Website Awards

Transitioning Leadership at Stevie® Awards Winner, Moz

Posted by Maggie Gallagher on Fri, Feb 28, 2014 @ 01:36 PM

Moz, a leading industry provider of search engine and social optimization software based in Seattle, Washington, USA won a Gold Stevie® Award for Best Web Writing/Content in the website awards categories of The 2013 American Business Awards, America's premier business awards program. (The entry deadline for The 2014 American Business Awards is March 26.  Get your entry kit here.) We looked at the refreshingly honest way Rand Fisher, the self-styled 'Wizard of Moz', announced a leadership transition at his company on his Stevie® Award-winning blog in December 2013.

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Picture for MozWhy am I posting this? Mostly, because I’d hate for the news to leak out some other way and have it make people on our team feel uncomfortable or put upon.

2013 was a really hard year for me. What made it so hard was partly attributable to the less-than-what-I’d-hoped-for results the business achieved, brought about by our artificially constrained acquisition funnel from June to October, between our re-brand (from SEOmoz to Moz) and the launch of Moz Analytics; but a greater portion was due to the challenges of scale.

Being a CEO at a 10-person startup, a 30-person startup, or even up to 75 people at Moz was a truly enjoyable experience. But the growth from 75 to around135 by 2013 was less fun for me. I’m still learning a tremendous amount, but I was being challenged to such a degree on issues like organizational development, HR, conflict resolution, process building, and morale that I felt out of my depth, and poorly suited—especially from an emotional-resiliency perspective—to meeting my obligations.

When these feelings started getting stronger, I talked with Sarah Bird about potentially taking over the CEO role one day, in order to let me focus more on my strengths and passions. At a Moz board meeting we had a more serious conversation on that topic, and last December, in an impromptu Allhands session at the Mozplex, we talked about it with the company as well.

Swapping Drivers on this Long Road Trip Together

Sarah likes to describe the last six years at Moz as a road trip. I’ve been driving and she’s been in the passenger seat, navigating. But while I really loved having the wheel for most of the journey, we’re getting into tougher terrain, and I really feel it might be time for Sarah and I to switch positions. She’s a different kind of driver and I’m a different kind of navigator, but we—the vehicle, and the passengers—will all be fine.

There’s a lot of nuance and complexity around a potential new CEO, but neither nuance nor complexity are how people interpret a leadership change. We human beings like simple stories, and this story isn’t simple. So, I’d like to share with you an email I sent to the Moz team at the time that helped to lay out where we were at:

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Hey gang,

Thanks so much for taking an hour out of what I know are very busy and important schedules. As promised, I wanted to follow up for those of you who couldn’t make the Allhands session in person—and for anyone who wants a refresher.

Quick Recap: For the last year, the board, eteam, Sarah, and I have been talking about changing my role/title and making Sarah our CEO. A lot of that stems from my personal passion around being an individual contributor more than a people manager, and in wanting to spend more time focusing on my strengths (marketing, product, evangelism, etc.) and less on my weaknesses (organizational development, financing, board/analyst management, etc.).

At the last board meeting, we chatted about potentially making that move as soon as January. There’s a board call to follow up on that topic next week. Nothing is set in stone, but given that I’ve written about this a bit in 15Five and talked about it on occasion with Mozzers, we wanted to have a more formal discussion with a chance for Q+A.

Questions that came up today and some answers to them:

A) When will this happen?

It’s still up in the air, but we’ll know more after the board call next week. Brad and I are also discussing this privately in a call on Wednesday morning.

B) What will Rand’s new role be?

My role will actually be very similar. I’ll likely be spending more time in the weeds with product design, marketing initiatives, and evangelism (blogging/speaking). I’ll continue to represent Moz externally quite a bit. But I won’t be doing much people managing, working on our finances and organizational development stuff, or the recruiting/hiring of senior staff. I’ve also promised to write a book next year on startup marketing.

I want to change my title to “individual contributor,” mostly because it reflects my belief that you don’t need to manage people in order to have influence. I love and want to promote the IC track/concept, and titles are kinda BS, so I will continue to be on the eteam and on the board of directors, representing internal shareholders like y’all.

C) Can we share this news?

NOTE FROM RAND: This was part of the original email to the team, but obviously (now that this post is published) is no longer applicable, but is preserved here for posterity.

No! Please don’t.

While we love to be transparent, this is a sensitive topic that requires a lot of input and care. It’s going to be hard to convey the transition correctly and not send the message that it is just because of a slowing growth rate this year (which isn’t the truth, though some of the emotional challenges I’m dealing with may have been accelerated). We also don’t yet have the full details on a plan, and it’s hard to capture the nuance effectively.

Sarah and I have talked about potentially having me write a blog post on this sooner rather than later to at least bring up the idea externally. We’d hate to have it leak.

D) Will Moz’s mission/vision/values change?

No. We’ve been aligned on that stuff for many years. TAGFEE is here to stay. Helping people do better marketing is here to stay. Powering the shift from interruption to inbound is here to stay.

Even when it comes to strategy, there will likely be very little difference to how we tackle initiatives. In fact, as Nicci and I were chatting today, I remarked that having the CEO title has, in my opinion, not helped me win any arguments with Sarah over the years. We’ve always needed to be on the same page or at least be comfortable with each other’s decisions to move forward—and I strongly suspect that will remain the case in the future.

What may change are some organizational elements. For example, as Sarah noted today, she’d like to have more regular company-wide town hall Q+A sessions where anyone/everyone on the team can ask questions to the eteam and expect a direct response.

E) Why does Rand want to be something other than CEO?

There are three big reasons (and lots of smaller ones):

#1 – As Moz has grown in numbers of people, I’ve often felt overwhelmed, out-of-my-depth, and emotionally challenged to handle the complexities of intra-team conflicts, morale, and organizational development issues. I want to do what I love and what I’m good at, and I believe I’ll be healthier and happier, and Moz will be better served, by me taking that role.

#2 – I don’t really want to be CEO of a public company, and someday we hope Moz can reach the metrics that would give us eligibility for a public offering. Given that, I’d eventually have wanted to step aside and let someone else take the reigns. Getting to do that now, years before an IPO, is a blessing: It gives us time to get comfortable and means that external investors won’t be shaken by a leadership change.

#3 – I believe Sarah will be a fantastic CEO. She’s stepped up to every challenge that ever come her way at Moz, and I believe this one will be no different. I honestly believe she can do this job better than I can, and that means good things for all of us and for the value of our shares, too.

(Plus I love the idea of Moz positively contributing to the awful inequality of women in leadership roles at technology startup companies.)

F) Does this mean Rand will leave in the near future?

Hell no. It’s impossible to describe how much of my personal identity and ego and heart are connected to this company. You’d have to push me out kicking and screaming. I plan to be here for a long time to come.

G) Is this because Moz’s performance in 2013 wasn’t as good as past years?

No.

The tough year we’ve had has weighed more heavily on me than it probably should have, and that’s part of the reason we’ve been thinking about doing this sooner rather than waiting a little longer. (We’d originally wanted to do some more hiring so Sarah would have fewer direct reports and sorted out some other issues first, but we may bias to action on this one). Even if we’d had the best year ever, we’d probably still be discussing this for some time in 2014.

H) What kind of CEO will Sarah be?
A great one—and probably a better one than me. In all seriousness, it’s hard to say for certain, but it will likely feel very familiar. Sarah is already doing a lot of CEO-type things today. I’ll let her tackle this question more, but she did so quite eloquently today at the Town Hall, talking about where her strengths lie (much more on the people/operations/financing/scaling side vs. my product/marketing/industry strengths).

I) What if things don’t go well with Sarah at the helm?

We’ll figure out a plan. We’re certainly aware of many times in a startup’s life when a CEO transitions out or back in. I’ve gotten to talk to a number of CEOs who’ve made this transition and we’re doing all we can to prepare. To be honest, I feel very confident as Sarah’s been much more like a co-CEO these past 6 years than most people know. If she weren’t a good fit, we’d have known a long time ago.

That said, the board will talk about it, and I will most certainly be here to help in whatever way needed, including filling back in should Moz need me in that role.

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Read the full transcript of this article at Rand’s blog; and about Moz, how to improve SEO, and the company’s progress at The Moz Blog.

About Rand Fishkin:

Rand Fishkin uses the ludicrous title Wizard of Moz. He co-authored/co-founded the Art of SEOInbound.org, and Moz because he likes doing stuff with other people. Rand is an addict of all things related to content, search, and social on the web, from his multiple blogs to TwitterGoogle+FacebookLinkedIn, and FourSquare. In his minuscule spare time, Rand enjoys the company of his amazing wife, whose serendipitous travel blog chronicles their journeys.

About Moz

Moz provides software to track all of a website's inbound marketing efforts on one platform, conduct SEO and social media research, and provide in-depth competitive analysis over time, with custom reporting. Dedicated to helping people do better marketing, Moz also creates free tools, tutorials, and educational resources for learning inbound marketing—and fosters the web’s most vibrant online marketing community. With offices in Seattle, Washington and Portland, Oregon, Moz supports over 25,000 customers and 300,000 community members worldwide.

Topics: web awards, website awards, stevie awards, business awards, blog awards, American business awards, excellent websites, award winning websites

Website Awards: Four Apps, Blogs, and Websites of Note

Posted by Liz Dean on Tue, Jul 30, 2013 @ 10:38 AM

The Stevie® Awards don't just confer business awards; we also like to highlight apps, blogs, and websites once a month in our Stevie Awards Update email newsletter that we think will help make your work day more interesting and enjoyable. Our latest "Blogs & Web Sites of Note" include:

  1. Stevie Awards RSS FeedFleksy      
    A Finalist in The American Business Awards, Fleksy, originally developed for the visually impaired, allows people to type text without having to look. Programmed with a powerful text prediction engine, Fleksy is available for free on the iPhone, iPad, and coming soon to the Android market.

  2. GoFundMe                        
    Brought to our attention by International Business Awards judge, Peter Bush, of Swansea, UK, GoFundMe allows individuals or organizations to create an online fund-raising website.

  3. Numbeo                             
    Ever wonder how much it really costs to live in your city? Find out with Numbeo, a website with contributed data on the cost of living in cities and countries worldwide.

  4. Wendell Potter, Health Care Watchdog                
    A blog on the ramifications of new U.S. health care legislation for businesses as well as individuals.

Have a favorite app, blog, or website? Nominate it for one of our app awards, blog awards, or website awards in the Stevie Awards for Women in Business. (The entry deadline for the 2013 Stevie Awards for Women in Business, the world's premier awards for women executives, entrepreneurs, and the organizations they run, is August 28. Request an entry kit here.)

Topics: website awards, business awards, American business awards, blog awards, app awards, International business awards, stevie awards for women in business

Website Awards: Four Apps, Blogs, and Websites of Note

Posted by Liz Dean on Wed, Jun 26, 2013 @ 03:05 PM

The Stevie® Awards don't just confer app awards, blog awards, and website awards; we also like to highlight apps, blogs, and websites once a month in our Stevie Awards Update email newsletter that we think will help make your work day more productive. Our latest "Blogs & Web Sites of Note" include:

Stevie Awards RSS FeedinDinero                              
An easy way to keep track of business cash flow and day-to-day finances, this Web app will sync your bank accounts with your credit cards to help you predict future cash flows. Prices range from $29.95 a month to $49.95 a month.

Project Tin Can
The future of e-learning is here! According to The Tin Can API website, "Tin Can API (sometimes known as the Experience API) is a brand new specification for learning technology that makes it possible to collect data about the wide range of experiences a person has (online and offline)." For more information on the API, we encourage you to visit http://scorm.com/tincan.

QuickBooks 2013                             
QuickBooks 2013 has arrived! With a clean look and a new navigation panel to improve speed and usability, the one-stop app allows users to sync items such as invoices and expenses across iOS devices and the Web. Monthly subscriptions start at $12.95 with free trials available.

Tappestry                           
A new app for the iOS and Android platforms, Tappestry allows individuals, companies, and organizations to safely share newly learned information.  Price varies based on number of users and free trials are available.

Have a favorite app, blog or website? Nominate it in The 2013 (10th Annual) International Business Awards, the world's premier business awards competition. (The final extended entry deadline is 10 July, request an entry kit here.)

Topics: website awards, business awards, blog awards, app awards, International business awards

Website Awards: Four Apps, Blogs, and Websites of Note

Posted by Liz Dean on Thu, May 30, 2013 @ 05:09 PM

Once a month we like to highlight blogs, apps, and websites in our Stevie® Awards Update Email Newsletter to help make your day a bit more enjoyable. Here are this month's "Apps, Websites and Blogs of Note:"    

  1. Stevie Awards RSS FeedAladinia                               
    Going to Barcelona this October for The 2013 International Business Awards, the world's premier business awards competition? Check out Barcelona's Roman Baths, sky diving, or rent a Ferrari for the day. This Spanish website offers "thousands of surprising options" around Spain, according to El Pais.
  2. Inside Climate News                      
    Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting, Inside Climate News is a news blog focusing on all matters affecting climate change.
  3. Bump                   
    Hate having to enter new contact information into your phone? Download Bump, the popular smartphone app that allows you to "bump" smartphones to obtain contact info.  The free app is available for iPhones and Androids.
  4. Lumosity's Human Cognition Project                      
    Be a part of Lumosity's program to improve human cognitive training programs.The online project is a groundbreaking collaboration between researchers worldwide with more than 600,000,000 cognitive game plays.

Have a favorite app, blog, or website? Nominate it for one of our blog awards, website awards, and app awards in The 10th Annual International Business Awards. (The final entry deadline is 12 June, request your entry kit here.)

Topics: website awards, business awards, blog awards, app awards, International business awards

Website Awards: Four Apps, Blogs, and Websites of Note

Posted by Liz Dean on Tue, Apr 30, 2013 @ 01:28 PM

The Stevie® Awards don't just confer blog awards, website awards, and app awards; we also like to highlight apps, blogs, and websites once a month in our Stevie Awards Update email newsletter that we think will help make your work day more interesting and enjoyable. Our latest "Blogs & Web Sites of Note" include:Stevie Awards RSS Feed

BagsVIP           
Time is money, so why waste time at the baggage carousel?  United Airlines is offering BagsVIP service for delivery within a 100-mile radius of selected airports. Prices from $29.95 (1 bag) to $49.95 (3 to 8 bags).

MyReviewRoom                             
ReviewRoom provides a complete solution for managing online application processes. The system organizes workflow, collects applications, has an entry evaluation system, conducts reporting, and more.

VerticalResponse Blog                  
Have marketing questions? Check out this all inclusive marketing blog featuring actionable marketing tips and how-tos.

WeTalk                
The WeTalk app allows access to very low VoIP rates, particularly for international calling, and avoids data-roaming charges. Download the app for free on the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad.

Have a favorite app, blog or website? Nominate it in The 2013 (10th Annual) International Business Awards, the world's premier business awards competition. (The entry deadline is 15 May, request your entry kit here.)

Topics: website awards, business awards, blog awards, app awards, International business awards

Website Awards: Four Apps, Blogs, and Websites of Note

Posted by Liz Dean on Wed, Apr 03, 2013 @ 10:25 AM

Once a month in our Stevie® Awards Update email newsletter we like bring your attention to emerging technology including apps, best websites, and blogs that we think will help to make your work day a bit more interesting and productive.  Here are this month's "Apps, Blogs, and Websites of Note:"

Stevie Awards RSS FeedPaperBecause                  
Love the environment? Check out PaperBecause and learn about the sustainable use of paper in a digital world.

Puzzazz            
Keep your brain fit by downloading a new puzzle every day. Puzzazz is available for free on the iPhone, iPad, and Kindle.

American RedCrosswords                           
Another great app for keeping your brain active, American RedCrosswords allows you to download crossword puzzles to your iPhone and iPad while supporting a great cause.

Workshare                         
Workshare is a secure platform for sharing documents in a secure online environment. Create, share, and manage high-value content and ideas anywhere, on any device. Prices are based on demand.

Let us know about your favorite app, blog, or website! Nominate them for one of our blog awards, website awards, or app awards in The 2013 American Business Awards, the premier business awards program in the U.S.A. April 24 is the last day that late entries will be accepted with payment of a late fee per entry. If you haven't already done so, you can request your entry kit here and it will be emailed to you right away.

Topics: website awards, business awards, American business awards, blog awards, app awards, stevie awards, stevie awards for women in business, emerging technology

Website Awards: Four Apps, Blogs, and Websites of Note

Posted by Liz Dean on Wed, Feb 20, 2013 @ 04:37 PM

The Stevie® Awards don't just confer app awards, blog awards, and website awards; we also like to highlight apps, blogs, and websites once a month in our Stevie Awards Update email newsletter that we think will help make your work day more interesting and enjoyable. Here are this month's "Apps, Blogs, and Websites of Note:"

Stevie Awards RSS FeedGasBuddy.com                
With fuel prices rising once again in North America, GasBuddy will find the best prices for motorists and businesses in your region.

LifeHacker                          
LifeHacker is an online blog that features tips and downloads for getting things done.

Trip Boss                             
Trip Boss is a must-have for travelers.  The all inclusive app keeps track of expenses, manages itineraries, calculates tips, converts currency, and more. You can download the app on the iPhone for $4.99.

Trip Journal        
Trip Journal is another go-to app for travelers. Track, record, document, and share your travel via your smartphone.  The app is available on the iPhone and Android markets for $2.99.

Have a favorite app, blog, or website? Nominate them for one of our blog awards, website awards, or app awards in The 2013 American Business Awards, the premier business awards program in the U.S.A. The entry deadline for the 2013 ABAs is March 27, request your entry kit here and it will be emailed to you right away.

Topics: website awards, business awards, American business awards, blog awards, app awards, stevie awards, stevie awards for women in business, emerging technology

Website Awards: Sites, Apps & Blogs of Note

Posted by Michael Gallagher on Thu, Jan 31, 2013 @ 10:35 AM

RSS imageOnce a month in this space we bring to your attention several websites, apps or blogs that we think might help to make your work day a bit more efficient or enjoyable.  Some may have won website awards, but that's not a requirement to be highlighted.  Here are this month's suggestions.

LastPass: A free tool that remembers all your online passwords for you and automatically logs you on to any site.

SparkMinute: An informative blog from media consultant David Spark on how he uses his phone apps.

Washington Post's Truth Teller: A prototype real-time fact checker being developed in conjunction with Knight News Challenge. Still in development, but worth watching.

Wattpad: A free app for phone, tablet, or computer that enables would-be writers to self publish, and provides readers with access to a wide range of free reading material.

Know of an app or site we should feature in this space?  Let us know about it!

Topics: website awards, best websites, stevie awards, business awards, blog awards, app awards

Website Awards: Four Websites, Blogs, and Apps of Note

Posted by Liz Dean on Thu, Jan 03, 2013 @ 04:40 PM

Once a month in our Stevie® Awards Update email newsletter we like bring your attention to emerging technology including apps, best websites, and blogs that we think will help to make your work day a bit more interesting and productive.  Here are this month's "Apps, Blogs, and Websites of Note:"

Stevie Awards RSS FeedFing                       
Fing is a Swiss army knife of networking utilities which can be used for troubleshooting and analyzing connection issues or to ferret out anything connected to your network that shouldn't be connected. Fling is available for free for Android, iPhone, iPad, and most platforms.

SeatGuru                            
For those who plan to travel in 2013, this app finds the best airline seats, in-flight amenities, and airline information.  You can download the app on your iPhone or Android for free.

WhatsUpGold                  
A business app that helps IT administrators identify the little problems before they become big ones by monitoring wired and wireless networks, systems, and applications. You can purchase the application starting from $2,195, but a free trial is also available.

Wunderlist                         
If you are using several different devices throughout the day,  Wunderlist 2 will sync your to-do lists and reminders no matter how many different devices you are using. Lists will automatically be synchronized via Wunderlist’s Cloud Sync system. You can download Wunderlist 2 is for your iPhone, Android, Windows & Mac, all for free.

Have a favorite app, blog, or website? Nominate them for one of our blog awards, website awards, or app awards in The 2013 American Business Awards, the premier business awards program in the U.S.A. The entry deadline for the 2013 ABAs is March 27, request your entry kit here and it will be emailed to you right away.

Topics: website awards, business awards, American business awards, blog awards, app awards, stevie awards, stevie awards for women in business, emerging technology

Website Awards: Four Websites, Blogs, and Apps of Note

Posted by Liz Dean on Tue, Nov 27, 2012 @ 12:27 PM

The Stevie® Awards don't just confer app awards, blog awards, and website awards; we also like to highlight apps, blogs, and websites once a month in our Stevie Awards Update email newsletter that we think will help make your work day more interesting and enjoyable. Here are this month's "Apps, Blogs, and Websites of Note:"

RSS FeedAsana                   
This free mobile app provides a place to plan, organize, stay in sync, and share task lists with a team. You can download the free app on the iPhone and Android.

Enterasys Isaac
A Gold Stevie® Award-winning application in the 2012 Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service, Isaac is a social media interface that connects IT networks with social networks.

Expensify                           
Expensify is a free app that helps you keep track of expenses by scanning your receipts from anywhere. The app also features tools to help you integrate Quickbooks and automatically track auto expense and GPS mileage.

KoolSpan TrustCall          
Easy to deploy and use, TrustCall transforms regular smartphones to "secure phones" within any organization. Thanks to the chip inside the smartphone, malicious third-party adversaries can't intercept or eavesdrop on voice calls and SMS messages. Available for the Android and Blackberry (iOS coming soon), you can download the app for $119.

Know of other great apps, blogs, or websites? Nominate them for one of our blog awards, website awards, or app awards in The 2013 American Business Awards, the premier business awards program in the U.S.A.  Request your entry kit here and submit by the December 12 second early-bird deadline for discounted entry fees.

Topics: website awards, business awards, American business awards, blog awards, app awards, stevie awards, stevie awards for women in business, emerging technology