November 15, 2013

An interview with Jason Goldberg

Jason Goldberg (his Twitter) is the founder and CEO of - a deal site for design lovers. This interview is from 2011.

Lessons learned
  • Jason Goldberg used to work for the White House, but decided leave for the startup world in the Valley. This was during the tech bubble. He began by studying business at the Stanford University while working at various startups. After the tech bubble exploded, he moved from the Valley and began working at various companies.
  • In 2003, he saw how Friendster became popular and he realized the power of social networks. He started a company called Jobster which was similar to LinkedIn. At Jobster, he realized that product was his passion - not sales or managing people. He learned a number of lessons from the experience:
    • It's important to choose the right founders
    • You have to really know what you are doing before you let a team begin working with a feature
    • It's important to get feedback faster. Jobster developed a product for 1 year and got feedback for 6 months - but that cycle is too long, so they were beaten by LinkedIn
    • Always sell what you can deliver - Jobster sold a product but they couldn't deliver the same product
  • After Jobster, he took what he had learned and did the exact opposite with a new startup. It was now only him and a few developers - not a lot of venture capital and a lot of people. This worked better and the company was acquired after 11 months.
  • The story of begins with Fabulous in 2010. The idea was to build a social network for gay men - so Fabulous became a combination of Foursquare and Yelp. They hired a team of developers in India that Jason Goldberg had worked with before in another project. They had 150 000 users with 30 000 daily users and it was monetized by deals. What they realized was how 50 percent of those who were interested in the deals were heterosexual women - and no-one used the Yelp and Foursquare functions of the site. The founders realized that they couldn't become a big business, so they needed a new idea. 
  • The two founders, including Jason Goldberg, asked themselves what their passions were. Before they had an idea, they bought the domain name for a 6 figure number. They realized that design was their passion, so they decided to build a beautiful site where you could purchase beautiful things. 
  • To grow faster, they offered free shipping for the first 6 months if you invited 50 friends, and they also created a "wall" where the users could upload design inspirations.   

More articles in the same series: Lessons learned from the Foundation interviews