Balancing Customer Privacy and Growth, DuckDuckGo Challenges Google


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By Sean Ellis and Ethan Garr. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

Brian Stoner says that Google, Facebook, and many other companies have made it their business models to track you online, but in this episode of the Breakout Growth Podcast, he explains to hosts, Sean Ellis and Ethan Garr, that while regulation may ultimately be the answer to this problem, consumers can fight back today with DuckDuckGo’s all-in-one mobile and desktop privacy solutions.

At DuckDuckGo, Brian serves as Vice-President of Product, shaping the company’s browser extension and mobile app experiences. Consumers use these solutions to browse and search the Internet for free, but the company is challenging the notion that users must sacrifice their privacy for these services. The company makes money showing ads to its users, but it does no user tracking in the process. To be successful, DuckDuckGo has optimized for speed-to-value, elegantly showing users how its services protect and serve with every interaction.

So what are the sacrifices and tradeoffs for a company that’s made search privacy its mission? Can users expect the same search quality they get from Google? And without access to user data how can DuckDuckGo effectively optimize for growth? We drill into these questions with Brian and learn how the company’s fully remote team embraces a culture of transparency and learning to drive sustainable growth.

Few companies dare to challenge the Googles and Facebooks of the world, and even fewer are successful. However, in a world where consumers often feel powerless when it comes to trading privacy and security for access to the connected world, DuckDuckGo has found a way to grow and thrive.

We discussed:

* Why consumers feel powerless to protect their privacy on the Internet, and how DuckDuckGo challenges the business models of Internet giants like Google (2:04)

* DuckDuckGo’s advertising-based model, and how that works without user-level tracking (4:42)

* How the company looks to build parity in its functionality with its competitors relying on external APIs and other innovations (9:50)

* The company’s approach to making good bets by looking for “ the smallest thing we can do with the highest impact, and lowest complexity” (14:24)

* Founder, Gabriel Weinberg’s thoughts on “Traction” and what it means at DuckDuckGo (20:54)

* The culture that challenges the company’s fully remote team to question assumptions (24:00)

* Organization around growth, without a centralized growth team (30:12)

* User testing movie nights to share learnings (41:02)

And much, much, more . . .

44 episodes