GoDaddy's new CEO on leadership now: 'Change is a tiger'
Q. What’s it like to be a new CEO in this environment?
A. I had a bit of luck in that I had lived through the great recession, and there was some learning in that time. The simple advice on dealing with extreme situations is you want to reduce the space between decision-makers and the information.
In late March, we were doing calls four times a day from the morning to late at night – if we heard from the leaders in China on how something had developed in the morning call, we implemented that change in Europe. And when we had that call later in the day, if there was new information, we implemented it in the U.S. That allowed us to really react quickly and keep our staff safe.
Q. What have been some big changes in your industry since March?
A. We are very fortunate to be part of the digitization wave. We know from the data that if we look at ecommerce as a percentage of commerce, that wave had been growing year after year.
Now we’re seeing that convergence of online and offline commerce. People use online and offline – to buy something online and pick it up – in a manner that they weren’t before. The best part is everyone is suddenly doing it. It’s not just early adopters. We’re not going to go back to how it used to be.
Q. What is your work-from-home set-up?
A. We set up a space in the basement where I can pull down a green screen when I have to do TV. I now have more equipment in this household than in the GoDaddy office.
My daughter is almost 12, and my son just turned 7. Generally, I travel a lot, so being home has been nice. I worry that their expectations have risen. If I do a call at 9:30 at night, I might get a look from my daughter now because she’s thinking, “You’re supposed to be spending time with me right now.”
Q. Any new work habits in 2020?
A. Once a day, if I have a Zoom call or one of my one-on-ones, I’ll say, “I’m taking you outside – forget the video, let’s just talk.” And I’ll put on a big jacket and go for a walk. It just gives you a little bit of energy.
Change is like a mini vacation for your brain, and when you’re jumping from Zoom call to Zoom call to Zoom call, with the constant same screen and same view, you’re missing that part. If you interrupt that, it puts you in a better mood. It makes you think differently. (Editing by Lauren Young and Nick Zieminski)