Jeff Taylor has been an entrepreneur from the melt down dot com days to the reinvention of the world wide web. In 1993 he founded the iconic Monster.com and helped it grow into the gargantuan company it is today.
Jeff moved on from being Chief Monster and launched Tributes.com, an online Obituary website. Tributes.com has over a million unique visitors and is growing 15% a month—and that’s just one of his three current companies. He’s a guy who has trouble containing every idea he dreams up (literally). Here’s a peek into a true innovators brain.
Alister & Paine: Where did the idea for Monster.com come from?
Jeff Taylor: Part of who I am is to keep pushing the envelope and figure out new ways to solve problems where I see an opportunity. I owned an advertising agency that specialized in HR. Monster was a culmination of understanding the divisions and the resources departments had to hire talent, and understanding what technical people were looking for in an opportunity.
I put those things together with my early curiosity of board systems (which was the precursor to the world wide web) and I literally had a dream that I had a big idea…a monster idea.
Alister & Paine: What made you move on?
Jeff Taylor: I had built a culture that was really powerful. During that time I was Founder, President, CEO, Chairman, and Chief Monster. I had had a 360 degree entrepreneurial experience.
Alister & Paine: Why Obits?
Jeff Taylor: The help wanted section of the newspaper is typically followed by the obituary section. In my discovery around the transformation of the classified categories it was clear that help wanted, real estate, auto and personals had all migrated to the web and created a better way to solve their challenges. But the obituary section was just sitting there.
Alister & Paine: Tell me the concept of Tributes.com.
Jeff Taylor: Say your grandmother passes away, and you get the job in the family of writing her obituary. You end up spending time at the kitchen table and writing a three page obituary. Bring that into the funeral home and they say I’m sorry; you only have six lines to tell this story. Your three page story is left in a desk drawer somewhere. This will be the first generation that has a multi dimensional story for generations to come.
Alister & Paine: What’s been the biggest struggle?
Jeff Taylor: I’m built as an idea person. There are only so many hours in a day. I’m working on the Tributes platform as a core idea that’s really gaining momentum—we just went over a million unique visitors. A really important barometer of the fact that consumers really feel that is a destination website.
I also run Eons.com, and I just introduced Niche.com. And there’s still more ideas out there.
Alister & Paine: Key points for our readers to help grow their own businesses?
Jeff Taylor: You start alone and you end alone. It’s important to constantly be restarting your career and ideas because if you do a great job with an idea, that idea will be given away. The net result is that you end up with a great company with lots of people with great ideas…and they don’t need your ideas anymore.
I have some mantras I live by—one is courtesy of Woody Allen: ‘The first part of success in life is showing up.’ Last night I had an opportunity to meet with somebody today at 7:30am. Most people would figure a way out of that. I had the breakfast and it was great.