Len Short (RED)ily Discusses Google, Bono & Steve Jobs (2023)

Article first published as Len Short (Red)ily Discusses Google, Bono and Steve Jobs on Technorati

Len Short (RED)ily Discusses Google, Bono & Steve Jobs (1)Len Short is truly an online marketing pioneer, heading up marketing at Charles Schwab, AOL and then (PRODUCT)RED. He is now leading Chug, a car buying search engine, as its Founder and CEO.

Before his career moved online, Len worked on major marketing campaigns for credit card companies and rolled out MCI's highly successful "Friends and Family" marketing campaign.

Len Short (RED)ily Discusses Google, Bono & Steve Jobs (2)

I recently caught up with Len outside of George Lucas' Skywalker Ranch. He was kind enough to conduct a video interview from his car. Fortunately, he spoke with me while he was parked and not careening down the highway. Unfortunately, his iPhone flipped his image to landscape mode. Despite this technical glitch, I opted to publish our discussion, given the high-quality content of his comments. If watching the video is too distracting, simply minimize the screen and listen to Len's insights as you would a podcast.

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You can watch my interview with Len below or on YouTube here: http://youtu.be/ivJhv6g7bA0

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Len has enjoyed an incredible online career. He was the CMO at Charles Schwab during the emergence of the online brokerage revolution, helping to guide the company's transition from a high-touch retail broker to a no-touch self-serve trading platform. After leaving Schwab, Len was recruited by AOL as its EVP of Brand at a time when the company was seeking to remain relevant, just as its dialup subscriber base was in its initial stages of decay.

Len Short (RED)ily Discusses Google, Bono & Steve Jobs (3)Len later joined (PRODUCT)RED as its Founding CMO. In this capacity he worked with U2's Bono, as well as Steve Jobs and a number of other notable celebrities whom Len encouraged to lend their brand equity to bolster RED's cause.

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Len remains an active advisor to several startups. In this regard, I asked him to share the lessons from his early days of online marketing that remain relevant to the startups he currently advises. "We're focusing now on re-disrupting categories that moved early online, but in some ways, have been freeze-dried since then. My history has always been with challenger brands, back in the credit card days and then with MCI and the phone wars, I did 'friends and family' for MCI which really changed that industry. And then with Schwab, who was just a small, discount broker when I joined them and we rose to dominant market share in three categories in brokerage.

So I have always liked the underdog who changes what's embedded in a category to the advantage of the consumer. We're focusing now on some search products…where we think there is a long way to go. It is kind of rabbit-ear television. Even though we are all impressed with the Internet, I think it is black-and-white and just a couple of channels.

I have seen it happen over and over again, especially in these categories where people just felt like, 'Well, they are too big and nothing will ever change.' Guess what, it changes completely. That has been the theme in my lifetime and I think it will just accelerate from here."

Given Len's affinity for underdogs tackling huge markets, it is not surprising that he would found Chug, a search-oriented startup that is competing with Google. "So much power has ended up in Google's search box. 350-million Americans enter the same long-string search term and get pretty much the same results and that just can't last… because we're very diverse. When I enter 'Rome Hotel', that's a very different query than when my Partner Sergey enters 'Rome Hotel.' I don't want to stay in the hotel he is going to and he's not going to stay in the one I'm going to.

There is great room for improvement in terms of… putting the control back in the hand of the consumer. Basically Google is a TV without a remote control. They are in control. Our focus has been letting the consumer to take control of their search through their own embedded associations. So much power consolidated in one place smells to me as an opportunity. You're sort of David against these big Goliaths, but I have seen it work over and over again."

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Earlier in his career, Len worked at NW Ayer where he focused much of his attention on non-profits. Fast-forward a decade and he was the CMO at (PRODUCT)RED. Giving back is clearly in Len's DNA. He shared the following advice for emerging entrepreneurs who have limited time and money but an unlimited passion to give back philanthropically. "With Red, Africa wasn't my cause. It was Bono's cause and Bobby Shriver's cause. I found an opportunity to take some unique skills that I had (and) to apply them to that model. I invested two years of my life…and it became my cause. The most important things people can give are their talents and innovation. So as an entrepreneur, (talent) is the most valuable currency.

Bono said, 'Well, OK. I understand your plan but I want a friend of mine who is a marketing guy to vet your plan,' and I said, 'Oh yeah, who's that?' and he said, 'Steve Jobs.' Steve was amazingly helpful and supportive.

RED… is a for-profit endeavor, the profits just go to Africans, not to anybody else. It has made and distributed over $180 million in profits that have all gone…to buy ARVs (antiretroviral drugs). Look at your talents and see what they can lend. Later on give your money away."

(PRODUCT)RED continues to be immensely successful, having directly impacted the lives of over 7.5 million people. The organization is on track to make the children born in 2015 the first AIDS free generation in decades. Given RED's immense marketing impact, I asked Len what he would do differently, if he were launching the project today. "If I did it again, I'd be even more adamant about staffing it and creating a culture of relentless, hard-nosed focus on creating results. That goes for pretty much any enterprise and certainly a cause should have the same hard-nosed approach that business does. That was our going-in proposition."

In addition to its Co-Founder, Bono, (PRODUCT)RED enlisted the support of a number of notable personalities. Due to Rincon Venture Partners' focus on sourcing deals within the Southern California ecosystem, we often see deals in which one or more celebrities are involved. From an investor's standpoint, we view this as a mixed blessing. Even so, I found Len's counsel regarding how to appropriately manage and maximize an organization's relationship with high-profile celebrities to be a bit surprising. "Celebrities are tricky. I think it is borrowed equity. Essentially a successful entrepreneur will always be purely driven by a vision. They won't let distractions or shortcuts distract them. It's easy to talk yourself into, 'So and so is interested and it will help me.' I am not sure it ever does, unless there is a natural connection. The same rule applies, borrowed equity isn't yours.

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I can't really think of a great case history where a celebrity has really driven a startup. Other than RED, I mean Bono, I wouldn't call him a celebrity, he's a force of nature."

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What is the moral of Steve Jobs? ›

"Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition."

What are the three important life lessons you learn from Steve Jobs? ›

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What does Steve Jobs say is most important in life? ›

Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything -- all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure -- these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.

What did Steve Jobs say about Google? ›

I'm going to destroy Android, because it's a stolen product. I'm willing to go thermonuclear war on this," the late CEO famously said. When Apple was working on its iPhone strategy, which included what is now iOS, Google's CEO was Eric Schmidt and he was serving on Apple's board.

What lessons can I learn from Job? ›

7 important life lessons you can learn at work
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What important lessons imparted by Steve Jobs could you apply in your own life? ›

Here are 10 useful lessons we can learn from Steve Jobs (1955-2011).
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How do you think Steve Jobs speech is so inspiring? ›

I think Steve Jobs' speech is so inspiring. His act of delivering life-related stories in his speech to motive his audiences is outstanding. In his speech, he has shared the personal stories of his life that have inspired most people. His speech has various facts related to the life of common people.

Which sentence describes how jobs message is introduced in the text? ›

Q. Which sentence describes how Jobs' message is introduced in the text? The speech is presented as cause and effect.

What are the 3 stories Steve Jobs talks about? ›

Jobs' speech followed three stories from his life: one, in which he tells an anecdote about dropping out of college; another, about the lessons he learned from being fired by Apple in 1985; and lastly, his reflections on death.

Did Steve Jobs have a famous quote? ›

Famous Steve Jobs Quotes
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What was Steve Jobs most important advice? ›

Jobs answered the question plainly: in order to be successful, you must be passionate about the work you're doing. In giving his answer, Jobs acknowledged the fact that this piece of advice is widely circulated and generally regarded as true.

What did Steve Jobs say was the best invention in life? ›

And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of life. It is Life's change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away.

What are the 3 things Steve Jobs said about the first iPhone? ›

"The second is a revolutionary mobile phone. And the third is a breakthrough internet communications device. So three things: a widescreen iPod with touch controls, a revolutionary mobile phone and a breakthrough internet communications device. "An iPod, a phone and an internet communicator.

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Want to close out your sales presentations with a bang? Use Steve Jobs as your inspiration. Jobs was famous for “ending” his keynote speeches, then turning around and saying, “One more thing … ” His next announcement was usually the most exciting one of the night -- and the crowd would eat it up.

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"Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition ...

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One of the most important life lessons that you need to learn is the importance of patience. Patience is defined as an individual's ability to wait for something significant to happen without feeling frustrated due to the delay. In life, you'll have to wait for a lot of things without feeling negative.

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The book's theme is the eternal problem of unmerited suffering, and it is named after its central character, Job, who attempts to understand the sufferings that engulf him.

What are Steve Jobs values? ›

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Steve Jobs could be considered as one of the most motivated and driven entrepreneurs of all time. Most people believe that it was his constant need for perfection that drove him to persevere through projects, but his biggest motivation was his desire to leave something behind that changed everything.

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Steve Jobs is regarded as one of the most inspirational entrepreneurs that the world has ever seen due to his contribution to innovate approach to design and technology. His disregard for people who said it wasn't possible and his vision for the future made him a pioneer.

What is Steve Jobs purpose in his speech? ›

The purpose of Steve Jobs' speech was to convince students to look for such career fields and jobs so that they can do what they love and have passion for.


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