Venture Voice – interviews with entrepreneurs

Entertaining Entrepreneurship

VV Show #18 – Mena Trott of Six Apart

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At age 28, Mena Trott is a veteran blogger and an accomplished company founder. Six Apart, the business she started four years ago with her husband Ben, now has over 100 employees. Its stable of popular blogging products (including Movable Type, TypePad and LiveJournal) are used by writers of all types — from the most influential bloggers to children who communicate after school. She’s still pushing her company forward as president and developing some very ambitious new technologies.

Towards the end of the interview, VideoEgg co-founder Kevin Sladek jumps into the conversation to announce a partnership with Six Apart. Venture Voice covered the launch of VideoEgg during our DEMO coverage (show #14 and show #15). Starting today, VideoEgg and Six Apart will add video capabilities to TypePad.

Show notes:

Show recorded at the BlogOn Conference. Under embargo until today.

2:30 Six Apart’s four year anniversary

  • Mena started the Six Apart at age 24 by creating Movable Type.
  • ‘The company kind of tricked us into starting itself.’

5:05 Transforming a hobby into a business

7:15 Starting a business with a spouse

  • ‘It’s incredibly hard to work 24-hours a day and never to have a break. And that’s what it’s like to work with a spouse.’

9:05 First investor

  • First investor was customer Joi Eto of Neoteny.
  • ‘The hardest [company] size is 4 or 5 people.’

11:45 Change

  • ‘I think I’m a lot more sane now.’

12:55 Management team

  • Brought in CEO Barak Berkowitz.
  • ‘An entrepreneur should realize their first and foremost goal is to have a successful company.’

16:15 Six Apart’s software

  • ‘We use the stuff we build.’

17:40 Blogging to market a product

  • Mena’s professional blog is Mena’s Corner and personal blog is Not A Dollarshort.
  • ‘We’re able to express why we do things.’
  • ‘I was very aware from day one that it would be around forever.’

20:40 New product: Comet

21:45 Ambition for the future

  • ‘I don’t know why we [in the industry] have to consolidate everything. Is it a case of only the big guys can survive? I think we want to disprove that.’

24:40 Communicating with employees

  • ‘I know that people will be listening to this at work [at Six Apart]. And they may hear things that they’ve never even thought that I would say.’

26:30 Announcing video integration into Six Apart product TypePad

29:00 What Six Apart is all about

  • ‘It’s about communications.’
Kevin Slavek & Mena Trott

30:00 VideoEgg co-founder Kevin Sladek joins the interview

31:40 Striking and managing partnerships

34:30 VideoEgg is moving to San Francisco

  • Mena recommends locating south of Market Street.

35:50 Parting thoughts

  • Mena: ‘Not everyone in the company is drunk all the time.’

37:00 Venture Voice wrap up

37:15 Events to check out

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