Anthony Bucci

I’m a founder, CEO, brand builder, investor, tech geek, family man and juggernaut. I’m most known for RevZilla. Expect a bit of storytelling, inspiration and insight as my different roles and perspective continue to evolve. I won’t settle and neither should you.

  • It’s always enjoyable and humbling to be asked to speak to folks earlier in their journeys.

    A mix of sharing (hopefully) useful nuggets with a side order of glory-days-nostalgia always leaves me smiling. It’s former operator self-actualization at its finest.

    Last week I spent about an hour with a room full of Drexel business and entrepreneurship undergrads, hosted by Drexel’s Lebow School of Business and fellow alum Mike Angelos.

    I’ve told the RevZilla story a ton of times but Mike delivered a mix of broader questions and hilarious curveballs that were rounded out by great student Q&A. This was a slightly different career-oriented talk that absolutely had the benefit of 5+ years of post-RevZilla perspective.

    To Mike’s credit, the work he put into prepping for this and trying to find second and third level questions, made all the difference in the depth of discussion. He also dug up some cringey old photos of me. Jerk… however level 10 trolling always gets respect. :-p

    My hunch is the most useful parts of the discussion are on hiring, core values and self knowledge along with some thoughts on raising money and investing.

    Some links to things I mentioned in the talk:


    Recently I was having a conversation about the importance of personality and voice as key ingredients for any great brand or product. It’s a conversation I have at least ten times a year with companies ranging from startup to grown-up.

    Whether we explicitly realize it or not, the best companies nail the consistent delivery of their personality across customer touchpoints – especially in B2C. They are the ones we feel most strongly connected to. The ones we feel we know. The ones we identify with. They are usually the ones we spend the most with.

    When RevZilla customers told us they “loved us”, which was always the highest compliment, it just as often came in conjunction with them saying they “felt like they knew us” as it did via praise for our customer service, fast shipping or product knowledge.

    Over time, one of RevZilla’s superpowers was sharing ourselves with our customers. Whether explicitly or by accident, it allowed our customers to form a relationship with us that was much greater than the immediate transaction.

    I have written much about Fred Wilson’s blog ( on this site, because I have learned so much from a decade-plus of reading him daily. Today he posted his top-read posts of all time with some commentary that specifically called out a guest post on company voice called “Minimum Viable Personality”.

    The post is equally smart and hilarious as it’s written by a contributor (turned blogger) who always commented under the pseudonym Fake Grimlock – yes, impersonating a tech startup obsessed version of the Transformers Dinobot leader – mangled robot dinosaur English and all.

    Jokes aside, this post from 2011 resonated as much then as it does now. It influenced how I thought about intertwining our personalities as founders and the team’s cultural sensibilities into what became the external brand voice of RevZilla. This post helped me recognize it and gave me further permission to lean into it.

    The nerdy quips, puns, jokes and joy showed up in copy, marketing, customer service, culture and certainly front and center via our RevZillaTV YouTube channel. I even created an informal internal brand mantra I called “5% jokes” which I used to ask Zillans if they applied to what they were working on. An overly pronounced sense of humor reflected our personalities and was at the customer forefront in that era.

    I can’t tell you how many times I met a customer who said “I feel like I know you” or “I feel like I’m part of your inside joke”. That was one of the biggest learnings in building the brand. It was as much, if not more, about customer connection as it was about the utility of convenience, service or a great website.

    Fake Grimlock proclaimed, “PERSONALITY API FOR LOYALTY”. So smart. That statement is so perfect – even with its missing helping verbs.

    When we started out we wanted to seem more legit than 3 founders in our apartment so we wrote a “big company” about us page, photoshopped some website footer trust badges we couldn’t afford to actually pay for (See left. Cringe. Def got archived) and made our voice decidedly corporate. I’ll never forget the time in 2010 a competitor on a forum called us “the faceless monster”. It was a sign of our growing success, but it was also a big sign we were missing something that we didn’t realize at the time.

    From then on we embraced our own voice. We stopped being the weak chicken Fake Grimlock chided.

    We had a great product then. Making it more personal and “ours” was part of perfecting it. It not only brought it to life, it also became a key company, brand and product differentiator (moat) in our go-to-market.

    I remember sharing the Fake Grimlock post far and wide in 2011. It was so validating to some of our hunches about what was really working. As a daily reminder to continue to “uncage our voice” and “NO BE CHICKEN”, I printed out one of the hand-scribbled drawings from the post and pinned it to the wall next to my desk.


    It brought a big smile this morning to so easily find a iPhone pic of my office wall from November, 2011 with that drawing on it.

    my offices always end up “seek and finds”. I have hoarder tendencies.

    2011 was a tipping point. It was full validation for our bet on Zilla’s product-market fit and the evolved decision to share our unique and authentic voice more fully with our customers. Personality was winning their hearts in conjunction with the minds that our core product had already won. Force multiplier. We grew revenue from ~$6m to $17m that year and it almost killed us. It was so. very. rewarding.

    The chicken had stopped being chicken. It had smashed the cage and lit the barn on fire. No one was going to eat this chicken.

    10 years later, that chicken still thrives.

    PS – After writing this it was nagging me that I felt like I had written about it before. Turns out I had. In 2011. It was one of only 4 short blog posts that year because who has time to blog when your company finally hits the hockey stick? I didn’t post again until 2016.

  • 2020, 24 hours to go…

    I wanna be vaccinated.

    As we’re about to bookend this one, I feel the urge to reflect on and share some of what I have learned in 2020. I also want to include a dash of what I am hopeful for.

    There is no way I could open any commentary on the year with anything but a direct acknowledgment of how impactful and scary COVID and its potential lasting effects continue to be. I watched a handful of people I know contract COVID this year. Thankfully, all recovered. I feel very lucky for this and my heart goes out to so many who have lost someone close or been affected directly.

    Also, most of my business engagements and companies have been nimble enough to navigate their way through 2020’s obstacles. I know I have also been fortunate in this respect when so many in our country have not. Many people and businesses are still in precarious situations and in need of help from individuals and the government. I hope we all keep that top of mind and continue to lend our hands, voices and wallets where we can.

    That said, welcome to the “detailed breakdown” of my personal 2020:

    This year I watched the for-profit B2C companies I’m involved with or invested in brace for a tsunami in March, only to end up surfing the COVID demand wave to record growth and performance to date. From companies at scale like RevZilla and CycleGear (Comoto) to startups like Trade Coffee (which was my lone angel check this year), once they found their footing it has been wild to see teams adapt to remote work and leaders engage to bridge communication and proximity gaps. I have a very much “talent in the building” leadership style so it’s been as impressive as it is uncomfortable to watch some of my friends lead their orgs through all of this remote operational change. They worked with the limited tools at their disposal to ultimately survive and then thrive. My reservations about remote work, at least in the short term, have been nullified. It can be done because it had to be done. Thank god COVID hit in 2020 instead of 1990. I have no idea what happens without digital communication and video tools at the ready. It will also be really interesting to see what a new normal in terms of company ops and consumer preference looks like post-COVID. What’s a step function and what’s cyclical? More on that later.

    As a board memeber of The Skatepark Project (formerly Tony Hawk Foundation), I helped round out a multi-year process to rename, re-strategize and assist with the search for a new Executive Director. All hard things that would have been better finalized during non-COVID peacetime. It reaffirmed my belief, however, that in most cases, thoughtful yet difficult choices typically benefit from being made sooner rather than later, granted the timing doesn’t create existential risk for the organization. I was also so impressed with how genuinely and gracefully the outgoing ED, Miki V, supported the retrenching and leadership transition during this uber stressful time.

    As a first-year trustee of The Franklin Institute, an impressive org that didn’t have a preexisting digital model to ride the post-March COVID wave, I watched strong leadership at the operational and board level have very difficult conversations about team, budget and an ugly list of war-time choices that included reducing the workforce. I did my best to help contribute to a solution to hopefully weather this 100-year storm while also furthering healthy conversations surrounding an evolving biz model and a brand that is about to turn 200 years old. We have a hunch about what a new museum normal may look like, but the timeline is still TBD and sadly tied to externalities. I learned watching diligent leaders make methodical, objective and painful decisions while balancing a stiff upper lip with great empathy. The Institute is in great hands. It will emerge stronger. Larry D and team are doing an excellent job. Ben would be so proud.

    In early March, my close friend David Bookspan and I launched an informal non-profit endeavor called SavePhillyEats to help Philly bars and restaurants generate revenue during the first COVID shutdowns. The project grew into a national-ish org called SaveTheEats, which after a successful run, we sunset in July when establishments were reopening. We had a volunteer team of close to 30, a presence in 8 cities and an impact of roughly $2.5 million in revenue by the end. I also heard from a number of prominent chefs that we helped amplify the early needs of the food landscape in the local media. I even managed to play F-list Jerry Lewis for the live digital telethon called GivePhillyEats we put on jointly with the impressive Fuel the Fight team.

    We validated our thesis that we could be significantly more helpful to our Philly food landscape by donating our time and effort versus just donating financially to a relief fund. The whole project cost around $50,000. I was blown away by the level of support we had from volunteers to part-time talent to chefs willing to contribute to the push, make intro’s and spread the word. What a generous bunch, especially the chefs and restauranteurs, as they were under direct fire and watching their businesses slip but still lent cycles to the greater good. Special shout outs to Chef Jen Carrol & Marc Vetri for their leadership. I still really hope that the federal government can do something to offer direct relief to the national food landscape. To date, too little has been offered at the federal and state level.

    Additionally, it was my first stint truly operating since I left RevZilla in early 2017. I learned that I still compartmentalize as poorly as I did during the Zilla years, even as an experienced operator. My assumption was that I might be able to be more balanced in navigating my next leadership role, but I was not. Committing to leading an organization is as addictive, humbling and as all-consuming as it ever was. I was wrong to believe I would lead differently, more efficiently or within a self-imposed 50-hour-a-week constraint. This experience, juxtaposed against the ages of my kids, actually gives me pause about taking another founder or C-suite role in in the next few years. I think my goals for great husband and dad of 5 and great company leader have proved to be mutually exclusive at this stage of my young family’s life.

    I also learned to truly appreciate the differences and unique difficulty in managing and incentivizing a cause-driven org versus a for-profit company. Jim Collins’ Good to Great for the Social Sectors was spot on (not shocking). When the balance sheet is skinny and the financial incentives lighter, different tools are necessary to keep productivity and speed to market maximized in the non-profit space. Team engagement with vision, mission and values is everything. I gained further respect, empathy and appreciation for non-profit leaders I support. (I’m looking at you Miki V, Larry D, Benjamin B, Bill H, Jen M and Tom V)

    When we proudly sunset SaveTheEats in July as restaurants opened again, I was ready to tap back in at home. I had neglected (yeah, it’s the right word) Tara and the kids for almost five months. We all agreed that part of our family’s goal this year was to help others where we could, and donating most of me while Tara single parented for a few months was a huge part of it, but we all really felt it. When I reemerged they were all showing the wear and virtual school was still a train wreck, as well. I tossed up an autoresponder with the plan of being a “quick no” on new consulting, board work and deals while I shifted my primary focus back to family again.

    The interesting thing is that the autoresponder went up in July and now has persisted 5 months later. Being intellectually honest, I have found very few things harder than trying to do appropriate deal diligence or build a new relationship over Zoom – so I have burnered most new inbound. I’m curious if it’s just me and my personality type or if other folks are feeling the same lack of attention span in the current construct. For the first time in my professional career, I’ve paused my network. I have also steering interactions toward casual phone calls versus seeing people on Zoom (while I sit up straight without fidgeting as my LED ring light beams the beginning of a migraine from its tripod behind my monitor). Time will tell for the autoresponder and its potential effect on my post-COVID opportunities.

    One bright spot this year has been the high percentage of my friends and family who showed me they were who I believed they were. I feel lucky that I have not really been shocked during any family or biz interaction, finding out in the moment that someone I care about is a supporter of things I view as fundamentally wrong. Things that undermine our democracy, decency or equal rights. I actively broke connection with a few people in my larger sphere, but there was no surprise there. I long suspected where they stood before 45 (I won’t even say his name) tried to make racism and lying cool and mainstream. My heart goes out to all my family and friends who have had to navigate those tough dynamics with greater numbers of people close to them. It makes me sad that people I care about felt the real grief of losing friends and sometimes family this year – without anyone actually dying.

    Another surprisingly bright spot this year was some of the more formal online learning I opted into. Other than the random Khan Acadamy or YouTube video, I’d never done any formal or paid online learning. I got an email last spring to join Prof. Scott Galloway’s first-ever Digital Strategy Sprint. On a whim, I signed up for the $700 two-week all-digital course. (I wrote about it here.) The course was so good I then followed up with his 3-week course on Brand Strategy in September. Like most things, you get out what you put in and each course took about 13-15 hours of total time, but they felt like a steal. Both subjects have been foundational for most of my career but I’d peg the coursework and concepts at least ~30% net new for me. I always love finding new frameworks and fundamentals to fill in the gaps of my “learned while operating” playbook. It also shuts up the little impostor syndrome head-voice for a time. I’m going to do their first Product Strategy Spring slated for January and I APPLAUD the fact that anyone can apply to these courses. 10% of the enrollments are also given as scholarships to those who might otherwise not be able to afford it.

    A final and surprising side note on the year relates to lifestyle and fitness. Basically, on a dare I committed to 90 days vegetarian on Oct. 25th, 2019. I wrote about it here, but never wrote the follow up post. Now, 14 months later, I am actually still mostly vegetarian, although COVID and the holiday season has made it a bit tougher (Turkey and ham are delicious). I hover at about 95% vegetarian on any given week and am surprised that it’s been so easy to maintain. So many things are so easy to swap. My LDL cholesterol has remained 50 points lower than when I made the switch and I have not seen any part of the 6-8-pound dad-gut that showed up in mid-2019. #yeet

    On top of that, I am 10 weeks into a 23-week training plan for a late March half marathon, which is actually prep for a Mt. Rainier climb in July. I’m not a runner or a climber and I get cold easily. It’s been a learning curve. I blame my friend Tom Vogl, CEO of The Mountaineers, for all of this. “I’ve never climbed a mountain, why not climb the second highest peak in North America? Sure. Sounds great.” Who doesn’t like a good old BHAG every once in a while? (I have posted about this fiasco on IG a few times in more detail including my training plan – posts #1, #2.)

    So with all that in the rearview (deep breath), here’s what I’m hoping for in 2021.

    I hope that ’21 brings a political quieting to some degree. I hope the White House can be reasonable over the next 4 years and keep the tweets to a minimum. I’m exhausted. The car wrecks have to stop and traffic needs to start moving again – even with the expectations of less-than-perfect results, lower TV ratings (gasp) and a boring presidency. I hope that a constructive and unifying voice can make moderate decisions that become less polarizing for both sides of the aisle. If I want reality TV I should be watching Bravo, not CNN. I hope we can find more moderation and compromise as a country moving forward. I hope that the racists, sexists, and supremacists are all marginalized, ignored by the mainstream media and sent back to their dark corners.

    I hope organizations find a remote work balance post COVID. Maximizing the benefits but avoiding the potential pitfalls. Many people got back the time they’d spent on long commutes and found a better quality of life and family as a result. I hope they get to keep most of that benefit. Companies also found new access to and seamless integration of distributed talent, which could reside anywhere geographically. Most companies also realized that remote management at scale now puts some previously untouchable expense structure up for debate. I won’t be shocked if some companies that realized certain functions don’t need to be physically present begin to further arbitrage those functions from distributed U.S. teams to much cheaper remote international functions. I also won’t be surprised if some companies, under the flag of “remote first” as a proposed benefit, begin to aggressively eliminate offices and other community-related costs, which over the long term provide temples to teamwork, culture and brand along with a social benefit to employees at certain stages of life. My biggest concern is that the allure of time-efficient remote work will eliminate the moments where teams build trust, solidarity and engagement by actually getting to know one another – in person.

    As I noted earlier, virtual work has felt very transactional for me. It’s been limiting in terms of developing new relationships beyond the immediate “topic of discussion” or explicit need. When team members don’t know each other, how will they trust each other? How will they react in moments of uncertainty? How will they efficiently resolve conflict? How will companies create a cultural fabric that keeps people engaged, feeling part of a larger cause and preventing key talent from leaving for the next company that offers them the same bedroom office but with a 15% raise? Like so many things in life, the best approach will probably be some hybrid of the middle, but I fear that some companies will shed talent, productivity and overall strength in the medium to long term by attempting to maximize the potential short-term savings of the virtual construct, even when the COVID crisis ends.

    I hope that small businesses, including restaurants, get a bailout or something along those lines. So many big businesses have gotten bailouts during my adult life. At this moment, even in the face of potential inflation and further national debt, I’m a vote for a small biz bailout over a loan program. Recently people have asked me, “Can you bring back SavePhillyEats” and sadly my belief is that it won’t move the needle. At this stage, it’s bringing a knife to a gunfight. Small biz and restaurants just need more. I’m not in favor of big government nor am I in favor of adding to our already mounting national debt in perpetuity, but I hope something can be done in Washington to offer financial relief directly to the businesses that have been forced to close or operate at a greatly reduced capacity to stop the spread of the virus. They are doing their part. We need to protect them. My front-row seat to the restaurant industry this year has been heartbreaking. This is an industry fueled by passion and love with already thin margins. We all need to keep eating out and ordering takeout (without using DoorDash or UberEats if possible), but my hunch is that’s not enough to get the bulk of restaurants and small biz through the next six months, either.

    Lastly, I hope more Americans buy into putting the safety of others ahead of their own immediate personal desires. At many other moments since 1776, it’s been a theme dramatically more embraced than we see today. We all need to protect ourselves, but we also must be making sure we’re not helping spread the virus. Even if you think you or your family are not in danger, wear a mask, social distance, don’t dine indoors with people who don’t live with you. The same thing goes for the vaccine. Don’t wait and see how it goes when you become eligible. Go get it. Show your patriotism by being first in line in protecting your fellow Americans and set that example. The number of people I have heard say, “What are you gonna do?” or “I have to live my life” relating to the holidays, vacations or other non-work choices makes me sad.

    I hope people wake up and realize it’s not about them. It’s bigger than them. It’s about our fellow countrymen and women who are at risk and it’s about collectively making a reasonable effort to be part of the solution to help protect them and arrive at the finish line sooner. We can’t be that selfish. If you are in a position of influence, I implore you to set a good example and be vocal. If you are in a position to help others, please extend your hand. It matters. That is what makes America great.

    So Goodbye 2020! even if it’s because all the other words I wrote before I arrived at goodbye were profane.

    The optimist in me says that 2021 has to be better.

  • Back when we started RevZilla, there was one super-enthusiast motorcycle forum to rule them all.

    It was (and still is) called ADVRider and the founder was a serial start-up guy named Chris McCaskill, aka Baldy.

    I actually think our only interaction ever was me asking him to unban me for violating posting rules in the forum’s vendor area in 2010. I’m sure he doesn’t remember it.

    Recently, Chris and his team pinged me to do a live Skype interview to talk about the how and the why of RevZilla, along with marketing, scaling and leadership lessons from the ride.

    They are doing a series called “Baldy Interviews” and I actually found that he was the best-prepared interviewer I’d ever encountered. I’m used to answering the same questions about RevZilla but I’m not used to people knowing about the more obscure stories from inside our walls. He had great intel. There has to be a mole.

    Here is the interview. Note the “steeple hands” in the video screen cap. #nailedit

    I should have put on a nicer shirt and had better lighting (#nexttime), but what a fun opportunity he gave me to relive some of the most challenging and fulfilling times of my life. I hadn’t recounted a few of those stories in about a decade.

    They also managed to dig up this gem. Over roughly 9 years and 6,000 product videos, me, motorcycle gear nuts and an extra-medium blurple shirt had one hell of a bromance. Watch this and let it melt your brain.

    Thanks, Chris and the ADVRider community for the opportunity to share the tales. You collectively gave me and RevZilla so much support over the years, even back when we were noobs.

  • Well, it’s technically 27 days, if you count the 5 days pre-launch. Ask my wife how many days I have been missing from helping her homeschool our five kids. She knows 🙁

    …. but the social impact startup continues. Full throttle.

    I forgot what it was like to operate at this clip and with so much changing daily. I’ve also never worked like this with a remote team. So many Zooooooooms… (stop making your backgrounds Joe Exotic. I get it. It’s funny and timely, but it’s time to move on. RIP Travis.)

    I skipped a week 2 update because things have been bonkers and I had no time to write anything. I have also at this point completely absolved myself of creating any new video updates for SPE moving forward. There are better ways to push things forward and I have a half a mullet.

    In case you don’t live in Philly, here’s a quick snapshot of the last 14 days, since the last update. (If you want to help, skip to the end for current needs)

    We teamed up with Fuel The Fight Philly to raise money, awareness and deliver 3,500 Chef-prepared gourmet meals to the medical front lines of seven area hospitals on Easter Sunday. We called it #GivePhillyEats and live broadcasted the hour-long “show” featuring some of Philly’s most legendary and generous culinary artists.

    Special thanks to Top Chef Jen Carroll and her husband Chef Billy Riddle for being linchpins in helping recruit such amazing Chef talent to the cause. Another nod goes to superstar media production and editorial maven Dustin Carpio, who essentially produced the entire live show on his own in 3 days.

    I can now add “local telethon host” to my resume right below former D-list YouTube video guy. Here is the live broadcast. I’m still amazed we put this all together in less than 96 hours.

    SavePhillyEats has more than doubled our list of restaurant and bar partners in the last two weeks and offers on the site regularly sell out.

    There also are now 17 volunteers, including me, along with five contractors working on this as we plan to evolve our presence in Philly and roll out new beachheads of local impact in DC, NYC, LA, Baltimore and the Twin Cities shortly. None of those numbers include the countless chefs and owners who have helped create so much connectivity along the way. (Marc Vetri, Jen Carroll, Chris Morgan, Ange Branca, Lonny Sweet, Andrew Zimmern etc)

    Were calling the macro effort #SaveTheEats. (no website yet)

    Next we’ll begin incorporating giving in Philly. We should also start curating the best offers in local takeout. We will all have to keep finding reasons to give restaurants money if we want them to have a chance of making it. Ordering out is an easy win as often as it can be afforded.

    Lastly, SPE has Logo Merch! You know you love the merch. Go buy a tee. All profit goes to Fuel The Fight, which uses the money to buy meals from restaurants to be delivered to the medical front lines. It’s a virtuous cycle that feeds and funds. Everyone can use the help.

    Current Needs:

    What I need now is what I needed two weeks ago. More helping hands in more places. Can we amplify our impact beyond Philly? We’re going to try. Help us connect.

    I need “get stuff done people” who potentially want to take our tools and playbook to their city and run with them. Is it you? We have the Chef network, we’ll you up. We have a killer PR network. We’ll link you. Send us a note if you want to be the Founder of your city or connect us with someone who might.

    I’m grateful for the amazing people who have stepped up, tapped in and answered the call.

    I think we’re doing our best to help save the restaurants and bars that make Philly, Philly – and we’re not done.

    We want to help more people save the restaurants and bars that make their city, their city.

  • I just posted the following passage to the News and Updates section on We turned a week old today.

    The concept is working ($100k+ sales in the first few days) and we want to expand rapidly into other cities. Restaurants typically have 3 weeks of cash on hand. They need our help now.

    I need team captains (operators) to pair with our national chef network to spin things up in new places.

    They don’t need to be a CEOs (although former founders would be great), they just need to care about their foods, cultures and cities enough to spend time pushing this. They need to be digitally savvy and be able to manage a small team, marshall resources and execute.

    If anyone immediately comes to mind, please send them my way.

    Hello culinary world!

    This site is a week old and off to a running start. What a blur, like being shot out of a cannon.

    We have had over 20,000 sessions, have begun to amass a following of thousands of supporters and most importantly we estimate we have generated between $100,000 and $150,000 in revenue for the establishments we’re trying to support.

    We even had one Chef tell us, “You generated $36,000 for my currently closed restaurant, in the first 5 days”. Whoa…

    To all the Philadelphians who have supported the effort and spread the word, thank you.

    To the 46 different bars and restaurants who have tapped in, we got your back and we look forward to helping your compatriots.

    To the 8 SPE teammates, I have the pleasure of working with daily, exhale. The work matters and it’s having an impact… but I can’t promise you won’t keep getting calls and emails from me from 8am to midnight.

    So what’s next?

    • Scale our impact
    • Scale our geographic footprint
    • Scale our ability to delight our visitors into helping our expanded list of restaurant partners
    • Scale our ability to digest all of your feedback and rapidly improve

    What do we need?

    • The next 50 great partners on the site
    • Tell your friends and buy what you can
    • Strong Team Captains for other cities

    We’ve only just begun…

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