Day 3 of YPO Innovation Week Provides Leading Insights From Taboola, PayPal & Adobe
By Kevin Fallon and Dean Lindal
TABOOLA – Being First Doesn’t Matter
We had a spectacular day with the opening Genie Cast with Adam Singolda the CEO of Taboola who shared his incredible story of growing a company into a world leading discovery platform with over 550 million users per month.
In July 2007 Taboola was founded. They began thinking about content consumption patterns and ways to predict the videos people may like before ever expressing an interest in watching them. It took them 3.5 years to innovate around what became the foundation for Taboola's mathematical predictive engine, Taboola EngageRank™, that later became part of publishers’ workflows given its various optimization capabilities. This algorithmic innovation around video then helped Taboola broaden its solution to recommend articles and slideshows, providing world-leading publishers with a single, ultimate discovery and monetization solution.
These days, passionate about connecting people around-the-world with content they may like, there are over 300 "Taboolars" drilling out recommendations between NY, Pasadena, London, Israel, India and Bangkok. Taboola is widely recognized as the world’s leading content discovery platform, reaching 750 million unique visitors and serving over 300 billion recommendations every month.
Publishers, marketers, and agencies leverage Taboola to retain users on their site, monetize their traffic and distribute their content to drive high quality audiences. Publishers using Taboola include USA Today, NYTimes, TMZ, BusinessInsider, CafeMom, Fox Television, Examiner, and many more. You may have seen their tagline on many of their widgets out there -- Content You May Like.
Top 5 Taboola Takeaways:
- Being first does not matter. Execution is everything. Being the best at what you do.
- Invest in culture. Have a transparent culture. Penalize people who don’t try.
- Have weekly “how did we mess up meetings.”
- Don’t hire based on experience. Intelligence and passion are key hiring qualities.
- Listen to the market and don’t be captured by your own belief. Ask, “what will change my clients’ world?” Think in terms of what top 3 game changers you are going to do for your customer.
PAYPAL OFFSITE – Any Platform Should Be Sender Friendly
We had a very insightful dialog with Josh Grimes on the future of payments and the trends and growth in mobile. His group is responsible for strategy, M&A and corporate partnerships. The PayPal platform powers many third party applications, including AirBnB and ApplePay. FinTec is a fascinating industry with major movements. However, PayPal's market is only 10% of the total market, with 90% still in store. Josh's belief is that the movement away from credit cards will not occur in the US but in emerging or third world countries.
PayPal 2015 Metrics: 17 million new customer accounts, $9.2B revenue, 4.9 billion payment transactions, $282B Total Payment Volume
Top 5 PayPal Takeaways:
- It’s very challenging to maintain a mega platform.
- Any platform should be very "sender" friendly.
- It’s normal for Silicon Valley companies to want to be a platform but extremely few achieve it.
- Anything that causes friction will be really tough for consumers to adopt. EMV (chip in a credit card) takes 8-16 seconds causing too much friction.
- Since the separation from EBay, PayPal has closer relations with EBay.
ADOBE – Innovation Is Highly Personal
Mark Randall, the Chief Innovation Officer for Adobe, spoke about how they made a bold bet to move to the Cloud and empower thousands in the company to be Innovators. He gave a detailed account of how they developed and implemented Kickbox, with a “redbox” demonstration of concept to a “bluebox” funding event. From an employee base of 14,000 employees, they had 1,500 people begin the “redbox” and 25 apply for follow on funding through the “bluebox” model. He described the concept of tribes in any organization to portray the different subcultures that may exist in functions. Kickbox is open source available for free.
Top 5 Takeaways From Adobe:
- Adobe’s Innovation program wanted to increase the rate of failure. Getting people to Innovate has to start with their motivation.
- Can’t pay people to Innovate. It has to be highly personal and creative.
- Survey employees to find out what the road-blocks are for Innovating and then create a grass-roots program of Innovation that removes those road-blocks.
- Look at your employees as your customers.
- Believe that Innovation can come from anywhere in the company. Give your team permission, give them the resources and get out of the way.