I just sold my company for life changing $$$.

13 years later, I'm an overnight success.

Here are 13 lessons from the journey, by year:
First, some context.

Ampush was my first company.

I started it at 25 with my two college roommates

We pioneered perf. mktg on Facebook ads with software and services. Early customers were Uber, Peloton, Dollar Shave Club and 8/10 of all B2C unicorns!

Here are my learnings:
1/ 2010 - One foot in front of the other.

Almost a year in and we had sold nothing nor built anything.

We had pretty ppt and xls but no results. We were afraid to fail.

My bro in law said: "do something guys! sell, hire, build. DO anything!"

We did and it started to work...
2/ 2011 - Balance focus with opportunism

We had a fast growing lead gen biz early on, mostly powered by FB ads.

FB started talking to us about their API and applying our capabilities to any advertiser.

What to do? Focus? or explore this new thing?

We divided and conquered!
3/ 2012 - Building to sell is dangerous.

Someone offered us low 8 figures for Ampush this year.

2 years in, we had never imagined this. Immediately, dollar signs came in my eyes. I thought: lets go harder/faster and sell for EVEN more.

This led to poor decision making.
4/ 2013 - Building on someone else's platform is a double edge sword.

U can grow fast but U don't control your destiny. Aligning to their interests is critical.

In 13, FB designated "special" partners and Ampush was NOT initially on the list.

It was brutal. but we fixed it.
5/ 2014 - Hyper scale requires being resourceful (hint: offshore!)

We >TRIPLED runrate revenue in a tech-enabled services biz this year (from $500k to >$1.5M).

Headcount was scaling faster but people were burning out.

We had to get people resources/redefine our processes.
6/ 2015 - Trust is a "bank" built by ongoing deposits or withdrawals.

I have a habit of hyping things/embellishing + being focused on myself. I had made lots of withdrawals of trust from our team.

When it came time to do a deal, they weren't supportive.

They didn't trust me.
7/ 2016 - There's always another level

5 years in, I was the man. Bootstrapped a biz spending well into 9 figures on FB.

@redventures invested and I got to know @RicElias

I thought I was an 8/10 entrepreneur and realized I was 4/10

I was energized by how much I had to learn!
8/ 2017 - FEAR is not a sustainable motivator

2017 was my low point. The biz wasn't growing. I was tired. I didn't feel excited anymore.

@davekashen helped me realize how often I used FEAR to motivate myself and why it was no longer serving me.

This changed me profoundly.
9/ 2018 - You can't microwave culture.

Having seen the amazing culture at Red Ventures, I quickly copied their approach/meetings throughout Ampush.

There was "organ rejection" - it wasn't effective and the team was alienated.

Lesson learned.
10/ 2019 - Know when to fold them.

This was the year I decided to transition out as the CEO.

This is one of the hardest decisions I ever made. I felt so much responsibility, ownership and attachment.

But my heart wasn't there and I was more of a distraction than a leader.
11/ 2020 - Expect the unexpected.

The MONTH I transitioned out as CEO, COVID hit 🤯.

Friends companies imploded. Our clients paused. Our pipeline died.

I had to resist every fiber of my being to not jump back in.

Within months, the biz was bigger than ever!
12/ 2021 - True Leadership is about service.

As Ampush's chairman, I had to learn to serve our CEO.

I wasn't in the day to day. I was no longer in charge.

My goal shifted to doing what I could to help him lead effectively.
13/ 2022 - Culture is the only sustainable differentiator.

After being away for >2 years, I briefly plugged back in during the sale process.

I was so proud of people I had hired now leading huge teams. They were action oriented, rigorous and kind.

The culture lived on.
14/ Whew!

So many lessons, learnings and reflections from building, scaling and selling Ampush. I'd guess I'm only in the 2nd inning of taking away all the learnings.

I'd be remiss if I didn't THANK so many wonderful people through this journey.
15/ First, the amazing people at all the @ampush clients throughout the years.

You made us.

So many of you are friends, mentors and I've learned from each one of you.

Thanks for taking a chance on a young kids dream.
16/ Special shoutout to all the people from @facebook and @redventures who supported us for so many years.

The Facebook "PMD" group - Pat, Gorvy, Ilesh, Ravi, Scott, Blake and more!

RV - Ric, Rodney, Sutton, Dan, Mark and all the amazing leaders there.
17/ To the current ~100 Ampushers and 300+ alumni.


Together, we pioneered an industry and redefined "growth marketing"

The people and our culture are the legacy of which I am most proud

Can't mention culture without acknowleding my coach and friend @davekashen, TY!
18/ Thanks to @OberlanderJ, who delivered this amazing outcome as CEO. But more importantly, stuck with me and with candor/care helped me grow. 11+ years of partnership.

Huge thanks to @Tinuiti and @ZaMorrison, who along with New Mountain Capital are CLASS acts.
19/ And to my brothers @TheNickShah and @chrisAmos, WE DID IT!! Dorm room dreams do come true. I love you both with all my heart and thanks for being amazing partners.

Ampush is Chris "AM"os, Jesse "PU"jji and Nick "SH"ah.

20/ Last and my most important partner: @tweepika.

You moved across the country, called affiliates early on and spent many evenings alone to support my dreams.

You believed in me since we were 16 and our family means the world to me! Thank you, I love you.
21/ That's a wrap!

Follow me @jspujji and share this thread!

I have bootstrapped multiple 8 figure businesses and am building a venture studio.

I share my learnings/BIP on entrepreneurship, leadership, growth mktg, ecommerce and more.
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awesome thread, congrats Jesse!