June 23, 2015

The recipe for success that earned Lynda.com a $1.5 billion payday

Lynda Weinman
Lynda Weinman at the Traction conference in Vancouver (Photo by JD Lasica).

This is the second of a two-part series on the Traction conference. Also see:
• Part 1: Traction: How to spur growth for your startup

Target audience: Startup teams, entrepreneurs, small businesses, marketing professionals, SEO specialists, PR pros, brand managers, nonprofits, educators, Web publishers, journalists.

JD LasicaYesterday I highlighted some takeaways from the cool new Traction conference that debuted last Wednesday and Thursday in Vancouver. The event drew roughly 800 entrepreneurs, startup team members, marketers and angel investors.

One of the inspiring keynotes of the event came from Lynda Weinman, founder of Lynda.com, which LinkedIn purchased for $1.5 billion in April. (She mentioned that she’ll be leaving LinkedIn soon to pursue another entrepreneurial opportunity.)

Lynda recounted her journey from running in-person computer training courses to the dotcom crash of 2000-2001, which forced the company to pivot to online tutorials. That early mover advantage gave Lynda.com the ability to set the pace for all the e-learning sites that followed. Continue reading

June 22, 2015

Traction: How to spur growth for your startup

traction-audience
Attendees at last week’s Traction conference in Vancouver (Photo by JD Lasica).

This is the first of a two-part series on the Traction conference.

Target audience: Startup teams, entrepreneurs, small businesses, marketing professionals, SEO specialists, PR pros, brand managers, nonprofits, educators, Web publishers, journalists.

JD LasicaI‘m just back from one of the best inaugural tech events on the West Coast: the two-day Traction conference, which drew some 800 entrepreneurs, startup team members, marketers and angels to Vancouver last week.

Speakers included marketing superstar Neil Patel, Lynda Weinman (whose Lynda.com was purchased by LinkedIn for $1.5 billion), Ryan Holmes, CEO of Hootsuite, Marketo CEO Phil Fernandez, SurveyMonkey president Selina Tobaccowala, Jeff Lawson, CEO of Twilio, and a host of others.

Here’s my Flickr album of 23 photos taken at the conference.

Highlights of the Traction conference

I’ve been on Twitter for eight years, but I’m a bit old-fashioned in that I think a blog post summary will offer more long-term value than thousands of uncontextualized tweets, so here are some of the highlights I gleaned while attending the conference as both an entrepreneur and journalist:

• “In a world where 1,200 startups are launching every year, the hard thing is no longer, Can you build a product as a startup? The hard part is, Can you get traction? … Traction trumps everything.” — Justin Mares, co-author, “Traction: A Startup Guide to Getting Customers.” Continue reading