In what ways do you think your childhood influence your entrepreneurial journey?
- One thing that it kind of teaches you is the constant need just to be flexible and to go with the flow. You’re growing up on a farm, nothing ever works out as expected.
- Things break all the time, and there’s no store that you can drive to. 10 minutes away we can pick up a replacement part, you pretty much have to make everything on your own.
- It teaches you how to be as flexible as possible, and understand how to deal with the unknown.
What lessons did you learn from working for these early-stage companies, like what not to do?
- A lot of these companies were just starting up, but they really had no idea what they were doing, there was a lack of focus and a lack of understanding of how to grow a business and how to scale.
- At the time it was a lot of people that wanted to create a company tomorrow, and having the mindset of gathering a bunch people, and rounding up a bit of money, and seeing what they could build. All without truly understanding what it took at that time to set the foundation up for a business.
- By the time 2001, 2003 rolled around, most of these companies had gone out of business. It was clear they were all so poorly planned and executed, and there were just no real businesses at the end of the day.
Can you tell us a little bit about what first motivated you to launch Plenty of Fish and what was some of the early years of the company like?
- At the time I wanted to improve my resume, I figured I would learn a lot more by going out and building something as opposed to reading books. The first idea that popped to my mind was building a dating site. It was the most interactive platform online at that time, because it was just a simple chat room.
- This was the time that Facebook was founded, and similar time to Friendster and a few other platforms becoming popular. However, they didn’t have much of a communication factor to it. In terms of the process, I coded this site in about two weeks and later realized that you could get stuff indexed on Google, and enhance the SEO credibility on Google as well. Surprisingly, this was all running off my one machine.
- Funny enough, I coded the site and forgot about it for a few weeks. One day I log in, and find that there were tons of people using the site, and starting to max out the bandwidth of it. It had 1000 people on here, no one had any images. Then I allowed the image uploading and then from there it snowballed and had more and more traction.