Kevin O'Connor founded DoubleClck in the mid-90s. The advertising company eventually went public in 1998 and was sold to private equity firm Hellman & Friedman for about $1.1 billion in 2005. Google eventually bought DoubleClick for $3.1 billion in 2007.
If you knew everything that you know now back during your DoubleClick days, what would you do differently, I asked. "I'd hold on [to DoubleClick] for three more years," quipped Kevin, referring to DoubleClick's sale to Google at three times the price it was sold to the private equity firm. Kevin was not part of the sale to Google.
No matter. A billion-dollar sale isn't one to sneeze at. And, anyone who's been part of the storied DoubleClick tale certainly has lessons to share.
Kevin, who is now at his new startup FindTheBest, shared few specific lessons about DoubleClick, but more general lessons we hear often, but frankly probably not enough.
A very simple and insightful lesson he shared had to do with focus. "A business is only about one thing," said Kevin. "It's solving a problem - somebody else's problem. If you do it better than anyone else, you'll win all the customers."
Indeed, most entrepreneurs would likely agree that they often spend too much time looking behind them and not enough time looking forward.
Listen to Kevin's lessons, including hiring "smart athletes" and one big lesson he learned after investing in a disposable DVD startup.