Micha is the founder of Fiverr, a marketplace for gigs. In this episode Micha talks about the importance of timing for launching a startup, why friction can kill your product, and the basics of building a marketplace.
→ The importance of timing for launching a startup
→ Why friction can kill the product, and the basics of building a marketplace
→ What is Viacom
→ Where the name Fiverr comes from
→ What year did Fiverr launch
→ What did he do to get any buyers or sellers
→ What are the primary sources of new users today for Fiver
→ What are some of the primary metrics that Fiverr tracks to kind of keep a handle on its internal health
→ His best advice for any startup that’s they trying to grow
→ And a whole lot more
Bronson: Welcome to another episode of Growth Hacker TV. I’m Bronson Taylor and today I have Micah Kaufman with us. Micah, thanks for coming on the program.
Micha: Thanks for having me.
Bronson: Yeah, now you are the founder of Fiber. I’m sure many people know what Fiverr is. I’ve used it personally. A little side note actually use that personally on growth hacker TV. I don’t know if you’re aware of this, but our intro that plays before the videos was a five hour gig and the voiceover on our intro was a five hour gig and I put the two together and have this amazing intro. But anyway, that’s a side note. So tell us a little bit about Fiverr. What is Viacom?
Micha: Okay. So essentially, Fiverr is a marketplace for services, right? So it’s services are being offered by extremely creative and talented people from all around the world in what we have today is 120 categories ranging from personal services like customized greetings, photo editing gifts to the very business essentials. And you’ve mentioned a few that that you’ve used, but that’s graphic design, software and web development, translation, video editing, voiceovers, advertising, anything. I mean, we think that fiber is for services is what eBay is for products, essentially.
Bronson: Gotcha. So people go there and they spend five bucks, which is where the name Fiverr comes from. It’s been five bucks or so, give or take. And they and they can get the thing they need, the service they want. Right?
Micha: Right. Right. I mean, when it was really everything was $5 and that was the base price. At this point, we’ve already stretched off and it’s services that range between five and $500. We can dove into it later.
Bronson: Yeah, absolutely. Now, what year did Fiverr launch?
Micha: Early 2010. I mean, there’s an idea. My co-founder and myself, my go for proposal is Shai winning the earnings. Our CTO. It is an idea. It started from a phone call, one of many that we used to have at that point, starting with awards. I have an idea.
Bronson: The dangerous the dangerous phrase right there.
Micha: Right. But something about this idea really, really stuck in, you know, the first sign was really you wake up in the morning and the idea is there, you continue to to think about it. And then, you know, from that point on, you kind of dove into it going, you know, looking at the market, figuring out if there is really something substantial behind this idea. So we launched we launched early 2010.
Bronson: Yeah. So walk me through that process a little bit. Why did you feel the need? What was it about this idea that made you keep thinking about it when you woke up?
Micha: Right. Well, so the story I think is a little bit philosophical, but what I think is is worth it’s worth mentioning. So basically, both shine so far. We’re not this is not our first startup. So we’re season anchor preneur and we’ve been working quite a lot with freelancers. And so we knew what this experience was. One of the things that we realized that it was the fact that, you know, we’re kind of at a turning point in history. If we look at each generation, there’s two very important things that this generation is exposed to. First is that they have unlimited access to information and not only and this, you know, gives them the opportunity to actually gain skills at a much younger age. And the second thing is they have unlimited data and a click on the mark, right? People that posted something on YouTube and became famous social networks and so forth. So really, you know, the Internet made this opportunity to to develop one skills and also made the economy of of services really, you know, truly global. So this brought us to the to the realization that today everyone has a talent that someone else needs, right? Mm hmm. So how cool would that be if you can actually put this enormous bucket of talent and you can actually serve it to people that need this talent? You know, you know, we gave this a name we call this the gig economy. Right. And we actually think that this is you know, this is changing the way people think about work and about their financial independence. And plus, one of the things that we realized that was that this is a multibillion dollar market opportunity at this point. If you only look at the freelancing market, it’s beyond $1,000,000,000 this year. So whenever such opportunity rises, it obviously attract a lot of potential for amazing companies to start off. And we’re seeing a lot of them doing that. A lot of men are very fertilized, but it also creates the opportunity to actually create that giant company around this market. But in order to do that, you actually need to be a market disruptor, right? You need to disrupt this market then. When I was looking at, you know, the history of other companies that have been disrupting different markets, I’ve noticed that there is the thing about disruption is that there’s a lot of things that are in the control or reach of the company, the entrepreneurs, things that they can do. When you look at successful companies, they’re all been executing amazingly. There is one thing that is beyond the control of the company, of the entrepreneurs, and it’s either there or not, for lack of a better name. I call it stars aligning. Mm hmm. So looking at other markets and e-commerce is an amazing example. 15 years ago, stars aligned, and this is this made Amazon and eBay possible. Right. It doesn’t. E e-commerce did started 16 or 17 years ago, but no giant came out of it because stars weren’t aligned. So the thing about stars owning is that every market has its own stars. Right. My analysis was that for the gig economy, the stars are aligning right now. And without going into too many details. You know, you always think look at look at early 2010, when we launched around the entire debate on reelection, it was the unemployment rates, the well-educated but underpaid. Right. The downfall of the stock market and everything. So this together with technology that was that was becoming, you know, so, so commoditized. Right. Anything from from, you know, building a marketplace to taking care of payments and everything. So so those stars align. And and when we looked at kind of the traditional freelancing models that are kind of freelancing online started probably, I would say, I don’t know, eight, nine years ago. And we all looked at the companies that were first to this game. We feel that the traditional freelancing marketplaces online are really broke, the broken because because, you know, they they’re outdated because they started a long time ago and things really changed. And it’s a new generation. And because they’re full of friction and you can try any of those marketplaces, you will immediately sense how hard it is to use them. Everything from onboarding to, you know, you define a project and then you have people coming and bidding on the cheapest price and then you need to vet on them and decide who is going to take the product. And then you need to manage that. It’s a full time job. So there is a place for that. But most things in life, most sellers and buyers are not, you know, necessarily professional huge projects or small things or medium things that needs to be done. Right. And for that, this is not the system. So the idea was really to when we launched fiber at early 2010, we had this mission of, you know, we’re going to fix what was broken. We’re going to create a friction free marketplace where everyone can participate. So so we have this this notion of really creating something that is simple, intuitive, and not less important. Fun. Mm hmm. Right. So we looked at things and this pertains to growth hacking, right? So we looked at things like onboarding and we said, you know what if. If setting up an account listing service and being up and running to start selling takes more than 5 minutes. Or doing several work. Right. If buying takes more than 20 to 30 seconds, it’s not going to happen. People will think too much and they walk away. Right. And we even it looked naive when we actually launched it, but we even used phrases like buy, sell funding where they captured everything right within that. And we have this this idea of of really creating this market. This is a is a huge community for those what we call new entrepreneurialism, which are this new generation and that everything should be around global share of time. And this is very important because, you know, we believe that the gig economy is all about global share account. We work with those who know better and therefore are more efficient, not necessarily with those who are cheaper. Right. You know, we so if we really essentially we create jobs for talented people. And what happened was that one of the big frictions that we found was price negotiation. Right. And so and so we start with the single price. It was $5. So everything was a flat price. And a few people that didn’t really see the vision behind it thought, Yeah, but $5 is really not a lot of money, right? It’s pretty cheap. But but what everybody was missing was the fact that when you cannot negotiate the price, you actually compete on quality. Mm hmm. Right. Everybody, you know, cheap labor can compete for cheap prices. Mm hmm. But they cannot compete on quality. Right. So all of a sudden, quality was the issue. And so and so this this is kind of the the basic story behind behind how we started farm.
Bronson: Now, that’s great. And you’ve already given us a link to really great insights into growth. One what you call stars aligning almost seems like just a matter of timing. Every industry has the right time to kind of come into its own. And I think about it like surfing. You know, if you’re a little bit too early, you don’t catch the wave. If you’re a little bit too late, you don’t catch the wave even though you’re right there next to it. You have to catch the wave to catch the wave. And then the second insight you gave us was friction. So have the right timing and have low friction, and then you have a chance of growth. Now tell me this, Mike. Tell me about how large fiber is today. Anything you can disclose, you know, the size of the site, visitors, transactions, gigs, anything you can let us know.
Micha: Okay. So so far it has been growing pretty aggressively year over year. At this point, we have about 1.6 million active buyers and sellers in many more millions visiting the site. Every month we serve customers from 200 countries. We’re listing close to 2 million gigs or services. We call them gigs, and we’re growing by, let’s say, about 4000 new listings per day. We offer services in 120 categories. Mm hmm. One of the things that we’re most proud about is and this, again, takes me back to a two hour conversation that that I would try when we were starting, I told him, you know, if if we were to succeed, the only way that we can do that is if we can actually create jobs for Americans, for Western countries. Right. It shouldn’t be around, you know, third world countries serving the more wealthy countries. That’s fine as well. But it needs to be clean. That needs to be accessible for everyone. It shouldn’t be about about who’s the cheapest. It should be about who’s the best, who’s the right person for the job. And I think we’re probably the only global marketplace for services online today that can say we have 65% of our sellers coming from the US, UK, Canada, Australia, 65%. So so the majority are actually Americans. And in the West terms, in terms of in terms of size of the transactions, I mean, a gig is being sold every 6 seconds. This gives you gives you a sense of size. And it ranges between the prices of single peak ranges between five and 500.
Bronson: Yeah, those are great numbers. And, you know, that’s what we aspire to is to have startups that grow that way. So take us back to the beginning a little bit and let’s see how you got there, because that’s what this audience wants to know is now they there, but how do you get there? So after the launch, how did you all get the first set of people on both sides of the marketplace? And anything to tell us specifically would be great because it’s hard to start from nothing. You have no buyers, you have no sellers. What do you do to get any buyers? Any sellers?
Micha: Right. So I think that, again, this this goes back to to a little bit of of our approach to the vision. I mean, any startup may have a huge, big vision, but each big vision needs to start somewhere. Right. And I think you know, I think that we as as is is entrepreneurialism, is CEO, is it is startups. What we essentially do is we are storytellers, right? We tell a story. We have a narrative that is storytelling. And so take, for example, the story of where we sat down and said, okay, we’re going to build the next eBay for services or the next Amazon for services. That’s huge. Okay, so this is how the story ends, but how does it start? So this taking you know, taking the narrative, taking the story, decomposing it and actually telling it backwards. Right. And converging and peaking. Now, we call this the art of reduction of the brain, reducing things from the complex. Think about it. Right. Think about eBay. 15 years ago, what would have happened if they launched the way they look today? 15 years ago, nobody would have getting too darn complicated. It’s too feature rich. It’s great for now, but you wouldn’t have, you know, stuck in people’s minds. And so this process of reduction is really all about focusing on the very, very simple value proposition that you that you actually offer. Right. What is the bare minimum, the single thing that actually creates value for your audience in in force and that so it’s a very simple but meaningful value in a single call for auction. Right. What do you want to do first? So I would say, you know, I would say that that in any marketplace, maybe with the exception of. Commodity marketplaces start with supply. They always start with supply. They never start with demand. And you can you can check in if you can find us. If you find another example, that would be great, because I couldn’t. So so for us, we thought, okay, so we needed to build a supply. So we needed a single call for action. And what is the call for action? Become a seller. How do you lure someone to become a seller? So we have this very noticeable tiny form on the homepage, starting with the words I will blank for $5. Submit. That was it, right? Fill in the blank and you’re up and running. It was it was so simple. It was so tempting that you would feel stupid enough to try it. All right, it’s. It’s out there. So. So really creating this very, very definable, focused value proposition, single call for auction. And then, you know, you can do the obvious things like, you know, what we call Friendster strategy. You know, go to where a potential audience hangs out, could be forums, social networks, whatever it is, and and start, you know, working to bring people in and see if this if this is working in in help help rurality happen, right. By by giving the community both, you know, the incentives and the tools to easily share whatever that they’ve joined, that they’ve enjoyed something, that they bought something, sold something, whatever. And the last thing that I would say starting but this is true both scaling up is amaze your customers with world class personal support. This, this, this pays back big time. Mm.
Bronson: No, that’s great. You know, and I love one of the things that it made me think of what you just said. You know, we always talk about MVP, the minimum viable product, putting out something and the way we do it now, we do it to, you know, to test and learn and kind of do that cycle. Right. But what you’re saying is slightly different and I think it’s important, is that not only is it to test and learn early on, but the market can actually handle the feature rich version yet. So not only shouldn’t you do it because you don’t have the resources, you shouldn’t do it because the market’s not ready for it. If the stars align and you really are the one at the right moment for that particular industry, they’re not ready for the feature rich version yet. And so you have to reduce it down to it’s kind of microscopic, you know, proponents components and then go forward from there. And I think that’s an incredible insight that I’ve never really thought about. So totally of that.
Micha: Totally. I think I think never try to overwhelm your potential audience with with too many features in there. Our ability to actually concentrate and focus online is like the ability of a over two year old.
Bronson: It means right.
Micha: Break. So they either get it from the get go or they don’t. So bet on the one. The one thing that creates the most value.
Bronson: Yeah, that’s great. Now, as you grew the supply and the demand side, did you ever have any problems where you had too much supply or too much demand? And if you did, what do you do to kind of balance that out or did it just work out on its own?
Micha: Right. So oh, so I mean, we started with wood, pretty wood, very limited number of categories. Right. And they were pretty broad. So this may make things a little bit simple in creating a good match. Right. If you think about if you think about the marketplace, any marketplace, when a market based starts, there’s nothing more important. There’s actually just one thing that is important when starting and that is liquidity. Right? The ability to actually have, as you said, a good match between supply and demand. So we’ve done things to reduce the ability of this not happening by really going not going to 120 categories. I mean, look at eBay. 15 years ago, they started with Knickknacks and Beanie Babies and and now they have 10,000 categories. But it didn’t happen overnight. So the thing was, was for us and then, you know, as we pushed, you know, more and more categories, we continue to be very aware of the ratio between the number of listings and the number of buyers. And we made sure that the balance was kept using different techniques. I mean, you know, when people look at fiber. And you look at the marketplace as any other product that that strives to be simple. It looks simple, right? But behind the scenes, there is a there’s a huge machine that actually operates the marketplace, which is, I would think, maybe five or ten times bigger than the marketplace itself. And it employs all kinds of algorithms and insistence that make sure that things from the long tail are being surfaced up in things that are being, you know, not getting enough attention, are getting attention and so forth. So we were very aware of that. And as we developed the categories, we maintained this. And if certain categories, you know, don’t work, then you either rename them, change them, tweak them, or just take it off. Mm hmm. But you concentrate where you can actually create this volume for both sides of the equation.
Bronson: Yeah. So you’ve talked to us about how you kind of got going with that initial group of users. But you guys are a massive site now, and I want to know a little bit about where your customers actually come from now. What are the primary sources of new users today for Fiverr?
Micha: Right. So I’m very pleased to say, because, you know, when we started this, I mean, we had this gentleman’s agreement between two founders and we said, you know what? It’s not our first startup. We’ve been there. We’ve seen this entire news cycle, hiking and buying traffic and, you know, doing customer acquisition. This time we’re not going to do any of that. It will either grow or organically and virally because this is the only sustainable model or it’s not going to happen. Right. We’re going to figure it out in today, more than three years after that. It’s still mostly organic. That’s great. So so it is great. And it also, you know, it says something about about huge size of the market that we’re barely scratching the surface.
Bronson: Yeah. And within organic, can you break it down even further? Are we saying that most of it’s Google? Is that what you mean or is most of it just Twitter referrals? I mean, where does that actually shake down? It’s not a good look.
Micha: It’s mostly direct, actually.
Bronson: Oh, really? So people know of five or not. So there.
Micha: Is. Yeah, there is. There is a very good awareness to the brand itself.
Bronson: Yeah. So do you think like having a name like Fiverr and having a brand like Fiverr allows direct to be such a huge channel?
Micha: Yeah, it could be. I mean, it also I mean the on the flip side of it could have been would this name be a limitation on the growth of the company, which was one of the things that we were concerned about. But it turns out to be a very catchy name. And and, you know, at some point you just I mean, since services still start at $5, it’s fine. But, you know, a lot of people don’t actually realize the connection between $505, which is actually quite surprising.
Bronson: Yeah. Now, that’s funny. Now, let me talk to you about retention a little bit. Do you guys have a hard time retaining users, getting them to be repeat buyers, or do you not really care if they’re repeat buyers that you’re okay with people coming in, buying a single gig and then going on their way? How do you guys view retention if there is such a thing for Fiverr?
Micha: Sure. So, so sure. I mean, retention, retaining users is a huge part of of any marketplace success. You can see it when companies start measuring cohorts. Right. You notice that the the strength of the or the build up the build up effect is essentially new cohorts building on top of old ones. Right. So, so retention, having repeat business is a key. So one of the things that you can do, I mean, we’re doing all kinds of things around the world through hacking. But one of the things that you can do is in order to actually bring someone to to be a repeat customer, you need to give them a first grade first experience. Right. So you need to put a lot of emphasis and a lot of attention to really bringing a an amazing first experience in every in every aspect. Right. And if you take care of that, then you will see that the lifetime value of the buyer becomes much bigger than the time that they stick with you is much lower. Return in business is if we look at the pile of fiber is the majority.
Bronson: At the beginning of the episode, you mentioned reducing friction. Do you think. Reducing friction and giving them a great user experience are really two sides of the same coin. Do you think it’s easier to give a great experience when you don’t have a thousand moving parts and there’s less friction?
Micha: For sure. For sure. I mean, listen, you know, one of the key family values of fiber and I’m not kidding is think simple. And we’re we’re trying to we’re actually trying to to to practice this on everything we do, everything from our relationship with the team to the agreements that we’re doing with our investors, to the product. Everything needs to be simple in achieving simplicity is probably the hardest thing that we’ve ever done, but it’s worth it because once you do that, once you take away frictions, everything falls in place. People get it.
Bronson: So do you think a lot of startups fail because they don’t think simply because they think too complicated about the product, the team, everything?
Micha: Come on. I mean, you’re probably like me. You were testing, I don’t know, five, ten new services per day. You tell me. I mean, you go into a product, you try to figure out what is it, do you have a million menus and auctions and everything? And, you know, you move on in life because it’s just, you know, who knows what this is doing while you have super. Sometimes you notice something, you say. God, it’s so. It’s so stupid. Simple. I mean, think about. Think about amazing ideas, which are not stupid at all. Like Instagram. I mean, the idea. It’s all so, so simple. Yeah, but this is what makes it so. I mean, the simplicity of it, the fact that it’s so simple that everybody gets it. You don’t need to struggle around buying users and then buying their way to, to, to stick with you and everything you don’t. Because it’s so, so simple. Think about it. Think about Facebook, how it started. It started simple. Started like cordoned off with photos from your people from from your college or something. It was simple. And then other layers of features and complexities were building up. But people got the essence. They got the the true value of it. And then they can decide if they want to, you know, use the whole the entire 100 features of it or just one, they get it, they’re hooked or. Yeah. So I think most actually most startups probably feel that simplicity.
Bronson: Yeah, it seems like simplicity is like the greatest growth hack because if you can just be simple, you’re going to accidentally make a thousand right decisions every week. Like you won’t even know why that psychologically that works or why technologically that works. But if you’re simple, it does just work and you don’t even have to know why. It’s just going to. Right.
Micha: Right, right. It’s I think it’s it’s it’s also it’s it’s also easier to fix simple things because you don’t have that many variables. Right? So something simple. Okay. Is when you take the button from the right to the left. Okay, fine. You make it bigger. You make it above the fold, down below the fold. You play with it, whatever. But. But it’s simple, right? You don’t need to to think about 100 different things at one time. You can actually separate the issues.
Bronson: Yeah. And that’s exactly the experience that I have with Fiverr. I go to Fiverr and it’s so simple that I don’t I don’t know what features I would want to do that. It doesn’t, but it doesn’t do very much. It’s it’s the right mix. You know, I go on there, I spend $5, I get an email, tell me when my gig’s ready, it’s, you know, like you keep saying it’s simple and it works. And right now, when I think about Fiverr, I have no fear of going back. I have no, you know, insecurities about getting back into the website and figuring out how it works again. I know that if I show up on the website in just a matter of seconds, I’m gonna go to buy whatever I want to buy. And so I think you’re right. I mean, for a site as large as you guys are, I think you said it’s one of the top couple of hundred sites on the Internet. Is that right.
Micha: Or it’s Alexa 200.
Bronson: And. Yeah. So Alexa 200. I don’t know if there’s an Alexa 200 site that’s as simple as Fiverr, which is also a marketplace. There might be a blog on there that’s, you know, that way. But in terms of a marketplace, it’s that simple. I mean, you guys have to be the simplest, right?
Micha: It could be. I mean, Craigslist, if you consider it the marketplace.
Bronson: Is a great example of simplicity, kind of winning the day.
Micha: Exactly. And people struggle to analyze it. Yeah, but it’s something Sun. Who cares? Who cares? It works. People love it. It works. The underdog, they get it. Yeah. Yeah, you can. I mean, people can can continue, you know, arguing to death about the design of Craigslist. The point is, it’s sort of right. My it might work better if you do some changes. Who knows? But but the point is, if that’s good for the company, that’s.
Bronson: Yeah. You know, it’s funny because I’m a designer. I’m a Helvetica snob. But yeah, when I go to Craigslist, I see the times in the Roman. There’s something that’s warm and fuzzy about it. Like, I’m glad they don’t care about the stuff I care about. It just feels right. So I think there’s something there that’s really deep and I hope the people watching and listening this really think about what’s being said here. Let me ask you this. What are some of the primary metrics that Fiverr tracks to kind of keep a handle on its internal health? What are you guys looking at to say, okay, when this goes up, we’re doing well. When this goes down, we’re not. So we can kind of get in your head a little bit.
Micha: Right? Well, there’s many I mean, each each product has its own KPIs in in I mean, since we’re a marketplace as opposed to to an eyeball driven business where it’s all about, you know, all of our traffic in and usage, we focused mostly on business KPI. So, you know, things like the number of first time buyers, right? The first time sellers, the number of listings, the average selling price, the ASP number of tracings. Conversion rates from traffic. To business, write new verses returning both on traffic and on business. You look in the beginning you’ve asked about the ratio between buyers and sellers that took every important one. But the basic I mean, and again, new versus returning and, you know, cohorts retention churn. Oh, it’s pretty it’s pretty much all obvious if anyone.
Bronson: Now, that’s good. Do you have people full time at Fiverr working on growth? Do you have a team of people somewhere in their only job is to grow the marketplace? Or how does that shake out?
Micha: Yeah, we have I mean, when I look at the beginning, I mean, it was it was probably most mostly us the the interpreter in forever is because or its core we’re both product people. So we were very, you know, focused in doing that. But I think that recently we haven’t really reconstructed our marketing team and I think much thanks to two conversations with Growth Team is other companies like Facebook, for example, we’ve decided to split our marketing team into brand marketing, which does PR community. So for in growth marketing, which is a team that is completely focused in a wrong being per marketing cycle. So you have anything from acquisition to activation to already to retention to our reality and resurrection of all of last users. So they look at each of those flows in the tweet them to death. They test them, you know, concept. Mm hmm. And and this is how we actually we actually go about about grow.
Bronson: Yeah. I really like the way you talk about splitting the team into two parts, because I think that’s kind of the you know, you start out with one guy that’s doing growth and then when you start building a team, you know, then you have a team around growth. But then kind of the next evolution is you have two teams, one, because there is a difference in PR, social media, you know, community as opposed to, you know, registration flows and acquisition and retention. There is something fundamentally different about those two. So I think it’s wise that when you get to the spot where you can break off the team to do that. Now, the next question I have on here, I want to ask it even though I think I already know the answer because we’ve talked about it already. If you had to summarize the main reason why fiber has taken off like it has, what would that be look like?
Micha: I’m kidding. I’m kidding. I mean, love plays a huge part in every success. But I think it’s I think it’s really a combination between simple, very simple yet disruptive idea of disruptive product that launched on the right kind of startup.
Bronson: Plus disruptive plus timing. Yeah, that’s good. That’s an equation right there. That’s something to remember. Yeah. Now, before fiber started, you actually had a number of other start ups. And you mentioned that before this wasn’t your first time at the rodeo. What were some of the things you started before? And you don’t have to go into details, but just kind of at a really high level. What sort of things were you dabbling in?
Micha: I think I think the one so fiber is my fifth venture to date and the one I enjoy talking most about other than fiber is really my first because so many lessons learned from that. It was very neat. It was a software company was the security software for flash drives, an idea that I had while I was still practicing law, which was my first career. I had an idea on how to secure flash drives and I didn’t know how to start. So I went online and this was 93, 94. So not Google was not that big at the time and everything was about shareware and surfing to cows and everything. I, I didn’t know how to code they I’m very technical, so I had no idea on how to do that and actually found someone on a web page written in Russia, Russian. I translated it using public office in and we got to talk. And it was barely speaking English. And it turns out that he was from from the Soviet Union in a small town near Siberia in we had this idea and we we kicked it off in three months down the line. We had a product, it was working. We were just talking online. We formed a kind of company in Delaware and we found partners for it. It was very naive and we started selling it. And I think that the first sale the. First on it, I got an email saying someone or I don’t know, it’s not family or friends paid $19 for something that that I’ve done. It was probably one of the biggest wins in the career. I mean, it’s it’s it’s really a feeling that that is hard to recreate. And the thing is, you know, we’re starting making sales and we found ourselves selling to the U.S. government and to corporations like Merrill Lynch and Deloitte and everything, which probably thought that we were a decent sized startup, but we were just too and and this company, we’re the last. And, you know, we didn’t grew to become something, you know, more than a few hundred thousand dollars per year. But we didn’t know once we put the product there, it was not much of an investment. It was just money coming in. And we probably had and that was like nine years ago, right? And we had probably 50 opportunities to meet and we haven’t met this date, this, this guy myself, which is which is amazing because it is it’s really, you know, kind of the cool. It’s like it’s a great story from the well, the beginning of the Internet, before social networks and before that was possible. I always get back to the story because it’s really, you know.
Bronson: It’s a career, it’s a focus.
Micha: It was finding a lot of lessons learned from that.
Bronson: That’s great. It just shows you what potential the Internet has unlocked for all of us. We’re willing to, you know, take advantage of it. Now, do you feel like you’ve taken those experiences and because of them, it allows you to make Fiverr success? Did you learn along the way? Was it important that you had five startups before five? Or I guess is what I’m getting at?
Micha: Sure. I mean, I think that I think the the the funny thing is I when I think about it is that the key takeaways from all of my startups have become kind of our core family values. It’s fiber and we’re fiber. So we have five. They are, you know, work hard, stay humble, be creative, take risks and think simple. Those are the five as we go out and in and you know and and we’ve talked about simplicity probably be the last one is the hardest one to achieve but it’s definitely worth it. And I mean it’s really, you know, and thinking and going back to the first my first company, the first lesson is probably to take a leap of faith, right? To to just if if if it burns within you, you need to try it. You need to you need to are in, you know, in the risk that we talk about.
Bronson: That’s right. Well, Micah, this has been awesome. I have two final questions for you here. The first one is, what’s the best growth hack that you’ve ever implemented and might be a fiber and maybe somewhere else? What’s something you did that just really, really worked well?
Micha: Right. So I’m not sure if there is one that is the best. Um, we’ve done hundreds of experiments and I think, you know, some make big change in some are really small but, but the thing to remember is that if you run ten experiments, ten AB tests, right, and they each only change 1% or half of a percent, if you change all of them, you gain 10%. And you people neglect this small fact, right? They do a better thing and it’s half a percent. Who cares? I mean, it’s not conclusive, you know, let’s drop it. No, don’t drop it. It’s half a percent. Do 20 of those. You’re you’re going to get ten, 15%. That’s that’s super important. So I think that this is this is kind of the core, right. Test everything in in, in and don’t, you know, don’t disregard the small changes, the amount of big changes.
Bronson: I like that. The last question here, what’s the best advice that you have for any startup that’s watching this? And they’re trying to grow. They want to be like fiber when they grow up. Okay.
Micha: So so first of all, if if you’re a startup and you’re at the stage where you look to grow, that’s probably a good sign, right? Because it means that you have an initial traction and now you need to grow it. So I would I would say that the thing to do is really to start from understanding the mechanics of your users. Right? The, the, the, the, you know, the, the fundamental things that drives them. Why do they visit or download your app? Right. Why or what makes them stay right? What makes them register by. News share, they’ll do extensive AB testing of everything you think can make a change, right? Measure, iterate, repeat. I mean, look at look again. We’ve talked about Facebook, but the same applies to Twitter. I think they’ve realized that having a certain amount of friends or followers really increase retention and stickiness. So a lot of the growth is really internally. So understanding really though, the way your audience interacts with your product is key because you can do better. It doesn’t it doesn’t matter how good you’re doing. You can do probably twice or three times better if you actually understand, you know, these fundamentals. And eventually the also if you trigger if you increase satisfaction, if you increase retention, if you also increase virality in her. Right. Eventually it’s going to happen. Yeah, that’s that’s probably the best thing. Look look really near because, you know, a lot of secrets are out there.
Bronson: That’s great. That’s incredible advice to end on. You can do three times better. So, Myka, thank you so much for coming on growth out of TV.
Micha: Thanks for having.
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