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David Rusenko

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Profile

David Rusenko is an American entrepreneur. He was born in Paris where he spent 7 years and then lived in Morocco for the next 11 years. He co-founded Weebly in 2006, a webhosting service and currently serves as its CEO. Forbes Magazine named Rusenko on its 30 Under 30 list in 2013. David is a graduate of Penn State University where he studied both Information Sciences and Technology and Management Information Systems.

Companies and Investments

Lessons Learned


Finding a name

In 2006 it was hard to find a domain name so David and his friends had to come up with one, since they couldn’t afford to buy an existing one. So he wrote a script that would generate pronounceable short words and short was the key to something being memorable and, obviously, available. He came up with 5 words and Weebly was one of them.


User Captivity Is Unbelievably Strong

David observes that the staying power of a large user base is incredible. While "all the cool kids" moved on by the late nineties, GeoCities still has a high Alexa ranking, even though they've been providing a mostly sub-par experience for quite a while. It's one of the best examples of how slowly users can evaporate once you've acquired enough of them, or in non-web speak, that people are resistant to change: once they've found a good way to do something, they tend to keep doing it that way for a while.


Lean is Mean

David is a big fan of capital-lean businesses: those that are able to accomplish a lot with a little. He believes they have a few large advantages: they're generally better for the entrepreneur, who maintains a larger ownership of the company, and for the investor, who sees their (relatively) small amount of capital used to build maximum value per dollar. Weebly raised $650k in April 2007, which brought it to profitability with a medium-sized team. David contrasts that with his competitor SynthaSite raising $20 million in 2009.


The Power of Convenience

David thinks that people pay for convenience, in retail stores as well as elsewhere. He states that if you compare Weebly to several horribly outdated web site creators, the feature list might not look that different. The user experience, on the other hand, would be. Where Weebly shines is its simplicity and ease of use. Or, more simply: convenience.

Inspiring Quotes

A startup is a human institution designed to create under conditions of extreme uncertainty.

Eric Ries

David Rusenko's Quotes

Saying that the business is profitable without accounting for the cost of your time is a bit of an amateur mistake, one I have made several times in the past.

David Rusenko

A different strategy, that can also be successful, is to raise as much money as possible, and then buy your way to the top. But buying your way to the top does not reduce all of the business risks -- it is just rolling the dice with higher stakes.

David Rusenko

Not all launched products are successful, but all unlaunched products fail, so proving that you can get your product finished and out the door is important.

David Rusenko

Each decision you make will have a negative counterpart. Even (and especially) the most obvious decisions. Figure out what that hidden cost is, and make sure it does not outweigh the original benefit.

David Rusenko

Influential Books

Eric Ries - The Lean Startup: How Today's Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses

Mentors

Ron Conway, Paul Buchheit

References


Technical

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