ETF.com Index Universe is a brand you've been building out for over a decade now. Why did you decide to grow it initially?
Jim Wiandt: I fell into the index/ETF business. I started as a writer and have always enjoyed finance the way I enjoy sports...and there was something almost altruistic about index investing that attracted me. I'm delighted to see "right" turn into a juggernaut in the form of the ETF.
ETF.com: What have been the biggest challenges you've faced while building ETF.com?
JW: I'd say keeping things simple and focused. We've learned over the years that if we focus on what we're really good at - which is taking complex subject matter and communicating it clearly in a way that resonates with a broad audience - that we'll be successful. We've been lucky to be in the right place at the right time and to believe, fundamentally, in what we do.
ETF.com Why did you change the company’s name? What was behind this move?
JW: I've always wanted a short email address, and now I have one with [email protected].
We changed our name to ETF.com because over the years nearly all of our focus has moved to ETFs, and when we had the chance to secure what obviously is the best conceiveable URL in the space, we jumped on it. Our goal is simple...to make ETF.com dominant and ubiquitous as an information in the ETF space globally. Anytime you see anything relating to ETFs, we want that data or that analysis or that reporting to be coming from ETF.com
ETF.com What do you consider your greatest success?
JW: Having built a company where people actually believe in it, and love what they do. Our culture, which is based on respect for our co-workers, and passion for our work, is unique, and something we're thankful we've got.
ETF.com: What do you believe are the three key things for a successful business?
JW: Passion, perseverance and position (you could call that luck or vision).
ETF.com: What advice would you give someone starting their own business?
JW: Do what you love and build the business the right way, not for an exit, or to do something else.
ETF.com: Describe an average day for you?
JW: It depends what country I'm in. I spend a lot of time in airplanes. If I have my way, I start with an early morning swim, year round, drop my sons at school, and then work from 10 a.m. until midnight or later, spanning calls from Europe to California.
Jim Wiandt will be speaking further at our upcoming conference in Amsterdam next month. See here for more details.