The Story Exchange, Jane Smorodnikova, LikehackYour Name: Jane (Evgeniya) Smorodnikova

Business Name: Likehack, a social media managing service

Type of Business: High Tech

Business Location: San Francisco, California, United States

Twitter   @jsmorodnikova

Reason for starting
I made a career in software development industry from information security officer to chief business development officer, specializing on payment and billing systems. I was really lucky, because I’ve got an experience of being a founder of startup on my first job. I’ve got an idea, came to top managers with it, they approved it and gave me money to realize it. Now it’s profitable payment service in Siberia. But after a while I just decided that corporations are too slow to start new ventures, so I left usual job and started to experiment with my own ideas without any support. It was very exciting trip. I think my reasons are really simple – it’s just what I like most and can do better then anything else. Talking about Likehack – my reason is deadly simple – I am tired about too much information, I can’t stop reading it and I hate that most of our incoming content is clutter.

How do you define success?
It is amazing feeling “It is going! it is growing! OMG! We have so many things to do!” But you can feel it right in the beginning, but real success, of course, is when you’ve build a 100M$ company. Then you can say in a very calm way – yes, I did it.

Biggest Success
I think my biggest success moment was when I’ve stopped working for companies. It was scary, but it made me really happy. I decided it on my vacation, left in a month, moved to Saint Petersburg, met Michael Kechinov and in a month we’ve started Likehack as a way to solve our own problem with too much information.

What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it?
We have two biggest challenges – language and geographical barriers. Both of these problems are about promotion. It’s hard for us to reach an audience, because we don’t have enough contacts in USA and it’s hard to produce engagement content for our marketing campaigns. That’s why we are mostly focusing on technical ways like building growth engins, referral mechanics and getting search rankings.   Now we are launching our beta (in 2 weeks) and we will see how it works on bigger audience then our early users.

Who is your most important role model?
I really like Dagny Taggart from Atlas Shrugged. Something like “Don’t Argue, Just Do.”