I listened to an interview today with the founder of  the new search engine Duck Duck Go. I listen to these entrepreneur interviews a couple times a month for inspiration and intel gathering. Some guys make it with the help of angel investors and others make it from bootstrapping from day one. Others try and fail several times before they have a hit and others make it big right off the bat.

This Duck Duck Go guy had a few failures before and other projects that were just not getting “traction.” The word traction comes up quite often on these interviews and refers to how the market seems to be responding to your idea. If it has traction it starts to take on a life of it’s own. If it has no traction then something is wrong… your idea is still born.

Another takeaway from this guy was his approach to improving your ideas ability to go viral by constantly doing A / B splits. You keep on trying new things and checking which method produces a more desirable result. Only the better method is fit to breed.

His first idea was to put up thousands of pages about different names of people. They weren’t real people… just common first names combined with common surnames. He correctly assumed that there would be lots of people whose names were matched. He immediately had tens of thousands of visitors to his site per day. He had a unique problem… lots of traffic and no way to make money from them. Many start with a money making idea but never reach the tens of thousands of visitors to make it work.

The one thing I’m hoping when listening to these interviews or buying self help books is to find the secret to success. I wonder how many of these successful guys have spent time reading self help books and consuming this type of info? In the end are their men of bronze, men of iron, men of silver and men of gold?

See the interview here: http://mixergy.com/gabriel-weinberg-duck-duck-go-interview/

Links down the rabbit hole:
http://www.paulgraham.com/quo.html – Creator of Hacker News.
http://notepad.cc/ -  Notepad in the cloud.
http://asalesguy.com/2010/04/11/telling-is-not-selling/ – Sales guy tricks.
http://news.ycombinator.com/news – Hacker News