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June 25, 2007

No Plan, No Capital, No Model...No Problem

Markus Frind, the founder of PlentyOfFish.com is my new hero (James Hong of Hot or Not is a close second). Marcus spends about two hours a day in his underwear managing a free dating website that gets twelve billion page views a year. He is the only employee, and he only has one server. And by the way, he makes $5-6 million/year with Google ads.

I’ve moderated many panels in my time, and if I had to choose one that entrepeneurs should watch, this is it. If you’re one guy/gal or two guys/gals in a garage, it will push all the right buttons, and you’ll love it. However, if your plan is to raise several million dollars from venture capitalists and then hire five engineers, one vp of biz dev, one CTO, two testers, and a vp of marketing to ship a product in a year, you probably shouldn’t spend your time watching it.

The members of the five-person panel provided many good insights into starting and funding a company today.

Marcus Kazmierczak, vp of engineering, Maya’s Mom
Markus Frind, Founder, PlentyofFish.com
James Hong, Co-Founder, HotorNot.com
Dave Lu, CEO, Fanpop
Karen Northup, CEO and Founder, CoreFino

Watch it and reap!


Here is the MP3 (46722.2K) file.

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Listed below are links to weblogs that reference No Plan, No Capital, No Model...No Problem:

» Le job le plus rentable du monde ! from I.D.Tail
Découvert à linstant via le blog de Guy Kawazaki ! Un certain Markus Frind, créateur de PlentyOfFish.com (pleins de poissons.com), un site de rencontre gratuit, soutire chaque année à Google 5 à 6M$ de revenus AdSense, grâce à ses 12 mil... [Read More]

» No Plan, No Capital, No Model...No Problem from Marketing & Strategy Innovation Blog
by: Guy KawasakiMarkus Frind, the founder of PlentyOfFish.com is my new hero (James Hong of Hot or Not is a close second). Marcus spends about two hours a day in his underwear managing a free dating website that gets twelve... [Read More]

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What I first found on Guys blog seems to be to good to be true. Start a business with no business model, no capital and no real plan and make millions - sounds like a spoof, doesnt it? Well, the Canadian Markus Frind did it with his free ... [Read More]

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Comments

Guy,

Things like this amaze me. I'm currently a grad student studying for my MBA, and I've been tasked with doing a mini-research project on the role of capital in entrepreneurial start-ups. Some of the research that I've seen indicates that entrepreneurs often never start businesses because they have the financial capital to make it possible, but instead start businesses because they have the "human capital" and passion.

Would you be willing to do a short interview through e-mail or even over the phone for my research project? I would like to complete the interview sometime within the next 3 weeks. If you are available, please let me know via e-mail or Twitter. I know you are busy, and I won't be offended if you say no, but thank you for considering this.

Mike Bruder

"For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul?" Mark 8:36

"No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money." Luke 16:13

That is a incredible video. And i am agree with you "The Rich Marcus" is my hero!

I've got to say the same, I am trying myself to startup on a couple of ideas, and the second thing that comes to my mind after the idea is actually the experience the user will have while using my services, it seems this guys this thought of it as hard... but hey they made it!

@Guy: great panel man, and great site... I've learning a lot from it. Cheers!

It's awesome to see this, but you would think he'd actually invest back into his site with that kind of cash flow. Meaning, GET A DESIGNER. The site layout is a massive headache!

its true that web developers with even a small bit of skill can make a success... shame most of my web design leads think that with five hundred pounds they can be the next ebay without lifting a finger..

This is inspiring stuff, and we would all trade places if offered the chance. But Guy, some of this is pure luck, and the fact that they're one-man shops might mean they lack vision...

...so the jury is still out on this one. We'll have to see where it goes. But good luck to them!

Man, this is high quality stuff. Truly inspiring. Can't buy this stuff even if you have the dole.

Love the post. I'll have to check in more often now that I found this. What a diamond in the rough. Great stuff, keep it up!

365 Days... One Dream... Can I Do It?
http://onemansgoal.blogspot.com

skyliner: It's good to be thinking about it and to be a little critical, but it's not /totally/ outlandish, as long as he's not doing much e-mail support. I run a site that does about 3 billion pageviews a year single handed with a single front end server and one backend server.

Good post, thanks. I have heard about plentyoffish.com success, but it was the time where he made 100k/month (already pretty good). It is actually one of the reason why I decided to start my own company.

I think the key lesson is that good work often pays off, and that "simplicity often overcomes completeness".

Glad the video was finally posted! Thanks.

The most popular post on my blog is about plentyoffish.com: it's called Dissecting the story of the big money blogger.

Long story short, Revenue does not equal profit. As anyone who works in arbitrage will tell you, holding up a cheque for $1,000,000 is a loss if you spent $1,200,000 to buy that traffic.

Nevertheless, Markus' success is impressive and awesome for many reasons, and I can honestly say I'd like to be in his position.

For me, the key question is how to you market a site without spending $$$. What is the launch strategy? Yeah, James said that his facebook app registered 1M users in basically no time. However, there are so many facebook apps now and there will be more in the coming months. Essentially, how do you raise awareness without spending $$$?

SHOOT! I knew I shouldn't have wasted my time on a business plan! Kidding aside, this was an awesome panel. Very, very cool people, and great info.

Any way to get the audio louder on the video (I turned it up as loud as I could and it was not very loud)?

Jason Alba
CEO - JibberJobber.com
:: self-serve career management ::

Wow I love hearing success stories like this. It motivates me to act on a few of my own ideas. Great stuff!

This has to be my favorite "Guy" video. It has changed some of our strategy in our company already and it has only been two hours.
Thanks,
Steve

It is a long video, but it has a lot of good stuff in it.

Guy thanks for sharing that with everyone. I wish more conferences like this would share their panel discussions.

OMG millions of dollars just through google ads ?

This is fantastic.

This is such an excellent panel. It keeps the hope going that it just takes a good idea and listening to you customers and you can make it big.

I also find it strange why people keep hammering the founder of Plentyoffish. People are always doing things that seem impossible, just because you can't figure out how they do it doesn't make it impossible or even unreasonable.

taken from:

"Most of the 100 million plus image requests a day are running through Akamai. This server does serve 10’s of millions of image requests directly, but most of thos e images are in ram so its not much of a load. While that's likely the most modest setup of the top 100 sites, serving hundreds of millions of images through Akamai is not entirely cheap. Frind says that using a CDN is essential because of the global reach of his site (which has a large user base in Australia) but says his largest expense is his storage area network."

So he has a SAN, he has a DB server, he uses akamai, has load balancers, has application servers. Well now, that sounds like a a lot more than 1 server.

Good Luck everyone, I respect honestly over any some of money any day.

By the way!

Adsense allows secure page access now via GET / POST. Check it out =)

Is it luck? Or are they all genius. I spend hours and hours surfing the internet, try to figure how to make money online, with zero cost. How much money do you need to end up earning like him? Or maybe we all should create a dating website to make free money from adsense.

@skyliner,

Supposedly, he does it by not using any of the ASP.NET controls. My impression is that he renders everything through basic Console.Write() calls. So although he is using ASP.NET, he really isn't using it in the traditional sense.

What's so crazy about that Tara. Niching is a major factor in business success. What better niche than gadget lovers: high disposable income, lots of time spent online, and they no doubt prefer online interaction to the real world (again just kidding, I think!)

Anyway, regardless of whether PlentyOfFish runs on one server or a hundred, rakes in $5m or $5, Marcus has created a great deal of buzz, and that in itself makes him worth tracking, because you can bet your bottom dollar he'll do it again for any other business he gets involved in.

Excellent, informative, and entertaining video - I love James Hong now, but man, that Karen Northup is annoyingly impressed with herself and the least interesting here. Someone please edit her out of the video - it would be an improvement.

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