October 17, 2008

Social Median Stares Downturn In the Face By Staying Small

In a sliding economic time, the easy thing to do is to report on the failures of companies, the potential for layoffs, quarterly financial warnings and misses, and reduced valuations. Some entrepreneurs will see the potential for trials and get cold feet, choosing to postpone starting their business. Others might reduce expectations by slowing hires, extending product roadmaps or opting out by merging with a bigger firm. But having learned from the trials of the Web 1.0 boom and crash, Jason Goldberg of Social Median is looking to survive and grow his company through the financial crisis, as long as it takes.

In a post yesterday titled How One Small Scrappy Startup Is Surviving (And Growing) During The Financial Crisis, Jason said keys to survival are to be "(1) small, (2) fast, and (3) listen to users". The team developing Social Median started small and remains small, with software development performed in Pune, India, making them much less expensive than if they were based in the Silicon Valley. Having endured some very public and very visible trials during his time as CEO at Jobster, Goldberg knew, from the beginning, to stay lean and mean.

As we've chronicled here over the last six months, Social Median is growing and becoming an increasingly common source for Web users to find their news and participate with peers. And that's been without the benefit of traditional venture capital. As Jason writes, "One VC asked me a month ago what I would do with $2M. I said I'd take $500k of it, give you back $1.5M, and keep doing exactly what I'm doing."

So his plans going forward are really focused on a single mantra: "Keep it small and focus entirely on the product and delivering features which engage our users."

But, as with Twitter, FriendFeed and others, Social Median is still what companies these days are calling "pre-revenue". Jason even says that "priority #1 is product and users, not revenue." But we shouldn't expect that to be permanent. He says, "Every month -- while we spend very little -- we still are spending and not bringing in revenues to offset the costs..." adding, "If we build a great service that people love and want to use and recommend, revenues will come in time."

So while other companies grew quickly, and are now looking at ways to cut costs to reduce their burn rate as times turn dark, Social Median's plan is to keep churning along and do what they've always done. If they do crash and burn, it's not because they were throwing parties and hiring expensive PR firms or advertising. They're going to be heads-down, working to create a community which has already seen a doubling of page views week over week, and more new registered users in the last week than in the previous four combined. Jason and his team are not scared. Some might say they're foolhardy. But they're not going to be making headlines for cutting staff and scaling back any time soon.

See the full post here:
How One Small Scrappy Startup Is Surviving (And Growing) During The Financial Crisis

As always, you can find me, and my activity, on Social Median, here: http://www.socialmedian.com/louisgray