Building a Better Robot


Sometimes, smaller is better. That’s the philosophy behind
Robot Co-Op, a five-person Seattle web development company that’s ratcheting
its way up Seattle 2.0’s Seattle Startup Index with 1.3 million unique visitors
each month.

Robot Co-Op started in 2004 with a list of 75 ideas for a
company. The founders created a platform to track ideas, and this platform
became, the firm’s most successful site. 43Things gives users the
chance to connect with other people who have similar goals, and then share the
secrets of their successes and failures.

CEO Josh Petersen feels that having a small, close-knit team
that even eats together is one of the keys to the business’s success. “A big
team would have really made a mess of this,” Petersen says.

Petersen says a business model centered on rapid growth can
lead to an unwanted shift in business and product plans. “We believe in putting
our product first and building a company that fits the scale,” he explains.

Robot Co-Op recently scaled back operation, trimming and
combining websites to shift focus to its two most popular sites, 43Things and, a travel site.

The business was profitable by its second year of operation,
and it’s remained so. The majority of revenue comes from ads, although the
company also is backed by, its only outside investor to date.

Robot Co-Op’s success has hinged on producing a quality
product, remaining dedicated and even small things like having lunch as a
group, Petersen says. “If we couldn’t eat together, our success would be much
less than it has been.”

Related Content

How three Seattleites learned the language of computers and changed the course of their careers

Program launches in five cities, including Seattle

Program launches in five cities, including Seattle

Nationwide effort seeks to promote diversity and overhaul hiring practices

Nationwide effort seeks to promote diversity and overhaul hiring practices

Susan Gates, left, and Kate Isler

Longtime friends Kate Isler and Susan Gates encourage consumers to shop with purpose