On the other hand, the fact that the Foundation for Economic Education still exists 65 years after its start and recently hosted Yaron Brook of the Ayn Rand Institute pleases me greatly.
December 2011 Archives
This is hard to watch.I am generally very bullish on people. But looking at the utter ignorance on display in that video worries me greatly.
Last night was the annual Go Daddy Holiday Party and it was the best one yet!
The theme was USA and it was held at Chase Field, where the Arizona Diamondbacks play. The grounds were literally the USA, with different sections themed to different parts of America. In the middle was an enormous Statue of Liberty with hot dog carts around it and an incredible selection of desserts. Around the edges were the following:
- Hollywood: a huge backdrop of the Hollywood Hills, two huge Oscar statues with the Go Daddy Guy's head instead, a star walk with Go Daddy Girls names in front of a movie theater façade, fake paparazzi snapping photos as you walked down it, culminating in a Chinatown shop where you could get vegetable lo mein or chicken and broccoli in a Chinese takeout box
- New Orleans: a façade with a sidewalk lead to a restaurant front with jambalaya and shrimp po boys and a "Cafe du Go Daddy" serving beignets, an enormous Mardi Gras float with attendants throwing beads
- Stage: Big Swing and the Ballroom Blasters sung the national anthem (followed by the release of a bald eagle who flew around the stadium) and several classic covers, Dierks Bentley, Trace Adkins, Kid Rock
- Mount Rushmore: a "sand" sculpture with the heads of the Go Daddy Girls instead of the presidents, Bob Parsons' custom motorcycle collection
- Las Vegas: casino tables, all-you-can-eat buffet, a Dance Heads booth
- Hawaii: surfing simulator, tiki hut serving tilapia tacos and ribs, enormous Go Daddy sand castle
- San Francisco: Alcatraz prison with two cells for picture taking, a cafeteria line serving turkey, mashed potatoes, and corn on prison trays, an enormous Golden Gate Bridge re-christened the Go Daddy Gate Bridge, a huge Buddha sculpture in a Thai setting serving the Chinese food from Hollywood, photo shoot set up with props
- Indianapolis: Danica Patrick's Indy car and Nascar stock car, remote control race track with eight stations controlling miniature versions of Danica's stock car, a pit simulator for quick changing of tires
During the intermissions between the incredible acts, Bob Parsons would give out money assisted by the Go Daddy Girls. In a welcome change this year, the whole process was significantly more automated. The Go Daddy Girl would press an big red button and a name would randomly appear for Bob to read out and it would also show up on the Jumbotron. He gave out over $1.1 million in prizes in $500, $1000, $2500, $5000, and $10,000 increments with the taxes fully paid.
My bosses' boss Neil and I were talking about how great it is to work for a company that had to build a machine to make cash gift distribution more efficient. "We couldn't give the money out fast enough," said he. "So we built something to make it quicker." It was perhaps the most surreal moment when you stopped to think about it.
In sheer scope and diversity, this party easily topped last year's. Two years ago, they filled the stadium with falling snow. Last year, it was an enormous Ferris wheel in the middle of the stadium. This year, there was a bald eagle, the Statue of Liberty, the bridge replica, the sand sculptures, and three huge entertainment acts. It was a tremendous party and I'm so proud to be a part of Go Daddy!
[The views expressed on this website/weblog are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of GoDaddy.com, Inc.]
Reading about Google X and now Google's attempt to horn in on Amazon Prime, I have to think that this is a result of their culture. It's really great that they're ambitious and open to anything but these efforts have consequences.
The key to success is focus and persistence. In life, you won't achieve anything unless you've defined what you want and then work at it. It's the same in business—perhaps even more so. While an individual can dawdle about in a fog and still get enough to eke out an existence, a business that acted like that would fail much more quickly. The marketplace does not reward complacency or mediocrity, not when there is competition or profit to be had.
I look at Google and see them inexplicably trying to copy Microsoft. Microsoft has two cash cows—Office and Windows—but is desperately paranoid that they're running out of milk. So it does exploratory ventures into console gaming, Internet search, cloud computing, smartphones, tablets, health care, and so on. Similarly, Google has two cash cows—search and advertising—but is easily distracted by sexy, new possibilities. The new shiny for them has included mapping, email, social networking, health care, power metering, bookmarking, photo albums, blogging, browsers, smart phones, video, 3D modeling, telephony, and so much more. Interestingly, both companies have entered these new territories primarily through acquisition.
It's important to note that these two companies are wildly successful and I am a fan and happy consumer of many of the technologies I label as distractions. It's entirely possible that all of these side businesses will turn out to be useful hedges against eventual losses in the core business.
But maybe they'd be more successful if they put all that effort into the core businesses and did their expansion in an aligned fashion. For example, Microsoft has an associated enterprise server business that takes advantage of their Windows operating system work. Google's foray into smartphones provides another vehicle for their advertising business. But even the longest of the long views can't explain space elevators.
It's fashionable to talk about Apple at this point. They are renowned for their focus, cutting products to keep things easy to understand. Further, you can see a progression from the iPod to the iPad and the latter as the fulfilled vision of the former. It takes tremendous dedication to keep plugging away to realize that vision. Along the way, Apple has expanded into adjacent territories and built them into decent side businesses that reinforce the core line. iTunes, the App Store, and iCloud make iPods, iPhones, and Macintoshes more valuable and desirable.
I've heard this business model described as the "stadium" model. You get people into the ballpark and then you provide all the concessions so they don't have to leave to get their needs satisfied. This strikes me as a great way to maintain focus yet still have ample room for growth.