He once thought to become a doctor to help people, but when he saw that technology can do much more for people, he became a tech-expert. Today, Kevin Indig is one of the leading SEO experts in the field, who has helped many startups acquire +100 million users. The critical and analytical thinker, with over 10 years of experience, likes to build and optimize systems, design strategies, collect evidence and conduct research.
He is a mentor for Growth@ GermanAccelerator. Previously, he ran SEO @ Atlassian and Dailymotion. Kevin’s specialty is user acquisition, brand building, and user retention. Companies Kevin worked with include eBay, Eventbrite, Bosch, Samsung, Pinterest, Columbia, UBS and many others.
Kevin has shared his knowledge at many events, conferences, through podcasts, articles across the world. He enjoys to connect for ‘geeking’ out, partnering on interesting projects and helping unique startups.
“I believe that technology can substantially improve our lives and
I want to do everything in my power to make the right technology visible and available to the right people.”
Koreatechdesk.com asked Kevin Indig 10 questions to know about his mentorship and advice for startups.
1. Tell us about the jobs and work you are currently doing?
My side-job is being a mentor at a startup accelerator. Regarding my main job, I’m currently in-between two jobs. I ran SEO at Atlassian until recently and will soon announce my next step.
I was invited to become a mentor at the German Accelerator after giving a couple of presentations and creating content around what I do. For me, starting to invest more in to my personal brand was one of the best career move I ever made.
2. What is your role as a mentor to startups?
As a mentor for Growth, I help startups with user-acquisition, retention, and monetization. It always depends on what the biggest hurdle for the startup is. Sometimes, it’s building a brand. Sometimes, it’s finding the right market. These points cannot be treated isolated anymore, nowadays. Thus, I help them create the right model between product, market, acquisition, retention, and monetization. All these factors must fit together like a puzzle.
3. What have you learned so far in your industry and what do you want to achieve in the future?
There is so much that I have learned and there is even more that I want to learn! That’s one of the reasons I chose this field to work in: it’s constantly moving, shifting, developing.
One of my biggest lessons I have learned is to see things in systems. We see this trend especially in product and marketing. The two have to be married for startups to be successful.
Another big lesson for me was the concept of a lifelong learner. I am a knowledge worker and that demands constant self-development and learning. If you stagnate, you “die”. That’s not just a universal principle in biology and economics but also in career development.
4. What are the main factors that startups face difficulties in working or partnering with corporates in your industry?
When selling to big corporations, the most important and difficult part is figuring out what pain point is strong enough for the company to pay and who the actual payer vs. user is. I recommend using the customer development model by Steve Blank to understand how to develop a product with a customer together. Otherwise, you risk building something that’s just a nice-to-have and not a must-have.
5. What’s your advice for entrepreneurs who have a chance to meet an industry expert like you ?
Entrepreneurs should come prepared with due diligence on the market and customers. They should come with well-thought-through questions and know their numbers.
6. How do you want to support Korean startups in the future if you have opportunities?
I would like to support Korean startups with my knowledge. I have heard that the Korean startup community is developing strongly. Apparently, there are 30,000 startups in Korea. I would love to share what I’ve learned when it comes to Growth.
7. What’s your general thought about the term “Global”?
To me, “global” is synonymous to “worldwide”. In the startup context, I see the importance of addressing the global market, meaning to sell in many countries. On one hand, expanding to other countries is a big lever for growth. On the other hand, startups need to target big markets and that inevitably means internationalizing.
8. What are the important factors for Korean startups to consider when planning for a US expansion in your industry?
It is learning how to market the “American way”. I’m German and know what it’s like to come from a humble culture and having to persist in the US. You need to build a brand with crystal clear messaging, spend money to promote that brand, and differentiate it from others. What often feels like overstatement in other countries is perfectly fine in the US. Don’t be shy ;-).
9. As you know, our Media Group name is “beSUCCESS”, what’s your definition of the term “success” as an industry expert and as an individual human being?
To me, “success” means living a meaningful life, leaving an impact, being a good person, and having a career. I find a lot of meaning and impact in my work, which is why my career is so important to me. I do believe that technology can improve the world and thus, I want to do my best to make good technology successful. At the same time, I’m trying my best to be a good person. Lastly, living a meaningful life also means having meaningful relationships.
10. What are the things that you would want to do differently if you could go back 10 years ?
I would start writing and reading much more. To me, it’s a game changer. Writing is thinking. I only realized that a couple of years ago and since then, I read and write furiously.
Kevin Indig will be attending TIPS X beSUCCESS KOREAN STARTUP SHOWCASE as one of the prominent judges on March 12th, 2019 at JW Marriott San Francisco.