Build a reliable team that fits with your company culture and empowers you to keep your foot on the gas.
Davide De Guz is the founder of link management tool, Rebrandly, which empowers users to put their brand name on the links they share.
Davide is a serial entrepreneur with over twenty years experience working in the tech industry. Rebrandly is his third successful company.
He founded his first company – University.it – back in 1996 when the internet was just starting to take hold in Italy. Davide and some of his college peers wanted a way to share notes far and wide. Floppy disks didn’t make this easy.
In his final year, Davide created a website which allowed notes to be shared digitally. Students around Italy picked up on the idea quickly and University.it became the country’s first university portal.
After selling the site, Davide opened his own creative agency, which he eventually spun into a link tracking company called ClickMeter. Now Davide has started Rebrandly to allow marketers to create and share branded links with a custom domain of their choosing.
Where did the idea for Rebrandly come from?
Looking at social media and SMS messages, it always annoyed me to see ugly, generic short URLs. Sometimes, I was even afraid to click on them in case I would be directed to spam or phishing sites.
I wondered why brands didn’t use short links which contained their name to demonstrate that they are safe to click on. Featuring your business name on your email address was already the norm.
I did some research and found there was no solution available – and that’s how the idea of Rebrandly came about. I first created the solution for myself before sharing it with other marketers.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
There is no typical day for me. They are usually very different and that’s great because there is never a dull moment.
I make each day productive by first figuring out what needs to be prioritized – I do this with my own tasks, as well as the rest of the team’s. This is a very important part of my job and organization tools, like Trello, facilitate this. It’s simple but effective.
How do you bring ideas to life?
When we decide on an idea that we want to execute, we first describe it carefully in writing – often in a Google document. We then ask our designer to sketch mock-ups and the technical design. Then if it looks good, we implement it.
What’s one trend that excites you?
Growth hacking, because it mixes tech and marketing to get results that are scalable in terms of visibility.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Surrounding myself with a great team makes me productive. They are an extension of what I started and if you build a team of great people around you, that gives you the freedom to grow your business and turn the dial.
What advice would you give your younger self?
The best piece of advice I can give any new entrepreneur or startup founder is to stay laser-focused on their goal. This sounds obvious but in practice, it can be very difficult.
Decide what your goal is and set a single KPI to monitor its performance. You have to learn how to say no to ANYTHING that doesn’t bring you closer to that goal. It can be hard to turn down opportunities, especially fruitful ones, but if it’s not leading you to your ultimate goal – forget about it.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Some day there will be no nations in the world. The internet is such a powerful tool of communication throughout the world, it will lead to people understanding that it doesn’t make sense to have different nations, borders and languages. That’s inefficient so this is the natural path.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I try not to do things over and over. I believe tasks that are repetitive should be done by machines and I recommend everyone else take this approach too.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Rebrandly’s approach to marketing is to create informative content that can help readers grow. We inform our audience about the latest marketing technologies, hacks and offer them actionable advice. This has allowed us to establish a brand that is trustworthy, helpful and has helped us grow awareness of our tool within the marketing community.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
ClickMeter is a successful company and a powerful product, but it has so many features and capabilities that, at times, we were going in all directions.
By starting Rebrandly, I decided to focus on one element – branded links. Doing this has allowed us to really focus and innovate to build a unique, world-class tool that we continue to optimize and perfect.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Someone should create an iPhone that can hold two or more SIM cards at once – instead of requiring people to carry two phones. It’s a very simple idea, but it would be so useful for entrepreneurs and business people working across different countries.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I recently had dinner with a marketing thought-leader. It probably cost a little more than $100 but his point of view was really inspiring and we were able to talk at length over good food. I wouldn’t have gotten the same insights if we had just grabbed a quick coffee.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?
All our team members use Slack to communicate, collaborate and be productive.
Our team is distributed across several countries and is made up of people with different cultures, religion and languages. Effective collaboration is key to being productive and Slack, along with a range of other tools, keeps us moving along quickly.
To keep us all in-sync and working toward the same goals, we have a Slack channel where everyone can express themselves and all the team is updated on any company news.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
“Zero to One” by Peter Thiel has had a big impact on me. It’s focus on how startups can build the future really influenced my thinking and inspires the company culture here at Rebrandly.
A business should aim to be the best in its niche and, if possible, the best in the world. This book explains why you shouldn’t just copy someone else’s business idea, but innovate to build something unique – even if it’s something small.
What is your favorite quote?
Rebrandly is all about improving brand image and brand consistency – so one of my favorite quotes is from Jeff Bezos who said: ‘Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.’
- Build a reliable team that fits with your company culture and empowers you to keep your foot on the gas.
- Consider building a global team based on talent, rather than location, and using collaboration tools to stay productive.
- Stay laser-focused on your end goal and don’t be distracted by other opportunities, unless they help you arrive there.
- Tasks that are repetitive should be automated.
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Davide De Guz on Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/davidedeguz/
Carlyn runs the day-to-day publishing operation here at ideamensch and interacts with our awesome customers and entrepreneurs. She is likely editing this with a cat on her lap.