Blake Irving

CEO GoDaddy

THIS CHAT HAPPENED ON January 27, 2017

Discussion

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!
Ryan Hoover@rrhoover · Founder, Product Hunt
Serious question: What's your stance on emoji domains? 🤔
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 · Founder, WeKiki Video Chat Platform
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 · Founder, WeKiki Video Chat Platform
Also, thank you in advance for taking the time to answer my questions.
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 · Co-founder @ Colorbytes
I boycotted GoDaddy for a long time for supporting SOPA. What is your opinion on internet freedom now?
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.
Bharath B Lohray@lordloh · PhD student at Texas Tech University
Are domain resellers / sharks a serious problem? How do you think this should be dealt with?
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.
Brendon Rell@brendonto · Fashion and technology.
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!
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.
Brendon Rell@brendonto · Fashion and technology.
@blakei Very interesting, looking forward to seeing things evolve for you guys. Thanks a lot for your thoughtful response!
Ben Tossell@bentossell · Something new
Hey! If you had to change jobs with a tech CEO for a week, who would it be and why?
Blake Irving@blakei · CEO, GoDaddy
@bentossell Jack Dorsey from Twitter. Looks like they need some help. :-)
Ben Tossell@bentossell · Something new
@blakei tough gig ;) love it
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?
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.
Bruce Kraft Jr.@brucekraftjr · CMO, social media & viral director
What do you see as the future of domain and website tech trends for 2017?
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.
Bruce Kraft Jr.@brucekraftjr · CMO, social media & viral director
@blakei awesome, tons of insights ! Thank you for the response!
Kate Miller@katherineemily · Kate Miller
Hi Blake! What's your best skateboarding trick?
Blake Irving@blakei · CEO, GoDaddy
@katherineemily I grew up pool skating so grinding coping and dropping in are my favs. Generally though, my best trick these days is not breaking bones. After 5 knee surgeries, I've gotten a lot less aggressive. If you haven't ridden a boosted board, or a carve board you should try those out. To big or heavy to ollie (well), but crazy fun.
Robert K.@kurlov · Student. Chess player. Creator.
I use Namecheap. Try to make me switch.
Blake Irving@blakei · CEO, GoDaddy
@itisrobertk our product is better on a multitude of levels, our experience is better and customer service team is available 24/7 around the world. Additionally, I don’t use them for the same reason I don’t use parachutecheap.com.
Robert K.@kurlov · Student. Chess player. Creator.
@blakei They also have 24/7 support. Now that you said it, let me get parachutecheap.com BRB
Alivia Norwood@anorwood7
@blakei How does the GoCentral website builder differ from Squarespace or Wix?
Justin Tsai@wassaii · Product guy, GoDaddy
@itisrobertk @blakei Hey-- I bought it already and registered it on godaddy.com-- so fast!
Blake Irving@blakei · CEO, GoDaddy
@anorwood7 GoCentral lets people build a site in under an hour (seriously— I’ve done it in under 10 minutes). I also think it’s way easier to use than drag-and-drop focused competitors— we’ve adopted a very different model. we are 1) fully built mobile-first so that people can do the full build or updates on any of their devices, 2) we have integrated web, store, and marketing services that guides people beyond publishing their site…it’s not enough to just post a cool site, you gotta drive traffic and 3) support over 1500 industries and use cases with rich imagery from Getty and content provided. For a ton more on it, check out: https://techcrunch.com/2017/01/2...
keyul@keyul · Maker of Bot Stash, Product Huntian
Godaddy is one of the great company came out from Phoenix. How can we attract more tech companies to start their offices in Phoenix area? #yesPhx
Blake Irving@blakei · CEO, GoDaddy
@keyul attracting tech companies to the PHX area is challenging but I think things are going in the right direction. The biggest challenge is finding enough tech talent. More companies will come if there is a strong pool of tech professionals. We’ve spent a fair amount a lot of time working with local universities to encourage CS students to stay in AZ. We also work with local gov’t leaders on ways that we can make PHX as friendly as possible to tech companies. I love the PHX area (I call it home now) and don’t see any reasons why it can’t become another tech hub ala Boulder, Austin or Portland. Another issue is the lack of venture funding. The ecosystem of VCs simply doesn't exist here. One other issue is the lack of companies that have committed to come to PHX. In the bay I can leave one huge company (Google) and go to another (Facebook) and I don't have to move from my house, nor change schools for my kids. That isn't a problem that gets solved quickly. it's been a challenge for us moving folks from the Bay or Seattle to PHX for that reason, in spite of the obvious benefits of lower home prices, better weather, less congestion, etc...
JB@jay_bee12345 · Founder
Is it currently possible to buy "merch" (t-shirts, mugs, etc.) associated with the domains registered for, on GoDaddy? Do you see any opportunity for GoDaddy associated with this in the future? Thanks, JB.
Blake Irving@blakei · CEO, GoDaddy
@jay_bee12345 great idea JB! We’re always looking for ways to have our customers promote their sites. More visitors = more success. It’s not currently in our plans, but I’ll make sure to get it added to our backlog.
JB@jay_bee12345 · Founder
@blakei Excellent news! I'm so glad to assist such a great initiative! Please let me know if there is any opportunity associated for myself with this new proposal. You can reach me at JSB23@hotmail.CA or @jay_bee12345 (Twitter). Thanks for taking the time for us today. Best regards, JB.
Abhishek Mishra@abhi_shek1994 · Founder: Outr
What are the new technologies that Godaddy is planning to implement in the near future? How will it change the user experience? Also what's your take on handling market competition? Thanks in advance!
Blake Irving@blakei · CEO, GoDaddy
@abhi_shek1994 we’re working to roll out a ton of updates in 2017 around our value prop to help people turn their ideas into a reality. GoCentral was the first, bringing email marketing and online sales together with site building in a deeply integrated way. This year we’ll likely roll out a connected mobile second line phone app, go deeper into small biz productivity, online security and a bunch of features/apps that we know our small, independent customers need to succeed, with a huge focus on mobile platforms. Within GoCentral, we’ve also begun to roll out a new framework for delivering human and data driven insights to our customers—based on anonymized data we collect and from scraping other sources. I’m pretty stoked about how this can positively impact our customer (helping them make decisions) and as we roll out new apps and updates you’ll start to see that framework manifest in all of them. It’s something only GoDaddy can do competently and I’m betting that it will make us stand even further apart from our competition.
Jack Ortner@jack_ortner
What do you have in store for this year's Super Bowl commercial?
Blake Irving@blakei · CEO, GoDaddy
@jack_ortner it's way fun - you can check out teasers at https://www.godaddy.com/theinternet. We’re introducing a new character - the Internet - as a person. The point is to show that no one knows the Internet like GoDaddy. He's super funny and we are excited about the direction. Hope you like it too.
Jack Ortner@jack_ortner
@blakei sounds fun! Thanks for answering questions today!
Pushpendra Agrawal@pushpendraw · Founder, Walkover
Hi Blake, I am a startup from India. I am trying to make one of the best DC here. Any thoughts on your scaling to India?
Blake Irving@blakei · CEO, GoDaddy
@pushpendraw India’s a huge market with tons of opportunity and we've got a big business there. It was the first country we entered outside the US, and we now have more customers there than any other international market. In just a few years, we’ve become the largest registrar of domains for both .IN and .COM in India. Our site building business and hosting are growing at a healthy rate. There are some really unique challenges there especially after the recent currency changes but we’re still growing like mad. We’ve focused on the biggest tech centers in India and seen great response to our focus on customer service.
Anshul Bansal@andy2016 · Entrepreneur & Technologist
How do you see GoDaddy's entry in cloud computing? Looks like AWS/Azure and Google are catching up so what would be the vision for GoDaddy?
Blake Irving@blakei · CEO, GoDaddy
@andy2016 we’re just in a different business. Those companies do a killer job helping large enterprises with their cloud strategies. Our cloud hosting strategy is tuned for independent developers and the small businesses they serve – which means our cloud hosting products offer great provisioning performance, but also offering price flexibility, scalability as our customers grow. The vast, vast majority of our customers don’t have an IT guy, let along an IT department. Or business is to make powerful yet simple and elegant products for those guys—not big corporations. Our job is to make our cloud solutions so simple and purpose built for small businesses, entrepreneurs, and the developers that serve them that they wouldn't go anywhere else. Managed WP multisite update capability is a good example. If we do that better than anyone else (instead of a generic platform) we'll grow really well and stay ahead.
Ben Tossell@bentossell · Something new
What has been your proudest work moment? And flip side - what is something that you're maybe not-proud of?
Blake Irving@blakei · CEO, GoDaddy
@bentossell taking GoDaddy public with a bunch of people I've loved working with was a pretty big marker for me. Not so just the day of - although that was very cool - but of the process that lead to that day. I’m a product guy and my heart is in tech more than finance. Gaining skills in talking details about the business side of GoDaddy was different for me and it felt pretty awesome to take it to the starting line (IPO). I couldn’t have done it without the amazing people on our team who shared in that process and that fun event. My least proud days are some of my earliest days in tech. I have a bunch of small failures, including some shelf-ware,but i recall most clearly failures in relationships and in my early management skills - which apparently required failure to improve. I’ve always been passionate but that sometimes translated into just too much intensity. I had one early boss as me “do you smoke pot,” and when I answered “no” she said, “you should start. You’re too intense and your freaking everybody out.” It’s been a learning process to channel my passion into the right energy, but worth the work.
Kara KB@kara_kb · Marketing, financial modeling & Strategy
What do you think the biggest AI disruption will be in the next 5 years?
Blake Irving@blakei · CEO, GoDaddy
@kara_kb oh gawd, don’t get me started. I’ve written a fair bit about it here: https://medium.com/@Blakei/artif... but in general, I’d say that there’s a huge danger in front of us and it’s not the one most people are talking about. I’m concerned about the applied AI that is taking jobs today. Half of all jobs in the west are on track to be replaced by automation in the next 20 years. It’s a big question about what are people going to do. It’s my thesis that the jobs that remain will need to be very unique and highly creative. It turns out that small business match that description better than any other. Much of our strategic direction at GoDaddy is to leverage the same machine learning and predictive analytics that are taking jobs and use it to deliver insights to our customers. If we can empower a world of entrepreneurs the whole AI think might end up being the best thing the world has ever seen—until the terminators come, that is. :)
Andrew Ra@andrewxra · Founder, Braver
Interested in learning how to code this year via a coding boot camp that offers 2 stacks - ASP.Net/C# or Node.js/Python. Being that you're in the tech space, which track do you prefer or recommend?
Blake Irving@blakei · CEO, GoDaddy
@andrewxra I would say Node.js/Python. When we sat down to design GoCentral, we needed technologies that would let us deliver a scalable platform and responsive web experience, as well as set us up to iterate quickly and leverage data as a fundamental part of the product. We considered a lot of options and ultimately made heavy use of Node.js, React and Python to create the product.
Andrew Ra@andrewxra · Founder, Braver
Hi @blakei, thanks for the reply.