Interview With Sean Hammons founder of Clicky.com
Interview with Sean Hammons of Clicky.com Clicky is a web analyzer that works great with any web site, even Ajax and Flash sites. It was originally targeted towards smaller web sites and blogs because it tracks a high level of detail on every visitor, and these types of sites find this information very interesting.
I live in Portland OR, 29 years old. A big motivator for me is just having my work appreciated. So many jobs are thankless, and that’s depressing. I’ve worked plenty of crap jobs including fast food, pumping gas, tech support, office cubicle hell… I was just a number and I hated that.
Clicky is 100% my code, my design, etc. We get emails all the time of people who love the service, and that’s just a wonderful feeling, really it is.
1) Tell us about your main project, Clicky? Why did you launch Clicky? Where are you at now with Clicky?
There are thousands of analytics and statistical services, but most of them are bad or outdated. I’ve never been satisfied with any of them. We wanted to create something that we’d want to use on our own web sites, and we thought there would be a market for a slick “web 2.0” style analytics service. We were right… In just over a year we have made some great partnerships (namely Performancing and Freewebs) and are tracking data for over 200,000 web sites. So we’re doing damn good.
2) Clicky is the only web analytic website that offers a affiliate program, why did you decide to do this and how has it improved your business?
Affiliate programs are a great way to get some cheap marketing, since you only have to pay the people who create results. Tons of people write articles about us or put our little Clicky “badge” icon on their page simply because we offer this program. Even if some of these links never result in any paid signups, they still drive a lot of traffic to our site and help to build our brand name.
3) On your website you show a chart showing all the features you offer and the features your competitors offer, “Clicky -VS- The Other Guys”. How has this contributed to the success of Clicky?
It really helps to showcase the features that we have that other products don’t, which helps answer the question, “Why would I use Clicky when there are 10 billion other options?”. I’ve found quite a few articles and forum threads where someone will say “They offer tons of features that Google doesn’t [link to chart]”. Of course these types of first-party comparisons are always a bit biased, we’re obviously not going to list features that *we* don’t have that other programs do, but the comparison is true, we’re not lying about anything on there. Although it’s hard to keep up with all the changes to all the programs over time, so some of these services may have had updates since we made the chart, but we’re not intentionally falsifying any information.
4) Why should webmasters be using Clicky instead of any of your competitors?
As mentioned on our front page, we are trying to make web analytics “easy, fun, powerful, and drop dead gorgeous.” Other than perhaps “powerful”, most services fail in all respects. Every service is different and there are some key features we are lacking (like campaigns and goals) that we know makes us NOT the right choice for everyone, but we’re working on that. We think our simple and clean interface makes understanding your traffic a very easy thing to do, and the Ajax adds some flare and fun to it.
Most people use more than one analyzer at a time, and we think that’s a good idea, especially since they all have hiccups once in a while. Tons of people use Clicky alongside Google Analytics, and I think that’s a great combo. Google offers some very powerful and interesting trend data for all sorts of things, while we give the fine grained detail on individual visitors, but also offer other ways to analyze data.
5) If you could go back in a time machine to the time when you were just getting started, what business related advice would you give yourself?
One of the biggest mistakes we made in the beginning was undercharging for our service. I’ve learned a lot about pricing in the last year and discovered that people will pay any price you ask, as long as it is reasonable. Charging a very small amount of money will not get you more customers, you’ll just get the same ones but just make a lot less money. You may even get LESS customers, because some people will equate cheap with bad, and won’t sign up whereas they may have if you asked for more. And there’s just a certain percentage of people that will never pay for anything online, no matter how cheap it is, it’s just against their morals. So, I would tell myself, don’t undercharge, it’s a huge mistake.
6) Do you think that entrepreneurialism is something that is in your blood? Or is it something that can be learned?
It’s definitely in my blood, both my parents run their own businesses.
I do think it is something that could be learned, but that doesn’t mean everyone can be successful at it. The most important thing is being able to manage your money well, which a lot of people are NOT good at, obviously. If you can’t manage your finances, you can’t run a business, period.
I’m real good about saving it and NOT spending it on shit I don’t need, so we’re doing real well.
7) Is there anyone that you look up to and model yourself on? (You can name more than one)
I admire all successful internet entrepreneurs. From Kevin Rose to Michael Arrington to Ryan Block to Reed Hastings to Sergey & Larry – all of these people inspire me.
8) Do you have any favourite business related, internet marketing or personal development related books that you can recommend to other entrepreneurs?
No I haven’t read any books on those subjects, everything I know about that is just from my own personal experience.
9) How many hours do you work daily and what are your daily tasks for your sites?
I usually work about 10 hours a day, M-F. I spend about an hour a day on emails and the rest programming.
I used to work a lot on weekends too but that was taking a big toll on me. I have since started taking the weekends off, except for checking on things to ensure all is well, and answering any important emails that can’t wait til Monday.
10) If the Internet had not existed – what do you think you would be doing?
I really don’t know, I can’t picture life without internet 🙁
It would probably be in the computer field though, I love programming, so I would probably be doing that.
11) What do you like best about the Internet?
It’s amazing that literally anyone can publish and share any information they want with the entire world for essentially zero cost. I can’t believe how quickly this has changed everything. Life just 10-15 years ago seems like caveman times.
It’s also amazing for running a business, since every person in the world is a potential customer. Half the money we’ve made has come from Europe, a place I’ve never been, half way around the world. That’s just ridiculous when you really think about it.
12) What do you like least about the Internet?
What horrible monsters people are when they can be anonymous.
13) Have you any plans (personal or business) that you can share with us about your future plans / goals / lifetime goals?
We hope to make Clicky into the best analyzer of all time and perhaps sell it in a year or two. We’d like to make enough to retire on, but I don’t plan to retire, life to me would be boring without doing something productive. Of course I’d love to travel and see the world but that would get old after a few years. We’d like to take that money and invest in other projects that might need it or that we believe in, and also start some additional projects of our own.