One of the requests made by attendees of the last Dublin Web Summit was that there be more insights on marketing and sales online. Paddy Cosgrave and his team could not have done a better job than finding Dan Cobley - marketing director at Google - to come and speak.
Although, being Australian, I was probably the only person in the crowd to find his 'England being crap at cricket' jokes hilarious (which they are, Dan, and true too), everyone listening was definitely enthralled at what Dan had to say about Google and the 10 principles which he defined as being imperative to online business success.
Google has, undoubtedly, been the biggest tech business phenomenon of the last 25 years. They have also never run an ad. Their techniques are unique, imaginative and accommodating to the natural creativity of human beings.
Dan's first point was to hire the right people. Although, as he pointed out, this would seem an obvious statement, it is essentially a very important one. Every business has its own ethos and the people employed should be characters and personalities who are in line with that ethos. For any startups who are at the stage of employing staff, this is, according to Dan, something that should be taken very seriously. Get the right people in who will carry your company's attitude with them in the work they are employed to do.
His second point was that ideas come from anywhere. Think outside the box. In fact, get rid of the box completely. Open yourself up to inspiration coming from all angles, directions and sources. Dan highlighted a billboard test that Google initiated which posed a mathematically inclined, web related puzzle. Anyone who correctly answered the puzzle were offered jobs at Google.
Thirdly, Dan would say, share all information. I think this is pretty clear cut, and is in line with what many of our interviewees have said. This is not an industry in which we need to compete. Ideas and information shared will lead only to growth and expansion.
Fourthly, data drives all decisions. Google is constantly running 1% data tests. This was one of the comments of the night. Google's links are a certain shade of blue. This is for a reason, and it's not because a marketing director made a decision based on his own personal preference. Google put out 70 different shades of blue and found that a greater percentage of people clicked on the shades with a more purple hue and less clicked on the shades with a more green hue. As a result, Google makes over $200M more a year...because of a certain shade of blue. Enough said.
Fifthly (is there such a word?), according to Dan, launch early and often and kill fast. This is a fast moving industry. It is constantly upgrading itself in software and programming. As Yoda said, in obvious and pre-emptive support of Dan's advice, 'Do or do not, there is no try.'
Sixthly, you must balance your resources. This is all about efficiency and productivity and attention must be given to it. This also leads in to his seventh point so...
Seventhly (spell check tells me this isn't a word, but I'm going to persist), prioritize ruthlessly. In balancing your resources, having accumulated data to determine decisions, constantly guage and assess and adapt where your priorities lie. Look at potential and efficiency, constantly.
Eighthly (this one definitely doesn't exist), do quirky stuff. This is my favourite piece of advice. Humans are naturally creative. We also love the unusual. Dan pointed out the video where someone sent an android phone into the upper levels of the atmosphere. As a result, NASA is now in talks with Google about sending one into space. Quirky, and effective.
Ninthly (nearly there), put users first, and then money. Build it and they will come. If you are focusing on making money more than building an amazing product for your users, you have not prioritized correctly. It's a matter of trust and, although it might seem to go against the grain of what we are all taught, it works for Google and, really, who's going to argue against Google?
Tenthly (apparently this is a word. Woo!), bet on the future. Dan pointed out how crazy everyone thought Google was for buying YouTube. The bandwidth expense alone would mean that there was no viability in it as a business. Google stared them all down and now laughs triumphantly at the fact that they successfully bet on bandwidth costs lessening in the future and YouTube making them bucketloads of cash. Straight up.
So, folks, I wanted to relay all that and definitely recommend going to see Dan speak if you ever get a chance. Silicon Republic managed to get an interview with him which you can view at
More to come on the DWS, but this has been what DanWouldSay.
See Silicon Republic Interview Here