Interview: Jason Nazar of Docstoc

This article originally appeared on Technorati:

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You can watch my 14-minute interview with Jason Nazar, Founder and CEO of Docstoc below. If you prefer to read a summary of Jason’s responses, they are included below.

If you have questions for Jason, please include them in the comments section.

Messenger: Jason Nazar, Founder and CEO, Docstoc.

Value Prop Twitter Style: Docstoc’s mission is to: "Make every small business better"

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7) Jason, why does the world need Docstoc?

"We provide the best quality and widest selection of documents to help you start, grow and manage your small business and professional life. We give you the knowledge and resources that a lot of people who have been successful before you had at their disposal."

Jason Nazar6) You are the only person I have ever met who was Class President of both their undergraduate (UC Santa Barbara) and their graduate (Pepperdine) schools. Did your Presidencies equip you for life at a startup or was it just an effective way to meet coeds?

"Yes (laughs)! It was a great precursor to being an entrepreneur. It’s a lot of the same skills as running a company. You have to mobilize people, delegate tasks, you have to raise money …and once you win, you have to run an organization. It was an amazing experience. It was the first time I really got a taste for doing something entrepreneurial and I was hooked ever since then."

5) At Pepperdine you earned a joint MBA/JD degree. Despite (or maybe because of) my Wharton lineage, I am not a huge fan of MBAs in the startup world. Knowing what you know now, would you still pursue a joint graduate degree or would you jump right into a startup after earning your undergraduate degree?

"If I had it to do all over again, I would have just start a company right way. You don’t need to go to business school and you don’t have to have an MBA to be a great entrepreneur and in some cases it (an MBA) can dull your entrepreneurial instincts.

If somebody was passionate about an idea and wanted to be an entrepreneur, my advice would not be to go to business school, just start doing what you’ve got to do. You’ll be the person who ends up hiring all those MBAs."

Docstoc Logo4) Docstoc is deploying a classic Freemium business model by providing tremendous value to your users at no charge. Yet you also offer premium items via the DocStore. How much tension is there internally between "charging" and "giving it away?"

"I’m a really big fan of Freemium. We spent the first couple of years getting the critical mass, we now have anywhere between 20 and 25-million people per month who use our service. Originally, the vast majority of content was free and now what we’ve done is we have taken a portion of that content that was free and to get the access to download the widest set of documents, you need to be a paying member."

3) My students are still talking about the Persuasion talk you gave to my Entrepreneurial Selling class last year. What are the three most important aspects of a killer presentation and how has your former career as a hypnotist impacted your persuasion style?

"The biggest thing to think about when you are speaking in public…is that at the end of the day, people don’t care about us (the speaker), they care about them. The biggest lesson I that learned about public speaking is to talk about them. If you talk to people about them, you typically will have an engaged audience.

Try to replicate what you would do in a normal conversation. If you were just having a beer with someone one-on-one, how would you talk to that person? You want to have that same engaging style.

Be prepared and know what you want to say. If you are stumbling over what you say and your sure where you want to go, that’s where all sorts of insecurities and bad behaviors will come out."

2) What will Docstoc look like in three years?

"Our core value proposition is to help people with the documents they need to start, grow and manage their small business. Starting this year, we are going to be producing original content…and moving into helping people with services – connecting people with other people who can help them with the solutions they are looking for. Our goal is to have Docstoc be the premier destination online where people go to grow their small businesses."

1) Even though the economy is lagging, your revenue and unique visitor count continues to rise. What are the primary factors driving your impressive growth and how do you plan to leverage these market forces over the next twelve months?

"That’s one of the interesting things about the Internet. Even though the economy can be doing bad…you have, in essence, the entire world as your customer. Something like almost 500 million unique people across the world that have at some point landed on Docstoc. When you can reach that scope, you are not as affected by the cyclical trends of the economy. Our goal is to produce really good, high quality products that help folks…if we keep doing that, over time, we can probably do really well."

John Greathouse

John Greathouse is a Partner at Rincon Venture Partners, a venture capital firm investing in early stage, web-based businesses. Previously, John co-founded RevUpNet, a performance-based online marketing agency sold to Coull. During the prior twenty years, he held senior executive positions with several successful startups, spearheading transactions that generated more than $350 million of shareholder value, including an IPO and a multi-hundred-million-dollar acquisition.

John is a CPA and holds an M.B.A. from the Wharton School. He is a member of the University of California at Santa Barbara’s Faculty where he teaches several entrepreneurial courses.

Note: All of my advice in this blog is that of a layman. I am not a lawyer and I never played one on TV. You should always assess the veracity of any third-party advice that might have far-reaching implications (be it legal, accounting, personnel, tax or otherwise) with your trusted professional of choice.

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