Video Transcript

00:09 Kevin Ryan: I wanna, first of all, thank Inc. Magazine for inviting me here. There are very few topics I like talking more about than start-ups and the people that make up start-ups, because that is, as Victor said, almost everything in the business. So let me give you... I'm gonna give you like three or four minutes just a context that will set the stage for the stories that I'm gonna talk about, and experiences I've had, and then to focus on this theme of how important people are to your business.

00:35 Ryan: So, I got involved in the Internet business 15 years ago, I've done nothing in the last 15 years except, really start and run Internet companies. So, in '96, DoubleClick started. We had about 10 people at that time. Four years later, we had 2,000 people in 25 countries. So it grew very, very quickly. It was definitely part of the bubble. The bubble gets a lot of criticism. I enjoyed the bubble quite a bit. So it's something that, if you're on the right side of it actually, can be an incredible experience. There was the period after that of 2000 to 2003 where 70% of our clients went bankrupt. That was the less fun part of the bubble or the hangover and we went from 2,000 people to 1,000 people. During that time, as Khrushchev once said, "In the famine, the fat get thin and the thin die." We happened to be the fat getting thin, and what happened was, we lost 70% of our customers, we lost about 80% of our competitors, and so we emerged from that with an enormously profitable business that had a huge worldwide market share. And so, ultimately, the end of the story was that Google purchased DoubleClick for a little over $3 billion in 2008.

01:52 Ryan: So the other thing that I've done since then is really start a couple of different companies. Gilt is one of them, and Gilt is the one that I spent the most time on. So, started Gilt in 2007, we hired the first employee in May 2007. We launched this site in November 2007. So almost, not quite four years later now, we have 850 employees. We just finished a year where we did $500 million in gross sales. It's expanded very, very quickly, primarily in the United States and in Japan. And at the same time, the same month, I started another company called Business Insider. Business Insider is an online publication, sort of like a Wall Street Journal, that is now read, this month, by 12 million unique visitors who come to the site. We've never advertised, we don't... We just write. We have 60 people now that write, and now have more traffic than the Financial Times, than Fortune, than CNBC, and places like that.

02:50 Ryan: Started another company called 10gen, which is a database company. It's a very technical company, so it's a non-relational database. And so now there are tens of thousands of companies that use the database. It competes with the MySQL or now, Oracle. It has about also 60 employees, it's about three years old. And you use it all the time without realizing it, whether you're on the White House site, or eBay, or AOL, or Groupon, or Craigslist, or the Wall Street Journal, or places like that. They're somewhere in there, not always exclusively, they're using our database. So, it's a very, very technical product purchased by CTOs.

03:30 Ryan: So I really only have started companies. I'm chairman of the ones I'd just mentioned, but CEO of Gilt.

Published on: May 13, 2012