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Bootstrapping a Web Hosting Company to $60 Million: Christopher Aker, CEO of Linode (Part 5)

Posted on Saturday, Jul 12th 2014

Sramana: Is there any kind of segmentation where you get the most customer traction? You have a fairly sizeable business at this point. What is the distribution of your customer base? Are there any sizing or vertical segments amongst your customer base?

Christopher Aker: We track all of that stuff and we compare every couple of months to see if things are trending one way or another. It has been consistent this entire time in terms of us having a 50/50 split between business and consumers as customers. We have a 50% split between domestic and foreign customers.

In terms of the distribution based on organizational size, we have found a bias towards the small and medium sized businesses. When it comes to verticals, I would love to have figured one out by now, but the reality is that I have not been able to do so. Our customer base includes everybody. Everybody needs hosting so that is a hard analysis to do.

Sramana: What is your customer acquisition today now that you are faced with this more competitive landscape?

Christopher Aker: We have been doing a lot of investment into the Linode library as well as the conferences we attend. We have people flying everywhere every week to attend these. We have also been looking into other things. We have been talking about putting on our own events.

Sramana: I don’t understand how event marketing is your primary customer strategy if small and medium sized businesses are your primary customer acquisition strategy. That customer base does not go to conferences to buy web hosting.

Christopher Aker: You are correct. That is one of the new efforts that we have been doing to try and acquire customers. Primarily, we have been focusing on online advertising. We have done a lot of targeted marketing and banner ads on the sites where web hosting people hang out. We have also been doing online advertising with social media such as FaceBook and Twitter.

Sramana: Has that been converting well for you?

Christopher Aker: They are converting extremely well.

Sramana: What has your team building strategy been like?

Christopher Aker: The one thing that is hard for people who take a company from something very small to something that has hundreds of employees is knowing when to hand work off. It’s very easy to have your head down in the weeds trying to do all the work. You have to know when to stop doing that and start focusing on building a team. I have been trying to promote this internally. That is where our executive focus has been the past several months. We are really trying to build out our team.

This segment is part 5 in the series : Bootstrapping a Web Hosting Company to $60 Million: Christopher Aker, CEO of Linode
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