Businesses grow by getting traction. Without it, a brand will easily lose market share and eventually implode with a whimper.
But how exactly do you gain traction?
Gabriel Weinberg, a millennial entrepreneur who achieved the unthinkable feat of challenging Google at its own game — and surviving — will show you how. Gabriel co-founded the search engine upstart DuckDuckGo in 2008 to provide a Google alternative that doesn’t invade your privacy. The company grew from an informal launch on a community website into a popular search engine option on Firefox and Safari, with more than 3 billion searches processed in 2015 and millions of dollars in revenues.
The Philadelphia-based entrepreneur recounted his experiences in a book entitled Traction: How Any Startup Can Achieve Explosive Customer Growth.
In this talk, Gabriel will share the story of how he discovered and addressed a specific pain point among search engine users and leveraged the solution as the core offering of his business. But in the digital economy, having a useful product won’t take you very far. So Gabriel will also share how his team iterated DuckDuckGo multiple times to consistently gain traction.
What does it take to keep your business sustainable? You need to have a message that resonates with a niche audience and keeps them in hyper-engaged mode. You also need to send that message through the right channel. That is traction. And you need it all the time.
Whether by attracting additional funding, reeling more profits, or testing the viability of a new product, traction will help you scale your business to the next level.
In this episode you’ll learn:
- How Gabriel Weinberg initially tested whether there’s a demand for a service like DuckDuckGo even amid the market dominance of colossal search engines like Google and Bing. (4:45)
- The concept of “traction” as a buzzword in business, marketing and growth hacking. (6:37)
- How to apply the “Bullseye Framework” that will enable you to achieve explosive customer growth. (9:56)
- The step-by-step process of identifying which of the 19 marketing channels will help you gain traction. (10:15)
- How a small startup expanded into a multi-million dollar company by finding and solving a specific pain point experienced by search engine users. (12:01)
- Listen to it on iTunes.
- Stream by clicking here.
- Download as an MP3 by right-clicking here and choosing “save as.”
This episode of Powderkeg is brought to you by DeveloperTown. If you’re a business leader trying to turn a great idea into a product with traction, this is for you.
DeveloperTown works with clients ranging from entrepreneurs to Fortune 100 companies who want to build and launch an app or digital product. They’re able to take the process they use with early stage companies to help big companies move like a startup.
So if you have an idea for a web or mobile app, or need help identifying the great ideas within your company, go to developertown.com/powderkeg.
If you like this episode, please subscribe and leave us a review on iTunes. You can also follow us on Soundcloud or Stitcher. We have an incredible lineup of interviews we’ll be releasing every Tuesday here on the Powder Keg Podcast.
Links and Resources Mentioned in this Episode:
- Traction: How Any Startup Can Achieve Explosive Customer Growth by Gabriel Weinberg and Justin Mares
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What stood out most to you about what Jordan shares in this podcast?
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From VERGE headquarters in Indianapolis, I’m Matt Hunckler. With powderkeg igniting startups and Hello, my powder, keggers and powderkeg fans, I’m taking a little bit of a break from the holiday celebrations this week to bring you an amazing conversation with a serial entrepreneur whose marketing strategies have allowed his 40 person tech company to compete in an industry that’s dominated by Goliath like Google and Yahoo.
So but they’re really not intuitive is is that the companies are really successful found underutilized strategies within that channel. And the only way they can do that is by creatively testing, usually their testing resources to test within that channel. That’s Gabriel
Weinberg, serial entrepreneur and founder of DuckDuckGo. Weinberg is the author of the book traction, a Startup Guide to Getting customers and it’s one of my favorite books. I referenced it frequently. And it’s actually become a little bit of a field manual, so to speak for tech entrepreneurs, growth hackers, and marketers around the world. I mean, the framework has been used by founders like Jimmy Wales of Wikipedia, Alexis Ohanian, of Reddit, and Paul English of kayak.com. And they’ve used these strategies to build some of the biggest companies and organizations in the world. That’s coming up on powderkeg igniting startups, where every week, we are sharing the untold stories of innovation, leadership and technology beyond Silicon Valley. This episode of powderkeg is brought to you by developer town. When we launched this podcast a few weeks ago, we weren’t even going to take on a sponsor. But given what developer town does, and what they’ve been able to do with other startups and large scale companies, it was sort of a no brainer for us. As we were looking to launch this podcast, developer town helps companies turn great ideas into products with traction. Just take Tim Forrester, for example. He is at a water consulting firm out of Illinois called a BW CSI. And a few years ago, they had an idea,
the application we build, I mean, we just kind of whipped it up in our spare time, like it kind of became a major initiative. But it was it was impressive how much of a need there was in the market. Like, wow, okay, I think that’s what was enticing. The developer tone when we approached him was, hey, listen, the idea is legit, because we’ve already sold in the mid to high six figures worth of the software. But we just encountered a problem where what we were doing was essentially customed redesigning it, every time for each client, there’s gotta be, there’s gotta be a better way to do this, both both on the technology front, but also primarily on the business front. And we kind of tween, the developer, myself, we kind of sat back and said, you know, this, the way we’re doing this is not the way that great software is built. And to be real honest, we don’t know how great software is built. I mean, we may know the, you know, the technicalities of how to build software. But we don’t, we’ve never run a software business who never started a software company. So we kind of realized, like, if this is ever going to be more than a side project, if we ever really want to launch this, it’s got to be done the right way. And it’s probably got to be in the cloud. And it probably has to be rebuilt from scratch and just kind of reimagined. And now that we really understand all the needs all the pitfalls, we should start from scratch, knowing all these things, and re architected from the ground up. So we’re like, we need to partner with somebody who’s done this before, and who understands this business who under who can show us the business of starting a software company, long story, but we ended up hooking up with developer town, and the rest is history.
For the rest of this story, visit developer town.com/powder keg developer town is one word Powder Keg is one word. So again, that’s developer town.com/powder keg For more information, developer town, start something. Gabriel Weinberg is the founder and CEO of DuckDuckGo, an internet search engine that doesn’t track you or your personal data. In an industry that’s dominated by Goliath like Google and Yahoo. DuckDuckGo does more than 3 billion searches per year. You can find Gabriel on the Twitter’s at Yag. That’s at EY E, G, G, but he’s also a prolific writer on the popular blogging platform medium. He’s also fairly active on AngelList, with more than a dozen investments that he’s made into some of these innovation driven companies. And on both of those platforms, he again is at YEG y e. G. G. This conversation with Weinberg is a masterclass on getting more customers for your business or idea. Today, I talked to Gabriel about the best strategies from his book, traction, a Startup Guide to Getting customers, we dive into why he decided to compete against big companies like Google, how he gained traction as a search engine, and why he’s growing his tech company from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. We don’t want to waste any time getting into it. And I know that there’s so much goodness in this interview. So it’s my pleasure to introduce Mr. Traction himself, Mr. Gabriel Weinberg, Matt Hunckler here and I’m with Gabriel Weinberg, who is the co founder of Duck Duck go and author of The Amazing book traction, Gabrielle, thanks for being here. You, Dude, I’m so stoked because you and I connected a couple of weeks ago in Philadelphia, which there’s an awesome startup community there in Philly. And you have grown an amazing company that has gotten beyond traction in such a magnificent sort of way. I’d love it. If you could kind of talk about the initial idea conception of Duck Duck go, what what was the problem that you’re trying to solve? And how did you know when you’d finally reach traction?
My story is weird, a little weird. It may not be directly applicable to everybody. But what happened was, is I had a previous company that I sold in 2006. And I didn’t particularly like that product, pretty much like wasn’t, I wasn’t interested in it. It’s one of the reasons why we sold it. So I realized that whatever I want to do next, I want to do for a long time, like or be able to do for a long time, because I was interested in like a decade kind of thing. When I brainstorm what that might be. I found, at least for myself, a very hard time assessing like that founder market fit, they might call, you know, yeah, so I literally started a bunch of side projects, like, like a dozen, like a lot of different things. Was it a two year period, really 2006 2008. And I tried a lot of things, and what I thought might work and just what I was interested in, they weren’t necessarily business ideas, either. Just you know, things
really give you like an example of maybe one that wasn’t Duck Duck go.
Yeah, interview show, I started. More like a TV kind of thing. Even physical TV, I started a competitor to meetup.com called crypto Matic
VM that one didn’t work out, I would probably want to use it.
I will I use a lot of these were started out of frustration, like I moved to Philadelphia, and I was a little frustrated with the meetup experience. So I was like, I’m just gonna mess up my own. Yeah. But then three of these projects ended up being search related. Two of them, were improving my own Google results, which is kind of sad, dissatisfied at the time, just 2007, removing spam and content farms, and also adding instant answers at the top. Like I would kept going on Wikipedia and IMDB. And I was like, Why do I have to click on the links, you know? And the third was this idea that random people in their head had better links in a lot of cases and Google like by ask you like, what are the best startup blogs, you had a better answer until like seven, or at least I did, then what Google was returning. And that happened to a lot of categories. So I started to different side projects and a year into them or so, you know, I took a step back and said, Okay, which ones Am I really interested in. And the ones I was really attracted to were like data algorithms, that kind of stuff. And so I said, once you these are related, I’ll maybe I’ll try a search engine. At that point of consolidation. I was still doing several projects, but I decided to launch some of them. And so I launched DuckDuckGo, in a not real launch, like a launcher to Hacker News, just to see if there was like any demand there at all. So if there wasn’t demand, I probably would have stopped and did something else. But there, there was some demand. And so and I was excited by it. So I just kept going. I mean, that’s basically how it started.
So it really all came out of launching it on Hacker News and saying, Hey, I created this thing. What do you think?
Yeah, the thread is still up. I mean, you can go check it out. It was at it was called Startup news back then. And it was supposed to, like ask YC What do you think of my new search engine?
It’s well, at the time, and in, if you read the thread, what you can see is, you know, there are some people who were starting to get either dissatisfied with Google results like I was, or just, like, interested in something new, because it had been the kind of monopoly for a while. And so there was clearly an early adopter crowd there.
Was there something particularly that you did with that thread that you think got a lot of people to comment on it? Or was it literally just Hey, check this out? Here’s a link. That one
was literally check that out here, here’s a link, but the community was way smaller at the time. And I was a decently prominent member of it at the time, like I was in the top 100, that kind of stuff. So like, I think people knew who I was. And so you could say I agree invested in the community. But it wasn’t like a launch plan in the sense of like, I was trying to get a lot of traction from it. It was more like a feedback plan. I’m in this community. I want to see what happens you know if anyone will really use this.
So you’ve you’ve literally co authored the book on traction. Now that word is used all throughout the startup community, and even now in some of the non startup communities and business communities. Is there a specific moment when you have reached track action, like is that something that you’ve actually defined as, hey, this is when you have traction, but anything before that it’s not traction,
you know, our advice is, whatever you’re doing, you should define a explicit traction goal, really a hard number of what you’re trying to hit, like, when you’re starting out, it’s usually one of three things, usually, you know, how much faster you need to raise money, or how much actually need to be profitable, or you know, it’s gonna have a certain amount of cash for you, or how much traction you need to prove to yourself that this is like a project worth pursuing, which was my case starting to pick up, I think that that traction goal is usually defined as an inflection point in your company. And so beginning and that’s one of those three things usually, later on, it could be like, you reach sustainability, or you have some kind of market share number, some kind of inflection point. So I think when thinking about it, I like to frame it as a specific point that you’re trying to reach and saying, Okay, well, now I’ve achieved that goal. That said, I think you can say I have fracturing attraction based on the very early stages, based on sustainable product engagement. And this gets to the question of whether you should pivot or not, which a lot of people ask. And when people ask, the person I ask is, Well, okay, do you have any users that are like, hyper engaged in your product? Like, they’re, they’re like, really engaged, I would call him like, bright spots, you know, like, you can look at part of your user base and say, Okay, those people, like really get it, even a small amount of those people is a little bit of traction that I think you can build on. Because you can say like, okay, are those people outliers? Is there a market there, maybe there’s a niche, I can expand on. If you don’t have any engaged users, then I would say you have no traction. And maybe you should consider pivoting or you haven’t clicked your product match, maybe we need to tweak the product or the messaging. So I do think there is a binary point. But I think that binary point is more around pivoting and less around what people normally mean, which is I have enough traction to raise money or you know, or do something significant in a market.
So in order to get to that point where you can do something significant, whether that’s raise capital, or find that next big client, or even that next big hire for the team. How do you get to that point of traction? Like are there some core principles that you outline in the book that you can actually walk us through here? Or are there a couple of key pieces for finding those first couple bright points, as you call them are bright spots?
Yeah. So in the in the book, you know, we we present a framework called the bullseye framework, the idea is you hit the bullseye by finding the one traction channel that will get you to your goal. And there are 19 of these different marketing channels. So like SEO, and AdWords, and speaking engagements and trade shows, and there’s literally 90 And then we identify that’s like the universe of things you can do to get traction. But we found that generally, when a startup is taken off, it’s one of those that is a core strategy that is working. Now, there might be other channels that feed into that core strategy. But they’re really focusing on like one thing via like viral marketing, or email marketing or content marketing. And the goal is to really what the framework is to figure out which of those channels to do, you know, we really advise, because you don’t really know what channel it is, you got to have some structured approach to figuring out what channel that is, it could be our approach, but you should take some structured approach. Whereas what normally people do is they just kind of stab around, try a few things, and then kind of give up our approach really is very simple is you brainstorm all nine key channels, because you don’t really know which one is most successful. You tried to think of tests, you can run and we offer a bunch of A, and then you pick your top three tests, the things that you think might be most likely to work, and then you run them in parallel. And they should take no longer than a month to really get some basic data on. And then if one of those is successful, you double down and focus on that as your core strategy. And then you focus on figuring out how to make that strategy. Get to your goal, if none of them work that you basically rerun the thing, like make sure your new brainstorm is still accurate, run some more tests, and then hopefully come up with a town that works.
So I’m assuming this is a strategy that worked for you at DuckDuckGo. Could you maybe talk us through what that process looked like for you?
Yeah, so we have run this, we’re on the sixth iteration of this. We’re actually in the middle of the sixth iteration. So we switched channels. This will be our sixth time switching. So we started with SEO than content marketing, first in a blog form and then microsites, then we switch to social ads in the Reddit. So 4chan, then we switch to PR first online and print that TV. And then we switch to business development partnerships, which culminated in getting into the iPhone, Dr. Goes like a option and the iPhone, and also Mozilla Firefox. And now we’re literally rewriting this entire thing again, with a new traction goal and new experiments. And that’s kind of important because, like our new goal, we do about 3 billion searches a year Now it is regrettable. But it’s also a hard problem. Because to grow now we need to do like find another 3 million churches next year. So like, where do we find that? Those kinds of numbers, like everything that worked before, and those five iterations, no longer work? So like all the all tests have to be new at that new scale?
What were some of those earlier ones that worked then but aren’t working now? Just out of curiosity? Yeah. So
so they’re very good. So like, we could get a for as a great example, last week, we kind of randomly were on the top of Reddit for the entire day, I did this ama for the book. And in it, someone asked me about DuckDuckGo. And if it was making money, and I said it was profitable, which we had said before, around, but no, it wasn’t as visible. Somebody picked that up and made a press story about it. So when posted that I had to read it, and it got it weighed, voted on, it had like as like 7000 points, and it stayed at the top of Reddit, like read it all for an entire day. So like that’s the best content marketing, you could probably get. It did not move our traffic members at all, you could not even see a blip. And that was three years ago, that would have been amazing. Yeah, that would have actually moved the needle. But now it does not,
so that it doesn’t move the needle now. So how are you designing the test? Now going forward? And how do you find an idea those different 19 or nine or 29? Different ideas to then pick the the five that you go for it? You know, is there a particular number of those that you need to pick down and go for it? So first of all, how do you get the number that you pick from? And then how do you decide how many you can actually go after
the 19 is pretty, we may try to be pretty exhaustive of everything. So that’s like the universe, we recommend. And from our experience, you know, only doing about three at a time, because it’s just you can’t do them very well. If you do more, you really have to go through them until you find something that works. And that made me run a lot of tests that may be changing your product or messaging over time, and nothing’s working. But you gotta keep running tests basically until you until you find something that works. In our experience. In the past, we had to run probably on the order of six, before we we had something this problem we have now at this scale has been the hardest one, when you’re really small, when you first started out, like a lot of people that tests are much simpler. And we give examples in the book of 123, you can run in every channel. And the reason for that is very simple. Like when you’re starting now often you only need a few customers. And this is one thing people overlook. For example, speaking engagements often are an excellent channel for anyone starting out. Like if you go and speak in front of someplace the right audience, even in your local area, that might gives you your first few customers, most people overlook that completely. Because you know, it’s out of sight out of mind, or they don’t want public speaking or whatever. But that’s like a great challenge chest for early people. Like right now that won’t work at all for us. And so right now what we’re doing is we have to design completely different tests. So like what does we ran relatively recently was a billboard test, where we put up some billboards in different cities. And we saw whether there was any lift in those cities over time, as essentially. And so now we’re looking for doing it relatively localized, but experiment enough that we can see some uplift, and then measure what that uplift would be and see if that would actually could result in 3 billion searches if we scale. Our other challenge for us. And this goes to other people, when they get further along is cost per acquisition. So when you’re starting now, you’re only looking for 10 customers, even if you’re only going to make $5 off of them, you don’t care if it cost you $500 To give them often, because you’re just trying to get those first customers. But for us now we can’t we were looking for a separate my people start to go, we can’t overspend on that we don’t have an extra $50 million to acquire them, you know,
how important is the branding or messaging around your startup or your idea in terms of getting traction? Right? Because sometimes it’s not even necessarily the tactic. If you’re using a tactic and you don’t have the positioning or the messaging, right, you could still not hit that traction point. So do you talk about that in the book, and especially for a company like duck duck go, which is a search engine? You know, most people have a de facto search engine in their mind, because they’ve been online for longer than DuckDuckGo has been around. So how do you position against that with Duck Duck go? And then on a broader sense, how why is the positioning of your product important in terms of achieving that traction?
Yeah, this is a critical point. So this is probably one of the counterintuitive things we try to get across. We suggest that people start running these experiments, right when they start product development. The reason is, is twofold. Like I’m gonna get circle back to your messaging point. So So if you consider your startup initially as a leaky bucket, so when you first start making the product, you know, it’s very leaky, people don’t stick. And you pour customers at the top and they flow out. So people think I should not do that, I should wait until I get it. All right, and then I launch. The problem is people never do that correctly, because they’re too close to the problem. And their beta customers are also too close, like their frame, with the beta version and their original messaging. And then when they get into the market, what generally happens is, it doesn’t resonate, they realize it’s not sticky, it’s still leaky, and they have to do multiple product development cycles. So if you run traction experiments, right from the beginning, you actually get fresh eyes, on your product right away. And continuously, you don’t spend a lot of money, but you need to get continually fresh eyes, you could actually identify where the leaks are. But by doing that, you actually get the scope of your messaging point, you get to test other things. So you get to test not only what channel because he doesn’t even channels, what channel might work for you. But you test what messaging, you test, different messaging, and you test different niches. And if you do this correctly, what you hone in on is what niche you should launch with, out of all the eventual market, what messaging is resonating most with that niche, and then what channel he is, which is if you have those three things up, that’s a credible distribution strategy. If you do this, ideally, and you run attraction test, right from the beginning, when you actually go to launch, you have a product that’s sticky, and you know what niche to focus on, you know what channel to focus on, and you know what messaging works to actually get that to work. While you run these tests. You’re also testing the messaging, if you’re running social ads, and you’re testing and Facebook in there, while making several ads to test. You’re testing different messaging, you’re testing different targeting demographics. And as you’re running these tests, you’re realizing that oh, you know, I should initially focus on young people or, you know, people in urban areas, or, you know, they’re responding to this part of my product or that part of my product. And that should be influencing not only the messaging, but the actual product as you’re building.
That makes a ton of sense. did. Did you find that to be an effective strategy with DuckDuckGo? Did you change the product based on some of that early traction that you’re getting and some of that early signups or users?
Yeah, so when I started, so I start working on this book in 2009, after I was struggling to get back to Redux. So my initial efforts were the I made a bunch of mistakes, they’re mainly
the most painful one.
So there are a bunch of natural ones. I mean, one of the main mistakes I made was, I didn’t have this universe of channels, which most people don’t start out. And what they do is they just apply what they previously knew. So my last startup grew through viral marketing and SEO. So our market is really tough in search didn’t totally cracked that. But I thought, you know, I could get SEO to work. If people go to Google and the type of new search engine, they could get to duck duck go. So I did that. But it worked. And I spent many months on it. But the volume just like did not have that. And the convergence didn’t add up. And so like when I sat back and said, what is my goal, like I was never going to reach that goal. So there were there were two mistakes there. One, I didn’t even set the goal, which is like the first mistake. Secondly, I just blindly used SEO, which was never going to get there anyway. But back to your other point. What I did do, right was, you know, I didn’t know what was going to work for DuckDuckGo. You know, what network messaging and what anything? And, and so I immediately after launch, just try lots of different tests that we’re discussing now try different SG one would this is also part of it would follow up with anyone who said they were using it and tried to understand why. And, you know, what would it take to get from the switch, which is our main activation definition? And from that, you know, I learned a lot. I mean, I learned initially, as you might expect, for search engines that the initial audience was really early adopter people who were kind of just satisfied with what aspect of Google or not kind of like myself, but I also came on to privacy that way as well. I mean, I was personally interested in it, but I didn’t see it as something that other people were interested in until I started, you know, doing this.
That makes a lot of sense, Elijah, it’s cool to hear about your own experience using these strategies and using those to gain traction with DuckDuckGo. What was the final messaging and position that really stuck or caught to get traction?
You know, it shifted over time starting out, you know, it was just, we’re an alternative to be honest, you know, and And that was the driving force is like people wanted to try out alternative would be cool and hipper. And you know, it was kind of like the initial kind of precedent summarize the initial impetus. It was like the the urban early Google is what people said more, it was like harkening back to the days when it was cleaner and simpler, and they felt it was fresh, you know, and that was kind of a question in the last few years. I mean, the biggest hook has been privacy, you know, that we don’t track people. And that really came on board strong when, when Sony came out, but it was even before that, when Google started changing their privacy policies. Now, it’s become way more mainstream, when an apple in particular has come out, you know, as that’s one of their main differentiators from Google. That’s been the hook in the last couple of years.
That’s helpful just as a as a good example, for people to compare their hook to with their own startup. So I was wondering if you might be able to talk to us a little bit more about startups that have used these strategies, and some of the things in the book that have worked well, for them?
Yeah, we interviewed, you know, dozens of founders, you know, basically, their, the overall process is all the same, like the ones that we found being successful, we’re doing experimentation across channels, and then finding one that works, and then focusing on it. And the two non-intuitive pieces there at the end are, you know, when people try a lot of different things, and they have a good product, often all those things yield some amount of traction. So I’d say you try some tests, and you do like trade shows, and some Facebook ads, and you do SEO, and they’re all so much successful, because you got your product trade shows are really the most effective thing for you. Yeah, what people often do is they continue to do all three activities. And that’s really we identify as a mistake, because the one activity is already almost by definition better, because you kind of screwed up through the experimentation bubble, but they’re really not intuitive piece is that the companies are really successful, found underutilized strategies within that channel. And the only way they can do that is by creatively testing and using their testing resources to test within that channel. So a good example of this is mint.com. And okay, you want to zoom in, they had an initial traction goal, they had a very quantitative goal of getting 100,000 signups in the first six months. So he made a big spreadsheet of all these different channel ideas, and, you know, picked his best ones, and why and tested them in small ways. And they were a PR and targeting blogs, and SEM, where he’s made three channels. And he found that, you know, targeting blogs initially was their best strategy. So what he did was drop everything else, even though the other ones were somewhat successful. And then really ran tests with in targeting blogs to find out if you can uncover interesting things. And they ended up coming up with two strategies that really worked for them. One was this like velvet rope strategy, which they were one of the first people to do, which is like you get early access, and extra, you know, access if you invite other people. And you can jump the line. And to they paid personal bloggers to put ads up on their site that didn’t have any advertisement before. So they kind of reached out and they got really cheap advertising, and very high click through rates, because these blogs didn’t have any ads before. And even within those strategies they innovated to make them the most efficient. And they work like perfectly well, I got the first 40,000 users there. And I want to max out they actually ran this again, and they switched over to PR. But I don’t think that they could have done it that well, if they were trying all these different marketing activities. Like I think it only worked because they said we’re getting we identify the targeting blogs could get us to the goal, we’re going to focus on it and figure out how to really scale that channel.
That’s not helpful example. And certainly a lot of entrepreneurs would like to have the kind of growth and scale that and traction that meant had. Well, you’re Gabrielle, you’re there in Philadelphia, I’d love to kind of close off just by hearing a little bit about the startup community there. What’s What’s that like there? And and why do you choose to keep your company there?
I moved here in 2006. And I think this is a case for a lot of startup communities off the, you know, the top three or whatever. But like lifestyle is a big reason why we moved here. And it’s a good place to live. It’s affordable. Philly in particular, has a couple other attributes that make it attractive for businesses. So we’re, you know, a day’s drive between, you know, New York and DC in Philly, in particular has lots of health care and other Fortune 500 companies. So like, essentially, if you’re selling a b2b company, like within a day as well Ideally, you can hit like almost everything. This is like a lot of cities, but it is out of the bubble, like I’d say, like New York and San Francisco. And if you’re building a consumer company like us, like, you’re just embedded in normalcy, if you will, you it’s it’s much easier not to believe your own hype, you know, because like, everybody around you has no idea what you’re doing. It’s one thing I really like about it. And then also probably like other communities, it’s very small community, like, filling up is a really big city. So like, it’s like fifth or sixth graders in the country, with tons of universities here and stuff like that. But the startup community feels very small in the sense that, you know, you can get anyone on the phone very easily investors very easy to access and talk to. And so I just enjoyed being a part of it.
That’s really cool. It sounds very similar to kind of here in Indianapolis as well, just in the ability to get anyone on the phone, the willingness to help. And when I was in Philly, you could definitely feel that with some of the startup leaders and some of the entrepreneurs in the community. So I really appreciate you taking the time to get on here and share some of your experiences growing DuckDuckGo in Philadelphia and beyond, obviously, you’re doing 3 billion searches a year, and doing all the things in your book traction to help you get to 6 billion next year. So yeah, thank you.
Thanks so much, Gabrielle. That’s it for today’s episode of powderkeg. Igniting startups. Be sure to follow Gabriel at Y E, G, G, that’s at YEG. On Twitter, let him know what you liked about this episode. Let him know if you have follow up questions. I know he’s into giving back to founders and entrepreneurs who are in it, doing the work growing their companies. So make sure you hit him up, check out his website, Duck Duck go.com Amazing search engine gives you powerful results. Without all of the weird kind of tracking that Google and Yahoo do. So if you’d like that, definitely check out Duck Duck go, you can get the full show notes and transcript on our website, powder keg dot c. Oh, that’s powder keg.co. And just a little reminder that Powder Keg is presented by verge a network of local communities with global reach for tech entrepreneurs, investors and top talent growing companies beyond Silicon Valley, we’ve got a ton of free resources for starting or growing your business on our website at verge hq.com. We also host several events every month, all around the country, and actually worldwide now, so check us out, see where we are, maybe we can link up in person. So again, that’s verge hq.com, you can subscribe to the newsletter there for free to get updates on where we’re going to be. And some of the cool new resources that we’re releasing literally every week right now. You can also always find me on Twitter, I’m just at Hunckler. And that’s at hunc K L E R, I appreciate all the feedback that you’ve been giving me all the kind words as well as constructive criticism always open to that as well. Let me know how I can help you or your business and how we can make this podcast better for you. I just want to say thanks. Before we close everything out. I want to say thank you to everyone who has helped share this podcast with other friends, family members or co workers. And thanks to everyone who has left us a review this past week and subscribed on iTunes. Just want to give a quick shout out to users Ryan Carmen and JB Rapp who recently left us thoughtful five star reviews. You can leave us your honest review by using this link powderkeg.co/itunes. And give us a subscribe while you’re at it. And we’ll be forever indebted to you. Because it’s your reviews, your subscriptions and the feedback that helped us get better and reach more people. So thank you. Thank you. Thank you. We’ve got some crazy awesome guests like Jay Baer from convincing convert Karen Norman from upfront ventures, Brian Clark from Copyblogger. All coming up soon on powderkeg igniting startups