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SPARK OF THE CORPORATE

Blake Irving brings high technology to small businesses around the world through GoDaddy. As the CEO, he aims at lowering the barriers to business formation by making it easy for people with ideas to turn them into reality. During his pre-GoDaddy days, he has handled various executive positions with Microsoft and Yahoo. He is a fun, passionate, dedicated, hardworking, smart leader and a great team member.

This technology pioneer has always been spearheading technical innovations and has a fair share in developing many products and services that are now staples of the Internet, including computer typography, communications via the personal computer, online subscription services, digital advertising, and massive-scale services platforms.

Early career with Xerox...

Blake started his career life in 1981, when Xerox hired the then smart graduate student of junior year to design early display and printer fonts. He made use of the opportunity and got involved in various products and services like typography, communications on the personal computer, subscription services and back end online advertising. Over the seven years with Xerox, he moved from designing fonts for displays and printers to working as a PM on printers, then multimedia PCs. He also received the Chairman’s award for innovation at Xerox.

With Oki and Compaq...

After completing MBA in 1988, he worked for Oki Printing Solutions as Product Manager for a year and the moved to Compaq as their Product Manager, where he had spent the next three years.

Life with the tech giant...

Blake started his journey with Microsoft as General Manager in 1992. At Microsoft, he adorned a variety of engineering and product marketing management roles through a number of divisions. He has worked with the hardware team to the Windows team to the internet.

In 1999, when Blake stepped up as the Corporate Vice President, Global Cloud Platforms, he led the effort to build and operate the most efficient, global Internet-scale services platform with the broadest and most profitable advertiser and developer ecosystem. He drove the datacenter and technical operations, advertising platform, storage and payments infrastructure, backend communications and collaboration platform, business and customer intelligence, security and safety, identity, VoIP, mobile, global development and supportability capabilities, supporting application services built across the company, including Windows Live, Office Live, Xbox Live and other Microsoft applications.

Blake worked closely with his team to create and grow MSN Messenger into the world’s most successful instant messaging platform. He remodelled Hotmail and grew to 270 million users worldwide. The deployment of the first billion-dollar advertising system, adExpert was also under leadership.

Yahoo...

After leaving Microsoft, he went to a semi-retirement. He took his family on a one year trip around the world. He also wore the cap of a professor for one and a half years as he worked towards growing imaginative and responsible leaders at Pepperdine, his alma mater.

Blake joined Yahoo in 2010 as the Executive Vice President and Chief Product Officer. He led Yahoo!'s largest employee group, which included all engineering and international development. As a Chief Product Officer, he strived to build unique and highly personal experiences for Yahoo!'s consumers and to provide more and faster innovations to the market. The result was the active users shot up from 550 million to nearly 1 billion users; positioning Yahoo! to surpass Google and Facebook as the world’s most popular online destination.

GoDaddy...

December 2012. Blake was on boarded to GoDaddy. Little did this long time consumer of GoDaddy knew that he would someday be its CEO, when he himself registered domain names at GoDaddy for over 40 business ideas.

Blake led GoDaddy to develop a global-scale cloud platform that leverages predictive analytics and machine learning to power their customer’s digital presence, communications, marketing, commerce, back-office administration and peer/community support. Today GoDaddy serves 17 million paying customers in 125 countries.

Debugging the gender gap

Blake was instrumental in eradicating the sexually provocative commercials at GoDaddy. He also worked hard to eliminate sexism. He replaced gender-biased language in internal documents for hiring, promotion, and reviews etc with gender neutral language thus not giving merit or demerit to a person because of the gender. "They're powerful businesspeople that work their tails off to be successful," Irving said about woman. "It's just the way that they should be portrayed."

Blake hired Elissa Murphy as their CTO. Having a woman CTO was new to the company. Together they formed the GoDaddy Women in Technology network, a professional development group. Through a documentary called CODE: Debugging the Gender Gap, he looks at the lack of diversity in tech world and how cultural mindsets, stereotypes, educational hurdles and sexism all play evil.

Management – Blake style...

Blake's idea of the best organisation is an open, flat, without big hierarchies between the most entry-level jobs and senior leadership. He is a super cool leader who can be often spotted around the office in GoDaddy colored kicks, shorts, and a tee shirt. His open door policy to keep the lines of communication open for all levels within the company.

His six pointers for entrepreneurs are know your customer; know what planning makes a difference; know when to be flexible and when to stand firm; know what to worry about; know where to get help; and know yourself.

Personally...

Blake inherited his love for Jazz from his parents. He started drumming at the age of seven and was so passionate about playing drums and creating art. He enjoyed playing in high school bands, jazz quartets, big bands, college bands and competing in Percussive Arts Society (PAS) competitions in jazz and rudimental drumming. He has a drum set in his office now.

Coming from a musical family and growing up playing in bands and jazz quartets, he loves listening to music. Blake also enjoys writing, golfing, surfing, riding bikes on the mountain or on the road, reading and spending time with his family. He writes at https://blakesblog.com/. He now lives with his wife and two sons in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Education...

Blake started out at as a business major but he did not quite like it and switched to art. He graduated from San Diego State University in Art with special focus on typography and received an MBA degree from Pepperdine Graziadio School of Business and Management.

Quotes

I consider living passionately a job requirement and don’t separate work and life into two contrasting initiatives.
I do my best work when I’m most connected with my family and friends—and I am most connected when I’m deepest in my quest to build tech that can make life a little better for everyone.
I think independent work will be the future of work itself. We will either have a future where there is mass unemployment, or one of mass self-employment. I don't see a third option. The good news is that being your own boss tends to be hugely rewarding. Scary, but rewarding.
Find work that adds purpose and meaning to their life. Find people who are great to work with, and be fun and inspiring to work with in return. Stick with people - the best relationships pay off over many, many years. - His three best pieces of business advice.
Don't let not making a decision be your decision.
I love working with great people. It doesn't mean you have to be a C.E.O. to do it

Hope viewers caught up the spark …

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