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Rand Fishkin on Why Google Is Your Competitor

Growth Marketing Today podcast.

October 31

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welcome to growth marketing today, where marketers, designers and product owners level up their growth. Marketing chops from experts In today's top startups, Here's your host, Ram Lee John. Welcome to Episode 65 of Growth Marketing. Today I'm your host family John, and I'm here on a mission to help marketers and founders like you've sharpened the marketing skills by talking to some off the days. Top experts. Well, this is it. This is the two year anniversary episode off this podcast you some claps on super excited to bring to you someone I've looked up to since the beginning off my marketing career. Rand Fishkin, the seal and co founder of Spark Toro and previously that Moss sparked or is a new software company that makes it easier for you to connect with your audience in the less expensive and more effective way. Rance. Such a great guy.

He was so warm when I child with him, he's dedicated his professional life to helping people to do better marketing through the White Board Friday video, Siri's, his blog's and his book Go Read it, It's So Good Loss and Founder, a painfully honest field guide to the start up world. In this episode, you learn first why Google isn't just a search engine anymore. It's going to be one of your competitors or already ISS. Second, what marketers should do with the recent Google algorithm updates. Heard the mistakes read made in scaling Moss and how he's avoiding those in building Sparked. Or, UM, now I put together all the actionable tips that ran gifts in this episode on a one page growth cheat sheet that you couldn't alec for free. Why take notes from this podcast when you could just steal mine?

You can go to grow today that FM forged last 65. We can find it in the link in the description off wherever you get your podcasts. Whether this Apple podcast, overcast breaker or Google podcasts, you can find a link in the description somewhere before we jump in. I just want to thank those who made this episode possible. Now this is a one person show. These last two years, I have recorded, edited and created all my marketing materials for this podcast in my quote unquote free time. So I just want to thank the sponsor for this Episode 42 agency there are demand generation and Ops Agency. Comtech them out at 42 dot agency for slash GMT. That's f o u r t y t w o dot agency for slash gmt. I also want to thank my patron supporters who get an ad free version off this podcast. Thank you. Jamie Ward from Las Vegas.

Veronica from London, UK for Re zero, Marcia's from Result. Nicholas Vargas from Sidney, Sam, Grover from New Zealand, Joseph Valenti from Canada and Louis Nichols from Switzerland. Enough about this. Let's jump in in my chat with Rand Fishkin Everybody I'm excited to have read Fishkin. He is somebody that I've looked up to and I read it spoke. I'm a big final fist vulnerability and transparency, and I can't believe I'm here chatting with


great to be here


with your Ali. How's it? How's it going? Howard Howard thinks Would you today?


Yeah. Good. It's sunny in Seattle, which is rare for the fall. Can't be that awesome. I'm


gonna do something quick. Fire lightning questions. I just wanted to just warm you up. You okay with all right? Coffee or tea? What kind of coffee? Not Starbucks.


I mean, this is this is make me espresso on the stovetop like the Italians do. My mother, who's Italian, got Mia So tough. Espresso maker. I love that


thing better than drip.


It's my preference. I mean, everybody has a life. You know what? Wine or beer? Who? Beer. Okay, a tough, tough Both,


Uh, I p a dark light.


What kind of beer? I'm more of a lager. Pilsner. Ok, oddly enough, I like Sour's


just interesting. Interesting Super Mario or Donkey Kong. Mario. Okay, that's an easy


one day. I grew up on March. I was I was just 1979 right? So it was just a few years late for Donkey Kong.


Legal legends


are my craft. Oh, man, I don't play either those Sorry like this. It's playing Minecraft when I go over to their parents houses, so I'm gonna go with that one. All


right, OK, this probably would be hard for you. Several lists of Catan or Dungeons and


Dragons. I just wrapped up a D and D campaign. So Dungeons and dragons,


OK, that was his season. Villiers dot Well, thank you for that. I want to jump in. I've I've read your book love, Love it. I recommend it to everybody. I love you comparison to start ups with video games because I grew up 85 I grew up with Super Mario and Nintendo and Sega Genesis. You know, you talk about the first time you play a level, it's you're gonna suck like super Mario gonna fall in the hole. Now you have If you have the cheap coats, it gets easier now that you're working on sparked or oh, is it that they didn't get easier?


It is. It's disturbingly easier. I think, uh, that when you do your second business, especially when your mama's was a very relatively complete journey for me and, you know, it obviously hasn't had a sale or an exit or those kinds of things, right? But I got to see it from no people, no products, just me with an idea all the way through the process of building an audience, building a product, having that product, be very successful, having that product stumble and plateau, right.

Having growth sort of cut off. There we went through times where we raise a lot of money and spent a ton of money. We went through times where we were extremely frugal and you know how to count every penny and be profitable. So I got a real wealth of experience of moms was like a 17 year journey for me. Uh, no spark Tomorrow, you know a lot of things that Casey and I are doing them. You know, the fundraising process early in our, uh, process. That was about a year, not quite a year and 1/2 ago. That was relatively smooth. The product building process is relatively smooth, the audience building process pretty darn smooth,

right? We're going through all of our customer feedback, which has been super smooth, although this morning I do have une mail from a beta tester was like, Gosh, you know, this looking feel of your product is really Web one point. Oh, and I think it's a little childish. I think you gotta let go back to the design drawing board. So you know there's with occasional stumbles, but I think that, you know, quite frankly, I totally understand why investors strongly prefer multiple time founders, right?

Because like you said, you know that level I have played world to to write. I know exactly where the Cooper trooper is. I know where to get the star. Nowhere to jump over the pit. I know which pipe goes down right in that That's just impossible to do the first time you play.


What is the best decode you've taken over from Moss to sparked or like What is that? I wish I knew this cheat code. And now you do. And like, ah, everybody should know


this t code. I think the biggest one is how you fund your company. So spark Toro is funded by we did raise the money, right, cause Casey and I aren't, you know, independently wealthy or anything. So we rate we raised the money. It was from 36 Angel investors. We raised 1.3 million. But we kept a structure whereby our investors can profit. Can make you know, a good amount of money. Very healthy return, even if sparked are only ever gets to a few $1,000,000 in traffic. That is extremely unusual. Most startups are built in such a way that either you have a You know what investors would call a home run right?

You make a 1,000,000,000 plus dollars. You're a unicorn. or you die, right? Like you go. What? I don't mean like you, the foundered. I mean, the company guys, right? The company goes away. It does nothing. It sells for parts nobody makes any money on, and maybe the investors get their money back. And that's kind of the model of venture investing and a lot of startup accelerators of most startup angels,

especially. It's looking valley, right? They put their money into 1000 companies. They hope that 10 of them turned into something. The other 990. You're gonna fail. That model can work if you have a big portfolio. But if you could only invested a few companies, you gotta get real lucky. And if you're a founder, you're only investigated one company, your company, right? So I think that this structural issue around how startups are funded and the fact that we market venture capital toe every single founder for that we tell you know, tech founders,

especially software founders, especially that they are nothing unless they get venture right. That venture is the pinnacle of achievement. And when you raise money, all your you know, so amazing and now you know, now you've made it. Now you're in the big leagues, and if you're doing your own thing, you know you're in the kiddie pool that that attitude has to change. And so that's what we're trying to do. A spark. Toro. Um you know, I think probably you probably put my wife and I put some money into a tiny seat fund which is trying to sort of viewed on alternative model or sask companies in particular around this Andi, I'm a huge believer that if we can change that world, we can make a lot more p m successful because we change the definition of what success


s so good. It just brings back this story. I just actually heard from ah, friend of mine who came back to trauma from San Francisco, and one of his friend was crying to him because he built a start up 27 year old and he's crying because he built a $10 million company. And it's not he Did you see, he has built a $1,000,000,000 couple yet, and he's depressed. Yeah, that just destructive and not just the funding room, but also I think founders like its destructive in their mental


health. Yeah, absolutely. I mean, this sounds like madness to me. You know, growing up a $1,000,000 was a huge amount of money. A $1,000,000 is still a huge amount of money, right? Most people in North America, the United States or Canada or Mexico. A $1,000,000 is absolutely life changing. Right? That means that your kids can go to college, You know, not to sweat it. That means that you can pay off your house,

a house, a mortgage. That means it. A ton of things just are moved from your shoulders, this massive burning. And yet everyone who builds accompany you know, in this in this tech field, we're sort of told $10 million. Ah, that's that's chicken poop. You know, you call me when you're, you know, somebody. Really? All right,

Moss. The company I found in previous to spark Taro. Well, you somewhere between 55 $60 million in revenue this year, and it is a stuck in the middle like man, you know, not really all that interesting to venture investors. Type a company. That's that's weird. That is a ton of money. I mean, that is this is gonna kick off. I don't know. Five or $6 million in profit right is it's profitable to the tune of about 10% that that's a great company toe own if you are, you and me, right?

But because it zen tracked it just been working. So I really don't like the the structure around this. And this is why I think it's such a cheat code to be ableto alter that mentality, right? To say to yourself, I don't have to be a $1,000,000,000 unicorn. Just that alone is hugely freaking. That takes an incredible weight off your shoulders to say, Hey, I want to build a business that is profitable and independent and that does the right things by me, my customers for my employees instead of, you know, a billionaire asset class, which which, frankly, right,

venture is It's mostly, you know, pension funds and very, you know, private wealth and Saudi oil money, right? Which is backing most that we work stuff and yeah, frankly, uh, that I'm not passionate about making those people money that doesn't get me out of bed. And we're like, Oh, man, I gotta work hard. So that billionaire has more really not excite you. But hey,

a lot of these, You know, a lot of these folks, that's that's what they were getting out of bed to. D'oh!


Wow! What gets excited then? What ist attained that gets you up Monday morning, pumped up, ready to go?


I can't really excited by the idea of bucking convention, sort of being, uh, looking at things that exist in the way they are today and tearing that down and creating a new paradigm. Especially especially when that new system, um, helps with sort of the big social and political things that I believe in, which essentially, I want more wealth distribution rights unless competition and I want more opportunity for more people of all kinds, Right? So I want start ups to be able to be more successful in more geographic regions than just Silicon Valley and Seattle in New York and Austin and a couple of hours I want people who are unjust, you know, 22 50 year old white dudes to be able to build great companies and tow, have wonderful careers in tak and marketing. And I want, you know, those were those were sort of on the broad scale on the tiny scale,

right? I want individual marketers who are doing content marketing campaigns to have way better ideas of where their audience actually participates than just doing a Google search and pulling from whoever has the most followers. So all the way from big, big picture stuff, too. Tactical stuff. I feel like the thing that makes me excited to go work is changing existing systems to give more people more opportunity


in battery. That's one thing that you talked about in your book is that startup CEOs should have become a vision. And once that company they build exists to accomplish that mission, the world will change forever because of it. And is that division that you're talking about in the future world that you see which


sparked or oh, yeah, yeah. And I think what's exciting is when you think about like, oh, how do I build a vision that's gonna change the world? Just remember that the world we're talking about can be very small, right? It can be very, very tiny we could be talking about Hey, I really like landscapers in, uh, Seattle, Washington, right. And I feel like landscapers in Seattle. They have a tough time with their with management treatments of their clients and the consistency issues and payment on time.

And, yeah, I want to change the world. Or that that's what my start up is gonna do. And that is an awesome vision that is totally fine. Your start up can be very localized. Your solution could be very tactical. What if it succeeds? It does change those people's lives for the better. And that's, um, that's where I think a startup can truly be exciting versus, you know, sort of going into work in a big company and clocking in your hours. And it's it's really difficult to see how your contribution is making, you know,

a difference a lot of the time this, even if it's only for a few people, even if it's only in one little corner of the world, it does change lives, and that that that makes me excited. I think that can give people the motivation that they need at an early company that you know, has high risk.


Now talking about getting excited. Are you excited about being CEO the second time because in your book you talked about. How you kinda at one point hated being the CEO. You're you gotta do work. You were You didn't really love recruiting and managing people in hunting people in setting an amplifying mission, which you look back, should be one of the votes of the CEO. Do you love being a CEO? Now,


second time around. I do. Although most of the work I'm doing is the actual work as opposed to management, right? It was. I think a big part of that is realizing the difference between what it means to be CEO of a company with hundreds of people versus a CEO with less than a dozen people. Right? And you know, spark Taro is just two of us full time myself. In Casey, we have a few contractors who I also manage. But 90% of my day I am doing the work not worrying about management and overhead and structure and all those kinds of things, and that's that is a huge, huge relief for me. I think I'm gonna really enjoy being cdo up until spark Taro becomes, you know, maybe 40 or 50 people,

and then I think it will be a decision Point Ryan inflection point for Well, I don't want to do Do I wanna hire ah president to come in and run the day to day operations and I'll maintain, you know, um, a sort of less hands Bonzi, a role attn least the management side or or other options. But, um, across the bridge,


That's so true. One other thing that I noticed with your book is you're talking a lot about fathers with their baggage is how startups carry traits of their founders. And we actually saw this with uber, right? And we also saw this Would we work? Where they've the founders have carried on their baggage is and they've hired people who are like them. I'm curious how you're intentionally making sure that you're not getting any baggage to spark door. Oh,


well, I mean, part of that is just being extremely small, right? But by limiting the number of people who that you know, the business builds and leveraging a lot of outside help, I initially we, you know, we can know sort of end around a lot of those conversations and challenges. That said, over time, that will change. We will need to hopefully, right. If the knock on wood, if the product is successful company successful point we will have to start doing more hiring. And I think that will mean being very conscientious of Howie instill values and work style and what we hire for And don't I think that also means in this case,

um, generally speaking, probably hiring folks who have, I want to say Maur independence in their experience and you know it mas, uh, I hired a lot of people who were accustomed to a very classic sort of, uh, work experience in the technology and tea fields on DDE. I'm not saying I wouldn't do that again, but I would definitely be looking for people who have built their own thing, who loved to work independently, who are not very far less processed Roman and Maur results driven. Um, you know, ma's, oddly enough,

even though I am not this way, I think I overcompensated thinking, Hey, we're a growing company. We need to build more processing to have more structure. We need more experience people around the table. We need folks who have been there and done that before. At Microsoft and Amazon and Google and Facebook and all these kinds of places, right? So how do I bring those cultures in Tomas? And I don't think I will do that at Spark Taro. I think it's gonna be much more remote. First, if not entirely remote. I believe we're gonna do, um we're gonna much more of a focus on getting the work done versus going through the right process.

Um, have much, much fewer if any approval system. I think that that really slows down individual contributors. And, um, I'm not I'm not super passion about that. I don't intend to build up many layers of management. That was another thing that happened at Ma's. I think happens at a lot of growing companies like the CEO feels pressure from people who performed, who want people to manage underneath that right? And so they say, Hey, I've done a great job. I want to build a team and frankly, I think that the right answer most of the time is you have done a great job.

How can I reward you that is not giving you people to manage? I don't want you to have people to manage. I don't want six layers of management. I don't want you managing. I want you doing work. All right, So what's I think? What's another thing? You want to give me your second favorite birthday present. So I think those are gonna be ways that we sort


of work around. You dedicate a whole chapter on that on like justice. You're challenging that. That idea and assumption that to progress in your career, you have to manage. You have to become a manager of people and the doctor by the value of individual contributors in your book. Natalie's totally see that.


Yeah. I don't, uh I don't know. Like that's the structure that we're sort of built into society around. Um oh. How many people did you manage and what level where you are? You're vice President. Over. You're an executive vice president. You were a senior executive vice president. Oh, you're a sea level executive. Like a common hunt. It does not You think those things matter. They do not matter. Andi, I think if we can get rid of that title inflation and that title worship, we can really change the world for the better.


When we come back in Just a moment ran talks about how they purposely didn't build a minimum buyable product for sparked or but some of the ecause on exceptional, viable product. You also argues that marketing fly wheels if you don't know what that is, he explains, it are so much better than grow tax. Finally, why Google isn't your friend anymore, but it's becoming one of your competitors. It is a quick thank you to my sponsor for this Episode 42 agency. If you need help growing your revenue as a baby sass founder or marketer, you gotta talk to Camille from 42. Agency Camille and Esteem helps me to be SAS businesses streamline operations, implement new text back and design a BM and demand generation strategies. They helped create principal revenue pipeline for companies like on Fleek Hub, Doc, Gas logics, Flexi andMe Or I can highly recommend Camille enough.

You know there's a lot of market is out there who have a lot of talk but don't have a lot of things that they can show for. It communicates opposite. He can talk, and he can also deliver the results. You book a free road map in session not 40 to that agency for its last GMT. F o u r t The video that agency four slash GMT Also want to take my picture and supporters. If you don't like ads like this, you could support me for us little as $2 per episode for an ad free version of this podcast. You also know who I have coming up us. Guess be part of a private stock group and have monthly patri on video calls. With me, you can go toe patri on the com for slash crow today toe up with a cost to maintain and go this podcast. Or you could find that, like the description of wherever you get podcasts well enough about this. Let's jump back in in my chat with Rand Fishkin. I want to talk about spark Toro on building and growing that for my listeners, who might not be aware of what is what


is Sparc tomorrow? Sure so, uh, spark Toro is a tool that is, that helps people discover attributes of their audience. It's its audience intelligence software on, and it's super simplistic. I think the best way to explain it is for me to give an example so wrongly. Let's say that you and I, um, start a new company together, right? And we are gonna sell. We're gonna sell lighting to interior designers. We, you know, we've come up with some brand new,

amazing, beautiful lighting system that goes in tow. I don't know, rich people's houses. And so interior designers, interior decorators. Those are our audience. That's the people. They're gonna buy our heart. I don't know anything about lying about interior designers. I I really I don't think I have a single one in my network. Maybe. I think I have one friend who doesn't here is great. But, uh, you know,

if I go on my Lincoln like, I don't know anything about that audience, I don't know where to reach them. I don't know what they watch or listen to follow or read. I don't know what websites none of it, And so how where are we going to go to? Our marketing probably will just throw much of money of Google and Facebook and tell them to figure it out right, which is, very frankly, an incredibly wasteful way to do it. They will get it in front of our audience but they will charge us the maximum amount right, and our stuff will be probably shown to a lot of the wrong people. And there's not. There's less and less organic opportunity, especially with Facebook. So if we wanted to be guests on the podcast that interior designers listen to be at the conference is in events that they go to,

all right, go get on the YouTube channels that they're on. Go get our articles on the Web sites that they're on. That's that's really tough to figure out right now. Most people do that through large scale surveys, which have a bunch of bias built in and are expensive and hard to run, and you need a big audience to do it or they do it through. They do it through, just googling around right, which is highly inaccurate. So sparked or oh, you Congar Oh, search for interior designers Los Angeles. Or you can go search for interior decorators in Canada. Or you can go search for um, nonfiction authors in the UK,

Or you can go search for um uh what you call audio files, right? People were super into high quality sound systems, right? Audio file on. I want to find them in Boston. Right, Because that's what my target or my target is. Um uh, Philadelphia Eagles fans, right? Whatever. If you can describe an audience, you can search for it in spark Taro, and then you get a list of tabs. I will show you a bunch of information about those boats,

though I'll tell you on details of what words and phrases they used to describe themselves. Hashtags they tend to use on the web what websites they tend to visit on share and linked to what social media accounts or Twitter Facebook linked in instagram Brad in it, uh, they they follow which YouTube channels they watch what podcast? They listen to all of that stuff. All that data is right there and sorted by percentage. So we'll say, Hey, we have a sample set off 1840 people in our database. Profiles in our database describe themselves as interior designer, and of those 17% listen to this podcast. Wow, you just get you get exactly the marketing intelligence that you want right at your fingertips. This is data that you know, kind of behind the scenes Facebook knows, right?

They have all this incredible demographic and profile on psychographic did it, but they never show it to you. They're not gonna tell you. Yeah, 22% of people who believe in this follow this thing. Let's park tomorrow. Can do that. Right, Arturo Will, Will essentially crawls all this data across the web, the Social Web, and on websites and pages and then aggregate sit together to build these profiles of individuals. Anonima ises them because we don't We don't want to show any personally identifiable information that we don't really care about it anyway, right? We're just trying to aggregate on, then show the the aggregate statistics around these groups.

So it's super powerful. It was kind of a theory that Casey and I had initially that you could do this and then get this data out and we will debate a product, and it kind of works like it. No, it's amazing to see this thing come to life when you imagine in your head you're well, we'd have to crawl like 100 million, you know, profiles. And then we use, like, Okay, what if we did a Google search for every one of these. And then we aggregated all the Twitter and Facebook and linked in and read it and YouTube links and their website. And then we combined that into a profile set. And what if you had millions of those who search across them quickly? Oh, my God worked


dentist, that it's amazing. The first time I heard that from Andrew Warner's podcasts you're on that show last year, and I was I was blown away. I was like, This is a game changer And I would ask you about that beta because you didn't have a chapter in your book about minimum viable products. And you're like Sometimes you need to build an exceptional but valuable product in your old block post about it. There's so much data with spark. Torrey Deacon Totally run with it. Like, how did you make sure that it wasn't to minimum and it wasn't to exceptional?


Yeah, So we I think we're still in that phase right now trying to figure that out. Right? We have about 350 or so beta testers. Um, they are using the product. Some of them are using it very frequently. Some of them were using it less frequently, and we are trying to figure out whether we're close to a launch or whether we still have a bunch of work to do. Like I mentioned that email in my in box this morning, you know, uh, giving us a hard time about the design. And I think that's you know, that's something to address. Is it? Is this one person's critical feedback and other people really feel that way?

Or is this something that is more universal? And we need to take a hard right turn on, uh, on that front and I don't know what the right answer is right. I want I really want a lunch. I want to start getting paid customers and getting their feet back and then cutting. But at the same time, I know that, Ah, huge audience of people. I don't know whether it's 10,000 or 100,000 or more, but those marketers, right? Sort of follow me and sparked oral already. And when we lost touch, they're gonna look at it in those first few days,

and they're gonna make a determination that will last for years, right? You know, you you'll look at your marketer. You see, Rand tweet like it's finally alive. Check out the spark, Toro, right? And you go for the first time and you play with the free version and you run a few searches and that sticks in your mind as that's what the product does. And that's how it works. And this is what they can and can't do for me on. And it could be four years later and something like, Oh, yeah, you can you use Arturo for that?

Like I I checked out sparked aura when they launched. They didn't do what I wanted. So I I feel that pressure very much have extraordinary product at launch. And I think probably we're gonna push it, too the beginning of the year before we before we get out their lives


and you're you're right. People do remember their first experience. Like, do you remember your first car or your first time having sushi, right. Like it's gonna stick with


the first time I use black, right? I can't say I have a tough time like envisioning slack as something other than the first version. The product


I played that and you write once you open up the floodgates. They're gonna come in and break through the door. I know. Adam. Yeah, they're gonna break right through the door. Do you have some hypothesis already on who your best customers are? Like, Who are the ones that are longing? Inconsistent?


Yeah, that's exactly that's exactly what we're using. Right? So we're sort of. When folks became beta testers, we surveyed them, right? We asked people to fill out a survey. They told us their title and role in sort of job description and what they needed. Audience data four on Dhe, Using that we have sort of looked through the 350 people who've used the product. And we look at the folks who have used it most heavily, like they run, you know, hundreds of searches in the product. They have come back week after week. What's their profile?

Right? And about, I think, you know, if we were talking hundreds of searches and come back week after week, it's maybe around 10 15% of the beta testers spit into that, and those folks, right tend to be right now at least tend to be small agency owners, um, and founders. Right. So they're sort of folks who have, UH, 3 25 employees in their marketing agency. And they help a number of companies with marketing strategy and tactics. And,

you know, oftentimes things like Castillo and social media marketing and influencer marketing and content marketing. Uh, NPR. Actually, PR is a seems like it's a big one for us as well. And then, you know, we think we think because those people are using the product, that they are the right customers. Uh, for us. But we have a few outlets are, too. There's a few foreigners who have built their own start ups right, and they have come back a lot,

mused it. There's a handful of folks who are in house marketers, so I think have regular, recurring content campaigns, like pushing out content. And so each time they do, they come back to Sparta. Rhoda. Figure out the audience to try and push That, too, or Thio reach out to help amplify it, which is a great use of the tool. But we have to figure out who we're primarily marketing to and how wearisome.


I mean to talk about who I am. Curious what their trigger point off like logging into sparked. Or is it for the agencies that makes us because they're launching campaigns for 84 companies they work with. Are there any other interesting trigger points you're finding? Like, I think the other one that you talked about they did trying to promote their content. What would make somebody Ah ha. I need I need to go to spark toward to figure


this out. Yeah. So, for example, like you, um uh, you have a blogger post that you're putting up, right? Or you have a your podcast episode, right? So every week, right, you've got a new podcast guest on, and so you might go to spark Toro and say, Hey, this episode we talked a lot of out. Um,

you know, with ran. We talked a lot about launching a sass business. Right? So let me go look up fast and the sas hashtag on and I don't know the sas tr conference website. Right. And plug in a few things that I know people in that world attention to and see who are there, you know who are the sources of influence for them. So that then I can go, you know, Hey, let me jump on Twitter. I'll d m this person be like, Hey, we had Rand on. I think you're gonna wanna check this out.

Check this peace between, like, six minutes and nine minutes. He talks about this thing that I'm pretty sure is going to resonate with you, right? And then the person writes back to O town. Yeah, that's really cool. Oh, my gosh. Mm. A share. Right. And now you've got in front of their audience, right? And it took you instead of taking you.

I have no idea how you do that research right before it sparked aura, which is which is why we build it. But, uh, you can get that whole process done in five minutes. I Now you've achieved amplification off a much great, you know, much greater source. Then you had previous do you do the same thing, right? Find uh oh. Let me see. Oh, cool. All right, there,

on this YouTube channels and put up the YouTube video. And then I wanna I want to just run like a cheap ad on this YouTube channel. Right? My YouTube. Right. Oh, right. Don't make sense. Okay. Sweet. I get you know, a few percentage of those people come over to mine. They watched the video. They're engaged by it. Now it starts getting recommended after that video.


That's a good example. Like that sound effects. Wal, I know it's probably not time for you to, like scale this up, but have you already started talking thinking about your marketing fly will, Which is another thing that you talked about in your in your book is that people should avoid go tax and think about flywheels. What is your fly real? You know, first of all, why should people think about five wheels? And secondly, have you thought about what your file will be when you launched, like, the beginning of next year,


Huh? So I I think the reason to invest in a flywheel there. There's minute there are many. One of the biggest for sure is that it scales with decreasing friction. So if you think about a classic growth pack, right, like I found this one strict with her. I can post things here and sort of, you know, drag my audience over and I'll work for a certain amount of time, and then someone else will figure it out or I'll get spam to death. And no one will pay attention to a minimal work. And more, uh, those types of growth hacks. They're high investment costs her output, and they almost always die overtime.

Right? Uh, it doesn't die over time. It's not a conspirator Growth act differently, right? And it's just a marketing channel. But if you find those and invest in them that you were gonna be putting in input to get out, a zip opens to the flywheel model, which is a century that you put in input and you get only a little bit back. But the next time you put it in, you get a little more and then a little more than a little more and then a little more. And now you're putting in, you know, a small amount of input for gigantic amount of output. But you built because you've built up a flywheel that scales over usually years, right?

This is usually a few years to do that. And there, you know, there are numerous ways to build this fire. Will, you can have ah, you know, on events on event marketing fly where essentially you are identifying the events that your customer target customers go to and you're sort of, you know, you've got your booth and your sales people and your pitch and you're figuring out okay, what's the next event that all these folks are going to do, and how do we best answer it? And how do we get on the stage, etcetera, etcetera, Right.

You could have a PR flywheel, right? Public relations were essentially, you're just leveraging journalists and news outlets. And, you know, whatever the press sources are in your fielder industry to kind of get you in front of get your brands known Ah. Likes trusted by all of these folks, right? And so you build up whatever it is the hooks that are gonna get journalists, bloggers, news folks to write about you to cover your stuff and then content marketing right is a great fly. Well, where you sort of use, you know, search traffic,

lost content to build up. This is fly. Well, that's very much what we did at Ma's blonde There you can do this is social media where he sort of build up. I love my probably My favorite example is Miriam Webster the dictionary as such it off. I mean, the dictionary, like you can't get more boring than the dictionary. And they have such an awesome presence on social. Like they really built up this audience of people who are passionate about everything they share and talk about in some tweed. And they kind of have this snark to their brand Super Bowl. The, uh But all of these flywheels do that same thing, right? They scale with decreasing friction. So you don't have to put as much in,

you know, you only have to, but it is which in each time, but you're getting increasing output back out return. He keeps improving, and that that gives you true leverage in the market. I So, yeah, it's parked Toro. We have been playing a little bit of the game of the free tool thing. Oh, we have this. We have a tool called spectral trending, which is kind of like a hacker news for marketers. Um, and it's self build.

So as people connect their Twitter accounts and share content on there, they kind of, you know, those counters, boats. And then that stuff gets to the top and a few 100 people every day visit sparked are trending. We're trying to get up to a few 1000 people every day. Uh, we have another free tool that is, helps you analyze, speak followers? Um, yeah, that you have on Twitter, we have another one called spark score. That sort of tells you,

gives you a better metric than follower account to try and estimate the number of impressions that a tweet would get when share there were probably basically build those same things for instagram in the future is that we think that's, um where a lot of the social activity is a CE headed. So those air, that's kind of our big investment. We like it because it is. It's sort of content, but content in a way where it continues to be interesting to people long after it's published, right? A tool can be useful for years to come, even if a piece of content go stale. So I'll still keep doing a bit of content marketing and blogging, you know, speaking and events and that kind of stuff. But I think free tools are probably how we're gonna get a lot of attraction and early adoption awareness and people trying to sow understanding what we d'oh,


They only make sense. I've used the Twitter follower thing on my own Twitter account, and I forget how many percentage of my thinks our butts. But it was on the average that you suggested, but


oh, yeah, because they chose you. The distribution with the averages for each account size. Yeah,


I would have shift gears and talk about something that was really near and dear to the book that you wrote transparency. And one thing that you talked about and it kind of stuck with me is about whenever you write e mails, you got to make sure that you write it in such a way that you're gonna assume in the in the feature is gonna go public. Yeah, you will. You want to be honest like that? No. First of all, why stress parents he so important


to you? Um, I think it's because I really hate secrecy. I hate things being hidden. I hate um I hate the idea that some people have before information than others, and they use that to manipulate or to take advantage of people. That really frustrates me. I think that's I don't know. There's something fundamentally ethically wrong to me about that on. And and I also love the power of transparency, to inspire people, to bring them together, to build trust, um, authentic trust. And I am to, you know,

very friendly to market it right. It's it's it's so unusual to find people who are vulnerable and transparent, right, truly transparent magicians just being honest, but talking about all the hard stuff and the stuff that people don't usually talk about as well that, um, that is a powerful way to build up an audience of people who really care about you, right? And what you're doing


that really struck with me. I'm trying to, like, be more transparent. I started publishing my podcast. That's every month that things like that have, like buildup, that audience. I'm cured. I'm curious about finding that balance with being transparent and being too transparent, that it becomes a burden because he did tell a story about, you know, everybody needs to know what everybody's doing that moss. And then it became too much like, Where is that balance between transparency and becoming a burden?


Yeah, I think I think that the job of a great, um leader in that sense or of you know, an artist for content creator like you are, is to find the intersection of this is truly interesting and unique, and people will care about it. And also, it is not a negative drain on. My resource is it has a has a positive impact return, right? And so I think that could be challenging, right? It could be hard to sort of identify. Oh, this is something people truly care about. Let's talk about that versus, well,

this other topic, I could be transparent about it, But I don't think there's that many people who are interested. Um, no. Yeah, that's Ah, judgment call. I think it's something that you instinctually learn over time, right? You know, And if you have great curation instincts, uh, that can be very powerful, right? Because you can identify what people


care about. You wanna talk about transparency in a sense, off Google doing some really un transparent stuff. Tim's allow from a traffic just posted up that they've started hiding domains like off the search result. This is kind of a very sketchy right. Like, why should marketers care about about this? And why should the public care like there's not enough? I feel like there's not enough uproar against what they're doing and what why should we care? Why should people care?


Well, so I think that I think the biggest issue with Google's moves around all all sorts of things, right home. But the biggest issue, the biggest problem is that essentially they are becoming gatekeepers to commerce and information across the Web, and that really means across life in society. And, uh, that has significant ramifications, especially economic crap ramifications. Right? So it really means that, um, opportunity is limited in fields where Google enters. So, you know, you want to talk about three years ago if you had a jobs website,

Uh, you know, you could get a lot of traffic, and today you search for any kind of job. Google puts their own Google job site ahead of everyone else's. They do the same with flights. They'd be the same with hotels. They do the same with maps. They do the same with videos. They only show you, too. Maybe the same with news where they show Google News you'd do the same with the MP boxes they started. Doing it with college is a couple of months ago, right? That's that gets intense, right?

And I think every single sector, every vertical, every niche kind of looks at Google and goes, Oh, damn! If they come to my sector, I'm gonna lose 60 80 90% of my traffic opportunity. Should I even build something right? So it's a Google is actually removing the opportunity of the reason to build it, to build, content, to build a website, to build a better mousetrap. Right? Because even if you build something better, if Google's always first,

what you gonna do, right? Everybody goes to Google for everything. And so this is fundamentally why antitrust laws exist, right? Antitrust laws say, Hey, if you're a monopoly in one space like you control the railroads, you don't also get to say, Well, no oil and gas companies are allowed to shift any gasoline on our railways unless, uh, we own it. So then you use your monopoly in the railroad to make sure that you control gas and oil as well. And you know, the United States government basically what 200 years ago,

said Well, that's really bad for the country. That's bad for people. We're not gonna allow that, right? We're gonna create these anti trust falls. And I think, frankly, when it comes to Google, antitrust laws have not been fairly applied. They were applied to Microsoft. They've been applied toe A T and T They probably should be applied T Internet. I s p s like calm castes who also are limiting innovation, and they should be applied to Google. Right? Um and I think that,

frankly, the FTC and the Justice Department, right who are looking into Google's antitrust activities now probably should have in 2013 when they when they initially made their judgment against Google. And it was kind of politically shut down. Um, they probably missed an opportunity there to create more opportunity. I think a lot of a ton of people across the political spectrums and economists and lawyers and attorneys people inside and outside Microsoft are generally in agreement that the government's, uh, lawsuit against Microsoft antitrust lawsuit against by yourself in the late 19 nineties, which was, you know, had mixed opinion. A lot of people have mixed opinions about at the time, but looking back, a lot of people say that is how we got an open Internet. That is how Google,

Facebook, all these other companies were able to build their presence is because if they haven't Microsoft would have controlled the browse through. They would have controlled the Web, they would've controlled mobile and way would have basically one company dominating all of that. And the opportunity that's been created by the World Wide Web would be much less so. I think we got a look at the same way with Google, like, let's not let Google put a stranglehold or anyone, right? Um, I think, you know, there are people who have concerns about Amazon having a stranglehold over certain sectors of the commerce, their people who have concerns about Facebook having, you know, ah,

stranglehold over social media. And they're right. You can see it. You can see this in some campaigns. The well Republicans and Democrats in United States agree on almost of it. But but the Trump administration and Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren right are all like room. I think tech companies have too much power and we should probably start some anti trust investigations so that? No. Okay, we find a little place of agreement.


All they're doing is doing like a wrist slap on, like, five billion on Facebook, like they need to probably do more. But I I want to ask this question about what s s u of specialists to be doing in response to this, like, what should market is due in terms of


blood ghouls? I think they're sort of macro things that you could do with a micro level. Things that you can do so macro level. I think it's reasonable to pay some attention to the political landscape and to recognize what's going on and what you know who you want to support. A za result of that. I think, for example, you let's say that you are very much a Republican. You probably should still care about the Democratic primary and look at candidates who you would like to do because one of those candidates might win the presidency. And then, you know, you might wanna have some influence over over which one you prefer. The um, the other thing that you can do on the macro level is to, uh basically you have examples where Google Amazon Facebook. Whoever right has, uh,

essentially used their monopoly power in one sphere to harm your business. Specifically your business. You should write about it. We should publish and write about you should Stroh's statistics, because that that is exactly those blogger posts. As small as they might seem, that is exactly what the Department of Justice and the congressional investigations and the attorneys general investigations. That is what they're looking for. They're looking for those examples they want to bring those up on. So if you can publish those tats that'll make it, it's at the micro level, right at the ATT. The sort of tactical action below The one thing we all have to realize is that a ton of search more than half of all searches that happening Google end without a click, right? The rock eyes of zero click searches is absolutely huge. It's not going anywhere.

Google is take advantage of that, and I think that means is an S e o. One of the big things that we have to figure out is how do we get value from a zero click search? There's some way that I can get that I can present information to searchers in such a way where my company's still benefits, even if no one ever makes that click. And if you find those opportunities and invest in those spaces, you're gonna have a big advantage because most your competitors are hot, I'm sure. Yeah, yeah, yeah. So if you're interested in this park pariveda, you can come to spark toro dot com and click on that. What? We're building page. Uh, if you want to follow me in particular, I am most active on Twitter, where I'm af brand


fish. Awesome. Well, thank you so much. My pleasure. Thanks for having. But that was it. That was a two year anniversary episode off this podcast. I can't believe I got red fish. In all this episode. There's actually somebody special that I want to thank. You. Introduce me to him, Caitlin Burgoyne. Thank you so much for the introduction. And with that, I just want to share my three key takeaways from this podcast.

First of all, the traditional VC and Angel investment funding model is broken. Ran points out in this podcast and his book that for most investors, it's a numbers game. It's a zero sum game that they either that you either become a $1,000,000,000 company asset to them or your company is absolutely worthless them. There's gotta be a better way. And that's why he raised funds for sparked oral in a different way. 2nd 1st impressions of your product matters, so don't make your M v P. Two crappy. I've heard the same ones that if you're not embarrassed by the first version of your product and you build too much ran somewhat, disagrees. If you do have, ah, following the first impression is critical in whether users will stick around for the long term is something that he learned with Moss, where they release future too quickly and people couldn't let go of how bad it wa ce turned.

Marketing flywheels are almost always better than go attacks. With both axe, it works for a little while in its butters off. On the other hand, on marketing fall wheel is something that you build that generates inertia and energy such that each effort in piece of energy that you put into it helps it spin faster and faster, and it cares. True, that's much better than a one off trick didn't miss something. Share with me, Your takeaways. From this episode, you can find me on Twitter at family. John, my diems are open, though you could e mail me Ram Lee at growth today dot FM before we end. I just want to thank you for sticking around for this past two years.

If you just started listening to this podcast this year, I also want to thank you. You are one of the reasons why I create this podcast and still help you at whether you're a father or a marketer or product person to really stopping your skills in marketing. I've been I've met so many awesome people through this podcast, and I hope to meet you someday face to face, whether that's at a conference or if you're ever in Toronto, Canada do reach out and weekend meeting face to face. I also want to thank my sponsor for this podcast. So much work to put together a new episode like this. I record I scheduled my guests. I added the podcast and create marketing materials for the podcast by myself. That's ah, lot of time. I was calculating how many hours each episode I spent it thinks about 4 to 8 hours. Just for one episode. Two sponsors like these and my Patriot supporters help cover the costs off all the tools that are used,

but also to almost pay me back for by time that I create something valuable, folks. So I want to thank my sponsor 42 agency. They're the Imagination and Ops Agency. It's followed by one of my good friends, Camille Brexton. If you're looking to grow your revenue and your beauty be SAS company. Camille has been there. He's helped out some really big companies like on Fleet Hot Doc Guess, Logics, Flex Day and Maur. If you want a revenue pipeline road mapping session for free, you can go to 40 to that agency force last GMT has f o u r t W dot agency force last GMT. Also want to thank my Patriot supporters and early adopters who helped make this episode happen. Jamie from Las Vegas, Veronica from London,

UK prove easier marks is from Brazil because Vargas from Sidney, Sam Grover from New Zealand, Joseph Valenti from Canada and Louis Nichols from Switzerland. Also of you, if you've been listening in for some time, now I really would love your support. Three easy ways to do it First tell a friend about this podcast could leave a review on up podcast or wherever you get your podcasts. Second, enjoying the growth Today mailing lists. You'll get the growth cheat sheets directly. Email to you also tell you who my next guests are coming up by email and third, support me up a tree on for US Little studios per episode for exclusive access to content. You can also get an ad free version of this podcast so that I can pay for my hosting peace marketing tools and finally get someone top headed this show with me. With your help, I can continue to get some amazing experts on the show, once again taking for listening in on this two year anniversary of this podcast. I really, really do appreciate your support, and I'd like to end this us usual. As always,

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