Those of you who read this blog regularly will have noticed that it has become extremely difficulty to read this blog regularly, given the irregular posting of late. My excuse is simple: since starting outside.in I've had a pretty significant lifestyle change, moving from the leisurely, unstructured pace of the writer's life to the frenetic, always-on pace of startup mode. It's been fun, for the most part, and I'm extremely proud of what we're building at outside.in, but it's meant that my writing has basically ground to a halt. If you think this blog has been neglected in 2007, you should see the sorry (nonexistent) state of my next book!
I first started tossing around the idea for outside.in a year ago, and since that time, we've gone through three distinct phases: from a prototyping mode with three of us trading ideas and early code last summer; to a beta launch last fall; and then to a real functioning company with a working site with hundreds of thousands of visitors, ten full-time employees, and fantastic investors. I couldn't be happier with the team we've assembled, but I think it's also time for the next evolution of the company. On the development and design side, we have the people we need to build out the tools and community we've imagined from the beginning. But we've never really had anyone thinking full-time about the business of outside.in.
In a way, this sequence makes sense: given that we had ample financial backing, we could focus on the site itself before worrying about how to make it sustainable in the long run. But the enthusiasm for the site and the traffic growth (we've been doubling our monthly visitors for three straight months now) has made all of us feel like we're on to something. Not that we've figured out whole hyperlocal problem -- not even close -- but it seems pretty clear that we're going to get a good swing at it. And so it makes sense to expand the team to include some high-level folks who can wrestle with the revenue possibilities. Obviously, the outside.in structure is optimized for hyperlocal advertising, so that's one piece of the puzzle. But there are many others: potential relationships with traditional media companies; national advertisers who wish to target specific zip codes; local search; international markets and partnerships; classified listings, and so on.
All of which is a long-winded way of saying that we're looking to make some hires, and as I was talking about this with our investors Ed Goodman and Fred Wilson, Fred suggested that the best way to start the search would be by posting on my blog. We're looking for three positions, all of which we're ready to fill immediately: a COO who can help us both define and execute the long-term model for outside.in; an advertising director excited about doing some pioneering work in local sales; and a junior business development person. Since I've been the main person thinking about the business model and partnerships at outside.in to date, all three of these people would work closely with me. I think all of the outside.in team would say that it's a fun place to work, and the company is at a really nice point where it's young enough that you can really make a difference in shaping the overall vision, but there's enough investment backing to give us the freedom to experiment for a while without figuring everything out right away.
So drop me a line (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you're interested, or know someone who might be. If we find the right people, it may not guarantee our ultimate success with outside.in, but I promise you it will result in more blogging from me. And maybe even that new book I keep hinting about....