Being a steward of data and insights

TBK: Episode 29

This episode features an interview with Robert Brown, the Senior Director of Research for the Venture Forward Initiative at GoDaddy. This is his thirteenth year at GoDaddy, having started as Director of Database Marketing. Prior to GoDaddy, Robert served as Director of Pulte Homes for 9 years. On this episode, Robert talks about tiering data for smarter decisioning, developing intrinsic motivation in employees, and being a successful steward of data and insights.

Headshot of Robert Brown, Senior Director of Research for the Venture Forward Initiative at GoDaddy

About the guest

Robert is the Senior Director of Venture Forward Research and Insights at GoDaddy. He is a leader with extensive experience building and managing high-performing teams focusing on reporting, database marketing analytics, segmentation, predictive modeling, E-commerce and Tech, lifetime value (LTV), covering product, marketing, sales, user behavior/engagement.


”It’s very important as a manager to be invested in the career of the people I’m managing. To have these extended one-on-one conversations with people that are on my teams. And not just during review cycles but along the way. What’s working well for them? What are their aspirations? How can I be different in terms of the way that I’m engaging with them? What do they need more of, or less of, from me? And I found that that first builds a lot of loyalty, but it’s also just made me a better manager.”

”You have to give people an opportunity to fail or succeed in a safe environment. Start with a smaller group. Don’t put them in front of the CEO the first time. Don’t put them on the big stage. Give them those moments in smaller increments, smaller doses with a more comfortable audience for them to practice and learn and give them that feedback.”

”I personally had a lot of managers who haven’t given me a lot of feedback along the way. And it feels comfortable, but it doesn’t make you better. And so how you frame that critique of course matters. But that it’s even delivered is a big part of growing people and making them more expert in what they’re trying to do. And telling them, ‘That’s one way to do it. Here’s a different way to potentially do it where I’ve found some success,’ without bashing somebody over the head and saying, ‘Here’s the way I want you to follow this template.’ To me, that doesn’t teach people. That just turns them into automatons or robots, of following somebody else’s dictate or even personal style.”

”Step back and try not to control the individual. Just give them a broad target. Say, ‘Here’s the goal,’ and let them have some creativity. Let them do some experimentation within that broad framework of the outcome you’re trying to get to.”

Time stamps

[6:26] How GoDaddy uses data to shift the global economy
[6:51] What is Venture Forward?
[12:34] How does Venture Forward work?
[15:31] Stitching together data to influence policy makers
[19:21] Branching into the UK
[21:59] GoDaddy’s journey to becoming data-driven
[30:57] How Robert Brown leads high performance teams
[48:25] The importance of experimentation to progress


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