“Crowdsourcing will be the secret of successful online companies”
He is the co-founder of PigSpigot, a site with an unusual name that combines “his favorites things in the world: user-generated content and hilarious drawings”. David Goldenberg is also an editor of Gelf Magazine and writes about science for Mental Floss. He has kindly answered HitBarcelona questions.
-You are a writer and entrepreneur: how do you combine both activities?
I got into entrepreneurship after writing about entrepreneurs for media outlets like Wired, Business 2.0, and BNET. I learned about the traits of successful businesses and figured I could put my knowledge to use. Plus, the online business world seemed like a fun place that was constantly changing and always open to new ideas.
Nowadays, my writing and my work at PigSpigot don’t overlap much, but recently I’ve started writing about the challenges facing new startups over at VentureBeat.
-Do you think your writing skills can help you in your venture?
Being a journalist means being a professional skeptic, so I’m able to cut through a lot of the bullshit that comes with being an entrepreneur. On the flip side, writers spend a lot of time thinking about how to best express ideas succinctly, which definitely helps in the business world. I think most entrepreneurs are surprised by how much of their time is spent crafting and tweaking their company’s narrative.
Most helpful, though, is that being a journalist means constantly immersing yourself in new fields of knowledge and synthesizing lots of information into a cohesive and understandable whole. As an entrepreneur, I constantly find myself in unfamiliar territory as new opportunities arise. It’s good to know I can learn quickly.
I think that the most successful online companies will be the ones that crowdsource as many aspects of their business as possible; I wanted to help found a company where our users would happily become creators, promoters and consumers of our products. Greeting cards were an obvious place to start: people love to design them, love to send them, and love to receive them. Plus, we have the technology to let people send personalized, printed cards by mail to their friends and family without ever going offline. That means that we can offer a cheap and efficient way for even the busiest people to be truly thoughtful.
-Do you think an event like HitBarcelona can help entrepreneurs to achieve their goals?
Entrepreneurs like me can easily get caught up in our own little worlds of partners and competitors. An event like HitBarcelona allows us to surface and take a good look around at all the cool ideas out there and how people are turning them into reality. Plus, we’re constantly seeing things from the small business’s point of view. HitBarcelona lets us see how big companies and investors are shifting the landscape around us and what we can do to put ourselves in a favorable position.