Plenty of Fish – Lessons Learned

Just amazing talk! With founder Markus Frind a guy who made a dating website because he wanted to improve his CV with some .net experience. His website, Plenty of Fish went viral when the term wasn’t even appropriate for it yet! With over 200 signups a day, and millions of users in his database with all sort of breakdown information he is the solo owner in POF.com

His talk was mesmerizing and often funny as how casually he mentioned amazing achievements. At early stage, with such a low competition and network effect his product was so succesfull it wasn’t even funny.

Some highlights and inferences from his talk:

  • He never made a market research. He was the right man, at the right time, with the right attitude – trying to create a cool dynamic website.
  • Scaling was a huge barrier back then. Servers ran in his house, much like Facebook stories. Doesn’t existe anymore nowadays.
  • It is a prominent time for “growth hackers”. They are hiring phds from all industries with super developed skills in statistics and complex problem solving – cancer researchers, astro physicists (I can’t get my mind around that. Why not young people?)
  • Much more focus on retention than acquisition, probably due network effect and the nature of their service.
  • Always focusing on experimentation, throughout deploying and measuring. The man have a deep scientific soul. He admits not to use his own system but have put tons of effort into analyzing the metrics and the impact of the features.
  • Plan usually 1 month ahead, due how unpredictable changes take place feels like a waste to think too far ahead.
  • His advice: Just push it out of the door, don’t be afraid to crash at small percentage of your users, besides, if the service is good enough not much can make them just flee (apply with discretion, obviously)
  • 8 out of 10 feature implementations fail miserably. 1 achieves low results, 1 kind of make it well.
  • Even when entering other countries he admitted never to research culture, just experiment with development.
  • Operations efficiency is allegedly their competitive advantage, as he mention to use a infinite smaller amount of servers than competitors.
  • In one year period they’ve seen their traffic shift from +90% web to 70% mobile app. A trend that have taken Japan a couple of years ago.
  • Their strategy still focus broadening and developing the market, while mostly ignoring competition.
  • Still experimenting exponential growth. He says he doesn’t care for selling, in the end the money will go to himself as solo proprietor.
  • Somebody asked him if he would work with anything else, he said: “After his job working with anything else would be like watch grass growing”

Very glad I attended, intriguing and  inspiring session.

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