Scott Johnson is a long-time entrepreneur on the bleeding edge of technology. He started his first business in 1987 and successfully sold it. Then he rode the dot com wave up and down with Mascot Network, a company that was trying to do what Facebook does now by providing online communities for college students. Most recently, he started Feedster, which after a lot of early traction ousted Scott Johnson and the CEO he recruited. Now he gives us the exclusive on the mission of Ookles, his new company.
1:30 Early career
- “When you grow up in family business you have one of two options in your life, I firmly believe. You either work for your family or you get pissed at your family and you go out on your own.”
- “I was full of piss and vinegar.”
- Started a hypertext software company and sold it.
5:15 Worked for Mascot Network in 2000, a company that was similar to what Facebook now is
- “If you’re going to appeal to college students, you’ve got to have subversive, viral content.”
- “It was a wild dot com ride.”
11:00 Time in transition and entrepreneurial ideas
- Left Feedster on 12/15/05.
15:00 Starting Feedster
- Got into blogging because of Dave Winer.
- Co-wrote the book Essential Blogging with Mena Trott and others.
- “A good day for me is getting up and programming for like 15 hours.”
- Started company on 3/03.
- Was funded by Marco DeMiroz of Selby Ventures. (This same firm funded Sharpcast which we covered at DEMO.)
- Competed with Dave Sifry’s Technorati, which raised far more money than Feedster did.
- “Dave’s wicked smart.”
- Brought Scott Rafer on as CEO.
31:00 What happened at Feedster?
- “I don’t think I’m allowed to say” what happened at Feedster.
34:00 New venture: Ookles
- “Next generation Flickr”
- “Photography takes on a whole different dimension when it’s of your kids.”
- “Flickr’s incredibly cool, but I sort of wonder if they don’t perceive photography in the same way because it’s more of a cool thing for cool people as opposed to a really important thing in their life.”
- “Ookles is full buzz word compliant.”
- “I’ll try to suck Robert Scoble into [using] this.”
- “You want to attract bloggers, even though they’re not exact target audience, but because they’re the equivalent of the 1980’s power users.”
44:00 Burn rate and market analysis
- “Our explicit burn rate is less than say $3 grand a month.”
53:30 Making money
- “I’d have no problem telling you if I was ready to do it today. I’m not.”
- “It’s not pay per click advertising.”
- “It’s vastly more expensive to live in the Valley.”
Photo credit: Scott Beale