Techweek Day 5

Keynote: Matt Maloney, CEO of GrubHub

The main subject of Matt’s talk was the fundamentals of growing a big company, based on what he’s learned scaling his company, Grubhub. Failure, like shit, makes for good fertilizer and customers are like sunshine. The keys is to constantly learn and iterate, then find the right partners and making the right investments. Never forget to go out and talk to your customers. “Success is a moving target”.

Keynote: Bryan Johnson, Founder of Braintree

Brian spoke of 3 lessons he’s learned in life and at Braintree. When he thinks of conferences, he thinks of navigating a minefield while people shout out advice.

Understand Your Motivation – Why do you want to start a business, do you have an itch or a pain? It is not about being something, it should be about doing something.

Authoring Life – When an author sits down, they create a world out of nothing. It is the same way with a business. You are creating culture, product and the world of your company. How often do we do things only because that’s the way it’s always been done? Throw out old assumptions.

Culture Matters – Culture is like a garden. There are 3 types of workers. Builders, Free Riders and Detractors. When you start, you have a lot of builders, but as you grow you get more of the other types and the garden degrades. Culture is the totality of values, beliefs, behavior, incentives and processes. The mind will drift like a boat without anchors, so it is fundamentally important to have a compass.

Bryan concluded by saying culture is the most important thing in a business and individual’s life.

Changing How the World Sees Digital Advertising

comScore Chairman and Co-Founder, Gian Fulgoni spoke about the realities of digital media plan delivery. The idea that the digital ad is the most measurable media is over hyped. He talked about the many problems with using the cookie as a means of user targeting. comScore did research that found that only 69% of ads are visible (meaning over 30% of ads being paid for were not even visible to the target). Can this be improved?

Publishers are starting to work with advertisers to allow for billing adjustments based on targeting accuracy, and Gian predicted this trend to continue. As this is being adopted, digital ROI has increased by a factor of 5 in just one year.

An Making Measurement Make Sense (3MS) is a new important intitative to reduce costs of doing business due to complexity of the digital ad ecosystem, improve reporting of ad exposure, and, most importantly, bolster confidence that ads delivered are actually visible. Gian predicted that publishers will soon be able to provide pricing based on ad performance. Increase transparency and accountability will lead to more brand ad spending moving online.

Gogo, Inc. from WIFI Flight to IPO

Gogo is poised to launch its IPO. CEO Michael Small talked about the challenges the company faced. He spoke about connexion by Boeing that launched over a decade ago. Since then, they’ve reduced the cost and time to install by 90%. Adoption is happening quickly as people realize that for less than the cost of 2 magazines, they can get internet for a 6-hour flight. He talked about the fact that people use the internet differently when they are trapped on a flight than they do on the ground. For example, clickthru rates on internet ads are much higher.

Are Daily Deals Dead or Will We See a Monumental Shift?

I think the consensus is monumental shift, but gradual as new technology emerges and experimentation continues. Better targeting is key. People are alarmed by online ads that target them too closely, yet frustrated with ads that are irrelevent to them. People are hunters and like to feel like they’ve found something. How do you avoid becoming a discount brand? By providing an excellent product or service. Key takeaway: “People like deals involving lasers

SEO Secret Sauce

Brent Payne shared a lot of SEO tools and tricks. First, he said start with your strengths via Google Webmaster Tools and get information about your links. Use the Google Keyword Tool and choose targeted terms. Do competitive research and try to mimic link profiles. Open site explorer is a great tool. Use Google Trends to compare keywords and phrases search traffic and search history. Google Insights provides geography and subcategory search information.

For content consolidation and expired content, be sure to set up canonical links and redirect to appropriate url’s.

For mobile SEO, Google likes responsive web design. Having a lighter page weight (no big images) improves your chances at ranking better.

The speaker even went into some black hat techniques for manipulating google suggest with using Amazon mechanical turk to generate a lot of searches and some more cool obscure tricks. Basically, Brent Payne is a bad ass when it comes to SEO (search for SEO Consulting Firm and he’s result #2.

The End

Chicago’s 2012 Techweek Conference & Expo was a great experience. For such a large conference, it seemed pretty scrappy and unpolished at times, but the content was fantastic. Some of the smartest people I’ve ever encountered gave some great talks that informed and inspired me. Probably the best thing about it though, is that it is local. Unlike say, SXSW when everyone departs and then spreads out all over the world, for the most part, people at Techweek stay right here. It is exciting to see so much great tech stuff happening right here in my backyard.

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