Inside View: Scribol.com
Get inside the mind of young internet entrepreneur, Chris Ingham Brooke, who tells us about Scribol.com, tips for starting your business and why he likes to hire bank robbers.
Let me introduce you to this week’s Inside View interview - Chris Ingham Brooke.
If you haven’t already heard of Chris, he is 25 years old and he’s already had a string of back-to-back success online starting with EnvironmentalGraffiti.com and Pixdaus.com.
His latest venture, Scribol.com, which he founded in 2009, currently gets over 55 million unique visitors a month and 382 million page views. In other words... It’s kind of a big deal!
According to LinkedIn, Chris had one of the top 1% most viewed LinkedIn profiles for 2012. However, despite his success and popularity, Chris came across very down to Earth and friendly when we spoke to him.
We think that you will enjoy this interview because he is going tell you about Scribol, tips for starting your business and why he likes to hire bank robbers.
Describe Scribol.com in a few sentences!
Scribol is an audience amplification tool for top tier publishers. We connect ordinary people to the content they love and in the process help skyrocket traffic for publishers.
Are you funded?
No, luckily we’re self funded. Our other business, EnvironmentalGraffiti.com, effectively funded the development of Scribol, so we were very fortunate.
You're relatively young to be an entrepreneur, has your age been a help or hindrance to you?
Both. Some people want to mother and father you. Other times it can be a challenge as you’re not taken as seriously. But most of the time I’ve found it’s about what you’ve achieved and what you’ve been able to do. The proof is in the validation of what we’ve managed to accomplish. So in general, no, it hasn’t made a massive impact.
What is a typical day like for you at Scribol?
There’s no such thing as a typical day. One day I might be closing deals in New York or I might be visiting our office in Poland. Or I could be in London clearing hundreds or thousands of emails in my inbox. Ultimately, the typical day revolves around building the best products, taking good care of our partners and doing these things as quickly and effectively as possible.
How many employees do you have?
We have 20 at the moment but we are expanding very rapidly.
What key traits do you look for when hiring somebody?
It depends on the level of the person. Some of the questions I ask are: does this person fit into the company culturally? Are they hungry? Are they willing to go above and beyond what it takes to deliver? Are they smart? Can they teach other people around them? Can they come up with ideas? Are they creative? Overall, they need to be driven and aligned to the goals of the company.
What are some of the things that would turn you off hiring somebody?
At this stage of the company I’m looking to hire bank robbers, not ATM operators. Bank robbers are motivated by the adventure - they want to know how big the heist is. They are driven by the overall vision of the company and by joining a great team. Whereas, ATM operators ask questions like what are the holidays and how much do I get paid? They are looking for a pay cheque but not the excitement which comes within the work itself.
If you could offer one piece of advice to someone who wants to start a business, what would it be?
Many businesses launch before they’ve validated the business idea. I think the trick is to validate the business model before you launch - this way you only risk a very small amount of money. I think that Facebook is a great tool for validating ideas. You can look at Facebook ads and target people by interest so you can assess the market size. And then do real world tests to get feedback for your business idea.
Is this how you came up with Scribol?
Yes, we were originally using Scribol as an internal tool. We were just using it to see if it would help us and our partners to increase their traffic. And the proof was in the data we gathered. We were looking at the metrics very carefully and realised that this is something that works.
Would you ever consider doing an MBA?
Absolutely. I think business is all about learning and sharpening your skill-set. So I think getting an MBA would be highly valuable. But also, I think you have to be at the right place in your life to go back into academic research. Right now, my focus is to build a $500 million dollar business.
(Chris is currently looking to hire a COO for Scribol. You can view and apply for the role here.)