|Born||(1984-06-24) June 24, 1984|
|Occupation||Co-founder of Scribd|
I learned how important timing is; having a really good idea five years ahead of its time is practically worthless.
I think the most important trait for an entrepreneur is persistence. When you try to do something new and difficult, you are more likely to fail than to succeed.
The subscriptions were working so well, and on top of that, we saw the success of Netflix and Spotify and thought, ‘We can create a similar kind of experience for books.’
If I make a good product and deliver value to users and to the world, the financial gains will come.
Anytime there is a new, interesting space that comes along, there are a bunch of companies that enter the market.
When most people hit failure, they give up, but good entrepreneurs simply treat failure as a learning experience and use it to fuel and inform their next move.
I was talking to my dad, who’s a neurosurgeon. He had this academic paper he wanted to publish. Journals take about 18 months to publish a paper, and he just wanted to get things up there.
We actually determine whether the book is read and make payments to the publisher based on that.
Just as it can be addictive to be in a real world bookstore or library, it’s the same on the Web.
The goal is to become the central hub of publishing, where we have all the written material – user-generated and professional. We want to be the place where people can publish instantly to their audiences… and to get there, it’s just about doing things step by step.
Entrepreneurship is about tackling big problems – often non-obvious problems – that will have a meaningful impact on the world, and this usually involves solving these problems in counterintuitive ways.
The original idea was to make it easy to publish content on the Web and find an audience. What we learned from publishers is that the thing they want the most is more readers and more revenue.
If we’re going to build hardware, the thing we want to do is build reading goggles, so you can do hands-free reading.
The reason we make money is because we have a few different business models. One is ads: we get incredibly high click rates because most people on Scribd are searching the site for something, or they came from a search engine, and they’re looking for something specific.
Readers can read what they want and easily switch to other books, so we’re seeing a lot of reading behaviors. Some verticals attract different usage than others. We can spot reading patterns.
We see ourselves as the world’s digital library. That can be a lot more than books. We do want to expand to other types of content: sheet music, magazines, user-generated content.
I’m not sure I’d go back and do anything over in my life. I’ve definitely had my fair share of failures and moments where I wasted my time or that of other people, but if I did those moments over, I’d have missed out on so many lessons.
We realized the best way to monetize content was through a subscription model.
Books is our main type of content, but we include user-generated content and will include other verticals such as scientific papers, sheet music, and comic books.