5 With… Sahar Sarid, Founder, Recall Media Group
Sahar Sarid is more than just a domain investor, business developer and industry blogger, he is also a great teacher. Recall Media Group, the company he founded, is a leader in web development with projects including FuneralHomes.com, Flowchart.com and Assista.com. Under Sahar’s leadership, the company has grown and thrived, and it now dominates in the funeral vertical.
Sahar is a pioneer in the direct navigation business and a highly esteemed domain industry expert. He offers industry news, advice, and case studies on his frequently updated and highly touted blog, Conceptualist.com. Sahar’s vision of creating technology platforms that are scalable into multiple verticals is the foundation of Recall Media Group’s mission.
Sahar has an extremely diverse background that includes Military Service (Israeli Army), Retail Marketing, Professional Athletics (Rollerblading) and of course, Internet Technology and E-commerce. Sahar feels strongly that by cultivating a “desire for knowledge” and thus fostering advanced analytical and questioning skills in our youth, future generations will be better educated and more tolerant. His belief is that this will inherently create a fundamental shift in our socio-economic, cultural and political paradigms, culminating in a healthier, more peaceful, and ultimately a more sustainable global society/community.
In May, DNJournal published a great profile of Sahar, and I think his story is inspiring.
1.) EJS: What are some of the growth challenges you and your company face, and what are you doing to overcome these challenges?
SS: “Figuring out what works is most challenging. You first come up with an idea, it all sounds too good to be true, you are hyped, energized. You then put a business plan together, test the feasibility, and if all clicks, go build the product. Once built, you release your product just to find out your plan & model do not work. This is more common then you can imagine. Now you have a problem which is to figure out which part of your new venture doesn’t work? Sounds simple, but because *everything* is new, it is hard to figure out what is broken, and sometimes it is a combination of things, which makes it twice as hard. Is it the sales pitch? Is it the site design? Is it the industry? Is it the sales team? The list goes on and on. What we do is stay persistent, stay true to our core values, and march forward. We get into new ventures knowing very well that once the venture goes live, sometimes after years in development, it is the very beginning, not the end.”
2.) EJS: In an article comparing today’s Internet market with pre-bubble 1999, Aaron Kessler of Piper Jaffray said, Internet companies “are buying users instead of revenue and profitability.” How does your company convert eyeballs into dollars?
SS: “For us it is all about the bottom line. We are big believers in direct navigation and targeted search whereby our advertisers benefit the most, therefore we convert on behalf of our advertisers those eyeballs into dollars.
We do not believe in the idea that eyeballs without revenues is a good position to be in. We strive for profitability on our own, without the *need* to sell the company nor the need to take outside funding. For that, profitability is a must. As far as conversions, we always do things with scalability in mind. We try many different concepts and fail at most, but when we do get one idea right, since scalability is built in from beginning, it is a home-run that covers all our failures and then some.”
3.) EJS: In 5 years, when someone hears the name Recall Media Group and Sahar Sarid, what do you want to be the first thing that pops into their head?
SS: “I would like the world to know Recall Media Group for its integrity and persistence. We care about our people, we care about our partners. As for my name, Sahar Sarid, I’m working on building Assista which is a very important project in my life. I would love to be known for that project.”
4.) EJS: What skill do you think is more important – a strong business acumen, web development expertise, database programming or graphic design? Is it better to work to improve your weaker areas or hire people who are experts?
SS: “Common sense, good values, your reputation. If you get those together rest is easy. Web development (design, programming) is a commodity nowadays that can be sourced to professionals at very reasonable cost. Business acumen is important but not as important as basic fundamentals of life. At Recall Media Group a lot of times we compare business models to real life scenarios. If we have a good match we know we are onto something. If we don’t, we know something isn’t right.”
5.) EJS: Do you think your Israeli background and upbringing has contributed to your success, and if so, in what ways?
SS: “I think it helps. Israelis, Jews, are raised mentally, as the underdogs. We are taught all our early lives, through the bible, our history, that we were not likable, even hated. We are taught that if we want something we should do something about it, not wait for things to happen – make things happen. I grew up with that sort of mentality, being the underdog. Today, if I see someone who has something I want, in my mind, I believe that person is living “my dream”, “my life”. For me, that is unacceptable, that isn’t right, and it is something I must do something about, right now.”
SS: “We have tens of thousands of domains, some good, some aren’t. I don’t tend to elaborate on our corporate ownership until the day we develop. What I’m finding out is if we start a business in a certain niche we tend to want to control that niche and build supporting businesses and offerings with that industry. I think it is safe to say that you will see more Assista related projects, more Flowchart related projects, more funeral related projects, more domain related projects, and more directory related projects”
7.) EJS: You don’t seem to be a person driven by making lots of money. What is your favorite part of the business, and what motivates you?
SS: “In business, I’m motivated by competition. I don’t believe anyone is better than me. I believe if someone can do something, I can do it better. As for favorite part of the business, I would say seeing persistence pays
off, winning “against the odds”.
In my own life, I’m motivated by teaching, helping others. I’ve been a “natural teacher” all my life, since childhood. Everything I was involved with I thought others. Teaching and helping others help me understand fundamentals better. True mastery, in my humble opinion of course, is to see others taking your teachings and succeeding. In the domain space, few I taught/helped became self-made millionaires. For me, that is priceless.”
8.) EJS: You recently announced that “Recall Media Group is working on our first (of many) domain related ventures.” Are you able to divulge more information about the project?
SS: “No :)”
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