How good decision-making drives success to the digital product – David Siegel

Jun 09, 2022

David Siegel has created a product that in 3 years has gathered more users than the population of the whole country. Meetup, the community building platform aimed to use technology to get people off the technology, currently has more than 55M users on the platform. Among other things, David has led the widely known digital media communities such as Investopedia and Everyday Health. Today, he eagerly shares his experience with us.

David Siegel was fortunate to start off his career in the early days of the Internet, back in 1998-99, in Double Click, which was the world's largest platform for advertising online, and he's been working in digital his whole life and helping to build products and companies.

“I thought I would become more successful in building companies after I had worked at companies for some period of time. I always wanted to be part of other companies before I decided to build new products and new businesses myself.”

I always wanted to learn from other people's mistakes.

“I built a lot of different types of digital products, from a website that has 30 million users every month, like Investopedia, to Meetup, where we have 59 million members across the world, in 190 different countries, and we're the world's largest provider of community for people.”

Businesses are about addressing a problem. And if you can't find, if there is a problem that you're looking to solve, you shouldn't have a business.

So, the problem we address: what we could do to help people feel less lonely. Meetup is about curing the loneliness epidemic and helping people to find other people, so that they can learn and grow.

“After COVID pandemic we thought, is our mission only about getting in person? Or about keeping people connected? Our mission is about helping to drive personal growth through real human connections. We need to modify Meetup to allow that which wasn't allowed before.

Will online events continue on Meetup? And the answer is ‘yes’. So today, we're about 78% in person and 22% online.”

David’s Tips on Driving Success

1. A lot of entrepreneurs, when they build products, try to do too many products at the same time. Just focus on certain very specific things.

Sometimes companies can die more from indigestion than starvation.

2. “We created a new digital product, a Meetup app specifically for event organizers. We want to create an experience that's really dedicated to what their specific needs are, so that they can organize events.”

Understanding who your customer is, and making sure you create the right product for that customer, and potentially a different product for a different customer.

3. Diverse number of revenue streams, you don't want to put all your eggs just in one revenue stream area.

How to build a successful strategy for a digital product

As a company, identify what the big trends are, which ones are going to be out in the future. What is a big demand for that particular group? So, we could drive accelerated growth by leveraging the data science and the machine learning information that we have, in order to identify where the trends are, and then start groups in many different areas where there happen to be trends.

David’s three valuable lessons for decision-making

1. “Surround yourself with people who are going to disagree with you. I don't know what the right decision is, but through conversation, we figure out what the right decision is. When you have a disagreement, you end up with better decisions.”

2. Being speedy when making a decision is extremely important in decision making. Oftentimes, not making a decision is actually a decision.

3. Have a philosophy: when you make a decision, you never surprise people. “My job as a leader is not to surprise my board of directors, not to surprise my leadership team, not to surprise my employees, not to surprise my customers, not to surprise anyone.”

Go fast. Get people that disagree, and eliminate surprises around you.

David’s book “Decide and Conquer”

The book goes through 44 different stages of a leader’s life cycle, and what decisions you need to make during those different periods of time to drive success. So if you're an aspiring entrepreneur, or aspiring leader, or in a position to make a decision, then Decide and Conquer will help you in that journey.

“I didn't want to write a standard boring business book. I would have loved to read my great-grandmother's book, my great-grandfather was born in Ukraine, and came to the USA, when he was 12 years old, by himself, and I would have loved to have read that book of his life story. And maybe, my great-grandchildren would be able to do the same. That's the great mission of this book.”

Whiskey or bourbon?

Cars or bikes?

Paper or digital book?

Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader?

If you want to know David’s answers to these questions, how he has been creating and developing his own technological product, about decision-making, come to our new podcast. Also, you may check David’s product, Meetup, here.


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