Len Short (Red)ily Discusses Google, Bono and Steve Jobs - Page 2
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. Your sort of David against these big Goliaths, but I have seen it work over and over again.”
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 (and) that I had 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.
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