Grad Profiles highlight the personal and professional stories of Founder Institute Graduates from across the globe.
This profile on BlogMutt, a Graduate of the Denver Founder Institute, was written by Scott Yates, the Founder & CEO of BlogMutt. Yes, that seems strange, but just trust us and read on :). BlogMutt provides blog content for small or niche blogs using a crowd of writers.
The Denver Founder Institute is now accepting applications. If you could use expert training and feedback to launch a technology company on the Front Range, then apply today.
While every blog post is unique, this one is going to break the mold a little bit here on FI.co.
Well, it's because this is a profile of an FI graduate, but it's being written by me, the founder of that company, Scott Yates.
And what's more than that, the company I run is a blog writing service called Blogmutt. What makes that different? Well, it's a bit… "meta" when you have a blog writing service writing a blog about a blog writing service that writes blogs... It's a bit like an Escher drawing.
What would have made it even more recursive is if I had asked one of the Blogmutt writers to write this post. I decided not to do that, however, for one simple reason: I wanted to brag about them in ways that they just wouldn't have bragged on themselves. More on that below.
Here's the background: I'm a serial entrepreneur. I started and sold a company, and then started another one that made a positive return to the initial investors even though the company didn't make it. I thought so highly of myself that I thought I was way too good for the Founder Institute. But then I realized that my second company hadn't gone as well as I'd hoped, and maybe I could use a little structure to my next venture, and learn better how to build a meaningful company. Also, I liked the idea of being "co-owners" with my classmates in their ventures. (In hindsight, that camaraderie has wildly exceeded my expectations. My fellow grads are a fantastic support and inspiration to me every day.)
So I attended the first FI class in Denver, and found it to be excellent. Adeo ran a kind of scared-straight program the first class, but after that with mentors like Jon Nordmark, Jim Franklin, and Mike Stemple the program just hummed.
But even during the course, my business wasn't quite there. It had the unruly name of "Turuly" and the business model didn't quite come together. It was only after a lot of work that my cofounder and I came up with a model that worked.
The model was different from anything we'd seen, but it made sense. Basically we'd provide a marketplace for blog content. I'd spent a bunch of time watching companies like 99designs and I loved the crowd labor concept. Doing that for blog content would create a couple of challenges, though, for at least three reasons. First is that blogging is an ongoing need -- a company needs blog content every week because blogging is the absolute cornerstone of a good social media strategy. Second is that because of the nature of the posts needed in America, they'd have to all be based here in the USA. Third, writers are weird.
I know, I am one. I wrote a book. I've won awards for my writing. I've also been an editor, and I know how sensitive writers can be, and how difficult they can be to manage.
What we needed was a system that would take a lot of the ego out of the process. So that's just what we did. In Blogmutt, the customers never know who it is that writes a post, they just know it came from Blogmutt. That way the writers know that their work is being judged not by who wrote it, but only by the post.
And what we've learned is that for many writers, this is the best way to work with no office politics, no trying to get clients, or once they have them getting the clients to pay. Many are moms who work at home, and they want to be able to write whenever they want and not have to ask anybody if they can take off a week for spring break. With us, they can always take off, and they can always come back -- no questions and no issues.
So, not every writer is cut out for Blogmutt, only the ones who can work without a lot of ego involved.
That brings me back to my original point of why I'm writing this post instead of one of them. I've asked Blogmutt writers to write posts, not just on the Blogmutt blog, but on other blogs, and they've done a stellar job. When I tell business people that they should try Blogmutt, I know exactly why they should because I am just like them: I'm just too busy with running the business to write blog posts!
By the way, this notion of leaving ego out of the equation extends to our customers. We have had some customers who want really fancy posts; you might call them pedigreed posts from pure-bred writers. That's fine, but that's not Blogmutt. If you have the time and the money to pay for a top-shelf writer, you should. The problem is that most businesses don't, and they end up with a blog that makes it look like the entire company is on a permanent vacation.
Getting your blog filled up requires someone to, well, work like a dog. That's what we do at Blogmutt. We've now delivered more than 1,000 blog posts, and our customer base is growing fast. This is now a real business helping other real businesses get the blog content they need while providing to scores of writers 1. professional development, 2. personal growth and, 3. pay (the three Ps of crowdsourcing).
Would all this have happened without FI? Possibly, but it wouldn't have been nearly as good of a company and part of that is because FI in general and Adeo in particular are spectacularly good at pounding the ego out of you, and helping the actual business person inside of you emerge.
So if you live in Boulder or Denver (colloquially known as the Paris on the Platte) or the perhaps slightly more très chic actual Paris, apply by this weekend for a pass on your application fee and a better chance at acceptance.
I hope that you do apply, and that you start a meaningful company, and then… get too busy to write your own blog posts. That's what I call a win-win!
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