Trada Update

tradaCompanies rarely grow in a straight line (or the fabled exponential one). Building a business isn’t about getting from point A to point D by passing through points B and C. There are fits and starts. Amazing discoveries and heart wrenching realizations. Huge highs and low lows.

Trada – which has built a large crowdsourced marketplace for search optimization – has been through its version of this crazy growth curve over the past 5 years. We’ve learned a ton and along the way have delighted a large number of customers. But we’re having one of those non-linear moments at the business and came to the realization that we needed to shrink to grow. So we took the harsh medicine and significantly cut back the Trada staff. The result was a business that has real revenue and customers, is growing and bringing on new business, is continuing to build and innovate product and is profitable.

I bring this up because it’s been falsely reported in a few media outlets (and on Twitter) that Trada is shutting down (purposely not linkning here – any reporter who can’t even perform the most basic due diligence on a story doesn’t deserve the extra traffic). Trada is not shutting down. The move the company made last Friday was bold, dramatic and painful. But it was the best thing for the business and its customers. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen a business retrench (Gnip, for example, cut back to 6 people a few years ago before profitably growing back to 80 and counting).

As I’ve said before, building a company is often a 10 year + journey. We have plenty of distance to go still at Trada.

  • Sarah

    Way to be a job creator Seth. Glad to hear you still might make money on a company that has churned and burned its workforce for 5 years before laying off almost everyone. Where “play dumb” is considered standard ethics internally. Venture Capitalism at its finest.

  • My heart goes out to those that lost their jobs, it’s never easy for employer nor employee. That said, laying off the majority of staff in order to say, “There! Now we’re profitable again!” is nothing to brag about. And I sincerely disagree with the Gnip analogy. You can’t compare apples to oranges.

    • Tom

      Trada took some very smart and dedicated people in the industry and burned them
      out until the left typically in months. Also so many young careers were never given a
      chance. With little or no management and a learn by failing job environment at the expense of customers and good employees its a wonder it took 5 years.

  • Guest

    This is such a joke. Everyone who worked at Trada in the last year knows that with their high churn rate, they have very little time left. Also, how exactly are they “bringing on new business” without a marketing team and sales team? Lastly, I agree with Clare on comparing Trada to Gnip. Cutting a team from 12 to 6 because you changed product strategy is extremely different from cutting a team from 75 to 11.

  • disappointed

    The best thing for the business and it’s customers? I guess that depends upon the definition of “the business” and to what extent that definition includes the vast majority of team members. A satisfied Trada customer is the clearly the exception rather than the rule. Bold and dramatic for leadership at the highest level, certainly. Painful for those who worked hard and made sacrifices for “the business” and then got a pink slip for the holidays, definitely. Sounds like more of the spin that sewed incredible discontent among clients and employees. Taking ownership of mistakes is requisite to learning from them. People can accept failure but half truths are whole lies.