In this week’s episode, we speak with Founder and CEO of Blurb, Eileen Gittins about endeavoring to make a book of one and how this led her to create the company that is a true culmination of all her life’s experiences. In the first of our two part conversation, we discuss the strategy and planning that led to the rise of Blurb and the importance for any fledgling company to find and answer that one question that will see you through to success.
About Eileen Gittins
Eileen Gittins is the founder and CEO of Blurb, the creative publishing and marketing platform that enables anyone to design, publish, market and sell bookstore-quality books. She has been at the intersection of the Internet, consumer and enterprise software, imaging systems, search, and digital photography throughout her career.
Eileen wanted to create a beautifully designed and produced photo essay book – something that looked like a book you’d buy at the bookstore – but she only needed 40 copies. This turned out to be remarkably painful, expensive, and time-consuming– and she thought that was just wrong. So she founded Blurb.
Since launching at DEMO in 2006, Eileen has led Blurb from a startup to a high-growth company, reaching profitability with revenues of more than $45MM in 2009. Blurb was ranked the #1 fastest-growing media company on the Inc. 500 list in 2010. With over one million books produced, well over one million registered users, and a global footprint that extends to 72 countries, Blurb continues to experience high growth amidst challenging economic times.
Eileen says this is the most fun company she’s ever run, which is saying a fair amount as she has lived and worked all over the world with Kodak and as VP at Wall Data before and after the IPO, CEO of Personify and Verb, outside Board Director at Qbiquity and Popular Demand, and even a stint at a boutique investment bank.
She does all this and has time for hobbies too. In her spare time she still photographs, is a voracious reader, avid traveler (both physical and virtual), and former competitive swimmer who occasionally dips back into the pool.
Photos courtesy of Blurb.
About the Host – Travis Schreer
Travis is a wanderer who has a life-long passion for helping creative people realize their ambitions. While studying at the Kendall College of Art and Design and Eastern Michigan University, simultaneously pursuing a BFA in fine art and a Masters in creative writing, Travis rediscovered his fascination with photography and began working as a product photographer. After a brief stint studying poetry in Paris and years of developing his own artistic identity from the comforts of various midwestern cities, Travis packed his wool socks and moved to the chilly climes of Alaska. When he realized wool socks weren’t enough, it was on to Portland, Oregon where he endeavors to make The Photo Life a powerful resource on the virtual airwaves. Next time you’re in Portland, stop by Dawson City Park, where Travis can be found most evenings. He’s the scruffy guy playing with Collignon Quincampoix, the coolest dog you will ever meet.
Photo of Travis courtesy of Jessica Hill Photography.