I am Dean Ansari, the Managing Director of Anoox non-profit Search engine & Social network. Anoox is composed of a Search engine powered by Crowd wisdom as detailed here. And a Social network that is Small business focused to make maximum Social IMPACT. Moreover when Anoox Search engine & Social network do not Track you - EVER, as detailed here.
The main product that we sell is Pay-per-Click Advertising, that is effective and saves Small businesses 50 to 90% on cost of Advertising since we do something totally unique, which is not accepted Big business Advertising so as to create a “level playing field” for small businesses; as detailed here.
We are doing on average about $50,000 per month in sales of Advertising, Donations received and Free members going Premium. And for a cool image that probably best captures what Anoox is about, which is to connect People World Wide to grow based on Sharing and Caring.
What's your backstory and how did you get into entrepreneurship?
I have been working in an Internet-based company since really the beginning of the Internet in 1996, having lead Software development teams ranging from 3 to 70 People from offices in USA and Europe, having Coded myself extensively whenever necessary, and having been on the business side from Hiring the Staff, to negotiating contracts, to presenting our firms in exhibitions, etc.. With Software and Internet services that I have to lead the development of being used by Millions World Wide.
Keep in mind that your employees are your number 1 asset. And above all: Love what you are creating.
And before that, I co-founded a software company in the late 80s that was doing AI software development at that time. So you could say that being an entrepreneur is in my DNA.
Take us through your entrepreneurial journey. How did you go from day 1 to today?
Well, Anoox has been under development for more than 10 Years and on May/2019 released Full Version 12. So given the massive scope of this project, which is composed of the Human-powered Search engine & the small business focused Social network, it has been a long development journey, to put it mildly.
I got through this most challenging journey by my Love of creating great Internet services, aka developing really cool Software that helps People, and my solid belief in our Manifesto and Goals, which is that the World needs more Choices in regard to all important Search engine & Social network and that the World needs a Non-profit Search engine & Social network.
How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
Well after more than 10 Years of development Anoox full version was released last year, so now we are in the best shape that we have ever been in. So the future will mean continuous Organic growth for us, given that we are offering the only non-profit Search engine & Social network in the World with 2-Million+ members already.
But for us to deliver much more value than what we’re currently offering, based on our own self-funding, we need an infusion of Capital.
Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?
Many things: really a World of new knowledge. Some apply to Internet companies in general, such as the importance of Cyber-security countermeasures, some apply to Social Media in general such as empower members to grow their social network on multiple levels and some to business in general, such as the need for being properly funded.
About Cyber-security: this is one of the most difficult aspects of running a large site that gets lots of traffic and usage, which is to make the Site Secure from all sorts of Cyberattacks. And here is the Killer thing, a typical user will not even know or appreciate how much effort is going into this, as they are just focused on what features and services you have for them.
Anyway, to make a Site Secure from Cyberattacks you must have countermeasures on Server level, there is much good software on this; you must make sure your pages are all safe from MySQL injection; you must make sure that hackers cannot connect to any open Ports, and many layer approach to ensuring only acceptable data are input in, and overall being very vigilant about this issue, which typical user will not even notice but the smooth operation of your online service so depends on.
What platform/tools do you use for your business?
What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?
Too many to list a few, as I am a voracious reader. A few of these books are:
People Over Profit: Break the System, Live with Purpose, Be More Successful Great Cities Through Travelers' Eyes.
Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?
If you are part of the fortunate 0.01% that can get VC funding, then do that. But if you are part of the 99.99% that cannot get VC funding, then find and join Social networks that support and empower small businesses. Keep in mind that your employees are your number 1 asset. And above all: Love what you are creating.
The number 1 mistake I see people making is not appreciated how much capital it takes to launch and operate a successful business and not realize that there are other forms of capital other than Money capital, which is connection capital and reputation capital.
Where can we go to learn more?
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