In this episode of the podcast "Building Digital Products," we delved into the fascinating journey of David Siegel, CEO of Meetup and a serial entrepreneur with a knack for building successful digital businesses. With a storied career that spans the early days of the internet to leading major digital media communities like Investopedia and Everyday Health, David shares his insights on creating and growing digital businesses, emphasizing why decision-making is important.
What was your path to becoming an entrepreneur and CEO?
“My journey began in the late 90s at DoubleClick, where I first delved into digital products. Rather than jumping straight into entrepreneurship, I chose to learn from others, working in various leadership roles at companies like DoubleClick, Seeking Alpha, and Investopedia. This experience was crucial in shaping my approach to building and leading digital businesses, including my current role at Meetup. The importance of decision-making was a key lesson I learned during this time.”
How would you have pitched Meetup if it were just an idea in your head?
“Meetup was founded to address the global problem of loneliness. If I had to pitch it from scratch, I'd focus on how it connects people with shared interests, like biking or hiking, to combat loneliness. Meetup's mission is to cure the loneliness epidemic by fostering real human connections and personal growth. This is a testament to the importance of decision-making in business, shaping ideas that meet societal needs.”
How did Meetup adapt during the COVID-19 pandemic?
“Initially, Meetup was solely focused on in-person events. However, the pandemic forced us to rethink our approach. We quickly pivoted to include online events, focusing on our core mission of fostering connections, not just in-person interactions. This shift led to millions of online events and participants, proving that our focus should be on connections, whether online or offline. The decision making importance was evident in this pivot, enabling us to stay relevant.”
Can you share some strategies that have led to Meetup's success?
“One key strategy was focusing on fewer, more impactful projects rather than spreading ourselves too thin. We also created dedicated apps for different user segments, like one specifically for event organizers. Additionally, diversifying our revenue streams has been crucial. We don't rely solely on one model; we have subscriptions, business sponsorships, and advertising, which provides stability and growth opportunities. Understanding the importance of decision-making in business has been central to these strategies.”
What's next for Meetup? What are your plans and strategies?
“We're leveraging our data to identify emerging global trends and create groups in areas where there's demand but no existing community. This proactive approach, based on trend analysis, is a significant growth opportunity for us. We aim to continue facilitating connections, both online and offline, adapting to global changes and needs. Again, why decision-making is important in business is highlighted in these future-oriented strategies.”
What advice do you have for new decision-makers and leaders?
“First, surround yourself with people who challenge your ideas, as this leads to better decision-making. Secondly, make decisions quickly; indecision can be a decision in itself. Lastly, adopt a no-surprise philosophy. Ensure that your decisions don't catch your team, board, or customers off guard. Transparency and predictability in leadership are key. The importance of decision-making in leadership cannot be overstated.”
In his conversation with Andriy Sambir, CEO at Linkup Studio, David Siegel shares valuable lessons from his extensive experience in leading and growing digital businesses. His insights into adapting to market changes, focusing on impactful projects, and the importance of diversified revenue streams offer a roadmap for aspiring entrepreneurs and business leaders. The decision-making benefits in business and leadership are evident throughout his journey.
Expert Support from Linkup Studio
At Linkup Studio, we understand why decision-making is important in a business. As a product-driven software development and design company based in Lviv, we have a decade-long track record of delivering exceptional results for over 150 clients, including industry leaders like Porsche and Bosch. Our commitment to excellence is evident in our impressive review scores: 4.9 on Clutch and 5-star on Goodfirms, complemented by prestigious awards such as Red Dot and UX Design Awards.
Our approach combines understanding market needs, fostering connections, and adapting to changes. We guide our clients through the complexities of the digital landscape, ensuring the success of their digital ventures. At Linkup Studio, it's not just about building software; it's about making impactful decisions that drive success in the ever-evolving digital world.