Tiffany Pham

Founder & CEO at Mogul. Named by Forbes, BusinessInsider & Elle as one of their "30 Under 30"

THIS CHAT HAPPENED ON June 08, 2016

Discussion

Tiffany Pham@tifftpham · Founder & CEO, MOGUL
Hi, I'm Tiffany Pham, Founder & CEO of Mogul (www.onmogul.com), a platform reaching 18MM women per week across 196 countries and 30,470 cities. We enable women to connect, share information, and access knowledge from each other. I was a media executive, film producer, book author, and arts philanthropist before teaching myself how to code and building the first iteration of Mogul, launching to 1MM women in the first week. I'm delighted to be here -- ask me anything!
Capri Galaska@caprihiggins · Co-Founder @anchorxyz
Hello, Tiffany! As a "30 under 30," what advice do you have for young entrepreneurs in general and specifically for females? In my workplace, I am the youngest by 20 years and struggle with the balance of asserting my ideas and respecting the experience of those before me. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
Justin Wilson@jawhster
@caprihiggins me too. Great question
Tiffany Pham@tifftpham · Founder & CEO, MOGUL
@caprihiggins Thanks so much for the question! My advice to young entrepreneurs is to, early on, identify what you want to build and figure out where your weak spots are. Develop skillsets in this area through collaborations (such as side projects, until you launch), or else onboard advisors who can help provide guidance here over time. Then, as you launch, be resilient. you will hear no's -- but know that they are "not right now's." Keep going until you hear a yes.
Capri Galaska@caprihiggins · Co-Founder @anchorxyz
@tifftpham thank you so much, that is great feedback and encouraging to hear!
Sarim Haq@sarim_haq · AI Whisperer
Hi Tiffany. thanks for the AMA. I have a couple of questions: 1. What was has been your most successful growth hack, to date, that drove insane amount of traffic to mogul? 2. So mogul has many features: lynda.com typed online courses, buzzfeed styled content and a Q/A community similar to quora/reddit etc. At Mogul's launch, were you planning to cover all of these domains or did you have one area in mind to excel at? What is Moguls UVP? Thanks! Sarim
Tiffany Pham@tifftpham · Founder & CEO, MOGUL
@sarim_haq Hi Sarim, those are great questions: 1. The most successful growth hack was to be super-users on the platform ourselves. Being so present on the platform creates an aura of care and passion. Since launch, I would submit posts about my own life and career, share those amongst my networks, and build up a following such that other users would attempt to do the same on Mogul. In other words, this accelerated our growth as more and more users would find Mogul through the content we ourselves shared. 2. At launch, we put over 60 categories out there for users to post about. Over time, users would submit more about some topics, less about others. Over time, we honed in on the 5 they post most on: Growth, Love, Style, World, and Culture -- and made these the main categories. We let the community decide the rest, and move with them to service their needs best so long as it is aligned with our goals for our ultimate vision: (1) providing information access, (2) enabling economic opportunities, and (3) impacting girls' education.
Sydney Liu@sydney_liu_sl · Co-Founder of Commaful.com
Hey Tiffany!! So awesome to see you here and so excited to see Mogul continuing to grow rapidly!!! Had a couple of questions: 1) Not everybody is a "creator" or "writer", most people aren't. Have you found any patterns around which women were more likely to want to write things? How did you find them, especially early on? 2) Do you have a strategy to retain writers and readers? How do you keep people coming back to the site? Thanks and hope to see you soon! P.S, your story on Comma continues to do really well :D Sydney Liu https://commaful.com
Tiffany Pham@tifftpham · Founder & CEO, MOGUL
@sydney_liu_sl Hi Sydney! So good to see you on here! We need to catch up. (1) What I find is that we all have stories, journeys, and learnings to share. We don't have to be writers as long as we are authentic and true to ourselves. Early on, I built our initial user base through the young girls around the world who were already contacting me for advice. They were asking me questions about life and career. I built the platform for them initially; so when we launched, they were our natural first adopters. (2) Having built a community around a mission, we have an organic way of retaining users who are also passionate about this: enabling women to share information and access knowledge from each other. From our super users, we then built programs called Mogul Influencers (www.onmogul.com/iamamogul) & Mogul Ambassadors (www.onmogul.com/global_ambassador) to better service their needs and further amplify their voices amongst our millions of users.
Tiffany Pham@tifftpham · Founder & CEO, MOGUL
@sydney_liu_sl Also, I do see that the story of Mogul on Comma still does very well! Constant tweets from your readers saying they enjoyed it. :) We really appreciate it!
Thomas Stöcklein@tomstocklein · FoundersFundersFuture.com
Hi Tiffany, Great to have you on ProductHunt! It's so awesome that you taught yourself how to code to build the first version of Mogul! I'm curious what programming languages, frameworks, etc. you used to build V1.0 of Mogul. Also, what is the current version of Mogul build on in terms of the front-end and back-end of the platform?
Tiffany Pham@tifftpham · Founder & CEO, MOGUL
@tomstocklein I taught myself Ruby on Rails & Bootstrap, and built V1.0 of Mogul through that initially. The first version was quite simple. I have our CTO David Pham here beside me, and to address your second question, he says that the current version of Mogul is built on top of Ruby on Rails & React/HTML/SASS/JavaScript.
Alisha Ramos@alishalisha · Product Design Director @ Vox Media
Hi Tiffany. Your story is so inspiring, thanks for taking the time to answer questions. I find it so impressive that Mogul was able to reach so many women in the first week. Did you have a strategy/specific plan in mind going into that, in terms of marketing the product? Or was that mostly organic growth? EDIT: Woops, I see that you actually answered this question already. My other question is: What are some of the big challenges or opportunities you see moving forward with Mogul?
Tiffany Pham@tifftpham · Founder & CEO, MOGUL
@alishalisha Thanks so much Alisha! Yes, it was organic growth! I did not ever expect it. The biggest challenges and opportunities are (both) to continue servicing our international users, which means further orienting our programs Mogul Influencers & Mogul Ambassadors around international leaders and college students, respectively, for example. It means introducing further translation features and mobile capabilities given that over 80% of our audience accesses use via mobile.
Kris Shkodrani@kris_shkodrani
Hi Tiffany, thank you for taking questions. Mogul had a fantastic launch, as you mentioned more than 1MM women in the first week. What advice would you give to startups that are about to launch their product? What did you get right?
Justin Wilson@jawhster
@kris_shkodrani I 2nd that question. Thank you
Tiffany Pham@tifftpham · Founder & CEO, MOGUL
@kris_shkodrani Great question. It was about: content, product, and mission. Initially, as I was working in the media industry (aiming to ultimately honor my grandmother, who had worked to provide information access to those around her in need throughout her life), I was contacted by young women who would ask me for advice. As I received their letters, I realized there was a need for a platform like Mogul out there whereby millions of women could share their insights from the ground level -- their lives, their careers, their journeys. As it launched to these women, we had immediate traction because it was already servicing a specific group of people's needs. I observed what content they liked to share on Mogul, and aimed to bring more women who could share such content. Then I made the product extremely shareable through widgets that incentivized sharing. Finally, I reinforced our mission over and over again, in every conversation, every communication.
Tiffany Pham@tifftpham · Founder & CEO, MOGUL
@jawhster I agree! Let me know if there was anything else you wanted to ask on top of that question.
Dale Clareburt@daleclareburt · Co-Founder, CEO @weirdlyhub
Hi Tiffany, Thanks for taking questions today. I'm really interested in the diversity of workplaces. Not just gender and ethnicity, although these are super important. But also diversity of thinking, beliefs and approaches to work. I see Mogul as being an awesome and informative platform for this. So thanks for that. What do you believe is key to increasing and encouraging diversity in the workplace? What practices have you put in place at Mogul that is delivering on this? Cheers Dale
Tiffany Pham@tifftpham · Founder & CEO, MOGUL
@daleclareburt Thanks so much for this important question. I could discuss this topic for a long time. 1. STORIES: To start, we have to increase and encourage diversity in the workplace by supporting women and minorities to speak up early at the earliest stages in their lives; it starts even before the workplace. Right now, women represent just 15% of share of voice on op-eds and boards. Mogul is aiming to accelerate this rate by encouraging women very early on in their lives to speak up and share their voice, by having our community support one another, provide each other courage. 2. JOBS: We must also encourage those in hiring positions to seek top talent, beyond sometimes what they may be used to or comfortable with. For this reason, Mogul enables users to post jobs (www.onmogul.com/jobs) and tap top female talent on our platform. We see large companies such as Procter & Gamble & Verizon as well as top tech startups posting jobs to accelerate the rate at which women are being placed into their workforce. Otherwise, women represent just 20% of top leadership positions in the US. 3. MENTORSHIP & COURSES: Finally, we have Mentorship & Courses (www.onmogul.com/courses), which we offer at the enterprise level to provide companies & startups with resources to attract, retain, and advance diverse talent in their workplace. Let me know if you want an introduction to our Head of Mentorship & Courses, Natasha Birnbaum!
Dale Clareburt@daleclareburt · Co-Founder, CEO @weirdlyhub
@tifftpham Thanks for your answers. I could talk about diversity for ages too! I would love an introduction to Natasha re to hear more about the mentorship courses. It's great to hear that Mogul is really leading by example in the diversity space.
Tiffany Pham@tifftpham · Founder & CEO, MOGUL
@daleclareburt Wonderful! Her email is Natasha@Onmogul.com. Let her know I wanted you two to connect!
Andrew Ettinger@andrewett · PMM @Twitter // Previously @ProductHunt
What has been most exciting about growing Mogul to such a massive scale?
Tiffany Pham@tifftpham · Founder & CEO, MOGUL
@andrewett Thanks for this fun question. Looking back at the days when I was first a one-person team working out of my bedroom -- it's been so amazing to build a world-class team across our offices in San Francisco, New York, and Paris, whereby everyone is so passionate about transforming the lives of women around the world. We now have over 5,000 people working with Mogul in different capacities across 196 countries and 30,470. I am so proud to be working with such talents.
Emily Hodgins@ems_hodge · Community and Marketing, Product Hunt
What are your trop growth secrets for early community founders? 🙊
Tiffany Pham@tifftpham · Founder & CEO, MOGUL
@ems_hodge Great question! And cute emoticon. :) Product features that encourage users or makes it easier for the to sign up or share to their networks are key. For example, in the earliest days of Mogul, when you scrolled to the bottom of a post or else finished watching a video, we would enable a widget to pop up that encouraged you to share back to your networks across other platforms. Such features were essential to our acceleration early on.
Emily Hodgins@ems_hodge · Community and Marketing, Product Hunt
What are the biggest challenges to building a women only platform?
Tiffany Pham@tifftpham · Founder & CEO, MOGUL
@ems_hodge Ultimately, Mogul is an all inclusive platform for both women and men to share information, in support of women. 80% of our users are women, 20% are men. Thus, the challenge is to ensure that we constantly reinforce the mission and ensure that, among our millions of users, no one is not posting anything that opposes our community guidelines. We have technological tools (such as our Trending algorithm, which lift quality content) and team community managers who monitor and ensure a warm and supportive environment on our platform.
Brian Kelly@brian_kelly5 · Brian Kelly Leadership Coaching
Hi ,Tiffany. Building on your phenomenal success to date, I am curious what is next for Mogul? Can you give us a sneak peak at what lies ahead? #IAmAMogul
Tiffany Pham@tifftpham · Founder & CEO, MOGUL
@brian_kelly5 Thanks so much for the amazing question, Brian. It's so wonderful to have your ongoing support. What's next for Mogul is to continue evolving our platform to even further support (1) information access, (2) economic opportunity, and (3) girls' education. We'll continue our international expansion, and venture further into our mobile, given that the majority of our users access us via mobile. 2017 is a very big year for high-profile initiatives that will truly transform even more lives, and we are planning some very huge surprises for our users, including you!
Brian Kelly@brian_kelly5 · Brian Kelly Leadership Coaching
@tifftpham Thank you, Tiffany. I look forward to seeing all the wonderful things that lie ahead, and to remaining on this journey with you and the global Mogul community!
@PhysEd@physed · #PhysEd Teacher
Do you have any suggestions on how I could raise funds to build a website? I'm not looking for too much money, probably under 10K, which is chump change for so many investors. It involves physical education. Thanks for your help!
Tiffany Pham@tifftpham · Founder & CEO, MOGUL
@physed Great question. I would immerse yourself so much in that scene that you become friends with other entrepreneurs in the physical education space. Build up friendships, and over time, ask for their recommendations to investors who have invested in their businesses. Those warm connections will set you on the right foot with such investors. Demonstrate traction, continued brand equity, and future vision in your pitch. Someone will say yes. Even if you hear a no initially, just know that it's just a "not right now." Keep going until you get to that yes.
Andrew Carley@acarleyonline · Writer and marketing expert
Great topic!
Tiffany Pham@tifftpham · Founder & CEO, MOGUL
@acarleyonline Thank you so much! Glad to have you here!
Laf. Julius@laf_julius · co- founder @evolvesports
What's your favorite book that got you through the process of starting your company?
Tiffany Pham@tifftpham · Founder & CEO, MOGUL
@laf_julius I first read "By Invitation Only" by the Gilt Groupe Founders (Alexandra Wilkis Wilson is now one of our Think Tank members). I found many of the takeaways useful, such as their process of picking a name. I can go into detail as to why I chose the name Mogul. I also love Sophia Amoruso's #Girlboss.
Girdharee Saran@giri · iZenBridge
We would like to understand your origin story. What made you decide to start Mogul?
Tiffany Pham@tifftpham · Founder & CEO, MOGUL
@giri Thanks so much for the question. I decided to start Mogul because I wished to honor my grandmother who had worked to provide information access to those around her in need. Very early on when I was 14, on the day she passed away, I made a promise to her that I would do everything I could to dedicate my life towards this mission as well and follow in her footsteps.
Girdharee Saran@giri · iZenBridge
@tifftpham Thanks. Your vision is awesome. Touched, moved and inspired!
Laf. Julius@laf_julius · co- founder @evolvesports
What are some of moguls key strategies for increased user acquisitions?
Tiffany Pham@tifftpham · Founder & CEO, MOGUL
@laf_julius Great question. We have programs internally to service our super users: Mogul Influencers (women and men who have powerful voices, including the Mayor of Paris, Chelsea Clinton, and more, such as the people listed here: www.onmogul.com/iamamogul) and Mogul Ambassadors (women and men around the world who believe so much in our mission, their energy moves us forward). We don't have any paid methods for user acquisition. It's all organic word of mouth through those aspects first, reinforced by a strong brand and product that enables such users to view us as their daily destination and visit us 6 times per day. We also have strong email and social channels for continued distribution of our content from our platform, thus accelerating user acquisition.
Thomas Stöcklein@tomstocklein · FoundersFundersFuture.com
What are some major milestones for Mogul that you and your team hope to accomplish in the next 12 months?
Tiffany Pham@tifftpham · Founder & CEO, MOGUL
@tomstocklein Great question! Externally: We aim to strengthen our platform to better service our users and further extend our reach from 18 million per week. We aim to do this by bolstering features that help to perfect the current version of Mogul (for example, enhancing upvoting and commenting), as well as introducing features that will help expand Mogul's current capabilities and meet even more users' needs (for example, sub-verticals, translation, mobile capabilities). We also aim to accelerate our revenue as a profitable enterprise through our content production arm Mogul Studios & our subscription product Mogul Mentorship, in order to re-invest back in the product to service our users. Internally: We must make more hires to fulfill the above the goals across engineering and sales teams. We are excited for the year ahead.
Thomas Stöcklein@tomstocklein · FoundersFundersFuture.com
@tifftpham That's great! Good luck with everything and Congrats on everything you've achieved so far!
Justin Wilson@jawhster
Did you found the company on your own? When did you know to get additional employees, founders, or investors? Great job on your success! What one thing did you do that contributed to your success? Without it would have made success more difficult?
Tiffany Pham@tifftpham · Founder & CEO, MOGUL
@jawhster Thanks for the question! I started Mogul initially as a one-person team because I was aiming to fulfill the needs of the young girls around the world who were emailing me hundreds of questions each day and hoping for advice back. By the 5th month, I could no longer handle our millions of users on my own! I made our first hire then, who is now our Head of Content & Community. She and I had worked for many years together, prior to Mogul, producing feature films and documentaries. I then brought on a super user as our Head of Operations & Growth, another super user as Head of Marketing & Monetization, and again someone I had collaborated with prior to Mogul as our Head of Courses & Business Development. Over time, our team grew organically in this way: from my prior collaborations or else from our user base. This ensured that our team was full of people who truly loved our mission and with whom we collectively connected and collaborated well. Building true, authentic relationships and friendships were therefore key to the success of Mogul.