Paul's Blog

The Well-Grounded Yuppie

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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

SMX West 2008 in Santa Clara

So I’ll be going to Santa Clara for SMX West. I’m pretty excited. This is the first major search engine conference. I remember almost going to SES NY a few years ago, but some last minute things prevented me from going.

I worked a half day today, left my job around noonish for the airport. It was a 1:30-3PM flight to Dulles DC for transferring. My coworkers and I sat around for almost four hours to catch the 7PM flight to San Jose, and this flight will take six hours. The waiting time between transfers went by fast. We talked about all kinds of things, from their families to our jobs. It seems like people were more open to discussing new ideas and navigate away from status-quo when we’re out of the office. We talked about what motivates us to do a good job besides the paychecks. I am traveling with the director of MIS. He wants to see the company’s web presence succeed because he’s been there from ground zero, before the company had a website. The developer told me his motivation is that he really enjoys creating things that help people and businesses out, such as computer programs that automate lots of stuff. And me personally, I really haven’t been at my current job long enough to truly care about its profits. I just really enjoy what I do. I love the pages I’ve “touched” showing up and ranking in search engines, I love the idea of for ever dollar I spend in paid search, I make more than a dollar back. If I’m around long enough, I’d like see the company’s web-presence grow into a major competitor for E-commerce. Starting from almost scratch web-marketing wise, I almost feel like I’m taking on a “pet project” that’s a blank slate. The only difference is that I get to work on this pet project while at work, and I get financial backing for this too. It’s pretty fun – well, if you don’t count the corporate politics, waiting forever for stuff to get done, and dealing with random egos such as the head programmer saying stuff like “convince me why we should do a URL rewriting” when it was already decided because I’ve already convinced our COO and director of MIS. But I guess it happens in every company, all you can do in that aspect is to “play nice” and “make people happy” while doing the things that you feel like is important. With enough advertising dollars, I might be working for a company that will be what Amazon is today.

I am sitting on the plane, blogging but can’t publish due to the lack of Internet. I’ve been on the plane for about four hours, and only two more to go. The plane ride so far seemed a lot longer than the four hour wait for the plane. I’m running out of distractions. My mini-video player is almost out of battery, I’ve went through all my throw-away free magazines, and now I’m almost finished with this blog.

Again, I’m pretty excited. Not only is this my first major search engine conference, but it’ll be my first time on the west coast. I’m obviously going to visit San Francisco while I’m here. I’ll be taking lots of pictures. If anyone wants any souvenirs or has any special requests on pictures, you know I’ll do my best.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Random Definition Glossary

This is to test Google's "define" or "what is" operator and ways to influence it.

I have chosen a few random names of my college buds to target that I think isn't competitive at all.

Examples: Google the following:
define:paul zhao
what is paul zhao

Hopefully, this experiment will work.

Paul Zhao: a person that's always trying to manipulate Google results

Andrew Simmering: one who is always willing to take shots

Matt Hollinger: someone who can't handle his liquor

Ronald Roode: a person who writes weird programming codes

Mudit Patel: a guy who went to law school and moved to BFE

SMX: the first search engine conference on the west coast Paul Zhao is attending

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Yahoo Layoffs Begin, Recruiters Aware

It seems like Jerry Yang, the new Yahoo CEO has decided to lay off about 1000 people. By what I personally understand, it's just one company getting hit, not an "economic recession". In fact, other companies in Silicon Valley are increasing efforts to acquire all the talented employees that lost their jobs. I guess it's the survival of the fittest in the corporate world. I believe most competent people will find jobs in the valley in a short amount of time. The incompetent people can still find jobs as long as they have good interviewing skills.

I remember when MSI closed down, why weren't MSI employees picked off by different companies in Research Triangle Park? Granted that MSI doesn't have the big name like Yahoo, but most MSI employees were extremely intelligent. After all, isn't RTP supposed to be "the Silicon Valley of the East Coast"?

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Super Bowl Thoughts

Thought 1: Has anyone noticed that most super bowl ads don't use the phrase "super bowl" in the ad? That's because of trade mark issues, and most companies get around it by using words like "Win tickets to the big game" while having football-type images in the ad.

Thought 2: Great game, real close, Giants managed to pull off the winning touch down with 2 minutes left. I'm not much into football, but since I'm from NY, Go Giants.

Thought 3: In each company, whoever decided to spend $2.7M for an ad should be fired. I know there're "intangibles results", such as employee moral, but everything else can be somewhat measured. Viewership wise, we can look at it on a CPM model - cost per 1000 commercial views. The large audience somewhat justifies the price of the commercial, but by what I understand, the CPM is still about 1.5x the cost of a "normal commercial" on prime time TV. It normally wouldn't be that big of a deal to buy a commercial at 1.5 times CPM cost, but when you buy that much inventory at the same time (large amount of viewers), the loss is tremendous.

CEO's of super bowl commercial companies: If you have $2.7M to burn a hole in your bank-pocket, let ME burn it. I'll pocket 10% (average agency fee) of the $2.7M and still produce better trackable results - brand awareness, "spike" in website or store traffic, etc. Brand awareness are measured through the research team, such as surveys, measuring brand name recognition, both assisted and unassisted, etc. And with my spending methods, it wouldn't be a "spike" in traffic, it would be more of a consistent increase, well, until the $2.7M runs out anyway, but it'll take several months. If I become your consultant, I'll produce better results with your $2.7M than a super bowl commercial, and you'll save some $$ by firing the chain of employees that it took to get the commercial plan together. I know you're in charge of companies with lots and lots of money, but QUIT WASTING IT. If by any chance a CEO wants to contact me, I can put a "real" marketing plan together with expected results after a consultation call.

Final note: I seem to enjoy super bowl more and more every year. It's not about the game itself for me, but the company I'm with, and an excuse to indulge in food that I normally wouldn't eat, well, at least in that quantity.