Career Spotlight: Matei Psatta, Co-Founder at Blindspot
4X-ing revenue, being #1 on reddit, and working with Kanye.
Every month, I feature a top performer on a ‘Career Spotlight’ and interview them about their journey, mindset, and habits.
Previously, I chatted with Linda Zhang to discuss pivoting from management consulting to big tech, identifying your ‘talent stack’, and having a growth mindset.
This month, I’m talking to Matei Psatta, Co-Founder of Blindspot and the person behind the #1 most upvoted Reddit post of all time.
Serendipitously, I met Matei at a Twitter meetup that my friends and fellow community builders, Rachel and Kyle, hosted in Soho last year.
He’s an incredible human who, together with Bogdan Savonea, built a company that raised $4.4M and 4X’d revenue in a year.
We quickly became good friends and I always looked to him for wisdom on life, career, and work — he always had something brilliant to say.
On top of that, he’s placed my face on billboards in New York on multiple occasions. It’s pretty hilarious.
Matei’s one of the brightest, sharpest, and kindest people I know – and I’m excited to share his journey with you all.
Can you walk us through your career journey?
The short version: 12 years of going from agency side to client side and eventually fully accepting my dark side as an entrepreneur and marketer.
My first real job was at a local PR (Public Relations) agency in Romania. Started off doing a little bit of everything, from updating the company’s journalist database to helping out with press events. This was back in 2010. The company was just getting into social media marketing and they wanted to test the waters with some cheap bait (AKA their youngest intern, me). I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to pitch some big clients and win those accounts.
I ended up getting pseudo-popular online and was eventually offered a job at Leo Burnett - initially a social media role, but I really wanted to get into digital strategy and in a few years ended up as the digital strategy director (for which I was extremely unqualified for, but was crazy enough to work insane hours, even by agency standards, so I was kind of making up for it).
After about 6 years of being on the agency side, I wanted to focus more on marketing, not just advertising. I was referring people to a Head of Marketing role at a huge Eastern European online travel agency, Vola.ro, but they didn’t like any of them and eventually invited me for a sit down. That’s where I met my first business mentor (but don’t tell him that, he’s already confident enough) and really got my hands dirty with marketing and business.
One year later, the startup I co-founded Blindspot (fka TPS Engage), got into Techstars so I decided to go down that path. Four and a half years later, here I am
What have been some of the most outstanding moments of your career?
On the agency side, being part of teams and campaigns that ended up winning a lot of awards - from Effie to Cannes Lions to other regional festivals.
On the client side, seeing the tone of voice and identity we worked on years ago still being successfully used today. It’s really something to be part of a company becoming a brand.
On the entrepreneur side, quite a few. A real time marketing stunt we did ended up becoming the most upvoted Reddit post in history. Just a few months after we officially launched in the US, we started working with Snoop Dogg, Kanye West, Morning Brew, Picsart, Duolingo, Chance the Rapper and many more.
A personal win was when VCs (Venture Capitalists) that previously ghosted us started advertising themselves or their startups with us - feels great to not have to give out equity when taking money from VCs, gotta admit!
What’s next for you?
I’m really enjoying where we are with the company now. I want us to continue to do inspiring things and tell great stories. As long as I wake up excited with our potential, I know I’m in the right place.
What have some of the biggest obstacles in your career been?
Deciding if I’m a generalist or a specialist. Common sense tells you you should specialize. It took me a long while to realize that’s not my strong suit - I’m a great marketer for scrappy to mid-sized startups or companies that are still defining their team and overall marketing strategy. Took me way too long to accept this and wasted a few years fighting my true nature.
What key habits, mindsets, or behaviors do you attribute your career success to?
A blue ocean strategy approach to most things - following a formula/well known road will give you a predictable result. If you want to stand out, it’s important to know the beaten path and willingly wander off it.
Help people out often and with small things. It doesn’t take much and it almost always has a positive return on the time spent.
What are your sources of inspiration and motivation?
Talking to entrepreneurs who don’t spend most of their time building an audience online. Talking to people who have lived abroad. Even if it’s our first time meeting, I’ve noticed that people who have lived in different countries each have a very distinct way of staying motivated and are very aware of their process.
It’s very difficult to find true wisdom in the social media clutter - especially when people are motivated to say things that other people will agree with (or disagree if your strategy is creating controversy).
Most inspiration and motivation can’t be condensed in 140 characters or turned into a 17 step course.
What is some unconventional advice you’d give?
Read less, write more. As useful as it is to read a book (or a newsletter, wink wink), sometimes you need to take a step back and focus on finding clarity rather than overloading yourself with information.
Thank you, Matei!
For those who would like to stay in touch - you can reach Matei at the channels below:
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