Blake Irving

CEO GoDaddy

THIS CHAT HAPPENED ON January 27, 2017
Thank Blake Irving on Twitter

Discussion

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Blake Irving
@blakei · CEO, GoDaddy
Hi! I’m Blake Irving, GoDaddy CEO and a lifelong fan of cool tech and gadgetry. Before joining GoDaddy I was the Chief Product Officer at Yahoo! and, prior to that, I was at Microsoft for 15yrs, where I led their Cloud Platform group and was lucky enough to head the teams that built MSN Messenger, Hotmail and Microsoft’s first billion-dollar ad platform.

Since I joined GoDaddy in 2013 we’ve been 100% focused on helping people pursue life-fulfilling independent ventures by helping them get online and up and running. This week we released a new product that I’m pretty stoked about—it’s called GoCentral. With it, you can create a killer website on your mobile phone in under an hour and start building an audience for your idea. This is Product Hunt, so let me know what you think: https://www.producthunt.com/post...

Happy to chat about product dev, the future of work, AI taking our jobs, gender diversity in tech....or drumming and skating. Let’s chat!
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Ryan Hoover
@rrhoover · Founder, Product Hunt
Serious question: What's your stance on emoji domains? 🤔
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Blake Irving
@blakei · CEO, GoDaddy
@rrhoover emoji domains are great and it’s a place where we've innovated. Personally, I like them because they're short and visual. They work great on mobile. The more opportunity there is to be creative in the domain space, the better. Most companies miss opportunities to integrate domain names into their advertising and really extend to customer experience from the very beginning to the end. Discoverability is still an issue though. They have to become easier to search for on Google.
Jonathan Griffin
@thewebmastercom
@blakei @rrhoover I think I am getting too old for this. Unless you choose the precise emoji, it won't take you to the correct website. I have tried a few different red hearts, but never found the correct one in the WYSIWYG. Also, in DJANGO, I added the hearts.ws as a link and it gave me a server error. Novel idea though (and looks quite novel in the search results), but I can't see it catching on with the older generation. Edit: By hearts.ws I am referring to xn--qeiaa.ws domain in the emoji version.
Kiki Schirr / 史秀玉
@kikischirr · Author of Tech Doodles
GoDaddy is one of the biggest success stories in gender equality -- going from slightly obnoxious (sorry!) SuperBowl ads to taking the equal pay pledge -- some marketing and PR textbooks now use GoDaddy as an example. Do you have advice for companies looking to a) make real change on this front and b) convey that change to the public?
Kiki Schirr / 史秀玉
@kikischirr · Author of Tech Doodles
Also, thank you in advance for taking the time to answer my questions.
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Blake Irving
@blakei · CEO, GoDaddy
@kikischirr my advice for making real change on the ‘equal pay’ front is to commit to it and stick with it. It’s not a quick fix, and you have to be willing to be transparent with your own salary data – that means taking the time to analyze what you pay men and women in like-roles and sharing it externally, even when the stats aren’t where you want them to be. Once you have a baseline, keep measuring, keep sharing and keep doing the work – this might mean paying it backward, which means not basing a woman’s salary on what she made in her previous position, but paying her what the position pays.

As for conveying the change to the public – I wouldn’t recommend you get too focused on public perception. Do it because it’s not only the right thing to do, but because it’s good for business. (we know diverse teams build better products, which benefits our customers, and is better for the bottom line) Obviously, the more people know about the work, the more companies are likely to join the cause. We took a leading role in the Employers for Pay Equity consortium last summer because we wanted to share some of what we’ve been doing over the past two years for gender pay equality and, hopefully, help move the initiative forward, faster. The Equal Pay Pledge is a good way to get started, www.EmployersForPayEquity.com. Every time a new company signs on, it’s an opportunity to convey the message about equal pay.
Samuel Polat
@samuelpolat · Developer
I boycotted GoDaddy for a long time for supporting SOPA. What is your opinion on internet freedom now?
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Blake Irving
@blakei · CEO, GoDaddy
@samuelpolat I’ve said this before, but the leaders of GoDaddy at that time, which was five years ago, got it wrong. It won’t happen again.

My opinion on Internet freedom has never changed. I never supported SOPA (at that time I was at Yahoo!) and I’ve taken a very public stance on other issues, such as supporting Net Neutrality and weighing in on the importance of customer privacy during the Apple/FBI case.
Are domain resellers / sharks a serious problem? How do you think this should be dealt with?
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Blake Irving
@blakei · CEO, GoDaddy
@lordloh

Like stocks and real estate, domain names have quantifiable value. Anytime there is a situation of supply and demand, you’re going to have people investing. Since domain names are unique, there’s an opportunity. We fully support the investors who do it the right way. These are people who look for trends and register potentially good names. They then take the risk of renewing them year after year to potentially sell them.

What we don’t support is people who register trademarks, try to extort others or do things in an unethical way—and those folks are out there. Luckily, there are formal processes in place from ICANN (the domains governing body) to root out bad players. I’ve seen it work pretty well.
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Brendon Rell
@brendonto · @batterypackxyz
Hi Blake, huge fan of GoDaddy. I've found the customer service experience when calling in is tell-your-friends phenomenal every time, and makes you one of the few companies I'm a huge advocate for. Beyond the usual clichés, I would be curious to learn more about what you're doing so different than everyone else (in my personal experience)? And for some tough love, I'd be interested in your thoughts on a few opportunities I'm seeing:

1) Better G Suite integration (recognizing the Microsoft alignment you currently have) since I'm not sure if you're collecting a referral cut when I integrate G Suite with my GoDaddy domains?

2) Getting the UI across both the website and the logged-in experience to be simplified, cohesive and fully mobile-friendly. It seems like a streamlined user experience could push GoDaddy from being a 'service to be used to buy stuff' to a 'website to spend time in/start my business with'.

3) There seems to be a huge amount of very un-tapped potential on iOS/Android. Thanks!
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Blake Irving
@blakei · CEO, GoDaddy
@brendonto thanks for the suggestion. If you already have domains with GoDaddy and you’re adding Gsuite—stay tuned. We are actively working on a feature to make it easier for customers to configure their domains for use with GSuite.

Today, when a GoDaddy domain is registered directly through Google, they use our reseller API to help create the necessary DNS records to get the domain to work with the GSuite products. It’s a good API but definitely can be easier. Our next steps means partnering with Google even more in terms of figuring out how we improve the user experience for our shared customers.

On the UI, you’re exactly right. We are pushing toward a consultative, relationship based business—not merely transactional. I’ve heard from countless customers that they’ll take all the help with their business (particularly data driven insights) that we can give. We’re headed that way, it just take time. It’s like trying to paint a 787 in mid-flight at 30,000 feet. It’s not a quick or easy task.

RE: iOS/Android. All of our new products are mobile first now for that reason. GoCentral is a good example. It’s website builder functions are the only that I know about where you can actually build a “real” website from scratch on your mobile phone. A lot have said that can’t be done and I think we’re proving them wrong.
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Brendon Rell
@brendonto · @batterypackxyz
@blakei Very interesting, looking forward to seeing things evolve for you guys. Thanks a lot for your thoughtful response!
Cameron Rohani
@cameronrohani
Hey Blake nice to meet you, I'm a GoDaddy affiliate at launchaco.com. I have two questions for you 😬

1. With hundreds of new gTLDs coming out, and social media platforms attempting to take over the need for a website, it must be an exciting time for GoDaddy. Where do you see the company in a few years from now?

2. What's the best domain name you own? 😀
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Blake Irving
@blakei · CEO, GoDaddy
@cameronrohani life online isn’t just about websites anymore. Our job is to make it easier for anyone to get online and ultimately be successful as they define it. We need to help bring them customers, not just publish sites. For example, we designed GoCentral to tightly integrate with email marketing, SEO for search engines and we worked with Facebook to make a single-click Facebook page. We’re going to continue to see where Internet users go and we’re going to make sure our customers can be there with just a little effort.

For domain names, It’s so hard to pick a favorite. I own quite a few, but 850tequliabar.com, StopDoingThat.com and 2002.guru are some of my more memorable ones.
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Ben Tossell
@bentossell · Community Lead, Product Hunt
Hey! If you had to change jobs with a tech CEO for a week, who would it be and why?
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Blake Irving
@blakei · CEO, GoDaddy
@bentossell Jack Dorsey from Twitter. Looks like they need some help. :-)
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Ben Tossell
@bentossell · Community Lead, Product Hunt
@blakei tough gig ;) love it
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Emily Hodgins
@ems_hodge · Community and Marketing, Product Hunt
Hi Blake thanks for joining us today! What's the biggest lesson you've learned on during your career that has most surprised you?
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Blake Irving
@blakei · CEO, GoDaddy
@ems_hodge the 2 biggest lesson’s I’ve learned aren’t in any leadership books—at least ones I’ve read. The first is, regardless of what you bring to the table, bring it with amazing consistency. Be the same person whether you’re bummed, didn’t have your coffee yet or are feeling on top of the world. The people who work for you and with you work best when they know exactly what to expect from you every day.

The other one is be fun to work with. Yes, be passionate about your work, be dedicated, hardworking, smart and a great team member—but if you’re not fun to be around none of the rest matters. People work at many companies, but we work with the same people over and over again when they are exceptional people and fun to be around.

One other: Never ever let it be about you, whatever it is. It's the challenge, it's the team, it's the cause, it's not about you. A lot of people forget that.
What do you see as the future of domain and website tech trends for 2017?
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Blake Irving
@blakei · CEO, GoDaddy
@brucekraftjr for websites, mobile is continuing to grow and take more market share for site traffic. Right now, we’re seeing about 60 percent of customers' site traffic to come from mobile. That means we’ll see a simplification of websites. They’re going to make common actions (call, show up, make a reservation) easy and direct. You can expect to see dense, highly packed sites that were fine on desktop to fade away. We’ll also see more seamless integration of social media. It will be interesting to watch is how websites response to platforms like WeChat.

For domains, the two big trends are deepening relevance of what’s right of the “dot” with the popularity of gTLDs continuing to grow. I’m betting there will be some consolidation of the markets this year as gTLD prices settle out. I think the second trend is continued smarter search that combines new domains with aftermarket domains so people can find the right name for their project regardless of who currently owns it.

One other thing that I think we're in a unique position to do is to increase liquidity in the aftermarket dramatically. We've developed a killer valuation capability and we will be able to value all of the nearly 64 million domain names and tell people what their portfolio is worth, and then enable them to enter their domain into the market in a single click. That is market making in a huge way.
@blakei awesome, tons of insights ! Thank you for the response!