Interview with Entrepreneur David Hassell, CEO of 15Five

Interview with Entrepreneur David Hassell, CEO of 15Five

Entrepreneurs are some of the most interesting people in the world. I recently had the pleasure of interviewing David Hassell, who is the CEO and Founder of 15Five, a product built to better enable managers and employees to give and receive quality feedback in less time. Throughout this conversation we talk about not only entrepreneurship, but also productivity, the power of why, and the driving force behind what he does. Have a listen/read!

Here is David’s official biography, and you can read their blog here (including an interview with Simon Sinek on The Power of Why):


David HassellDavid Hassell is a serial entrepreneur and CEO of 15Five, a software company focused on producing transparency and alignment in organizations through structured, efficient and effective communication practices. David has also been named The Most Connected Man You Don’t Know in Silicon Valley by Forbes.



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Validating Your Product Idea With Existential Questioning

Validating Your Product Idea With Existential Questioning

I have interviewed a few well-regarded entrepreneurs in the past couple of months, and out of those have come the common vein of “Is the problem you are solving worth your life?”

Entrepreneurs are ideas people. We think a lot, we try to optimize our lives to find better ways of being. We are known for being eccentric, disciplined, and sometimes a bit unsatisfied with life. This way of being has very real challenges and benefits.

One challenge is that we can set out to build something that will potentially make us money, but at the end of the day we are not passionate about it and therefore are almost destined to fail from the beginning.

As David Haskell (interview coming next week) told me, “When you start a new venture, you are committed to it for at least 3 years usually. That can easily turn into a decade. We all have about four decades of work to our life. Is what you’re working on worth that?”

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It All Started At Linklove

It All Started At Linklove

I started doing SEO pretty hardcore back in the very beginning of 2010 when I was working as a book publisher from a small alpine town in Switzerland. When I discovered SEO, I had no clue where it would take me (literally and metaphorically), the people I would meet, or everything I would learn and what that would push me towards.

I started full time in Philadelphia, working with a couple of other awesome guys who mentored me, taught me the importance of hustle, and made me get insanely better at my job through data. We were a powerhouse team, and I still say that if I were to go back inhouse someday I would want both of them on the team with me.

That’s not the point of this post, though. You see, this past Friday (March 15th) was the final Linklove that Distilled plans to put on. We don’t believe that linkbuilding is dead or dying, but it has definitely changed and many of the old tactics and tricks that worked so well for so long (crap directories, aggressive anchor text, spun content, sidebar widgets en masse) have gone out the window and even become toxic. I wish I could tell you all about my adventures in the past months with link removal and the insanity of the cost both in terms of effort and impact to the business being affected.

But that’s also not the point of this point.

You see, two years ago today Linklove changed my life. Read more about It All Started At Linklove

Creating Buy-In For Technical SEO Debt

Creating Buy-In For Technical SEO Debt

Over the last week and a half, I gave talks at Searchfest in Portland and MNSearch in Minneapolis about technical SEO. I pulled one over on both audiences though, as the real meat of the talks was about getting buy-in for making technical changes on your website (what I called technical SEO debt.

I defined technical SEO debt as:

A metaphor referring to the eventual consequences of poor or evolving architecture or SEO problems/dependencies within a website.

Both talks started with the statement that many sites need to quit focusing on linkbuilding and fix the technical debt that they owe on their websites. You see, every executive is busy and has their hands in multiple pots, so for any of the departments under them they need something to hang their hat on – rankings, traffic, revenue, whatever. For a lot of marketing managers or CMOs, who have only a very rudimentary understanding of SEO, that will be links, so they push for more links as that is what they understand. They think links will get them the money that they want, but we all know that is not true.
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Talking about Scale in Marketing

Talking about Scale in Marketing

I tweeted this about a month ago when I was frustrated at Google for still allowing sites in some verticals to rank off of bad content or links simply because they are a brand and “belong” in that search result. In fact, one could argue that users expect these companies to be there. After all, it makes sense for a company like John Deere to rank for [tractors], no?

Is this fair of me, though? Is it Google’s fault that SEOs have to scale their efforts of content creation and linkbuilding to become competitive in competitive verticals?

I’ve stewed on these thoughts for a bit of time and come to a few conclusions. Many of these might not come as a shock to you, but I think they’re worth stating.

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Talking Entrepreneurship and Product Marketing with Dan Martell

Talking Entrepreneurship and Product Marketing with Dan Martell

Entrepreneurship is a hot topic these days, and one that you may know I am quite passionate about if you are a return reader here.

After I interviewed Leo Widrich of BufferApp a couple of weeks ago, I was put in touch with Dan Martell of Clarity.fm. Dan is the founder of Clarity, which exists to connect experts with other entrepreneurs in order to create a knowledge-sharing ecosystem where the experts can also earn some money in return for having conversations with those seeking to learn from them.

We talked about products, the importance of focus, the importance of revenue generation as early as possible, freemium, entrepreneurial goal setting, and more. Have a read or listen and let me know your thought in the comments!

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