Heard on Campus: David Rusenko, co-founder of Weebly

“You can’t succeed if you quit. It might sound stupid to say, but Y Combinator has done research, and while they originally thought raw intelligence was the No. 1 predictor of a founder’s success, it turns out it’s actually sheer determination. A lot of people working on a startup now, they find early on that it’s not working out and start questioning things.

When we were getting started, we’d work all day and night until the light came up and we’d crash until we’d had as much sleep as we’d needed and then we’d wake up and just start working again. Our only rule was we weren’t allowed to work on Saturdays. That day we’d bask in the glory of wasting time, but then we’d get back to work on Sunday. For about two years that was our working schedule. It wasn’t until about 35 months in that we became profitable, and not until around 48 months that we were really off to the races.

There will always be obstacles in the way, and the only way you’ll be successful is through sheer determination -- you just don’t quit. I think for us, we were young and dumb, and just kept going. We didn’t know what success could look like, but through sheer determination, we just kept going. And now, I’m incredibly proud of how we’re able to help people take their dreams, their vision, and make it a reality through our website. But there’s still a lot of work we want to do ... the story isn’t finished; the ending hasn’t been written.”

-- David Rusenko (Class of 2007, information sciences and technology), co-founder and CEO of Weebly, on forging the path to success as a startup. Weebly enables anyone to create a high-quality site with no HTML experience. Today, 175 million people a month visit one of the 20 million sites created on Weebly, and 60 percent of people starting a site on Weebly are entrepreneurs.

Rusenko shared “The Weebly Story -- from Happy Valley to Silicon Valley,” on Friday (April 11) as part of IST Start-up Week 2014, a week-long showcase of innovations and entrepreneurship featuring “insider” talks by industry giants, cutting-edge technology demonstrations and numerous networking opportunities for Penn State students who aspire to be trailblazers in whatever field they choose.

Last Updated April 11, 2014