. we didn’t do any of that. we kind of played it by ear. of course we went into deep deep depth. today i think most folks who put on the technology are 10x more wiser and more intelligent even they are 19 year olds who dropped on college. they know not a lot more about the process what you should like what you should not look like.

Eric: got it. okay cool. mean it’s a very helpful experience.

Rand: Yeah “Don’t be an idiot” alright

Eric: that’s always good advice. final question here. so obviously you know the team is very important at MOZ. hiring people is part of the most important things that you do. What is your criteria you are hiring people that you are looking for,

Rand: yeah we kinda have a set number of treats and there is a few interview systems so our recruiters focus on what they do possess basic skills are they kind of cultural and tag fee match and then we will have whoever it is the software engineers marketing sit down with those folks and get on their rounds. there are a lot things that we found that predict a good MOZer. one of the great one is humility. tell me about something very impressive. things that you are very proud off in your career you work with the team and the team accomplish something and you are very proud you belong in that team and proud to help enable the success of that team. versus saying well you know i was sitting alone do nothing losers and i was the hero. hence we predict someone whos not gonna be a good match. and there is a number of people like that. but i think figuring those out for your own culture can be and be for your own team can be ver helpful.

Eric: wow that actually reminds me of that book .. where he talks about people that are kinda level 3 oh I’m great you really want to get a company where is a level 4 where everyone talks about how great the whole team is. well Rand thanks so much for the interview. I think this is really helpful stuff and I think this well help entrepreneurs in their business

Rand: my pleasure

Eric: thanks Rand

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