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Bryant Quan, Slickdeals CEO

oFlamingo 3,915 May 1, 2012 at 06:26 PM
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Slickdeals CEO, Bryant Quan, joined the company as its second employee during his freshman year in college. He stayed in school through his MBA while working part-time with owner Van and became the company CEO at age 22. Bryant has since increased Slickdeals’ profits by more than 400% and is continuing to grow the company.

Founded in 1999, is a free, user-driven deal sharing site where consumers collaborate and share information in order to make the best shopping decisions. Slickdeals hosts 18 forums where users interact to share accurate and the most up-to-date information on online shopping deals. Slickdeals is currently the largest deal community and deal website on the web, regularly ranking in the top 125 US websites (as rated by Alexa).

MO: How did you initially get involved with Slickdeals during your freshman year of college?

Bryant: I was an avid Slickdeals user during the site’s initial years. I checked the site everyday, catching deals that were just perfect for my young adult budget at the time. Being a web designer though, I knew that the site had an inherent problem – there were great bargains, but the design was very rudimentary and didn’t look as ‘slick’ as the deals it offered. On a whim, I emailed Van, Slickdeals owner, and offered my web design services for free. I figured that it’d be a win-win situation — I’d grow my web design portfolio and help improve a site that I frequented. Little did I know that I’d be the CEO just a handful of years later!

MO: What were some early lessons you picked up at Slickdeals that you weren’t being taught at school?

Bryant: I was in school for both Management Information Systems and my MBA and there were still a number of things that I had to learn the hard way after joining Slickdeals. In school, we were taught traditional ways of managing employees and finances, but the situations are completely different for startups. As CEO, I take care of a lot of these responsibilities in addition to developing the business, designing the website and keeping our million+ community members happy. There are a few now-intuitive lessons too: face to face meetings deliver far better results than communicating by phone or email, you can only get things if you ask for them and that a fully stocked fridge can move mountains in an office!

MO: How does Slickdeals work? How are you different than your competitors?

Bryant: Slickdeals is a community-based deal sharing site where our 1 million+ users post deals that they find all over the country. Our users share over 500 deals a day on our forums and we have a team of deal editors who select the best deals to go up on our front page. Unlike Groupon and LivingSocial, we do not solicit deals from merchants, but instead aggregate deals that are already out there. We don’t sell anything; we just show our users where to get the lowest prices. There are a few other deal sharing websites in the same space, but we specifically pride ourselves in never taking paid advertisements and posting them as front page deals.

MO: Have you always had an entrepreneurial spirit?

Bryant: Yes — while in school, I ran a couple of my own websites and I also worked as a freelance web designer. In college, I started and ran my own disaster recovery solutions and technology consulting company.

MO: Slickdeals has experienced immense growth since you first launched back in 1999. How have you managed to scale the business accordingly?

Bryant: It’s all about building a great team. We have a lean team of less than 20 full time employees, which forces us to be extremely efficient in everything that we do, be that coding or automating processes. We source our employees from our current Slickdeals community, which means they’re already familiar with our business and they’re enthusiastic about pursuing their own projects. As a team, we have a realistic list of what we want to do with the website, which continues to keep us focused on our goals.

MO: What’s the most exciting thing on the horizon for Slickdeals in 2012?

Bryant: Our user base is growing, and so are we, so we’re excited to be moving to an office more than four times the size of our current one! With that comes a bigger staff and we’re excited to have new members join our team in the next few months. For the site itself, we recently launched a personalization option on our website where our users can customize the deals that appear on their front page. In the next few months, we’re looking forward to the launch of the official Slickdeals app for iPhone and Android!

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How do they earn through this site? Just the advertisers?
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They make money through sale referrals. All links from sales that originate from slickdeals = $. Good for them. We all save/make money.
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Quote from zeeshansyed View Post :
How do they earn through this site? Just the advertisers?
Yah, ads pay quite a bit. As well as the right to e-mail you (giveaways and whatnot).
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I want some slickdeals stock! Embarrassment
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so what kind of earnings did this site and mr. quan earn last year?
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millions, my guess. millions in just the holiday season and more, all over the year Wink

Quote from inquisitive View Post :
so what kind of earnings did this site and mr. quan earn last year?
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Quote from rman View Post :
not everything is as rosy as it seems.

What I detest about slickdeals is that they ban the mention of competition even if it saves you $. I dont trust these guys completely, and I dont trust the front page items as they are placed there in exchange for $, in my opinion atleast some of the times.

Example, you cant mention the word

since the URL is blocked, lets find a way.. .. remove "nology" and you get what I mean. i visit that site as often as I visit slickdeals. I like slickdeals better because it does encourage speech, just not free speech.
Since I wrote a response to this recently, I will quote some relevant points:

Quote from bryantq View Post :
You're welcome to make theories about whatever you want, but sadly, I believe you're sorely mistaken and misplacing that distrust. Consider that we post deals all the time for things like the hundreds of freebies, in-store deals or printable coupons, and plenty of other stores in which we don't make a single cent (and there are quite a few large ones) - best buy, frys, steam, just to name a few (of many) that regularly make it to our frontpage. If it's a good deal, we post it. The only time we cant post a deal on our frontpage is if it dies quickly (obviously theres no point), if we have reason to suspect that it isnt going to work or is likely to be cancelled (or its fraud), or if its one of our prohibited categories which could get us blocked on most corporate web-filters. (Adult items, political items, guns, etc).

I believe we're continually innovating and bringing new features for our users and community. The rules and guidelines we have in place are simply there to provide order, and maintain organization and sanity, otherwise we'd have rampant chaos (You have no idea how many posts we remove from companies trying to shill their own products). I think we've proven that we're advocates for the consumer, by maintaining integrity on our frontpage, and freedom in our forums. I don't think we really control anyone's voice. We certainly have our own (vis a vis our editors, who are all from our community to begin with and have unlimited editorial freedom to post and promote whatever they think is good), but I believe our rules are fair, and the way we operate our site is fair as well.

For example, we protect our users and their content: did you know that Yum Brands (owners of taco bell, kfc, etc) sent us a Cease and Desist to remove all content merely discussing their brands? We resisted, saying that our users have the right to discuss and criticize (or even express their love for) those brands.

Or how about when people complain about a store (of which there is plenty of), we regularly get demands to take that content down, but we dont.

In the end though, either you trust us or you dont, but I can only continue doing what I think is best for our community and continue to nurture the community with at least some sense of order and civility.
We do block links to our competitors, but you're welcome to discuss them. The fact of the matter is, it is a choice not to drive traffic to our competitors, especially when many of them steal our and our users' content to begin with.

Furthermore, you'll have to take my word for it (or ask one of the merchants), that we do not allow merchants to pay for placement on our frontpage. The only way a deal can get on the frontpage is if one of our deal editors thinks it is worthy. That has always been a part of our frontpage commitment.
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Quote from inquisitive View Post :
so what kind of earnings did this site and mr. quan earn last year?
Mr. Slickdeals pays me in coupons and product samples... occasionally he'll throw in a free massage from a groupon he bought.
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Quote from bryantq View Post :
Mr. Slickdeals pays me in coupons and product samples... occasionally he'll throw in a free massage from a groupon he bought.
Who cares how much he makes? If someone is pouring their time and commitment into a project like this, who wouldn't want to be paid? Just because it's based on finding slick deals for the community and saving them money doesn't mean that the site operators should make zero. I've always found that to be boggling. Like if slickdeals makes money, then that's somehow unethical.

The point is, as long as the core values and integrity of slickdeals front page posts, user vetted deals, ease of use, etc. continues, then go nuts. I hope you do earn millions! Well, without cramming pop up flash ads and other nuisances all over us.

Kudos slickdeals! been stalking these forums for years
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I think it's cool to see young CEOs take charge and be successful.
Always been a personal goal to open a company of my own during my college years and see it impact the world somehow. Still working on it xP
In the meantime, keep rocking SD! I still rep that t-shirt on campus all the time! Big Grin
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I remember when Bruce introduced us and I thought your name was Bryan. It made me wonder what the TQ was for. LOL! Way to go on getting written up.
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Dang Kudos to Bryan for bringing up the site we all know and love.
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Nice write up Bryant. You & the SD staff rock!
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I want a job at SD to begin with, and want to be the CEO eventually.
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