I’m a pretty easy going guy. It takes a lot to shock me, but I must admit I was shocked to discover Danny Sullivan will be leaving Search Engine Watch and the Search Engine Strategies conference.
I’ve been silently following Danny’s career for almost 10 years now. I didn’t meet him until SES San Jose 2005 when he invited me to be a panelist. I was lucky enough to spend even more time with him at SES San Jose 2006. I can’t say enough about Danny. He is a true class-act. I can think of no other leader suited to lead our ever-popular industry.
Though the news saddened me at first, I realize this is all for the better. I applaud Danny for taking a bold move to stand up for what he believes in and what he is worth. I like my Danny without handcuffs, without corporate bullying. Danny needs ownership in his own venture.
My advice to Danny, if he gets a chance to read this:
Avoid temptation. I’m seeing silly offers in the comments of your blog, but I know many more serious, tempting offers are being thrown your way privately. Don’t be impressed by big name companies. Don’t drool over compensation packages.
Do what you love best. You may have thoughts of jumping into other industries or doing other things, but search has been so ingrained into your life, leaving it would be a mistake. Search is the most fascinating, complicated and rewarding industry.
Don’t work for the man, be the man. I am certain big impressive companies are contacting your right now (or will in a couple months once they get their acts together). You started this business from scratch once before—you can do it again! You will always be happiest working for yourself. Start up the next version of SEW and SES (just promise me you won’t call them 2.0).
Do it fast. Yes, you do deserve a break. However, speed to market is extremely critical here. Your new conference needs to be tied to the Google Dance and major industry announcements. Don’t make us choose between SES and Dannyfest next year, make Dannyfest (I’m sure you’ll come up with a better name) big enough that it is the conference to be at, not SES. I honestly believe you can accomplish it – the leaders & influencers in the search industry believe in you, not Incisive.
Wherever Sullivan travels, we will follow.