Geoff Atkinson is the Founder & CEO of Huckabuy, a tech startup based in Park City, Utah, helping organizations grow their organic search channel.
1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
Sure. So, I am the Founder and CEO of Huckabuy, a software company building automated products that leverage Google’s dynamic rendering, page speed, and structured data initiatives to drive organic channel growth.
Customers include familiar names like Concur, Salesforce, and Vivint and things are rolling here. In fact, we are truly humbled by the growth lately. We just received about $2.3M in seed funding this past December. And April was our best sales and marketing month to date, largely because SEO is such an essential marketing channel in this economy.
Prior to Huckabuy, I was the SVP of Marketing and Analytics at Overstock.com. That was where I really became interested in SEO. I actually started in an entry level email marketing position there back in 2005, but happened to come across this concept of SEO, which was still sort of in its infancy at the time and told company leadership that Overstock should act on it.
We ultimately did and it powered a lot of the company’s growth in the late 2000s. It went from being a $0 channel to a $300M channel in about 4 years and the rest is history. Overstock became one of the giants of e-commerce.
2) What does a day in life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
Our marketing team is big on podcasts right now. So it is not uncommon for me to do 2-3 interviews a day before noontime. Since we completed our seed round of funding in April, I have been able to return to my marketing roots and work closely with that team.
That takes up most of my afternoons and evenings. But it’s something I am really excited about and have been looking forward to for quite a while. We believe Huckabuy has the chance to be a marketing-driven organization.
With all that said, I also make sure to cleanly break up the various parts of the day by walking my two chocolate labs, James and June, to clear my mind and get ready for the next project.
3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?
Given that we are in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic, our entire company is fully distributed at this time. But prior to the pandemic, I had it worked out so that our Park City, Utah headquarters were located just down the street from my home.
I have always felt fortunate to strike a neat balance between office hours and working from home and being with my family as needed.
4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?
This is a big topic at Huckabuy. Many of us are avid outdoors people. We live in Utah in large part because we love to play in the local Wasatch mountains (skiing, hiking, etc).
There are some days in the winter, for example, where the skiers on the team might take the morning off after a big snowstorm to take advantage of the fresh powder and work in the evening instead.
We encourage that kind of flexibility. As long as you get the work done, the schedule is really on your terms. And I’ll just add one more thing here. Given the productivity of our team, along with our extracurricular interests, we have been seriously considering the idea of a 4-day work week.
We agree with the research that shows employees can be just as productive in that shorter time span and that a longer weekend gives them the energy they need to do so.
5) What do you think are some of the best habits or routines that you’ve developed over the years to help you achieve success in your life?
Being an entrepreneur is a great lesson in patience and delayed gratification. Huckabuy, for example, has existed in one form or another for roughly 6 years and we really started to hit our groove about 2 years ago.
So you have to be expectant of that reality coming into it. Ready to play the long game, you know? I think it just comes down to adopting an entire lifestyle based around this reality. I mean, my other passion is golf. And if you think about golf, it is really the ultimate “lifelong” sport.
You can expect to get better, but it takes a lot of time and investment. So I would say orient your entire lifestyle so that you can appreciate and thrive on small wins that will accumulate over time and finally pay off somewhere down the road.
That’s how you come to appreciate most things anyways. It’s a good way to live.
6) Are there any books that have helped you improve over the years?
So, I am a native New Englander and a huge sports fan all around. Of course, I follow the New England Patriots football team and (former) quarterback Tom Brady is a huge inspiration to me.
The fact that he has maintained a level of excellence for this long (well into his 40s) in a notoriously brutal sport is something to admire – whether your career and interests are based in sports, business, or elsewhere.
So when I think about books, the first one that comes to mind is the TB12 Method. Brady is famous for taking extra special care of his mind and body and this book is an inside look at all of his tactics.
7) What is the number one thing you do to make sure you get the most out of your day?
This one is easy. I make sure that I get outside no matter what. And given that Park City, UT is a mecca for outdoor athletes, this is incredibly easy to do. You are never short inspiration.
In the winter, I cross-country ski with my dogs. And as soon as the snow melts, I am on the local golf course nearly everyday. The one constant activity year round is dog walking. As I mentioned earlier, I have two chocolate labs and taking them on strolls around downtown Park City is really nice.
8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?
I’m always fascinated by the people who have accomplished so much in so little (relative) time. I have also questioned whether balance is even important.
Some of the most successful people I know are also the most imbalanced people I know, so maybe there is a really tough tradeoff there. With startups for example, there really is no such thing as a traditional work week. You often find yourself going above and beyond the call of duty to keep the ball rolling. So, I’m not sure.
I’d like to hear what someone like Jeff Bezos has to say about work-life balance. He is famous for his “day one” mentality at Amazon, which suggests an incredible level of focus on work at all costs. In general, this is just a really interesting topic to me because I don’t think the answers are so clear cut.
9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
If you are like me, you are probably very competitive and it is almost too easy to work hard. I know this is cliche, but that path is unsustainable for most people. The best solution in my opinion is to make sure that whatever you are working on, that you are passionate about it.
The perfect amount of work-life balance isn’t going to be a solution for a job you can’t stand going to every day. In the hierarchy of needs, loving what you do is more fundamental than balance.
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