E273: Trip Adler of Scribd – TWiST



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Today on TWiST, Trip Adler of social reading and publishing site Scribd sat down with Jason to discuss his Ycombinator beginnings, many pivots and ultimate traction with over 90 million users worldwide.

1:00 Jason introduces Trip Adler, co-founder of Scribd. Trip, welcome to the program.
1:30 How many people were in the 2006 Ycombinator class in Boston?
2:15 Thank you to Squarespace for supporting the show! If you need to build high quality sites, use the promo code TWiST7 to sign up for Squarespace.
5:00 What idea did you get into Ycombinator with?
6:30 What were first couple of ideas that led to Ycombinator and Scribd?
10:00 When everyone thought that incubators were for weak entrepreneurs, how did Paul get winners into Ycombinator?
11:15 Paul doesn’t like the idea so you come up with another idea, which is?
13:00 When did you pull the plug on that idea?
14:00 Are you a competitive guy?
17:45 So then what led you to Scribd?
20:30 How many documents and users did you get in that first year and what was it like to scale it?
21:30 Had many issues with the DMCA for a long time, when get back from commercial want to hear how you guys got over it.
21:15 Thank you GoToMeeting, a service that I use for all my meetings. Everyone thank @GoToMeeting!
23:30 How’d you guys clear yourselves of copyright/piracy issues of uploaded documents legally and operationally?
29:00 Scribd has about 90 million people outside the US using their service, was that by design that you’d have such a high international user base?
30:15 Are you building organizations in those countries, do you have international operations?
32:30 How is the new model of selling direct going?
33:15 With this sort of platform agnostic publishing, who do you see as your main competitor?
34:30 Is it decision making time for you guys to sell it or can it keep growing?
35:45 Are DocStoc your closest competitor at this time?
37:15 How has the publishing world changed and where is the publishing industry at the moment?
38:00 Do you see yourself of a Posterous of the publishing world? Helping manage to multiple platforms.
39:30 What’s the secret of recovering from the Panda Google update? Also, what was the company thinking, were you guys in a panic?
41:30 Is Google a content company these days?
42:45 Are you worried about Google coming out with their own version of Scribd and push you guys down the page results?
45:00 Why have you turned down multiple offers to sell and are still running independently?
46:15 What is the most challenging thing today? What’s hard now?
47:30 What are your tips to get your team to excellent and not just good?
51:15 What’s next?
52:00 How’s David Sacks been as an investor?
52:15 Did you think that Yammer when you first saw in 4 years would have a billion dollar exit?
53:00 Is he a very direct guy?
54:30 What do you look for in the VCs? What do you want from them as individuals?
55:15 When you took on investors, were you very discerning and concerned with how supportive they would be down the road?
56:15 What do you think of Ycombinator and the higher quality and growing number of companies involved?
57:30 Thanks Trip! Everyone check out @Scribd and if you want to work with them, just email trip@scribd.com.

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Jason: @jason
Trip: @tripadler
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