We asked 15 high-profile professionals about the times that mattered most in their lives, the times that provided them with singular moments – euphoric moments – that they would never forget . Here, Moo.com founder Richard Moross recalls when Mr Hankey told him he’d made it.
Interviews by Paul Kendall and Ruth Caven
Published: 12 Nov 2009
Moo.com founder Richard Moross: ‘My product sounded like some weird sex accessory’
For some businessmen the sound of success is the ringing of a cash register. For me it’s Mr Hankey, the Christmas Poo, exclaiming ‘Heigh-di-ho!’ in a high-pitched squeak. Anyone who’s familiar with the cartoon series South Park will know Mr Hankey. He’s something of a cult figure and his ‘Heigh-di-ho’ greeting is one of the most quoted lines among South Park fans.
Just before Moo.com launched on September 19 2006, someone on my team downloaded a recording of Mr Hankey and programmed it to go off every time we made a sale.
The site prints customised business cards, among other things, and when we went live, at around midday, we all sat in the office, eyeing each other nervously and wondering how long it would take for Mr Hankey to speak to us. Fortunately, we didn’t have to wait long. At the sound of the first ‘Heigh-di-ho!’ the room erupted. After that, the Mr Hankey recording went off pretty much every 60 seconds. It was like a dam collapsing, and a torrent of water rushing through. From that moment on, we were inundated with orders. Getting to that point, however, was not easy. When I set up the business, at the age of 25, I spent the first 18 months making pretty much every mistake in the book. For a start, the original name of the company was Pleasure Cards. At the time, the idea was to provide an alternative to business cards, for people to use in their social lives, and I thought: ‘What’s the opposite of business? Pleasure.’ But, unfortunately, in today’s world, the word ‘pleasure’ has been hijacked by the porn industry and my product sounded like some weird sex accessory. So that didn’t work.
In 2006, I completely transformed my business model. I changed the name to Moo.com: short, memorable, inoffensive.
As an entrepreneur you have to believe in your product, but I had no proof that it would work. It was only when we flicked the switch and Mr Hankey started squeaking that I knew we had a hit.
Read on the Telegraph’s website