My name is Matt Connor, the founder & CEO of SSD Nodes. We’re a VPS hosting provider perfect for developers and business owners looking for reliable, high-performance cloud hosting & Linux servers. I currently live in Orange County, California, and studied Computer Science at college.
The Journey Began
The shortest & easiest way to describe what my life looked like before WordPress is more difficult. As anyone who’s used WordPress knows, it makes running an online business & building websites possible in a way that no platform ever has.
Prior to using WordPress, we actually used HubSpot’s content management system. Switching to WordPress was definitely the right choice as it’s far more extendable and powerful. It’s actually an integral part of ensuring that our marketing site can be easily managed by both our marketing & development teams at every step of the way.
The Need for SSD Nodes
SSD Nodes Logo
In college, I was doing two majors at maximum course load while also working a part-time job. At the time, I was with a few people at a friend’s wedding, one of which said “Matt is going to create something great, but he’s going to give it away for free and live in a cabin somewhere with a dark fiber connection”.
I knew he was right but also knew that “free” is not a sustainable business model. During finals, when I wanted to procrastinate the most, the idea chose me (I didn’t choose it). It would be the first company (at the time) to offer cloud servers with these brand new super-fast SSDs. And while they aren’t free, they’re as close to free as we could get without sacrificing service, which is what differentiates us from the rest. Customers get the raw power, performance, and resources of virtual servers that would normally be overcharged at 10x the price.
I started this business while I was in college and funded it from a minimum-wage, part-time job. To this day, we’ve still not taken any investments. I did this so that I would have the complete freedom to build what we wanted without needing to adhere to whatever it was that investors wanted.
Very early on we had a client who paid a few thousand dollars for a year of hosting. This was the first official client that ever did this and it was amazing and all as a result of someone featuring SSD Nodes on their WordPress site.
However, at the same time the credit card processor we used at the time held 100% of the funds for a few months while we still provided service to the customer at our own expense. Eventually, the credit card processor thankfully proceeded to pay out the funds and we quickly learned from this by proceeding to move to a more reliable credit card processor.
We’re extremely proud to say that the SSD Nodes website and blog are both proudly powered by WordPress.
Myself with my Brilliant Team
SSD Nodes is a 100% remote company – this proved to be great for us and we’re especially thankful that this was the case prior to COVID-19 as it meant that we didn’t need to worry about suddenly transitioning to the working-from-home lifestyle we all love.
Matt Connor Workplace
Advice for Business Owners
Just stop hesitating and start something. Start somewhere. It will obviously never be perfect to begin with, but the sooner you start, the sooner you can learn and start iterating. You honestly need much less than you think to start.
I have two friends who started their own companies but still haven’t launched after a year. I keep pushing them to launch because until you launch there’s really no way to know that you’ve built something people actually want.
The very first iteration of SSD Nodes was built in a few weeks – I rented the servers from SoftLayer (now IBM) – and it was very basic. After launching, it took about a month for us to get our very first customer. Servers are expensive which is what gave me the motivation and drive to launch and start attracting customers as quickly as possible.
In my opinion, it’s really important to choose whatever you think you can add the most value to or whatever you feel you’re equipped to do better than someone else. Every type of business has its tradeoffs. People always strive for perfect from day one when in reality, it takes a lot more than that.
You can always start a company and if it doesn’t work out, transit to something else. I started three companies (and was running them all at one point) until SSD Nodes became “the one”. Life isn’t perfect and it takes time to figure out what you enjoy and what you’re good at.
The more things you try, the more likely it is you’re going to find the one that resonates with you.
WordPress & Beyond
We launched a whole host of new locations this year including Singapore, Frankfurt, Tokyo, London, and Amsterdam. All of them have the same affordable pricing so our goals are to continue expanding more. In addition to this, we’re also hiring and building our team to better support our customers across the board.
For WordPress, I picture it as it will only become better, faster, and stronger. As with every industry, there’s always a threat which is good. It means there’s demand in this space and WordPress will be forced to continue striving to be the best out there. WordPress powers an unbelievably large percentage of the websites on the internet today and, with their dominance, I don’t foresee that will be changing anytime soon.
My Love for the WordPress Community
The WordPress community is huge. From what I’ve seen, it’s very inclusive and open to people of all backgrounds. There are online communities and meetups in almost every city, so you can be sure there’s probably a meetup near you filled with people who are excited about WordPress and willing to help with whatever project you’re working on.
How I Keep Myself Updated
My favorite sources of information are Hacker News & Reddit because this is where a lot of the most talented people in the hosting industry go to share and discuss their thoughts on what’s going on in the industry…
I Have a Life Other Than the Work
Outside of SSD Nodes, I spend most of my time learning something new, reading, hiking, and helping friends with their businesses.
I spend holidays with my family back home and my favorite travel destination is Vietnam. I visited last year and it was really incredible – I hope to be able to go back there sometime soon.
Matt Connor at Vietnam
Matt Connor Pet
I Reward Myself by
To be completely honest, eating is one of the most enjoyable things we do on a daily basis. I try my best to eat as healthy as possible and try new things as often as I can.
Trying new things is also very important to me. For example, I went skydiving a few months ago and it was exhilarating.
Matt Connor Skydiving
Connect With Me
Use promo code WPF10 to get $10 off any of our 1 year or 3-year plans.