Students who want to be successful in business and cyberspace should look no further than Matt Moog, a 1992 GW graduate, entrepreneur and founder of Viewpoints.com.
Moog spoke to students Wednesday evening as part of the Alumni Association’s “How Do I Become A…” lecture series and detailed his career as an entrepreneur and offered advice for students.
“If you have an idea, scrape together whatever you have and make it happen,” Moog told the crowd of approximately 40 undergraduates.
Moog began his GW career as a political science major interested in law and stumbled upon his interest in business and sales after creating and selling a direct mail coupon book his freshman year.
“Try a lot of things, and if you like something better, do that,” Moog told students.
Upon graduation, Moog first took an entry-level job with Microsoft, then become a senior-level analyst with a well-known entrepreneur and ultimately became president of CoolSavings.com, a Web site that offers discounts to consumers.
“It’s okay if you leave a good job and realize you’ve made a big mistake,” Moog said of his decision to leave Microsoft. “It happens to everyone at some point.”
From 2001 to 2006, Moog ran CoolSavings as the youngest CEO of the fastest-growing public company at that time. In 2006, Moog sold the business for $250 million.
In 2005, Moog’s father suffered a brain aneurysm and his search online for top-notch neurologists was unsuccessful because of what he deemed a lack of quality information online. This experience led him to start Viewpoints.com, a ratings and reviews Web site with the added feature of allowing users to create profiles for themselves as a way of building trust and credibility
Within one month, Viewpoints.com had registered 125,000 users. Today the site has 8,000 review writers who have posted 12,000 reviews. Though the site needs more users to become financially profitable, Moog is confidant he will attain this goal.
Many members of Moog’s audience were students with their own entrepreneurial aspirations, and asked his advice on topics ranging from securing investors and pitching ideas to steps they could take now to give themselves a head-start in the business world.
“Everything depends on where your passion is,” Moog said. “Find opportunities to stretch and challenge yourself beyond what you’re comfortable with, and most importantly, know something about the business before you interview.”