Noel McMichael, CEO of Marketleap, will be giving the keynote address. He said he did adapt his presentation from the last SES show, he will be adding and moving into the black hat/white hat debate topic. He said if your going to thrive, there are seven things you must do, which he will discuss in his presentation. He described how Marketleap started in November 1999, out of a two bedroom apartment with business class DSL. They focused on Web development projects and a few months later they decided to contract a CFO and lawyers - he said never go cheap with this stuff. Then in March 2000 they hired internal dedicated developers, the NASDAQ was diving, NBCi went out of business (Marketleap's largest client). In January 2001 they decided to go viral, building tools to help people come back time and time again. Then in March 2002 they had a need for cash flow, so they got a line of credit of 100k from the bank. In July 2002 they hired two more people and grew to 5 people, hiring Keith Boswell and Derrick Wheeler. He then shows a chart of the "ecosystem" of the search marketing industry and went off on a bit of a tangent about spammers. So where did Marketleap align itself with the search engines? They went into the paid inclusion reseller business (with inktomi in sept. 2002). Then Singing reseller (which then got bought out by AOL) then AV reseller (Overture bought AV), then Fast reseller and overture buys then, then Overture reseller and Yahoo buys them and then infospace resller (no one bought them yet).
June 2003, they have a reseller meltdown. Ink/Overture cut XML paid inclusion reseller from 24+ to 4. They kept Marketleap, which was huge for them. He said he remembers when Inktomi put a big heart on a big van and drove it around Yahoo!'s headquarters saying "Will You Be Mine". Then August 2003 they grew from 7 to 10 people with no office, just virtual people. 2004 came along and search became huge and the VCs came in. They were getting 2 to 3 calls a week, and he disliked many of the VCs. Then in July 2004 they were acquired by Digital Impact, a huge email marketing company. So they grew from 10 to 284 employees, Noel now has an office and there are 6 different locations. They are now in four different ecosystems (search, email, interactive and digital print). Noel's job is to watch over his alignment in the search ecosystem with Marketleap.
Seven imperatives for success in the SEM ecosystem: (1) Define ecosystem directions and values > Share directions and values (see Linux, eBay, Microsoft) > Align interests wherever possible > Involved SEO providers in business planning and innovation (2) Foster Open Relationships > transparency enables and trust (3) Focus all participants on the end customer > who is the customer > your immediate customer may be the next link in the value chain (4) Treat employees, partners and vendors as investors of human capital (5) The search engines must define governance and the rules of engagement > its not for SEMPO > standards and guidelines are very gray always (6) Leverage Knowledge and Innovation of External Entities > drop the "not invented here" syndrome (he looks at the Google API limiting you to 1,000 query limit (7) Evolve or Become Extinct > Abandon change management > Change is constant, embrace it and accept it > There are always opportunities for First Movers
He then added, hire outrageous individuals that contradict the norm, and put up a picture of Mikkel. :)