Has the start-up so far been as successful as you expected?
It's been about what I've expected. We were getting about 13,000 visitors a day after three weeks, which is good, but would I like 130,000 per day? Sure. Did I fear getting 1,300 a day? Absolutely. It just depends on how you want to look at it. At 13,000, it's not yet a business. At 130,000 it's a business.
What are some of the principles of your launch that would be useful for other entrepreneurs?
Something like Alltop can be done out of your garage, your spare bedroom, whatever. You know, we don't need a physical presence. No one comes to our office. This is typical Silicon Valley: You do it on the side until it gets big enough that you can quit your day job.
No. 2: It's very capital efficient. Admittedly, most people could not do it for $10,000. I have significant advantages because of my connections. But let's say it's really $50,000. It's still $50,000. This is credit card-level money.
What's your advice to entrepreneurs in this current downturn?
If you are an entrepreneur, you can't really let it affect your brain too much that the U.S. government tells you we're in a recession or not. Because that is a very big macro statistic. All you care about is whether your small business is successful or not. Not the whole economy. [Americans] go to bed one night, and the next morning we read on the front page that, according to the Department of Labor, we're in a recession. What happened in that eight hours we were asleep? Did the world come to an end?
The key, for a career person, is what's your career? Not what the Department of Labor macro statistic is.
Your interview with Steve Ballmer was very unconventional, but you also asked some tough questions. Did you spend a lot of time preparing for it?
Zero. Maybe I should not admit that. They had a preconference call, and I asked: "Is anything off limits? Can I ask why Vista sucks?" They said: "Ask anything you want." And I said, "OK." I had not talked to Steve until 20 minutes prior to the event, and we went on stage and we let it rip. But that's what I do. To some people, that would be frightening. They would have prepped it. But that's what I do. That's the nature of my persona. I also had an advantage because I know the topic and I don't give a s—- what he could do to me. I have zero vested interest.