Seek co-founder Matt Rockman Quotes & 6 Key Business Lessons from Seek.com.au

Tips and Quotes from Seek Australia Co-Founder Matt Rockman’s presentation at the Young Entrepreneurs’ Unconvention in Sydney in September 2012 #uncon.

Started Seek in 1997

Lost $26m before they made a profit

Listed on ASX in 2005 for market capitalization of $500m, in 2012 now worth $2.2bn

In terms of market penetration, the largest online employment business anywhere in the world

They were not first to market – 3 of the big players were there before – Monster.com and all the big newspapers including Fairfax and News Limited

Big newspapers and media players had all but locked in the classified market … but the internet presented a once in a generation opportunity to break the lock

6 key learnings:

1) Be Bold

Go slightly further out on the risk curve

Seek used TV, Radio, outdoor – newspapers would not let them advertise

They got big creative genius Ted Horton on board and had to spend their whole budget, made TV ads featuring Alan Bond, about seeking a new beginning. Ads were a huge success and traffic went through the roof. Started a snowball effect – more visitors, which means they get more ads, and around goes the cycle. Were a small startup but as soon as you are on TV people think you are legitimate.

2) Be Patient

Revenue grew 20x over 8 years. Spent first 2 years with no revenue by giving away ads to get traction. Matt says get adoption, get users, then revenue will come followed by profit

3) Be courageous

When hiring – take a chance if person has that something special and when making promotions. Don’t play it safe

4) Be Special

Be unique – have culture. People leave giant companies for the culture at startups. Things like parental leave, bringing kids to work they had at Seek in 1997

Matt says – give me a great team in a crap market, rather than a crap team in a great market any day of the week

5) Be Paranoid

Look at competitors, keep an eye on them

Recommends the book: “Only the Paranoid Survive: How to Exploit the Crisis Points That Challenge Every Company” by Andrew S. Grove, Intel

6) Be obsessive

Plan & execute – great people with flawless execution and perfect strategy will beat good strategy and market times

Execution – a business’ ability to do what it says, and not drop the ball

Be obsessed about flawless execution

If you could do only 2 things, the 2 biggest secrets to Seek’s success:

- was the quality of people

- and the ability to execute

There are byproducts of growth that you need to be prepared for

Matt said his favourite business book by far is “Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t” by Jim Collins

Matt Rockman’s favourite sayings and quotes:

“Fortune rewards the brave”

“Only the paranoid survive”

“Leave enough in the deal so the other side will deal with you twice”

“Business is not easy but the principles are”

“Things always take longer and cost more”

“If you don’t understand it, don’t do it”

For notes from the other sessions at the Young Entrepreneurs’ Unconvention Sydney and other conferences around the world including Affiliate Summit and Clickbank Exchange in New York join our newsletter here.

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