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Rand Fishkin on how early-stage failure led to future success

Patrick Campbell May 5 2020

Founding a company is hard. Growing and running a growth stage company is hard. Even working at a growth stage company is hard. Because you're literally taking nothing and trying to create something amazing from it. 

It's especially hard because not only do you have to acquire a customer, you have to find a way to monetize and retain them on an ongoing basis (even if you're not running a subscription business). The beauty of the subscription model, though, is building those sturdy relationships.

Rand Fishkin, Founder of Moz and SparkToro, can attest to that after building a software company that failed to meet the mark—due in large part to its lack of bandwidth for personal relationships. Yet, Rand is both headstrong in the right direction, and incredibly transparent—a combination you don't often see in this business. In this conversation, Rand gets real on how his first founding venture struggled on his tutelage, plus the hard lessons he extracted from that experience to build serial success in his future. 


Listen now 🎧

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Topics covered in this episode

    • The primary reasons for Moz's failure and what Rand would've changed about the operation

    • The implications of creating an anti-active usage product

    • The lessons Rand extracted from early failure and how he picked himself back up again as a secondary founder
    • The cruciality of leveraging your resources—namely, people and product—to optimize for the right thing


This is a ProfitWell Recur production—the first media network dedicated entirely to the SaaS and subscription space.

By Patrick Campbell

Founder & CEO of ProfitWell, the software for helping subscription companies with their monetization and retention strategies, as well as providing free turnkey subscription financial metrics for over 20,000 companies. Prior to ProfitWell Patrick led Strategic Initiatives for Boston-based Gemvara and was an Economist at Google and the US Intelligence community.

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