Garrett Moon, CEO & Co-Founder of CoSchedule: ''Books will trigger moments of clarity for me as a leader''
CoSchedule is one of the fastest growing startups. In less than four years, it has grown to 9,000+ customers in over 100 countries around the world, they have more than 325,000 email subscribers and 1.5 million monthly pageviews. When you put these numbers into context, you realize that describing them as ‘impressive’ would be an understatement. No wonder that Entrepreneur.com listed CoSchedule as one of the best business tools built by a startup.
This tool helps brands with their content marketing strategy, allowing them to plan, organize and promote their content easily and efficiently, from just one place – from blog posts to social media and any other type of content, thus preventing team members to run around as headless chickens and saving precious time in the process.
Aside from being an entrepreneur, Garrett is also an author. He recently released “10x Marketing Formula: Your Blueprint for Creating ‘Competition-Free Content’ That Stands Out and Gets Results“, a book that shows content marketers how to produce extraordinary results, while overcoming a lack of time, inability to engage their audience, and other roadblocks. Published only a couple of months ago, it became the #1 seller on Amazon in a number of categories, including Marketing for Entrepreneurs & Small Businesses.
In the following interview, you will discover how Garrett used books to built a ladder of knowledge towards becoming a better entrepreneur, the mistakes he’s made along the way, how they’ve made him stay humble, and why you should embrace change. Enjoy!
What’s your favorite book and why? Business and non-business, if possible.
Business: Linchpin, by Seth Godin, was extremely valuable to me in the early part of my entrepreneurial career. So much so that even today every new hire at CoSchedule reads and gives a book report on it during their first 90 days. Always be shipping!
Non-business: As an artist, creator, and someone who frequently finds himself “thinking differently” I love The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand.
Was there a moment, specifically, when something you read in a book helped you? Can you tell me about it?
Frequently books will trigger moments of clarity for me as a leader. There are always problems that I am working/thinking through and books can frequently provide a new lens that leads to a solution. Recently Clayton Christensen’s book The Innovator’s Dilemma did this for me. It was my second time reading the book but it sparked a weekend’s worth of writing and processing that led to actionable changes the following week. I can’t remember specifically what I read that initiated it all, but the results are undeniable.
I tend to believe that the process of learning and exploring new ideas is the real difference maker – not always the material itself. Sometimes it simply sheds new light on an old problem and that makes all the difference.
What books had the biggest impact on you? (perhaps changed the way you see things, dramatically changed your career path)
Gary Vaynerchuk’s original book Crush it was definitely a difference maker. It was before I had taken the leap as an entrepreneur and just hit all the right chords at the time.
What five books would you recommend to youngsters interested in your professional path? Why? (no number limit here)
- The Score Takes Care of Itself by Bill Walsh: Amazing primer on leading a team and the first book I recommend for recently promoted managers.
- High Output Management by Andy Grove: My second recommendation for new leaders.
- The Strategy and Tactics of Pricing by Thomas T. Nagle: Why? Because pricing is hard!
- Running Lean by Ash Maurya: Learn to build products the lean way!
- Ogilvy On Advertising by David Ogilvy and My Life In Advertising by Claude Hopkins for old-school marketing smarts.
I’m interested in finding out more about your reading habits. How often do you read? In what format?
I love Audible for autobiographies, history, and many business books. I usually run through 1-2 per month listening at 1.5x speed. Audio is great format for reading while you’re shoveling snow (CoSchedule is headquartered in Bismarck, ND) or mowing grass.
I also read at least one book on my Kindle each month. These are usually “heavier” reads where I do more note taking and critical thinking.
How do you make time for reading?
Kindle App in the iPhone and Audible make it easy to read during the “cracks of life” as I call them. Those times when you are waiting in line or on hold for some reason. I try to set aside some time every evening to read and I frequently volunteer for dish duty so that I can listen to Audible.
Do you take notes or have any other technique for conquering the torrent of information?
I generally assume that I will just “absorb” the good stuff. However, thoughts and ideas that I want to ensure I take with me go into Evernote.
How do you choose what books to read next?
I’m a bit impulsive, I usually buy books that I want on the spot and let them sit in my queue. I find that having a healthy queue keeps me motivated to finish the book that I am on.
What book are you currently reading and what are you expecting to gain from it?
Even though most people are aware that “overnight success usually takes 10 years”, they are still looking for shortcuts and “latest hacks”. What are three common mistakes made by entrepreneurs?
In reality, the mistakes are the process. My Co-Founder Justin and I launched several companies and more than 10 web applications before we finally got lucky with CoSchedule. Looking back, I don’t see a way we could have skipped any of it. It was all necessary. We learned how to fail, how to build scalable web applications, how manage a team, and ultimately how to ask for and get other people’s money. We made a zillion mistakes and learned from all of them.
Ryan Holiday’s book, The Obstacle is the Way is a great read for any entrepreneur feeling frustrated with time and process. The reality is that the hardship and roadblocks that take 10 years to get through are the payment for success. You have to learn to embrace the process, not the outcome.
Do you have an example of a mistake you made while building your business? How did you change your mind, what was the thinking process behind it?
Many, but I learned a lot from all of them. They ultimately made me a better CEO and founder. I’ve learned (or am learning) to stay humble and embrace the process rather than getting distracted by everyone else’s headlines and explanations of how entrepreneurship works. It’s different for everyone.
Most successful people give the advice “follow your passion”. What would you recommend to someone who’s very young and not yet aware of their passion? Where should they begin their professional journey?
Passions change. Coming out of college I thought that my passion was UX design. Now I don’t do any design at all and I don’t miss it. I learned that what I really love and am best at is problem solving and leadership. I went as far as to share exactly how that worked for me in my own book, the 10x Marketing Formula. If you’re early in your career just do what you know and start figuring things out. Just don’t be afraid to change. You and your passions will, so plan to keep up.
Links where you can follow Garrett Moon or find out more about his projects:
- 10x Marketing Formula book
- Connect with Garrett on Twitter | LinkedIn
- Robert Katai‘s blog post: ‘Learn How CoSchedule is Gaining Backlinks With This Free And Useful Feature‘
All books mentioned by Garrett Moon in our interview:
- Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? by Seth Godin
- The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
- The Innovator’s Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail by Clayton Christensen
- Crush It!: Why NOW Is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion by Gary Vaynerchuk
- The Score Takes Care of Itself: My Philosophy of Leadership by Bill Walsh, Steve Jamison, Craig Walsh
- High Output Management by Andrew S. Grove
- The Strategy and Tactics of Pricing: A guide to growing more profitably by Thomas T. Nagle, Georg Muller
- Running Lean: Iterate from Plan A to a Plan That Works by Ash Maurya
- Ogilvy on Advertising by David Ogilvy
- My Life in Advertising & Scientific Advertising (Two Works) by Claude C. Hopkins
- The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday
- Lost and Founder: A Painfully Honest Field Guide to the Startup World by Rand Fishkin
- 10x Marketing Formula: Your Blueprint for Creating ‘Competition-Free Content’ That Stands Out and Gets Results by Garrett Moon