15 Incredible Facts About GoDaddy CEO Blake Irving

Blake Irving has been the CEO of GoDaddy since January 7, 2013.

Under his leadership, GoDaddy gave the company a new, more mature personality — one that tried to distance itself from its era of controversial Super Bowl ads — and went public in 2015.

But there’s much more to know about Irving.

Check out these 15 interesting facts about GoDaddy’s CEO and Board Director:

1. When he went to college, he started out as a business major but “didn’t like it,” he told the New York Times. So he ended up becoming an art major, graduating with a B.A. in art from San Diego State University.

2. Irving worked at Microsoft from 1992 to 2007. Before leaving the company, he was the vice president of Windows Live Platform Group.

3. After leaving Microsoft, Irving was chief product officer for Yahoo. After a two-year stint at Yahoo, he went into semi-retirement.

4. Irving was a GoDaddy customer for five years before he became its CEO. He told Domain Name Wire that he hosted 45 domains on GoDaddy at the time of the interview in 2012.

5. GoDaddy’s CEO still owns several domains. According to a Product Hunt chat, 850tequliabar.com, StopDoingThat.com, and 2002.guru were some of his personal favorites.

6. Those polarizing GoDaddy ads of the Bob Parsons era? Although they resulted in a 85 percent unaided brand recall, they made Irving “uncomfortable,” he revealed in this Reddit AMA. “The ads were devised to drive attention and put domains and the GoDaddy brand on the map, and they certainly worked. They were totally polarizing however. Bob Parsons, our founder, was the main driver. Our new ads focus on small business owners, and are more representative of what we do and who we do it for. The days of the shock and awe are behind us.”

7. A drum set in the office? Yep, keeps a drum set in his office (you can see it in the background of this interview). Irving comes from a family of musicians and began drumming when he was 7. He played in a variety of different types of bands in his early life.

8. He has worked hard to eliminate sexism at GoDaddy. One thing he did was to eradicate gender-biased language within GoDaddy’s internal documents for hiring, promotion, and reviews.

9. He is the executive producer of a documentary, “Code: Debugging the Gender Gap.” As described in this Inc. article, the offers “an unscripted and critical look at the lack of gender diversity in the technology sector.

10. Being CEO was never one of his goals. “I love working with great people. It doesn’t mean you have to be a C.E.O. to do it,” he told the New York Times.

11. He was the commencement keynote speaker for Cal Poly’s class of 2015 engineers. His inspiring speech focused on the idea that WHO you are always trumps WHAT you are. You can watch that video here.

12. His philosophy on leadership: “Get out in front, set the pace and live the culture you want everyone else to live. I often say lead from the front — but do it in the mosh pit, not on the stage.”

13. Irving did an AMA on Reddit. One question he was asked was: what would you say makes a leader great? His answer: “Vision, authenticity, bravery, honesty, quick decision making, and following your commitments with action. Folks follow leaders that are willing to take risks, and persist in the face of adversity. You can change culture, build great products, build terrific environments for employees, etc … But you have to have that other stuff dialed in first.” (Oh, and we also found out during the AMA that he prefers his bacon crispy.)

14. He offered six bits of wisdom for entrepreneurs on his personal blog: 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.

15. What’s the secret to being successful at work? Irving believes it’s being fun to work with. In this interview, he said: “Yes, be passionate about your work, be dedicated, hardworking, smart and a great team member — but if you’re not fun to be around none of the rest matters. People work at many companies, but we work with the same people over and over again when they are exceptional people and fun to be around.”

Oh, and one bonus fun fact: He’s super nice! I was lucky enough to have drinks with Irving at the opening of the Boston GoDaddy office. Check out a picture of us together in my tweet from July 30, 2014.

Be a Unicorn in a Sea of Donkeys

Get my very best Unicorn marketing & entrepreneurship growth hacks:

1. Sign up to have them sent to your email directly

2. Sign up for occasional Facebook Messenger Marketing news & tips via Facebook Messenger.

About the Author

Larry Kim is the CEO of MobileMonkey — provider of the World’s Best Facebook Messenger Marketing Platform. He’s also the founder of WordStream.

You can connect with him on Facebook Messenger, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram.

Originally published on: Inc.com