Sramana Mitra: Were you working with an affiliate network?
Mattias Larson: Yes, I started with Commission Junction. Right now, we’re probably a member of most of the networks out there.
Sramana Mitra: I suppose there is a certain intelligence that you apply to selecting what you want to merchandise on your site. Did you have any algorithm or philosophy around that?
Mattias Larson: My research actually did not necessarily focus on a particular category. My research was more focused on what merchants would convert well. I looked at KPIs such as networks and traffic volume. I focused on merchants where I know there would be a lot of search volume. People often look for travel coupons for example. I looked at that more than the actual categories. After I gave up on the consumer electronics part, I just looked for the lowest-hanging fruit basically.
Sramana Mitra: You basically created a bunch of microsites around the keywords where you had good search volume and that were affordable keywords.
Mattias Larson: Yes, more or less. Actually, it was all one site but each merchant had its dedicated landing page that was tailored specifically. It was very easy for the consumer to just grab what they were looking for.
Sramana Mitra: That got you to about $380,000, and then, you quit the job in 2006?
Mattias Larson: I think I quit in 2008.
Sramana Mitra: Where were you based at this point? I know you were traveling a lot. Were you still based out of Connecticut?
Mattias Larson: By that time, I had landed in Los Angeles where I’m at right now.
Sramana Mitra: You’re in Los Angeles. You’ve quit the job. You were a solo operator at this point, right?
Mattias Larson: Yes. I did everything – development, marketing, I even added all the content myself. It was a one-man shop for a couple of years. My wife then quit her job and started helping me out.
Sramana Mitra: What’s her background?
Mattias Larson: She did accounting for a law firm. This is a little bit of a sidebar but having this job where I could do everything from my laptop allowed me to travel more. I wanted to enjoy traveling more and going back to Sweden to see my family. But my wife could never get time off because she had this traditional 9 to 5. I said, “Quit your job. Come help me instead.”
Sramana Mitra: What happened in 2009? Your wife quit the job. It’s the same model right?
Mattias Larson: Yes, the same model.
Sramana Mitra: It was just the two of you in 2009?
Mattias Larson: Yes.
Sramana Mitra: How much did you do in 2009? How long did this mode of you and your wife traveling around and doing this from everywhere you wanted continue?
Mattias Larson: In 2010, we got our son. That obviously put an end to the travel more or less. Then in 2012, that’s when I took on a business partner and decided to grow this the traditional way.