I chatted with DocStoc Founder & CEO Jason Nazar the other day.
You should know abut Jason and DocStoc because Jason is an amazing networker (among other things) and DocStoc has been one of the fastest growing Web sites in the last few years (ranked 407th by Quantcast with 15 million unique visitors per month, according to DocStoc).
Jason and I had a little chat in which I asked him a few questions. He agreed to let me share it with you.
Q: Hi Jason, you really value business networking — tell me your philosophies.
I personally enjoy networking. I like meeting smart, interesting successful people.
From a professional standpoint, I believe the principal of it’s “who you know not what you know” is very true.
One thing about the Internet is that we spend a lot of time behind our computers…you’ve got to get out there and meet people.
Typically the larger the network you have, the more opportunities you have.
We spend a lot of time behind our computers…but business still gets done in person.
People want to work with other people they like, trust and respect.
And you don’t do that by just sending emails and sending IMs…you have to get out and meet people.
And if you want to have opportunities such as getting hired, raising money, building your company, and hiring the right people…you need to have a large network.
Typically, the larger your network is the more opportunities you have.
The business we’re building is a consumer-facing Internet company – we’re trying to get pretty much everyone in the world to use DocStoc.
There’s a lot of value in reaching out to other connectors….people like you and your sphere of influence…and now DocStoc and its hundreds of thousands of people is in your sphere of influence…and that’s one of the ways you get things to grow virally.
Q: Would you share some of your business networking principles?
I have three main networking principles:
1) Habitualize the process – like anything else you need to make time for it. I carve out a couple of hours a week to reach out to new people.
2) Make it One to Many — You want to do not just one to one but also one to many – You want to get to the point where people reach out to you. This is one of the reasons we put on events, which attracted 2,000 people last year.
Now instead of just me reaching out to every conceivable person who might value in a win-win situation, there are many people attending who are telling lots of other people about it and telling them about me.
I’m leveraging a one to many approach. More people know about you then you know about. Then it’s just a matter of filtering out people you don’t want to talk to.
3) Maintain Your Relationships — Networking has no intrinsic value unless you do something with it. My goal is not to be popular. It’s the fact that you can get things done that you couldn’t do otherwise. You have to be clear about what you want to get but more importantly what do you want to give.
What matters is how you build and maintain those relationships. What really matters is that’s the more important part to habitualize.
You can’t approach networking out of your own selfish interests.
Think of it as a bank. Do lots of things to help out other people.
Know that you’ll have credit in your bank and one day you’ll need that credit and people will really want to help you out for what you did.
People will gladly want to pay you back. .. for all the things you’ve done for them.
Q: What are the top networking mistakes people make?
Here are the three biggest networking mistakes people make:
What they really should do is:
If you do those things, and you do them consistently, it’s gonna come back your way…and probably in ways you couldn’t imagine.
I’m a good example of that. I’ve always tried to do that as an adult. I’ve been very lucky in what’s come my way…in large part because of that.
Q: You’ve created a top 500 Web Site in just a few years – would you share what the top keys you used to drive free traffic?
[Jason referred me to a presentation he did on these 7 ways to drive free traffic to a Web site:]
The full presentation can be found here: 7 Ways To Drive Free Traffic To Your Web Site
Q: Tell me more about your growth
We have a way to provide valuable content, give it to them for the most part for free and monetize it with ads as well as some paid content.
And we deal with user-generated content where we were able to unlock two million registered users with millions of documents being uploaded (about 2% to 4% of the users upload documents).
And when you do that, you become a magnet for search engines. And when you do that, you’re able to raise a lot of money, a lot of people know about us, there’s a lot of referral traffic.
Q: Can you talk to me about the financial side is working – what’s the business model.
Our goal is to build the largest repository in the world of publicly available professional documents. And the premiere marketplace to buy and sell documents on the Internet.
Q: Who’s the competition? Scribd?
Yep. Our business approach is different [than Scribd] but our products are similar.
We focus on owning the small business market and on professionals.
It seems to me they (Scribd) are more focused on publishing and book publishers.
Q: What’s your biggest challenge these days?
To iterate and grow at a face pace. How to take a site that has a lot of traction – that’s grown quickly — and turn it into one of the premiere brands on the Internet…that everyone knows. And how do you cross that chasm.
How do you measure success?
Revenue and profits. We have very significant revenue growth year over year.
We have 2.5 million registered users, over 10 million publicly available documents and we do over 15MM unique visitors per month.
How do you sell advertising these days?
A couple of one-off deals but it’s mostly AdSense.
Note: Thanks to Drew Kossoff (another amazing networker) for introducing me and Jason.
For more business networking tips, check out the series of articles in my networking category.