Andrew: Before we get started, I wanna tell why I keep urging you to use KissInsights. Haven’t you noticed that one of the big ideas that keeps coming up in my interviews is the need to ask your customers and users what they want instead of imagining that you know? Now, when you add a survey to your website isn’t it true that hardly anyone filled out your survey? And people who do fill it out aren’t necessarily your typical users? Well, what KissInsights does is give you surveys that are so easy to fill out that your users will actually complete them. Here’s a screenshot of how I use Kiss Insights. You can use it for free, right now. Just go to Kissinsights.com.
Next thing I wanna show you is the phone number at the top of DNAMail.com. When you have trouble with your email and it’s costing your business both money and reputation, how frustrating is it? Well, who can you call at those moments? If you use dnaemail, you’ll have a phone number you can call twenty-four/seven. DNAMail offers complete hosted exchange, free setup, free activation, free support, and if you and your company need Google apps, they’ve got you covered there too. DNAMail.com.
These aren’t just sponsorships. These are tools that you should use.
Finally, I want you to know about Shopify.com. If you already have an online store and wanna increase your sales, go to Shopafi.com. If you have an idea for an online store, go to Shopify.com. With Shopafi, they’ll setup your store in minutes. You’ll get professional themes to customize your store. You’ll even get a mobile app to manage your store from anywhere. Check out Shopify.com.
Here’s the program.
Hey everyone it’s Andrew Warner, I’m the founder of Mixergy.com, home of the ambitious upstart. Today I’ve got with me Gabriel Weinberg. Everybody knows Gabriel today as the founder of Duck, Duck, Go.
He’s the guy who’s taking on Google, building a search engine. And, and actually you’re getting a lot of converts in the tech community who are using your search engine. And a lot of us also know him as the guy who is getting buzz on Hacker News, on CNN, on New York Times I read you last week, Tech Crunch loved your, your, your ambition and what you’re able to do. I think they compared you to Cool, after one of the, after a website that you created and said, ì look at how much this guy is doing with no money compared to Cool that aspired to so much with a lot of money and isn’t, isn’t getting any traction. Excuse me, most recently, we’ve been finding out a lot about you as an angel investor and your thoughts on that. But all of that is interesting and I’ll be asking you that when I’m especially interested in Gabriel is, that business that you launched a long time ago back in Two Thousand Two, the one that you sold for a reported ten million dollars and that’s the one that my understanding is, if my understanding is correct that, whose sale is helping fund Duck-Duck-Go, and helping fund the lifestyle that you’re living, and helping you invest in other companies. Am I right about that?
Interviewee: You are absolutely right.
Andrew: I had, clear my throat over here! We’re doing this interview at a, at a special time because I’ve been especially interested in doing an interview with Gabriel and this was the only time that we could find that fit both of our schedules which is why I am sounding a little hoarse. My second interview of the day here bro, but for you I will wake up in the middle of the night to do an interview.
Interviewee: [Laughs] Thanks!
Andrew: What was that company that you launched back in Two Thousand Two, the one that you sold for, for ten million?
Interviewee: The company was called Opobox. O-P-O-B-O-X. And the, it had nothing; the name had nothing to do with the site. The site was called ìNames Database.î And it’s Namesdatabase.com.
Andrew: And what was, actually why did you have two different names?
Interviewee: Well, it started out as a completely separate company that my business partner was running. And it was about, it was, it was an email list management company, like Constant Distant Contact, or something like that. And, we decided to, he, he was not getting far on that idea and so he brought me on and we decided to be fifty, fifty partners and then we tried a bunch of different, other ideas until we sorted of hit on the Names Database. So, we didn’t feel like changing the company of course or anything like that.
Andrew: And, I did so much reading about you today and about that business.
Andrew: To find out about how you grew it and you guys are gonna to love the way that he grew it because this was, this was a lot of, a lot, you must have been really driven to find every angle and every way of growing your audience back then, and every way of growing a business. I, we’ll get into that in a moment. Why don’t we tell people how big the business was, how many people in the database?
Interviewee: At the time of acquisition there was about twenty two million registrations, and people, you know, who signed up. And it was about a million revenue, run rate, run rate and then about a million cumulative revenue too. And, lets see, and after acquisition, it grew about another ten million people in the database.
Andrew: Okay, so when you.
Andrew: Ok so when you say a million revenue you mean from the time you launched it 2002 to the time you sold it 2006 one million dollars in revenue that whole time?
Interviewee: Yes, the first few years there wasn’t much revenue so it pretty much was all the revenue happened near the end, the curve was sort of exponential and so it was cumulative a million but it was also a million run rate, meaning that month to month we were if you extrapolate it out to twelve months it would have been a billion when we sold it and projected to be more the next year.
Andrew: Alright run rate that is a phrase I’m hearing a lot in my interviews
Interviewee: Well we use a lot of jargon so I feel I need to explain it probably.
Andrew: No I’m glad you did I didn’t know what run rate was, actually I didn’t really know what it was I just kind of assumed it was revenue and it somehow lined up with annual sales, well what I’m discovering is exactly what you do. You say how much did we make last month what if we annualize that by multiplying last months revenue by twelve, well that’s our run rate.
Interviewee: It makes us feel a little better I guess, because forward looks better than trailing if you’re doing well.
Andrew: Well you got to 22 million people in your database that’s incredible, how much funding did you get for the business?
Interviewee: Zero funding, it was completely self funded and it basically required no funding
Andrew: Whole scrappy operation here. Let’s talk about why the initial business model didn’t work out, some of the ideas you picked along the way and then we’ll get into the names database. But before we do that, the number that I have I said it’s a reported 10 million dollars usually when I say that it’s from some reported news site. But this is from United Online, the company that bought you from a press release that they sent out, so we can say that’s accurate right?
Interviewee: It’s public, it’s totally accurate.
Andrew: Alright, so then why didn’t the email list management business work out?
Interviewee: So I came on at the tail end of that. It may have worked out. One of the lessons learned for me in a bunch of the ideas that I tried before the names database is that I give up too early and don’t really push through. So that whole model of list management I think that’s a completely viable business, but I don’t think we waited it out and tried a variety of things.
Andrew: But you needed to make money do you think you would have been able to at least make enough money to keep yourself going until that business became a hit?
Interviewee: Again, I came in at the tail end and it was on the way out right when I was coming on, but I think if there was some sales hustling going on I think we could have easily signed on some clients and made enough revenue and kept it going.
Andrew: So you’re brought on board, you’re supposed to help build this business, what was the next product you came out with?
Interviewee: So the next thing we tried was we built this coupon site, and it was very much like the coupon sites that are leading today like Dealtracker and all those other ones, and of course the idea was that we would give people coupons to all the major online retail sites and maybe have a browser plugin or something like that. And we probably spent 6 months on that. And again, we probably gave up too early. I mean in retrospect I don’t regret anything but we were looking for something to take traction pretty quickly, and it really wasn’t taking and it didn’t seem like the affiliate model wasn’t really working for us either, the people were using the site but the sales weren’t coming in. I don’t know exactly why whether the people who were supposed to be giving us money they weren’t tracking it correctly. In any case it wasn’t really generating revenue so we sort of moved on.
Andrew: And the revenue in a business like that comes from linking over to affiliate programs right? And you don’t just link over to their home page, you link over to a special deal you find on their site and then through affiliate programs like commission junction or maybe the merchants home grown affiliate program. So you actually got traffic to that site? How’d you do it?
Interviewee: I don’t remember exactly.
Interviewee: I don’t remember exactly but a lot of stuff I got initial traffic from, was from SEO. And I think we had like a page, you know like they do today, a page for each kind of company and the deals for that company currently so that it was getting traffic that way mainly.
Andrew: I see. And this is search engine optimization back in the early 2000s right?
Interviewee: Yeah. I mean it was really, I was sort of fascinated by that at the time. I mean I’m still fascinated by it but it was a lot easier just to put up almost anything and get lots of traffic. So we tried that for a bunch of different ideas and that sort had name savers for us to.
Andrew: What could you do differently there in retrospect? What would you have done instead of giving up? What could you have done to build that business?
Interviewee: I mean, I haven’t thought about that hard. I don’t think it’s a great business. It didn’t end up being a big killer category for the web even though people thought it would be. No ones really still captured it. I mean I guess we could have moved into commission junction type of thing. That might have been the way to go
Andrew: You mean by managing other people’s affiliate programs.
Interviewee: Yeah but at the time we didn’t really think of that.
Andrew: All right. What was the next business?
Interviewee: I spent a decent amount of time building a simpler email client. The idea being, we were all into very simple software and so the idea of a simpler email client really appealed to me. And I sort of, I probably spent a few months on that, but I was also excited about the name-saver stuff so it sort of dropped in as name-saving started getting more attraction. So I don’t necessarily think that it’s a bad idea. Our approach at the time wasn’t great though. I mean we were still doing the download.com type of client. We probably should have been a web, the Gmail type of thing you know. But you know I’ve always felt the need for better email solutions until Gmail came along. I mean Gmail is generally good except for high slowness issue currently.
Andrew: The Gmail slowness issues what got you into the New York Times blog last week. I was reading, that’s when I finally said I gotta get Gabriel out here. I mean how is he baiting my world from every direction? I mean it’s a one man operation you’ve got at dot dot go. You’re the man!
Interviewee: That’s right.
Andrew: And you’re a full time stay at home dad too.
Interviewee: That is also correct.
Andrew: How are you getting so much freaking attention? I’ve got to come back to that later. I’ve got it up on my screen, but I’m going to put that in big letters on my paper here to talk later about how you’re getting so much buzz for dot dot go. All right before I ask you about Namesdatabase, let me ask you about tractions because I know you do interviews around that and we’ve just talked about how you’ve tried one idea then another then another then another. I was laughing through part of it, not because I thought it was ridiculous, but because I’ve seen that in myself and I’ve also seen that in many of the interviews that I’ve done. I’ve also seen people who do things the way that you’ve done at dot dot go. This is my one thing and I’ve got to spend all of my time on it till it grows. What do you think about those two different approaches?
Interviewee: So I come on more to the latter approach. You’ve really got to focus on something for a while. Try to make it work. However, to actually do that you’ve got to be pretty good at, confident that your idea is actually viable. Now that’s not actually an easy thing to do especially for first timers to do right? So if it sucks you probably should move on right. So I think it’s a hard call when to do that and when to not do it. And that’s really the tricky part.
Andrew: How do you know when to do it and when not to do it?
Interviewee: So I think that there’s some thing to look for now, you know comfortably to look for which is try a spark of engagement with your customers and users. You like something early and then you know see what to do. Are people coming back to your site? Are people trying to buy it from you? Are people giving you unsolicited feedback or asking you to do unsolicited things like invest in you or even buy your company right out. Those kind of things are an indication that you may want to spend more time on your idea that is getting you all that attraction like you know taking you off. If its like flat line completely, either you’re not communicating your idea effectively or people aren’t even understanding what you’re doing then that might be the very..or you need to move on.
Interviewee: Either you need to either your not communicating your idea effectively either people aren’t even understanding what your doing and that might be the barrier or you probably need to move on.
Andrew: I see OK, and at what point with Duck Duck Go did you start getting feedback from people where they were asking you for certain features or giving you or telling you about what they would like different about the site?
Interviewee: So pretty much immediately, when I launched it I saw that kind of reaction and engagement. Although it took me a while to launch it on Acker News. Just to see what people would think and sort of get that feedback I am talking about and I was sort of immediately motivated there after that I was on to something.
Andrew: OK, going back to names database what was it like first. What did the product look like when you launched it?
Interviewee: So you will find this amusing probably there was no product initially. I had randomly put up pages of names from the census that I paired together first names and last names. And just put up these pages they were not linking to anything they had no links on them. They were basically just random names of people that probably exist because I paired the popular names together.
But there were about 10,000 of them maybe 100,000 I do not remember. So I put those up and I did not really give it a second thought. Then about six months later Google started indexing them and I put them up on a hunch that a lot of people were searching names and there were not a lot of results for them. And so when they were indexed they sort of immediately getting traffic like 10,000 hit’s a day.
And so the question had really a sort of weird problem where that a lot of people do not have probably. Where I had traffic, did not have a business and so the question became what can we do with this traffic? So that is really the genesis of it.
Andrew: OK, so was it called the names database at the time before you had a product back when you were just creating pages with names on them?
Interviewee: No, I had this domain, which I no longer have that I had for I do not know 10 years or something malizism.com. Where I put all sorts of weird side projects and little things I was doing. I had like 10 of the projects I did not mention to you before. And one of them was names.malious I had them all on sub domains. So namesmalious.com all the pages were there. Once we started launching the business then we looked for a domain name and I bought namesdatabase.com for like $300.00 bucks or something.
Andrew: OK, all right so then what did you first decide to do with all that traffic?
Interviewee: So the first thing we wandered whether is whether people would just sign up for something. So we put up a side up form we put a link on top of the page and it linked to a sign up form. And the sign up form did not go anywhere and did not really say what it was or anything it just was a sign up form. And people signed up about like 300 people a day.
Andrew: It didn’t say what it was? It was just a sign up form?
Interviewee: Just a sign up form.
Andrew: Just give me your first name, last name, email address, and submit?
Interviewee: Yup, yup, just sort of a baseline just to see what would happen and so people did submit it and so then the question became people would submit stuff what can we do with sign-ups? You know what product can we build or anything?
And the simplest path was we had all these names and people were signing up because they had searched a name so we thought they probably were looking for this person. So what if we just create a data base with names and tell people to connect with each other. So that sort of what the product became although at the beginning there’s 10,000 people in it the chance of you finding anyone is very slim. So the first thing we did really was for sale to see if anyone would buy, anything was to create a watch. Where you could pay like $5.00 bucks and if someone would sign up with that name, we would send you an email and say this person just signed up with this name. You might want to come back and check it out.
Andrew: What you mean? If I signed, up Andrew Warner and saidÖ
Interviewee: So you are looking for me like Gabriel Weinberg you search Gabriel Weinberg you get to this page and your like OK, where is he? You sign up and you say Gabriel Weinberg is not in this database yet but he maybe in the future. So I am going to pay you to let me know when he signs up so thatÖ
Interviewee: To let me know when he signs up so at that point I can get in contact with him. This was a very convoluted product that did not last very long.
Andrew: They would pay you to alert them when Gabriel Weinberg signed up?
Andrew: I see, okay and how did the watch fit in?
Interviewee: We just called it watch.
Andrew: Ah, I see, you weren’t giving them a watch, you were letting them watch the site to see when they were coming on.
Interviewee: So [unclear] was a terrible product but people bought it like the first I had [unclear] someone, like the next hour someone bought [unclear] impulse bought.
Andrew: Okay, how much were you charging for it?
Andrew: Why did you stop?
Interviewee: The watch?
Andrew: Yeah, I mean if people are already paying why not tweak it?
Interviewee: Well, we did tweak it. We ended up trying to do a bunch of different things like pay per message and pay for bundle of messages. We ended up just doing a subscription in the end after testing different things. Sort of like what classmates does, like you can search for anything for free, you can search all database for free, in fact we put it on the web for SEO stuff, but then if you ever want to message someone you needed to ìunlockî the database and to do that you’d buy a subscription for one or three years.
Andrew: Okay, so if I did a search for Gabriel Weinberg on Google, I would end up on your website, I would see a message that said something like, do I have the exact language, you have got it somewhere in my notes, it said, are you looking for Gabriel Weinberg, click here, I click over and then I end up with a form that I have to fill out with my information, right, and then we would get what happened later in the process but that Gabriel Weinberg at the top of the page, did you create a page for each person in your database that was like that or was it created dynamically, based on what they search for?
Andrew: Okay, so then how did that get indexed if it was dynamic?
Interviewee: So the pages, it was on the page but there is too many, Google will only index so many pages per domain, so when you get to trying to make pages you have to be like really important site to get them, like Wikipedia to get it indexed, so we did was eventually we ended up doing a page for each last name and then a page for each high school and so your name was probably on that page somewhere, and it may not have been as it paired with a last name and first name that wasn’t exactly the last name and first name but in any case you got to that page because it matched the first name and last name on that page and then we would detect the search string and put a link at the top.
Andrew: Okay, and would the full name be somewhere on that page?
Interviewee: Yeah, well, it probably would but certainly the first name and the last name were in there somewhere.
Andrew: I see, okay, pretty cool. Alright, so then somebody comes into this page, sees the name of the person that they haven’t been in touch with in a long time, they say aha I’d love to connect with him, this site allows me to do it, I will enter my name and email address and maybe my school, I hit submit, what do they see on the next page?
Interviewee: So, that SEO part was the beginning, but it ended up almost all of our growth was through this viral engine that I created and so almost immediately we are getting 300 sign ups a day, but that seems like a lot to start but that would take for ever to get 22 million, and so the question became really, this was an intellectual question that turned into a business, could we engineer a viral system that, a lot of viral systems are based on product and word of mouth and stuff like that, but could we literally engineer one and so I spent the first six to nine months just working on that problem and we ended up doing some sort of whacky things that I think other people wouldn’t necessarily do or want to do but the main one that got it kicked off was on this page, the second page after you signed up, we ask you to refer five of your friends, before you even saw anything on the inside. Now you may have, there is incentive in the lot of cases like in the SEO case you want to get in there and search for your friend, so you may have an idea what’s going on and there was an ëabout’ page and there were stuff under the sign up form eventually about what the site was everything, but a lot of people didn’t actually read that, so they get to the second page and they want to click through and we immediately say, no you can’t click through first, first you got to refer five friends, and there was a lot of backend logic because people immediately tried to skip there, fake it or put in their own email addresses and we would tell them, no you can’t do that, we would detect
Interviewee: We would detect bounces on the fly, we would detect that they were trying to put in their own email addresses etc, and we try to make them refer their friends, and so that ended up working. That created this, it fuelled this viral engine and grew eventually.
Andrew: Actually even people who didn’t like the way that you did that were big admirers of how you check the email address’s validity on the fly, I was looking through a message board where people said I can’t believe this is happening, he is emailing all of my friends, but check out the way that he is doing it. because you can’t just put in firstname.lastname@example.org. And then you would email their friends and say to their friends, look your friend thinks that you should this web site, click here to go join the website and so on.
Interviewee: Yes, just like our regular referral kind of program.
Andrew: Alright, and if they didn’t want to put in, actually before we move on, you said something that was interesting. You said you spent six to nine months just working on that problem, trying different ideas, what are some of those ideas?
Interviewee: I did a bazillion A/B test basically because to actually get to something engineered viral, we don’t really have a strong word of mouth [unclear] component, it is actually very difficult because if you think about it, you have a sign up form and the referral form, and then you have to get people to click through the email, so each of those has pretty big drop off points, and if any of those have serious drop off, there is no way you are getting exponential. So in the end we ended up with people, we had about 30% of the people who got email to click through, we had about 70% of the people to click through to sign up on our form, and then on average people submitted about 3.5 email addresses when they signed up. So you multiply that all together and there were ranges based on ages and countries and stuff like that, you get just above what you need to be exponential. And so for each of those processes, I was running tests all the time to try to eke out another 1% here, 1% there and there was crazy things I was trying. For instance on the second page where you refer your friends, when they wanted to just find out what the base line is of this UI and so there was a description on the top and I would tweak the description to try to entice people. So one day I was just, does this description has any value, so I made it literally like gibberish, it wasn’t even English, it wasn’t in any language, it made no sense, and still we got like 25% of people in that got to complete the page. They were paying little attention to the text at the top. They were really just clicking the button and trying to get through. So stuff like that. And even like one word changes here and there made big differences.
Andrew: Give me another crazy thing that you did? Something that maybe you couldn’t say outside of a Mixergy interview, but because you understand that we all do all kinds of bullshit while we are testing out our business, you can be free to say it here.
Interviewee: I don’t know, had anything super crazy, I would try things that just seemingly crazy to me, that seemingly shouldn’t work or you wouldn’t think about it working, like for instance, we ended up going with the email that we send out ended up being html but at the top of it I just made this like, one day this sort of chequered pastel Easter thing at the top and for no particular reason, but that helped, it increased it by 2%
Andrew: Just having some chequered image that had something to do with Easter?
Interviewee: Yeah, it actually wasn’t an image, it was html table with background colors in there, because we found that images actually reduce, in this case reduce the click through, but just random stuff like that, some other non-intuitive things, we made the whole site https eventually, encrypted, which eked out another 2%.
Interviewee: I don’t know, so that is the thing. Some of these mechanisms, reasons behind I still don’t have a great answer for you. I guess in this case you could say well people may have thought the lock icon at the top of their browser they thought was more secure or something, but it definitely helped.
Andrew: And you said that 70% of the people who saw that email that came from their friends clicked it, came over to the website?
Interviewee: About 30% would come through.
Andrew: Okay, so 100 people get the email, 30% of them will click through
Interviewee: A bunch of those, well, we can detect bounces straight up. A lot of people actually don’t bounce like AOL and some cases don’t bounce immediately. So some of the emails are like silent bounces so some of the emails never reach the people. So of a hundred emails we send out, thirty clicked through.
Andrew: Wow, okay and so of the thirty, 70% filled in the form? And gave in their friends’ names?
Interviewee: Yes, so 70% got through that step and on the next step an average of 3.5 emails were submitted. So about 40-45% of the people completed that page
Andrew: I saw a few versions of the site. One actually said users must submit 20 email addresses or pay $12 / year subscription. How did you end up on 20 email addresses and $12 / year subscription?
Interviewee: There are other parts of the viral engine and what happened was over time (this is part of the risk of a business) email deliverability has gone down and down, and people clicking on emails has gone down and down. Basically every year people have been tracking this it’s been going down, which obviously isn’t good for a viral engine built on email. So overall we would add different things. One of the things we added was this paid subscription, but you could get a free subscription if you submitted 24 email addresses of your friends. The ones you had submitted before also count. So that was one path to increase the viral engine. The other thing we did before other sites had done was upload your address book. That wasn’t a formal part of the process like it is on a lot of sites now but it was always at the top of the site and people who were actually interested in the company once they got into it would just do that ad hoc. That actually pushed us over the edge when we were getting acquired. It helped us grow even faster.
Andrew: At what point in the process did you add the address book?
Interviewee: I do not remember.
Andrew: What was the incentive for them to upload their address book?
Interviewee: There was no incentive whatsoever. It was just at the top in the header. It said names database and then underneath it said “upload your address book”. There were links to the different providers like AOL, Hotmail, GMail, but it wasn’t an explicit part of the process and there was no incentive really. It probably would have been an area we would have focused on next, integrating it better.
Andrew: And still people did that?
Andrew: That’s the part I couldn’t figure out. I did see it. There was no gmail, there was just Yahoo at the top and there was just these links hangin out at the top of the page and I couldn’t figure out why would anyone need to fill that out to go through it. I see, and in the future you would have incorporated that into step two of the registration process or instead of or in addition to allowing people to type in the email addresses of all 24 of their friends. I see. Because one of the complaints I saw on message boards was “I had to copy and paste 20 email addresses of my friends”
Interviewee: It actually did work if you went to upload the address book and went to the free unlock you’d often get it for free because it carried over, but it wasn’t integrated into the process yet.
Andrew: It’s mind-boggling though, people at the time would go and copy email addresses from their address book and then paste them into your site one at a time.
Interviewee: So one of the things we studied whether was that free unlock the viral process was important so if that was helping we wanted to keep it, but one of the things that was interesting was whether it was cannibalizing sales. When we studied it, it actually wasn’t cannibalizing sales at all. The people who were doing the free unlock were generally younger and often international and were not purchasing for whatever reason. Probably because they didn’t have access or easy access to credit cards or funds. So it was basically a different subset of people who would do the free unlock versus the paid subscription.
Andrew: Did you find that charging for subscriptions helped get more email addresses because now you put a value on it?
Interviewee: We didn’t have the free unlock before the subscription. The subscription came first so I don’t have good data on that but I’m sure it would have. It would have had to.
Andrew: By the way, I’m looking at the live chat room here. The numbers are going down. So, it tells me there are fewer people now in the room than there were when we started. What the hell is wrong with people. This guy built using viral, using viral marketing — a site that nobody heard of that got millions of people. What did we say — 20 million people to sign up.
And listen to the way that he’s doing it. This is why I don’t care about numbers in the room. If all those dopes want to leave and they don’t see the value of this, let them leave. I understand that all of those people would love it if I had the Groupon’s founder on here because Groupon is hot today, and I will.
But, believe me, you’re going to get more insight now, years after the fact, when you were during. The founder of Groupon, I’m sure is hiding tons of stuff today. Ten years from now, I’ll do an interview with him and then he’ll say, “Andrew. Listen to me. Here’s what I did.” And that’s when I think it’ll be even more interesting.
All right, I see and the chat room is asking, how do people react to the email that they got from their friends saying, “go join this site, go join the name’s database?”
Interviewee: So, we tried a bunch of different things. So, basically, because we were going so wide and so the audience it could be sent to was anyone because you would upload their address book, people would just enter in their family and friends. The demographics were just ridiculous, I mean, all over the world.
And so, when we tested different things, the least amount of information we put in the email converted the best. And so, the email basically, it just said, “You know, your friend sent you this. Click through.” I don’t remember the exact text. But it was very minimal text. And so, I think they either thought, I don’t know what they thought. But, they thought “my friend sent me this and I’m going to click on it.”
Andrew: All right. This is over five years ago or over four years ago. It’s been a long time now. Standards have changed and it’s been a long time. Let me ask you this. You were hiding things from people at the time, right? You weren’t being very clear when they entered their friends’ email addresses that their friends would get solicited to join the website?
Interviewee: It was clear.
Andrew: It was clear?
Andrew: How clear was it?
Interviewee: I think it was pretty clear. I mean, so if you were going through the site and you never read anything — see this is the problem. People don’t read anything. But, there was an extensive explanation page linked off the front of the site. There was information on the front page. And then when you actually entered in the email address, there was an alert that popped up that was like, “Your friend’s going to get an email,” and there was another confirm alert. And so, there were a bunch of mechanisms where you should have received that information.
But, nevertheless, I think most people were totally fine with it. There were a few people who were very angry, but as I’ve written in a post one time, when you get to like 22 million people, or even we had about a million a month and we had more emails going out than that because not everyone would sign up, obviously. You get these one in a million crazy people. So, if you do a million emails a month, you’re going to get that one in a million crazy person. There’s no two ways about it.
Andrew: All right. And crazy people are loud, especially on the internet.
Interviewee: Yeah, exactly. So, I mean, it’s sort of, it’s par for the course.
Andrew: Okay. Let’s see if we have any other questions here about the site. The email address book. It seems like you did that before Facebook did, the ability for people to import the addresses from their email address book. Is that true?
Interviewee: I believe that’s — I was constantly looking at all the other sites out there for features to, maybe, copy or use. And I had played around with it, but it wasn’t that great. And I think I saw a better implementation of one of them at highfive.com. And their interface was better than what I had done before.
And so I decided to revisit it and do a bunch more services. And so there didn’t really exist at the time — now you can buy like software off the shelf to do it on like all the services or use a widget or something, but it didn’t exist at the time at all. And so, there were some random scripts that people put together for various sites, but I had to like sort of pack it all together. So, when I, when I took that second look, after seeing highfive, I put it all together and then almost instantly, when I got it up, it took off. People submitted their address books and [baby crying]
Andrew: Stay at home dad. Do you need to, do you need to go tend to him?
Interviewee: No, my wife’s home.
Andrew: Okay. All right. What about Tickle? I did an interview with Otis Chandler who worked at Tickle.com at the time and he said that they were a cutting edge when it came to stuff like this, that they were some of the pioneers. Did you take a look at their stuff, the way that they were…?
Interviewee: That I did I don’t remember in particular but I had a list of like I remember I five in particular but I had a list of like you know 20 sites and I was on top of everything going on in space. So I was constantly looking at all the new features people were doing.
Andrew: OK, let us see what else I got here. Why was the company in Orem, Utah?
Interviewee: So the company was not in Orem, Utah the company that bought us had a facility in Orem, Utah and it moved there. It operated there after the sale but I was in both of us were in Boston during the whole time of the company.
Andrew: OK and your contact information was in Boston?
Andrew: Orem, Utah we were both laughing at that there was conspiracy theory in someone’s chat room about that. Orem, Utah that is the place were you can get away with all kinds of stuff when it comes to mail order and internet. I do not know what the hell they were thinking, somebody else had a theory about they do not trust the Mormons and the Mormons are in control of Utah. And they must have something to do with this. Really interesting theories there.
Interviewee: I online had a company who bought a company in Orem, Utah so they had Pearl Packers there, our site was written in Pearl, and that is why they ended up there.
Andrew: Why did you sell?
Interviewee: There were a number of reasons; I mean it all it comes down to price. I mean the it was going well like I said we had a million revenue run rate but I mean to get to from that to 10 million you know would take a while. And so it was attractive and then addition to that there is a big risk in the business. Because it had this viral engine, which is based, on email and like I said email deliver ability was going down. And so we had to constantly come up with new ways to keep it going. And it seemed like maybe we were a little bit early because class mates with little effort in was able to continue the growth you know for another year and a half or so. And so possibly we sold to early there I mean there was a lot of things we could of done differently but I have no regrets about it.
Andrew: You sold to United Online which owns Class Mates now if anybody goes over to Names Database its just a home page. After submitting that first form, you end up on Classmates. COM. What was it like to get that check?
Interviewee: I do not know it was sort of surreal I do not have any particular sort of emotionally memory about it
Andrew: You got a check for 10 million dollars for the company a big chunk of that went to you. What was that like seeing that piece of paper after working for years trying to make this part of the business work, and trying to make other businesses work before that. What was that like that day that you took that to the bank that you first saw it?
Interviewee: It was not so clique in the way that you were describing. The business had been going well, we been getting good salaries. I live very cheaply so I was not immediately going to go out and buy anything I am a pretty conservative person. And so it did not really have much of an impact to my life immediately exactly.
Andrew: What point did it? What did you get that was different? How did life change afterwards?
Interviewee: Not incredibly much I mean so the we were moving from Boston to Philadelphia we were already considering buying a house. We bought a little bigger house but not a ridiculous house or anything. I was clear that I did not need to get a job immediately afterwards so I was interested you know exploring my options and doing other start up stuff. So that felt good that I could you know, I could continue to work on start up stuff indefinitely. That is really it I mean it just really opened up a little more options.
Andrew: All right before I continue with this story, I have to ask you what your t-shirt means. I am seeing a big equation on this t-shirt for anyone that is listening to the mp3 version what does that mean.
Interviewee: This is not MIT t-shirt you ever see square equals MC square, as the M I is the square of negative one and T is the square of the gas equation T equals NRT.
Andrew: What am I missing here the gas equation?
Interviewee: There are equations where each one is a separate science equation or math that means that variable and so equals mc square you know so the M is missing from this. So E over C squared is M.
Interviewee: And I is the square.
Andrew: Oh, I see MIT the school, oh listen to me I did not catch that last part. See there I am showing my intelligence it has nothing to do with money or directly paying somebody, or bringing in revenue I just can’t focus on it. Let us get back to what you did with the check, I am kidding.
Andrew: I had a list of questions here, let me make sure that I included
everything. All right, why did you start a search engine afterwards? Are you a
madman? What’s going on?
Interviewee: I started a seperate site first, that didn’t really get a lot of
traction, it was also related to search. The basic premise was twofold:
I saw a lot of spam, increasingly, on Google. Useless sites and whatnot, and I was sort of dissatisfied with that. At the same time, there were these other
sites, like Wikipedia and Delicious, in particular, that had great links for topics, and so I could go search those, and get better results than I was getting on Google. And so, my bigger thought, which is sort of like Corez
in a way, although their implementation is different,
was that there’s a lot of people who have a lot of information
in their heads, of the best links to go to for things. And they’re way
better than Google. And so, the canonical example that I was using at
the time was my wife and I took this stained glass class, and if you
searched stained glass on Google, it doesn’t give you great results. But
if you go to the class, they gave you like a sheet of paper that was like
“Go check out these links,” and everything. I thought that was sort of compelling. I saw the chatroom called Mahalo… Yeah, it was sort of like a
Mahalo idea, but it was before Mahalo.
Andrew: That was what the previous business was? The one just before Dot Dot Go?
What was that company called?
I: I didn’t even… I didn’t really get far with it. I basically decided that
you had a big chicken-and-egg problem, and it was gonna be really hard to get people to input their stuff. And a better idea would be to use sites and communities that already existed that were controlling spam and had good links,
like Wikipedia and Delicious. I sort of discarded that and moved on to what became dot dot go. It started with… One weekend I hacked up a mashup of Wikipedia and Delicious. So you could type in a term, and it would give you the links from those places and rank them in a certain way. And I just wanted to see how good those links were, and so for a lot of the fathead, if you will, of the search space, the top ten thousand queries, or whatever, it performs really well. And so, I sort of moved from there into thinking about “Okay, well, how can I make a whole sort of search engine around that, ” and it sort of just incrementally improved from there
Andrew: I see. Well, what about the idea that Google is too strong, they’ve got deep pockets, that behind them was, at the time, Yahoo? Today, you’ve got Microsoft. That the space was already locked up?
Interviewee: I am a big believer that it is not locked up. That it may be
the case that Google will have ninety percent or eighty percent of
market share for a long time, but there are UI differences that would
appeal to non-negligible percentages of people. And so, the main issue when I do customer development, or whatever, talk to people who are less tech savvy about Google… When you really get into them using search, they have no idea what the results page really means. It’s not readable to them, they basically just click on links, and go forward and back until they sort of see something that looks like it is what they want. But the page itself is utterly confusing, and so what I took away from that…
Andrew: Wait. They’re confused by links on Google Search?
Interviewee: …Is that they know that they’re links, and they’re something
to click on, but the titles and descriptions don’t necessarily make sense.
Why they should just click on one link instead of the other. I mean, they
know to go in order, I guess, but… There’s no… It’s basically not understandable or readable. So my approach ended up being, “Can we take the result page and make it something that people would understand?” So, simpler titles and links, say, that were written by humans. This concept of zero click info at the top of search, where you can get information without clicking anywhere, like a paragraph summary of your search term, that kind of stuff.
Andrew: I see. What about everything that worked for you at the
previous company? Viral marketing, search engine optimization, what about all that? Have you been able to bring any of it here?
Interviewee: I’ve done a little SEO stuff, And so I’ve made some unique pages, like these category pages of related topics that have gotten some search
traffic, but not much. I basically threw it all out the window (laughs).
Which is not necessarily a great thing to do. I mean, I think the viral stuff is key. When i’ve been doing the Angel investing, I’ve been looking at things with the potential to be viral in some way. I’ve been using my expertise to help them, but I would love to do something viral within Duck Duck go and I’ve been thinking about it, but I haven’t come up with anything great.
Andrew: Yea, it’s hard to come up with it for search engines, and now you have a run rate of how much, 60,000 a year?
Interviewee: Oh, right I just did this sponsorship thing, something like that yea, that’s a, I mean eventually I want to do some kind of more contextual advertising but, yea.
Andrew: Alright the got the big capital letters here buzz the word on my page to remember to ask you about that. Let’s talk about that. How active are you in getting all these mentions?
Interviewee: These past few months I have not been active much at all. They have happened somewhat organically on their own…
Andrew: What did you do before?
Interviewee: So, I decided, one major change I did is at the beginning of the year I decided to blog a lot more, and I committed to myself to do 100 posts, of high quality posts, and so I’ve been doing that consistently over the last 6 months. So that’s one big change. Another one is I’ve tried to, when I release what I think is an interesting feature you know its unique I’ve been trying to promote it on read-it, hacker news, you know other places. Those were the main things and I just think that I’ve been trying to listen, I’ve been really close to feedback so, there’s a feedback button on every search page, I get a lot of feedback, I respond to all of it really quickly and try to synthesize it and I’ve been trying to really go in directions that I know people will like because I think the only way it’s, really to grow, is to grow by word of mouth, so I’m really trying to wow people so. It’s gotten better and better and it’s gotten to a point where people can easily switch to the search engine and I have an about page that makes it a pretty compelling reason to switch and I think that has just sort of gotten to a point where people like it. People like the idea of an alternative search engine. They don’t like monopolies and they don’t like being tracked and things like that.
Andrew: What about the CNN article, how did CNN include Duck Duck Go when they were doing the roundup of search engines that are competing with Google?
Interviewee: So again I had nothing to do with it, they just included it, I think though that, I mean my guess would be that they either went to Wikipedia and looked foe elicited search engines, which I am on Wikipedia, or they had googled or binged or whatever search engine and I appeared you know on the first few pages.
Andrew: How did you get into Wikipedia, you put yourself in there?
Interviewee: I, I didn’t want to do that because…..
Andrew: You’re not supposed to…
Interviewee: Because you’re not supposed to (laugh), so I waited until we had some traction and I asked our followers of Twitter, if someone would make a page for us and then, they did so, and then it almost immediately got like it was going to get deleted for lack of sources so like I did edit it a little bit to add sources but I didn’t add any bias or anything, but that’s how I got in there.
Andrew: Ok, and then how did you show up in Google for the term search engine?
Interviewee: I’ve been trying to do SEO around that term obviously so, what, I’ve also bought add words so it may have click on an add word. You know like on the left, or on the top, but I have the title of the page, search engine, Duck Duck Go, and on the front page really one of the only pieces of text I have a description of search engine and when I, if I can try to get people to link to me, I try to encourage them to use the word search engine, but they don’t always do so, but that’s mainly it.
Andrew: I will include search engine I got to remember to do that.
Interviewee: (laugh) thank you….
Andrew: Alright, Hacker news, I see you on there a lot, that’s a good community to be a part of for a couple of reasons, first of all they give you intelligent feedback, not just feedback about the color of the site, but useful information that you can use to improve your site. Second I’ve been noticing more and more that when other writers are looking for stories they go to Hacker news. I’ll see a story, a random story on Hacker News and suddenly it end up on techcron, masherble or all these other blogs. And then of course they are good users, they are willing to go out there and actually try something new. You’re actively cording (phonetic) that community right?
Interviewee: Well I wouldn’t say cording, I’d say I was part of it since the very beginning, I was on the site basically the first day of launch and I lurked for a long time before I actually signed up but then I signed up and started contributing and I’ve been contributing for, you know, three years.
Interviewee: So I’d say I’m a part of the community
Andrew: Ok, alright, but you don’t just submit, I think I commented on something and you emailed me directly. One of the reasons that I’ve always felt a bound with you or a closeness or a friendship with you even though we have never talked is because of that. So you just don’t submit, you build relationships with the site. How do you do that?
Interviewee: I try to reach out to people when I see something interesting and just try to get to know people. I try to comment when I think something’s interesting; I just, fundamentally, it’s not like I’m trying to do it; I just enjoy the site, I enjoy meeting other entrepreneurs, so…
Andrew: What about the specific posts that are almost hacker news links. The one where you categorize all the “ask hacker” news questions that’s just naturally going to bubble up to the top of hacker news or other ideas like that.
Interviewee: I created that page about two and a half years ago before hacker news was a big community… out of interest; at that time there were a lot of meta-posts about like “Why are you asking this question again?” There were a lot more asks, there were alot more start-up focus and and “ask each end” focus. Like “Can you tell me about what camera you use for doing messaging?” People kept asking the same questions, so i decided to categorize the questions out of fun and put that out there. It wasn’t intended to be, karma or anything, in fact there wasn’t much traffic but people keep it as a link and discover it now and then. They resubmit something and it gets voted up. As for the other posts, I dont write any thing for link pages, I just thing my interest is directly related to hacker news, so my blog would appeal to the community alot.
Andrew: So did you hire anyone to do that, put the links up? Your putting together all the links for “Ask Hacker” news?
Interviewee: I put together all those links.
Andrew: You made…
Interviewee: (interrupts) Yup, I haven’t updated it in a long time, but it took a long time to put together.
Andrew: How much time do you spend on stuff like that, interacting with the community, not directly, not aimed at DuckDuckGo, interacting with the community.
Interviewee: Alot, if you count blogging, I don’t know how many hours, but i spend alot of time thinking about that; trying to help out.
Andrew: How many would you say in a day?
Interviewee: I don’t know, I mean at least an an hour. I mean, surfing and reading stuff, and trying to respond and stuff.
Andrew: To be honest, i haven’t been reading enough about the work, I haven’t been on Reddit enough to ask say what you’re doing there to ask intelligent questions. Lets move on to your blog, I’ve been checking out your blog for a long time. The only thing I’ll say on Reddit; ask me anything, any question that you have, really helpful. Everybody you responded to as many people as you could, even the knuckleheads who had jokey comments there. So that’s all I’ll say about Reddit. The blog, how do you come up with the blog posts?
Interviewee: It’s not hard to come up with blog posts, I constantly come up with ideas, from blog posts, from reading stuff, from “Hacker Stuff” and other stuff. I have a long list from a google doc, that i have, that has tons of blog post ideas.
Andrew: What kind of blog post, teach us, I’m not as good blog poster as you are, and most people aren’t which is why we aren’t reading their blogs. Teach us what it takes to be interesting.
Interviewee: I think… you… have to… first of all, I’m just getting started, but from looking at the wall, I often don’t know which posts what will be successful. Like I put out something that I though is good, and no one really likes, and something else… people really take to it. I think you got to say something, you got to put yourself out there. I think that a lot of posts are just like, wishy-washy.
Andrew: What do you mean? Give me an example of a post where you put yourself out there.
Interviewee: Yah, I did a post on single-founders and say, I’ve done a bunch of those single founders, trying to dispell sort of myths about them. And being less successful, and getting funding. Recently on a post on liquidation preferences, on Angel Investing and most of the feedback was negative on it. I’d say…. but.. I think people are generally not willing to put stuff out there where they are not sure about the post and they may get criticized for it, I just think you need to get beyond that.
Interviewee: The feedback was negative on it, I’d say. But, I think people are generally not willing to put stuff out there, where they’re not sure of the post, and they may get criticized for it. And I just think you’ve got to get beyond that.
Andrew: What about ad tests? What I think has been especially interesting is seeing the blog posts you did about the ad you bought on Reddit or, a couple of other ad tests that you did. I think you did one with the founder of
Dream It Ventures. Do you do any of those just to show other people what worked, just because it’s an easy way to get a blog post that… Not an easy way to get a blog post, but a way to create useful blog posts. That even if you fail, you’ve taught people, and it’s been helpful?
Interviewee: Absolutely. I think that’s another category of things that people don’t generally want to do blog posts on. Which is share data from their company. And I know you’ve had…
Andrew: Which is what? I’m sorry.
Interviewee: Share data about their company, and what they’re doing. Like, real data and what their costs were and everything. I know you’ve had Patrick McKenzie on from Bingo Card, he does that with even his sales, and stuff, I think those are great posts. And so, I just want to… If I do that, a new advertising platform, I think a lot of people… I did one on Reddit… You know, don’t want to figure out whether they should be doing it or not. So I’m
helping them take that step by explaining exactly what I did, how much it cost, and what I got from it. So I have a few more that I’ve been messing around with,
that I’ll eventually have posts on. I’ve been messing around with Adly and New York Times. And Pick Fu is one I did yesterday, it’s not really an advertising site, but needs ability testing.
Andrew: What did you think of Adly?
Interviewee: Adly I have not had great success with. First I found it really hard to actually spend money on Adly, because all my stuff was denied for inexplicable reasons. And I went out and contacted everyone who supposedly denied it, and figured out what was going on. And then, when I have managed to spend the money it hasn’t really yielded much.
Andrew: Adly is a company that lets you do in-stream advertising. Right now, basically, it’s advertising in people’s Twitter accounts and their Twitter streams. So when you contacted them and said, “Why didn’t you run my ad?” What did they say?
Interviewee: So, about seventy percent of the people said they never even received anything from Adly, that it said they should authorize it. So, I guess that the time – You set a time limit when your ad runs out – I’m guessing the time limit just ran out and then they just said… Their UI says, literally, “Denied.” it doesn’t say it expired. And so I assumed that meant they denied it, but it may just have meant that the time expired. Then, I did reach some
people who said that they did deny it, and they said either of two things: One, they never really intended to have an ad on it, they just signed up for Adly, and when it came time to put an ad on it, they were like, “Whoa, I don’t really wanna do ads.” Or two, they weren’t familiar with the product, and so they wouldn’t do it which i find a little odd, because that’s basically gonna be everything that gets advertised through Adly, they’re not gonna be familiar with. Anyway, so that was the reason.
Andrew. Okay. My brother actually had some good results from Adly. I forget what his exact numbers were, but it was pretty effective for him, he said. I had a problem with Adly…
Interviewee: I’d be really interested to know…
Interviewee: I’d be really interested to know what he did. Like, did he go… I didn’t go the pay, like, the five thousand dollars for the massive celebrity, I took a much more scientific approach to who I was going to do. But, anyway…
Andrew: You looked for people who were better fits.
Interviewee: I looked for people who had high influence on Twitter, and who had a lot of retweets.
Andrew: Oh, and they give you that data?
Interviewee: They don’t. That’s another problem with Adly, they don’t give you any of that. So I sort of surrepticiously… Not surrepticiously, but, I figured out how to access their data. I downloaded it, I mixed it with Infochimp’s and Twitter’s API, and then I decided who to do based on that.
Andrew: Interesting. Now, that might be a product on it’s own, to figure out who’s got influence on Twitter. All right, let’s see what else I’ve got here in the notes. I asked you about the T-Shirt. M.I.T., I should have known that… Joe, edit out the fact that I didn’t know M.I.T. right away. Just make me look smarter, please? Talk to the editor right there…
What age were you when you started that company, the names database?
Interviewee: I was…
Andrew: When you launched that site, not the company.
Interviewee: The site launched in April, 2003, the actual site. I think I was twenty-three at the time.
Andrew: Twenty-three. And when you sold?
Andrew: Twenty-six. All right, that’s gonna be for my headline. You know I like to have the age of the person
and what they sold it for, so it’s gonna be: “How a Twenty-three-year-old Built a Ten Million Dollar Company
With No Outside Funding.”
Andrew: And how much money they sold it for [unclear], how a 23 year old built a $10 million company with no outside funding, and I need to include your name DuckDuckGo in there because people on Hacker News are real big fans of it. What else do I have? Traction, why you are doing interviews around traction?
Interviewee: This is another thing related to the Hacker News community in a way like, lot of people posed, review my site or as to the fact I am not getting traction, how can I get it. I see that as the most recurring question and I also see it offline in the Philadelphia sort of community, I put up a site, why isn’t it taking off, and how do I get it to take off, and I see that as the most common question and barrier for start-ups taking off and so I wanted to sort of, but I want to, haven’t done that much work on it, I want to analyze that a little more scientifically and see if I can come up with something.
Andrew: Sorry, the connection on my side was going away, you want to analyze the traction that people who had it got?
Interviewee: Well, more than that. I have already come to a number of conclusions about it, that there are different types of ideas and that influences a lot. There are a set of, I call traction verticals, different ways that you get traction for your company and really you need to approach it systematically, and see if you can get any of them to work for you and I find that a lot of entrepreneurs pretty much overlook, about half of them, either they don’t know they exist or don’t take them seriously. So I think there can be sort of a systematic approach to it. there is the whole like clean start up, customer development thing which I think is great, I actually like that, but I think it is only one part of the puzzle.
Andrew: Let me just raise the volume here, we were getting an echo so I lowered the volume and when I lowered it, somehow screwed with my ability to hear what you are saying. So you want to basically put together a menu of options for getting traction and then allow a start-up to say well, this one doesn’t really work for me, this one doesn’t apply either, that one is a good one to try, that one over there is a definite sure fire fit with my business, let me go out there and use at least those from the menu. Is that [unclear], and you want to attach to each one of them a company that has done it?
Interviewee: I don’t know what form it will take but that is basically what I am thinking. It is like, certainly on each vertical have an expert and a company, explain exactly what they did and the best practices and things like that.
Andrew: Okay, how long have you been now with DuckDuckGo?
Interviewee: It has probably been 2 ? years.
Andrew: Okay, well, actually it is too early to ask those questions, I am sorry I am lucid a little bit here, what I was going to ask was a series of questions around how do you know when it is going to be enough, are you on the right track, but two years is still early?
Interviewee: Very early. I believe that I am on the right track.
Andrew: What is your goal for it. What do you envision happening here?
Interviewee: I have no particular goal. I wanted to be a great site and a great search engine, and that is really my goal, it is to get as many people to use it as a primary search engine as possible. I don’t have milestones or anything, I am just trying to make that happen in general.
Andrew: Would you ever plan for a sale?
Interviewee: Not in the moment. I am not necessarily opposed to it if the right buyer was there, but I am not like trying to sell it or building it to flip or anything.
Andrew: You are just trying to build a great company, you have a vision for what that great site could be and you want to pursue it?
Andrew: Do you get tired of people acting like you are being quixotic over here, like you are just tilting it windmills?
Interviewee: I sort of grew with thick skin at Names Database and I don’t really mind the haters if you will.
Andrew: What it is like to be a stay at home dad while you are building your business. You get interrupted any minute, you have obligations beyond work?
Interviewee: It is very difficult and I don’t recommend it.
Andrew: Why you are doing it?
Interviewee: I am doing it because I wanted to spend time with my son in his formative years and make sure that it is so.
Andrew: Actually my headlines for Hacker News apparently stink, they don’t like my headlines, they think I am trying to get hits or links with those headlines, I should just crowd source my headlines.
Andrew: I won’t post this tomorrow. If anyone has a better headline than the one that I just suggested or a good headline at all, I’ll use your headlines. Gabriel, if you have a good headline for this interview I’ll take that too.
Interviewee: I’ll take your headlines are great personally.
Andrew: Thank you. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with them. They all think I’m trying to game it.
Interviewee: I actually have trouble coming up with good headlines for my photos, so I think yours are excellent.
Andrew: Thank you, and then meanwhile I go to sites like Business Insider all they have is a headline. It’s like a great headline. I click right over. I’ve got to see it, and I see that they have two sentences that are original, and then copy and paste somebody else’s post. It got me over there and then that little fire at the side of the post that shows how many people have come to the site just goes up, and up, and up, and up, because they’re great headline writers.
Interviewee: Headlines are hard. That’s what copy editors have their whole career doing. You’re good at it. You have a formula that works, so why not stick with it?
Andrew: Guys on hackers don’t be haters. Love me back, I love you. I love this whole community. Don’t hate me back. Alright, I think at this point it’s time to end this interview. Gabriel, I’m really glad that you came here and did this interview. I was always curious about the names database. I’m so glad that you were here and were open about it and willing to talk about it. Thanks for doing the interview.
Interviewee: Thank you for having me.
Andrew: Cool, alright guys, thank you all for watching. Come back to MixerG [sp], if Gabriel’s into feedback I want feedback too. Come back to MixerG [sp], give me feedback on everything except for my reading of his tee shirt, because I understand that I could have done a better job on that, and I’ll see you in the comments. Bye everyone.