The Search Agency: A Cross-Country Odyssey
By Carl Dunham
Carl Dunham, CTO and Founder of The Search Agency(TSA), can tell you anything you need to know about optimizing online media campaigns and frequent flier program miles. He will be presenting at the Wednesday, May 21st Providence Geeks - RSVP and details here.
The second time I walked into the Santa Monica office (our third in two years), I was shocked at how packed it already was. Only a couple of weeks earlier, on a tour with the agent, it looked like more space than we would need for a long time. I think of that now as I walk into the East Greenwich office, and realize that we need to buy more furniture. Where is it all going to go?
The Search Agency started as a favor to a friend. The company he worked for was having a hard time managing search campaigns, and the tools that existed at the time were not going to help him much. They were one of the biggest spenders on GoTo (later called Overture, and now a better part of Yahoo), and he and his team were spending all their time running numbers through spreadsheets, and losing the big picture. He wanted me to build him some technology to reign in the chaos, and help make sense of all the data, bidding and everything else. He was actually doing me a favor as well. I didn’t have a regular job.
What we came up with worked. It worked so well, in fact, that he left his job to join me, and make a real company out of it. Three years later, we’re trying to figure out where to put everyone. Our client list has grown and we are managing 100 times the spend. The company has been marginally profitable the whole time, which made it easy for us to go raise capital when we finally decided to take things to the next level.
This kind of growth is not without its challenges, many of which are well documented. We had a particular problem, in that we chose to grow the company simultaneously in two places. We would be purposely keeping technology development and the rest of the company 3,000 miles apart. We had to ensure from day one that we stayed coordinated and on task. What resulted was a culture of cooperation that has led to some great breakthroughs, and shrunk the distance in the process. Much if this was done with very little technology other than email and cell phones. We don’t even have a video conferencing system (yet).
I hope you can join us at the next Providence Geeks Dinner where I'll be presenting a lot more about TSA. In the meantime, if you're interested in joining us, check out the following job opportunities:
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