Notes From Yanik Silver’s Latest Underground Seminar

 

11.16.09 post

This post shows you the value of getting your name remembered

Hey You,

 

It’s #2.

 

I’ve got a gift for you guys.  I’ve been neck deep inside of Yanik Silver’s  5th Underground Seminar.  While taking notes for this along with managing all of my other interests I’ve had little time to write up any posts.

 

So, to make sure you don’t think I forgot about you I want to give you what I learned from the Keynote Presentation for this event.

 

Yanik paid God knows what to bring out Bob Parsons, CEO/Founder of Godaddy.com to come and address the group.  This guy just oozes personality and charisma.  I did a post a long while ago just on one part of this speech.  Here’s the whole thing…

 

1.1 Success Is All About Perspective

 

1.1.1 When you hear the word no or find yourself at a dead end, instead of thinking, “I give up or I quit”, you might want to think about taking on the perspective of “I’ll take a different approach.”

 

1.2 There are 2 factors that play a role in how successful we are.

 

1.2.1 Luck

 

Luck is opportunity presenting itself in the form of a break or timing or fortunate turn or events that we position ourselves through hard work and vigilance to take advantage of.

We need to put ourselves in positions where we can take advantages of breaks when they arrive.

 

1.2.2 Perspective

Perspective is knowing how to think about things.

If you have the right perspective you increase your resilience and you can overcome just about anything.

 

If you allow yourself to think the wrong way about anything placed in front of you, you’re finished before you start

 

He talks about going to Vietnam fresh out of high school and showing up and finding out 4 guys in his battalion had been killed and the leader was a 19 year old kid.  At this point he started having a anxiety attack thinking to himself that this is where he was going to die.  After he realized and accepted this truth, his anxiety went away.

 

The moments that followed were some of the most peaceful in his whole life.

 

Because he expected and accepted that he was going to die, when he saw another of his fellow 18 year old soldiers, on his first combat ambush, get horrifically wounded, he could be alert and in the moment enough so that later he could save another marines life.  This man saved his life a few months later.

 

He took on the perspective of just wanting to make it through one day at a time till the next mail call

 

1.2.3 He came back from Vietnam after being injured and recovering and graduated college cum laude as an accountant.

 

Respected the profession but didn’t enjoy being a CPA so he ended up having all kinds of random jobs.  Everything from selling commercial loans to repo-ing 18 wheelers.

 

1.2.4 Finally he got turned on to computers and wrote a program to help him with his family’s expenses.  After a year or so his home accounting program got to be pretty good.

In 1984 he decided to try to sell it right out of the basement of his home and called the business Parson’s technology.

 

During the first two years he went broke twice trying to sell his product the same way everyone else sells theirs which led to him selling almost nothing.  But he kept going.  At two separate times he lost $15,000 in savings and $25,000 in savings/bonus from job/credit cards.

 

He actually offered his friend half of his company for $5,000.  His friend turned him down and in doing so did him the biggest favor anyone’s ever done him.  Even though he didn’t realize it at the time.

 

It was the perspective that he wanted to build something special that kept him going.

1.2.5 He believed he could find a way to sell his technology.  He wasn’t working for the money.  People wouldn’t work that hard for money.  He did it for the dream.  His dream was a big company with great products and happy customers.

 

His big break came when the magazine Computer Bargain Line came to him desperate to fill the front cover ad space because a company who’d reserved it, had gone broke 2 days before going to press.

 

They sold him the $15,000 ad for $5,000.  He didn’t even have the money but he went borrowed and went forward with the perspective that if he was gonna make it, the time was now.  To his sheer amazement and delight, the ad not only worked but he tripled his money.

 

After this he contacted all the magazines to get this same ad placed in them and because he paid his creditors, he was able to get $50,000 in advertising credit right away.   What was amazing was that every magazine he ran the ad in, it worked.

 

Parsons Technology became a direct marketing company.  This allowed him to move out of the basement, get a real office and hire 10 people.  Through selling complimentary accounting software and bible software he morphed the company to over 1,000 employees and had over 3,000,000 Million customers and sales of over $100,000,000.00 a year.

 

That growth happened in the span of 10 years and in 94, Intuit approached him to buy his company.  He decided that if they offered him $40 million dollars, he’d sell.  They offered $60 million.  He rejected their offer and got them to agree to $64 million dollars.

 

The takeaway is that it was having the right perspective that allowed him to have this success.  If he’d been solely focused on making money instead of his dream of building something special, this company would never come off the starting blocks.

 

Bob only started godaddy.com so he’d have something to do.

 

He started with no business plan and lots of money.  He tried doing all kinds of shit that didn’t work like building intranets, becoming an ISP provider, and selling software to build sites.

 

After all of his ideas didn’t work he realized from thinking about his website building program that the one thing that was required when you built a site was to have a domain name.

 

He found out that all the companies that sold domain names back then sucked.  Prices were high, service non-existent, and systems were bad.  They decided to become a domain registrar, sell domains as a front end and sell stuff on the back end.

 

Starting this venture was to take about a year and over a million bucks be he took the leap and this is the decision that made the company.  They sold their first domain name in November of 2000 and by this time he was getting spooky close to going broke.

 

Because sales were so shitty, and he had no other investors/partners, his personal nest egg had gone from $32 million down to $8 million.

 

In early 2001 he’d decided to himself that he was gonna shut the company down.  His epiphany showed up when he decided he didn’t really want to close the company and then he saw a happy guy, his age, parking cars at the hotel he was staying at.

 

That’s when it hit him… he thought “What am I worried about? This was Vietnam all over again.  What’s the worst thing that could happen?  I go broke and park cars for a living.  This guy’s happy doing it.  Shit, I could be happy doing it.”

 

8 months later the company became cash flow positive and they haven’t missed a month since.

When he was on the verge of closing godaddy he had no idea how close he was to being successful.   It was accepting and coming to terms with the possibility that he could go broke and it wouldn’t be the end of the world that enabled him to do what needed to be done.

 

The thing that turned Godaddy around was the dotcom bust.  What ruined everyone else, boosted them.  All the noise died.  No one was paying ultra high fees for ads anymore so all those guys who wouldn’t even talk to him when it was sunny, were now at his front door.

 

Another breakthrough for the company came in October 2004.

 

Their market share for domain names was about 16%.  Back then he didn’t understand why a customer would do business who was more expensive, had inferior products and had poor service.

 

He hired a market research firm and found out that the biggest reason people weren’t buying from Godaddy was because they didn’t know they existed.

 

Bob found out that most prospective customers were signing up domains under the first person they found and didn’t know the difference between a good deal and bad one.  The recommendation the research firm gave him was to start using offline methods to advertise – T.V., print so they could reach the people their online ads didn’t get to.

 

This was in September 2004 and he thought what better way to kick off their offline campaign than with the biggest media event of the year — The Superbowl.

 

30 second spots cost $2 million bucks, and it’d cost at least a mill to produce a decent commercial.  Nowadays it’s just $3 mill for the airtime.  For this your ad has the potential to be seen by 90 million viewers who many of, are distracted by conversation or alcohol or both.

 

So to overcome those challenges he concurred his commercial had to be edgy, controversial, make people laugh and piss people off.

 

After seeing a “Mike’s Hard Lemonade” commercial in which a guy in a bar uses his foot-long tongue to swab the last of his “Mike’s” out of the bottle and has an audience of a few mesmerized women who when asked what they want they want, point down the bar to the tongue dude and say, “I want one of those.” he decides his commercial should have edge like that and hires the same ad agency that put that ad together.

 

So he finds them, hires them and tells them to go balls to wall with shock and awe because he knew there was no way that in 30 seconds they had enough time to fully explain what godaddy does.

 

But what they could do was create buzz around the name godaddy.com but to do this the commercial had to immediately grab the viewers attention, it had to be in your face, and it have to be edgy.

 

Bob decided that whatever angle they took his commercial had to feature a well-endowed brunnette and that their name had to go right across her tits at nipple height.  The Janet Jackson “Wardrobe Malfunction had occurred the year before and the ad agency decided to run with a spoof on that.

 

They wanted people to see it and think it was a newsbreak and have people think “What’s going on?” Fox rejected their ad.  They told them that under no circumstance could they use the term “Wardrobe malfunction” and told them they were flashing way too much cleavage.

 

They took out the term and adjusted the cleavage and one week before Superbowl, Fox finally approved.  And immediately after telling them the spot was approved, Fox asked a genius question, “Wanna buy another spot?”

 

They accepted, and after getting their ad rejected, Fox advised them to just run the same ad again.  So they agreed to that.  The second ad was to air at the first break during the second half’s 2 minute warning.

 

When they filmed their ad they decided that they’d have an internet only version that would break all the rules Fox imposed on them.  Once people came to the site they actually had time to educate them on what they did.

 

On game day after their 1st ad ran their servers showed a huge surge in traffic.  So they were naturally excited to see what happened after the second ad aired, especially since that year at the 2 minute warning the game was tied.  No blow out.

 

When it came time for their ad to show, it didn’t.

 

Instead Fox played a commercial of Homer Simpson stabbing a baby.  Their ad never showed.  Later their contact at fox told them that even though they had a signed contract that they’d received so many complaints that they had to cancel the second showing.

 

He looked to his chief of staff and asked, “Could we really be this lucky?”

 

They were the publicity storm of the 2005 Superbowl.  They got discussed on all the radio and talk shows and in all the newspapers.  He went on Bill O’Reilly, the Howard Stern show, the go-daddy girl went on the Today show and on and on.

 

The day after the Superbowl they received over a million visitors to the site.

The media value alone of their Superbowl ad was estimated to be over $12 million dollars.  Their market share for new domain names worldwide immediately jumped from 16% to 25%.  It now is hailed as one of the most effective ads ever created.

 

The next year ABC was airing the Super Bowl and rejected 13 of their concepts.

 

3 days before the game they got their ad approved and because of all the press they’d received from the previous years ad, the media had a heyday with all the trials and tribulations they’d gone through to get this years ad aired.

 

As an unexpected bonus the media started showing last years ad again and again and then to lend context they say, you probably don’t know what this company does, here’s the story…  Couldn’t of worked out better.

 

Their second ad boosted market share again taking them from 25% to 32%.  In 07 they advertised during the Super Bowl and saw growth go from 32% to 38% and after the 08 Super Bowl it moved to 48% world wide. 09 same thing, more growth.

 

As of this showing he currently employees around 2,070 people and over 60% of them are in customer support.  You can call anytime day or night, holiday or not and get outstanding support free of charge and all of their customer support comes out of Arizona, right here in the U S and A.

 

Go-Daddy has succeeded due to the two factors he mentioned at the start, Luck and Perspective.

 

In conclusion here are the 16 Rules Bob Parson tries to live by that have helped him become successful…

1. Get and stay out of your comfort zone.

 

2. Never Give Up – Almost nothing works the first time.

 

3. When you’re ready to quit, you’re closer than you think to succeeding.

 

4. With regard to whatever worries you, not only accept the worse thing that could happen, but make it a point to quantify what the worse thing could be.  Very seldom will the worse consequence be anywhere near as the cloud of undefined consequences.

 

5. Focus on what you want to have happen.

 

6. Take things a day at a time.

 

7. Always be moving forward.  Never stop investing, never stop improving, never stop learning.

 

8. Be quick to decide.

 

9. Measure everything of significance.  Anything that is watched and measured improves.

 

***If you’re kind mixed up on what “everything” to measure is click here to find out the finest resource for measuring and tracking everything in simple to understand language.***

 

10. Anything that is not managed will deteriorate.

 

11. Pay attention to your competitors but pay more attention to what you’re doing.  Everything looks perfect from a distance.

 

12. Never let anybody push you around.

 

13. Never expect life to be fair.

 

14. Solve your own problems.

 

15. Don’t take yourself too seriously.

 

16. There’s always a reason to smile.  “We’re not here for a long time, we’re here for a good time.”

 

 

Be on the lookout for the full set of these notes.  I’ve been swamped in actionable ideas since I been knocking out these notes.  Have a fun Monday.

 

Talk soon,

Note Taking Nerd #2

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