GE 314: How Sofya Polyakov Successfully Grew The Noun Project When They Had No Idea How To Monetize It (podcast) With Sofya Polyakov

Sofya Polyakov

Hey everyone! Today, I share the mic with Sofya Polyakov, Co-Founder and CEO of The Noun Project, a website that aggregates and catalogs symbols that are created and uploaded by graphic designers around the world.

Tune in to hear Sofya discuss launching The Noun Project without any idea how to monetize it, its spin-off Lingo and how The Noun Project serves as a lead generator for it, and how Sofya survived founding a business with her husband.

Time-Stamped Show Notes:

  • [00:41] Before we jump into today’s interview, please rate, review, and subscribe to the Growth Everywhere Podcast!
  • [01:40] Sofya is also the CEO and Co-Founder of Lingo, another project they are launching.
  • [01:45] Her background is not in tech; she worked mostly in non-profits.
  • [03:15] She struggled initially upon immigrating from Russia to Iowa.
  • [03:42] The Noun Project’s mission is to create, share and celebrate the world’s visual language. They have built a collection of over 2 million icons.
    • [04:06] You can download any icon you wish for free or you can pay to be able to edit the icon.
    • [04:25] They share royalties with the designers.
  • [07:55] They raised $15,000 on Kickstarter.
    • [08:13] Sofya thinks they probably didn’t do the best job promoting their Kickstarter or project in general.
    • [09:27] When they first launched The Noun Project, they had no idea how to monetize it.
    • [09:45] Because they were freemium, it allowed them to build up a large user base.
    • [10:26] Some businesses couldn’t include the attribution on their products, so they asked if they could just pay to license the work.
    • [10:55] This is how they figured out their business model and how to monetize.
  • [12:54] The director of customer service is Sofya’s trusted “ear to the ground”.
  • [14:02] Lingo is a visual asset manager.
    • [18:16] Lingo was a company that they “accidentally” launched when they found that most people had a hard time organizing their files and visuals.
  • [19:55] Lingo is a SaaS product, while The Noun Project is a marketplace.
  • [19:59] Now, The Noun Project serves as a lead generator for Lingo.
    • [22:25] She thinks her investors are getting a great two-for-one deal.
  • [25:15] Sofya’s Co-Founder is her husband, which she says was challenging for the first 6 months to a year.
    • [27:00] However, it’s an extra bond that keeps you working harder.
  • [28:35] One new tool Sofya thinks has added value to her life is the Boomerang app, which you can integrate with your Gmail account.
  • [30:05] Sofya recommends the blog Signal vs. Noise.

Resources From This Interview: 

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