When Erik Allebest met Jay Severson at the Stanford Business School, their unlikely friendship would spark a love of chess that Erik was never able to shake. Turning down jobs at big tech companies (including Facebook), Erik juggled his education, a family, and building Chess.com as a resource for them and their friends to find chess related information. But as it grew, Jay and Erik realized they had something bigger on their hands.
Chess.com is the number one place to play, learn about, and discuss chess, hosting more than 25 million users and over a million games played daily. Hosting everyone from amateurs to world champions, the scope of the site is far and wide, bringing together users from around the world to play the game of chess. Started in 2005, it has grown from Erik and Jay’s pet project to a fully remote team of over a hundred people.
Listen in Erik shares his unique approach to building a business (they’ve always been profitable, with no outside investment), what sparked him to start Chess.com, how he has maintained such constant growth, and why he loves having a fully remote team.
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“After school, I said I would spend one year [with Chess.com] at most and then I’m going to go take those job offers from the big tech companies. But that just never happened, it just kept growing and growing.” – Erik Allebest
“We don’t focus on growth, it’s really not where we spend our time.” – Erik Allebest