Larry Kim is the founder of WordStream, a leading search marketing software and services provider based in Boston, managing approximately a half-Billion in annual ad spend across over thousands of customers. He regularly shares his advice and insight with over a million visitors a month at his WordStream Blog and is a top contributor for leading industry publications including Inc.com, Search Engine Land, Search Engine Watch and Social Media Today.
Larry is often called on to keynote or speak at industry events including INBOUND, SMX, ClickZ/SES, Pubcon, MediaPost Search Insider Summit, PPC Hero Conference, SEMPDX, SearchLove and many others. He was recently named “Most Influential PPC Expert” for 2015, 2014 and 2013 by PPC Hero Blog, and won Top Search Marketer Awards for 2015 from the US Search Awards and Search Engine Land.
1) How did you come up with Wordstream?
Well, I’m a firm believer that great business ideas solve a problem for people. My own company was born out of my need to solve a problem: I was spending too much time on repetitive tasks as a PPC consultant. I had a background in software engineering, so I built myself this tool to automate those tasks that I could, freeing up time for me to spend on smarter pursuits. That PPC automation software was the foundation for WordStream in 2007!
2) What made you pursue your dream to start a business?
It was really the natural evolution of my consulting business — once I added the software side, I had both a product and a service to sell. Still, it was really tough in those early days. Once I decided that this was going to be The One — the great, big idea I would go all in on — I knew I would need a stellar team, investors who believed in the company, and that we’d need to grow FAST. I learned a lot in those early rejection letters, let me tell you!
3) Could we see the end to Ads with the rapid rise of Ad blocking services?
It’s definitely a problem for display ads, but in-app ads aren’t impacted. Ad blockers are really just consumers’ way of telling advertisers, “Hey, you’re not doing a great job at this.” Advertisers are going to have to rethink how intrusive and attention-grabbing they want to be. But they should also be shifting focus to other areas, particularly social PPC, where they can still get in front of receptive audiences in a more native, seamless and natural way.
4) What advice do you have to give any young entrepreneurs who want to start a business?
Be super picky. Be flexible. Test your ideas out and make sure you’re investing in the right one. Believe in yourself, but don’t get so married to your idea that you have blinders on. And if you get the chance, definitely try to get into a mentorship or incubator program. It’s a great way to cut the learning curve and on top of the very tangible benefits, you’ll build relationships that will serve you through your entire career.
We would like Larry for speaking with us.