History of StatBid
In early 2015, Roy and Shilo knew that there was an opening in the market for a new kind of PPC agency, and there was proof of demand. We had eCommerce experience, growing retail businesses by significant multiples during our tenure, and so branching into the vendor space would be a bit of a divergence from that path. However, we assumed that their retailer experience would give us an edge.
Well, that, and a small army of robots Roy had started to build.
And so, starting in September of 2015, Roy was the only full-time operator, and Shilo served as an advisor, mentor, and strategic cartographer. Growth was rapid, but fueled entirely by word of mouth, and without outside capital. This allowed us to design the business around a few core concepts:
We love to talk shop. One of the most rewarding aspects of their past careers had been meeting up with other eCommerce professionals, and comparing notes on what worked, what didn't, and what was learned. StatBid was to be a vessel for that sharing.
We want to help, even outside our channel. An extension of the first, this allows us to use our own eCommerce experience to provide guidance and recommendations to those clients who could benefit from it--and not just within AdWords. After all, we're also passionate about everything from attribution to margin management to inventory planning.
We want to work with the best, from anywhere. In another diversion from our past experience, we decided to build StatBid as an entirely remote team. While we'd have to relearn how to manage and develop teams, as our in-office experience wouldn't port directly, we would have access to talent from across the country, and even the world.
We imagined ourselves as scrappy, clever disruptors, bringing a refreshing update to the already calcifying PPC agency space. We helped dozens of companies, earning many of them as clients, and growth followed, as positive word of mouth multiplied our efforts.
As of the beginning of 2018, the team is now five full-time staff (the two founders, a director of operations, an engineer, and a data scientist), as well as a half dozen freelancers, and, as always, as many robots as needed. We're learning quickly, improving daily, and helping produce millions in incremental revenue for our clients.
Our Core Values
We believe that a company’s culture is an emergent property of its people, not something that can be decided and approved upon by a board, and then dictated to employees. As such, this isn't the first version of the list, and may not be the last.
This edition is heavily inspired by Moz’s TAGFEE, with honorable mentions to Wheaton’s Law, and various entrepreneurial biographies we found influential. The result is something that learns from other material, but we feel represents who we are, and what we are building together.
"The Seven Cs"
Conscientious: Everyone is trying to make their businesses successful, and each has their own journey toward that goal. We must therefore maintain an empathetic foundation in our interactions, with our peers, partners, clients, industry, and world. We operate with respect and care, especially over disagreement, but also in the way we individually, or collectively as StatBid, deal with others.
Candid: We strive to be as transparent and honest as possible. Life’s opportunities increase proportionally to our willingness to have awkward conversations. While it’s easy to share victories, only through honest, candid assessment can we improve over time, and help others to do the same.
Collaborative: There’s a saying: “If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” While it’s surprisingly difficult to trace to an original source, it sticks in the public consciousness for good reason--some things will call for the first approach, others the second. StatBid is in the business of going far, and that takes a team. Humans are such a successful species, in part, due to our ability to combine our talents and experience, and we embrace this opportunity.
Creative: Our industry changes far too quickly to allow any complacency. As a result, we must constantly be looking for new, innovative, and creative ways to approach challenges. Creativity demands the ability to step back, and find new perspectives on old limitations. We will rise to the challenge.
Clever: Not only should we try to be creative in our problem solving, but our solutions themselves should display elegance. We are energized by scrappy, innovative thinking, and our business will be guided in no small part by that approach. This will allow us to punch above our weight class, and out-maneuver potential risks and barriers.
Constructive: Everything we’ve built in the past can be improved upon. We are attached to our output, not our tools, and so we are always open to iterating on tools and processes, if it would improve the results. We will also provide candid suggestions to others who ask, and graciously consider suggestions that we receive. This philosophy allows us to build better things in the future.
Non-Conformist: The seventh of our Cs only barely starting with a "c" provides for the fact that creative solutions sometimes require abandoning preconceptions and past standards. Our industry changes quickly, and despite this, there are all kinds of baggage that accumulate along the way. To mitigate this, we will always be open to considering wildly alternative solutions. To paraphrase Tim Ferriss: “Most people walk down the street on their legs. Does that mean we I walk down the street on our hands? ...Not usually, no.” But we also reject the idea that there is a single solution that works for every business, or at every stage of that business’s life, and it’s up to us to spot the difference.
My education was in Computer Animation, so I studied to one day work for Industrial Light and Magic or Pixar. However, while building student clubs, and promoting the brand new animation degree program, I discovered I was far more interested in the business than the animation itself. So, when I graduated, I joined an eCommerce company (now known as Build.com), and found an excellent fit.
In 2010, I started as a Sr. Software Engineer at PoolSupplyWorld, which was about twenty people, and had been growing steadily. However, I realized that they hadn't really been using AdWords at all. Being an arrogant engineer, I figured "how hard can it be? It's just applied algebra, after all." Fortunately, I was right, and we added 30% to the business in the first year.
Over the next few years, I'd teach myself another marketing channel, build it up to the point where I could afford to hire for it, find someone better at it than me, and hire them. Over the course of three years, I gradually migrated from an engineer to Chief Marketing Officer.
By mid-2013, we'd more than doubled revenue, and were acquired by Leslie's Poolmart Inc., a national brick and mortar chain with over 900 stores in 35 states. We took over their website, in addition to running PoolSupplyWorld, and I held title of Vice President of Digital Marketing.
While there are a lot of great people at Leslie's, the entrepreneurial call came back stronger than ever, and so, in September of 2015, I left to focus entirely on StatBid, where I'd have the freedom to build something truly unique.
So, how can I help?
After getting my entrepreneurial start building a Web development company in the mid 90s, I made the transition into eCommerce in 2001, with evo, a lifestyle sporting goods retailer. In addition to my 8+ years as evo's president, I've also served as an eCommerce executive at a golf retailer, and a lighting retailer, each for multiple years.
I met Roy through a mutual connection from evo, and brought him up to Seattle to do an audit of the digital marketing efforts of the golf site I was working with at the time. While we accomplished a lot during the day, we sparked a number of exciting conversations after hours, several of which coalesced into the business that we now both have the privilege of operating. Core to this collaboration was a shared love of helping other eCommerce professionals solve challenges similar to those that we'd solved ourselves.
As a result of this journey, I've accumulated more than twenty years of directly applicable digital marketing experience, and StatBid is now the vehicle for building new opportunities, for ourselves, for our clients, but whenever possible, for our industry in general.
So, how can I help?