By: Hillel Fuld
In the name of full transparency, I am just going to say that I am not a big music guy and I am therefore not a heavy MySpace user. Having said that, I connected with Sean on Twitter without even knowing who he was and only after a few conversations, I checked out his bio. Suffice to say, I was pretty surprised at how such a down-to-earth kind of guy can be playing such a central role on the Web. Sean is great and you will probably agree after reading his answers.
Not much else to say besides to thank Sean for making the time in his busy schedule to answer my questions in great detail. I know I learned a lot from his answers about MySpace, Photoshop, and most importantly, work ethic.
Here is the interview I conducted with Sean Percival, VP of online marketing for MySpace:
1. OK, most of my readers will need an introduction to who is Sean Percival. Please tell me a little bit about you, your personal and professional background, and how you ended up where you are today.
Strange enough I ended up where I am today starting out as a janitor. I was living in Vegas at the time and needed to take any job I could get. That happened to be a janitor cleaning the offices of Vegas.com, one of the first online travel sites. My shift was graveyard but the office was always full of energy. I saw people writing code, drinking mountain dew and generally having a great time. From there I knew I wanted to be in web game and started working towards it.
I eventually got better jobs and trained myself on all the basics of design, web development and SEO. Some 10 years (and many less horrible jobs) later I was able to land a job with Jason Calacanis’ startup Mahalo. I honed my skills and connections further and worked my way through several startups to currently sit as Vice President, Online Marketing at Myspace. Here I manage all SEO, SEM, Social and Email Marketing as we try to reboot this iconic internet brand.
2. Many people have said MySpace is dead, what do you say to them?
I usually say it’s hard to call something with over 100 million monthly users dead. I assume most websites would die themselves to get just half of that traffic. No doubt the site has had its challenges and failed to iterate fast enough but we are looking to address that with the new product. So I guess I would say wait till the end of year before digging the grave. 🙂
3. As the online marketing guy for MySpace, I am sure you have your work cut out for you, what do you find to be the most effective online platform for your work?
Like most big companies we use a lot of proprietary software and techniques to effectively manage a site of such scale. However some of my favorite off the shelf apps include Google Analytics, BrightEdge and Chartbeat. As far as platforms we syndicate to and drive traffic from it’s the usual suspects like Twitter and even Facebook. With our rich catalog of music artists and entertainment content we drive a fair amount of traffic from Google as well.
4. We connected on Twitter because of a discussion about Twitter for iPad. How do you think the iPad has or will change the Web in terms of data consumption?
I love how the iPad has changed couch surfing for me. At the end of a tough day I really don’t want to deal with my laptop or desktop. It’s too distracting and heavy of an experience. The iPad on the other hand lacks multi tasking so it helps me focus on the single task at hand. I’m not a big TV or movies guy so my consumption on the iPad is mostly email and my favorite blogs. The iPad handles these so well it’s really almost enjoyable.
5. Please give some valuable advice for people starting out in the online marketing world and specifically social media marketing.
Know two things, SEO and Photoshop. Those two skills alone will take you very far and if you’re right for the role you’ll figure out everything in-between. Beyond the shiny new social objects out there being able to drive actual traffic will always be more valuable than your follower count on service XYZ. Photoshop is great to know because it can help you portray your vision through a mock up. I have literally used Photoshop to get jobs and when I was single, to get laid. Literally the most important app you can know!
Once again, I want to thank Sean for this great interview and wish him luck at his future endeavors, whatever they might be. I think it is clear that people getting into the space of online marketing/social media have a lot to learn from a guy like Sean.
What are your thoughts on MySpace and Sean’s role there of online marketing? Please let me know in the comments or on Twitter.