JUPITER, Florida—Josh Konigsberg, Partner & Co-Founder of Law Firm Marketing Pros, an award-winning digital marketing agency offering the most cutting-edge, efficient, and cost-effective digital marketing tools available for law firms, recently spoke with renowned author, speaker, internationally recognized digital marketing lecturer, CTO of BlitzMetrics, and host of the Coach Yu show, Dennis Yu, on the the Behind the Bench Podcast for Lawyers.
He begins by acknowledging, “Dennis is a legend in my mind,” noting his many accomplishments, including his #1 bestselling book on Amazon with co-author Perry Marshall, The Definitive Guide to TikTok Advertising: How to Access 1 Billion People in 10 Minutes!
Yu says, “I’m just an old-time search engine engineer. I built the analytics at Yahoo, the dominant search engine about 25 years ago. Since then, whenever there’s data, like when Facebook opened their platform in 2007, we were there. I’ve been the engineer data geek behind the scenes as people are running ads, building websites, and trying to do SEO. I have the engineer’s perspective.”
“So you’re the smartest guy in the room.”
“I’m just the mechanic. A lot of salespeople are very good at selling, but the mechanic is the one who works on the car and can tell you what’s going on with the engine.”
After Konigsberg asks, “What inspired you to get into that type of engineering?” Yu shares his inspiring personal story.
From Shy Introvert to Sought-After Engineer
“I didn’t speak English until I was six, so I was an introvert. Things like public speaking or making friends I didn’t really understand because kids made fun of me. But I was good at math. That was my way as this Asian kid to get back to those other people because I didn’t have any friends but I could beat everyone on the math test. I was number five in the nation in MATHCOUNTS®, and I traveled, did math competitions. I represented California in the National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C. in 1988. I was just one of those mathletes. Because my mom ran a system at Honeywell in defense engineering and had access to these computers, I found computers to be an amazing thing. Thirty-five-plus years ago, I built my first website, and lawyers would pay me to build websites. We built the intranet for Raytheon, which is a multibillion dollar defense contractor, then all these other things happened like Yahoo and American Airlines. We did the analytics for Starbucks, Nike, and Quiznos. I’m like this kid in a candy store, because whenever there’s data, I know I can come in and do my thing; the mechanic opens the hood, and I can see all these different systems. It doesn’t matter what the salespeople say or what the consultants say, because you can’t argue the data. I would turn in English papers and get C’s and D’s, because the professor didn’t like me, but if I solve the math problem, and I have the correct answer, you have to give me full credit. And I just love that if the answer is five, the answer is five, and no one can argue it.”
“How did you transition away from Yahoo into working for yourself?” Konigsberg asks.
“I’ve Always Been a Builder, Not Just Some Idea Guy. I Want To Build Systems.”
Yu had the opportunity to acquire Facebook when Mark Zuckerberg came to Yahoo. “Being the data guy, I had to put together models to figure out, ‘What is a social network worth?’ I thought in my younger sort of hubris, that we could build our own social network; why would we pay a billion dollars for this other kid out of Harvard? We’re engineers. I’ve always been a builder, not just some idea guy. I want to build actual systems.
“At Yahoo, I was one of the few people that stuck around. The joke was that those who stuck around were failed entrepreneurs because all the other people went off—like my buddies Brian and Yan who used to play frisbee twice a week, started WhatsApp & sold that thing for $17 billion. I have so many ideas. I wanted to do Food.Yahoo.com because I love food. I wanted to build a portal just for restaurants; this is before Yelp or these other things. There was so much bureaucracy, I couldn’t get any of my ideas through. It’s just meetings all day. All these marketing people would come in that didn’t actually know anything, but they were managers from some other company. There’d be this meeting (with) 14 people in the room. People show up late. Fifteen minutes later is when you start the meeting, and then they’re just talking about nothing. I would say, ‘Hey, guys, I don’t mean to be rude, but if you need me, come get me; I’m over there in my office, working and writing code. I’m not going to sit here. Do you actually build anything, or just have meetings?’”
“I eventually left Yahoo and started building things for friends of mine. My first client was Grameen Foundation. Dr. Yunus won a Nobel Prize for my collateral. We built part of their website, we did live blogging from the Nobel ceremony, which is where they announced the thing. That had never been done before. And we started running ads. I love Google ads. I was one of the biggest spenders on Google ads, did a bunch of affiliate marketing, all performance, marketing. Because I was speaking at conferences representing Yahoo—this is before Google was a big thing—I already had my network and people already knew who I was. I was doing consulting on the side. I just loved when friends would start businesses and grow them. I would come in as the mechanic, open up the hood and figure out what’s wrong with their ads, or why is their website loading slow, or dissecting what a competitor is doing. That always involves pulling in data, which is what I’m really good at.
“We have teams of people that pull in data. I was just on the phone with a client, and he spends $1.7 million as a PI, on Google ads. They didn’t have a dashboard. They had Litify, someone doing SEO, and these are all friends of ours, like Steve Wiideman does the SEO and Ben Fisher does Local Service Ads. But they’d never created a dashboard. Their founder was pulling his hair out because they didn’t know what was going on. ‘It’s an intake problem.’ ‘Our lead quality is not good’.’ ‘No, it’s PPC’. With the dashboard, we could see all of that. There’s none of this politics or needle in the haystack. I always start with the data.”
Facing Off with the Founder of Facebook In Front of the World
“Tell everybody about your conversation with Mark Zuckerberg on CNN.”
“You know how everyone gets their moment of fame?” Yu asks. “You never know when it’s gonna come. But when this Cambridge Analytica thing happened, CNN called me to be in the studio. And I was super nervous because this is live TV, not like a podcast we’re doing now where I can flub the words and we can fix it. It’s live in front of millions of people globally. It was a setup; I didn’t realize it until afterwards. But they brought me in as the data expert on privacy and social media to say should Facebook be regulated? With Cambridge Analytica and these bad things happening, people hating on Mark Zuckerberg, it was a complete setup.
“When I gave my little spiel, they turned to Zuckerberg, and said, ‘So what do you think? Do you think Facebook should be regulated?’ I got all these angry texts from other Facebook executives, saying, ‘Dude, you can’t be saying stuff like that on TV’. I’m like, if CNN calls you in to be an expert, you’re not going to say no. Of course, I’m going to say the obvious things. I said, ‘Do you think cigarette companies should be able to set their own regulation?’ ‘What do you think about consumers that don’t really understand what’s going on with their data?’ ‘What about kids 13 years-old years old having ads manipulating them?’ The news feed is created to be addictive. I thought I kind of flubbed it in the first 10 seconds. I was dumbfounded because of lack of sleep, and nervous, and didn’t realize which camera was on. I thought I failed.
“But they invited me four times back into the studio every time some nonsense happened. Even with Twitter, with the data leak and they asked me, ‘Dennis, what do you think about Twitter’s data leak?’ I’m happy to answer that question.”
“Can you tell us exactly what your business is today?”
“Ads and analytics optimization. Everyone has lots of systems: Google Ads, your website, vendors that have different systems, custom-built things, CRM, CallRail, and case management systems. All these systems have data, and it needs to be put in one place. Other people have different slices, where you outsource the intake, someone else is trying to do the Local SEO, you have an in-house team creating content, you have a podcast, and all these things are being measured according to some random thing. Very few go back to the top-line revenue. You can game any metric. We understand that humans will try to game the system to make their thing look better.”
Yu mentions a mutual acquaintance who thinks he’s really good at law firm SEO, who was charging a friend of his $70,000 a month. Yu came in, and within five minutes, found that all he did was put up a bunch of glossary pages that ranked truck-driving-related terms, but “they were not people who got an accident; these are people trying to become truck drivers. He claimed success, the big win on SEO, but was just gaming the system. When you have a dashboard, you can hold everybody accountable.”
Click below to watch the full interview and discover why Konigsberg says, “You taught me something about SEO today, Dennis. You blew me away.”
About Dennis Yu
Dennis Yu is co-author of the #1 best-selling book in social media on Amazon, The Definitive Guide to TikTok Ads. He has spent a billion dollars on Facebook ads across his agencies and agencies he advises. Mr. Yu is the “million jobs” guy– on a mission to create one million jobs via hands-on social media training, partnering with universities and professional organizations.
You can find him quoted in major publications and on television such as CNN, the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, NPR, and LA Times. Clients have included Nike, Red Bull, the Golden State Warriors, Ashley Furniture, Quiznos–down to local service businesses like real estate agents and dentists. He’s spoken at over 750 conferences in 20 countries, having flown over 6 million miles in the last 30 years to train up young adults and business owners. He speaks for free as long as the organization believes in the job-creation mission and covers business class travel.
You can find him hiking tall mountains, eating chicken wings, and taking Kaqun oxygen baths— likely in a city near you.
Yu was born in Dayton, Ohio, on October 6th, 1974. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Finance from Southern Methodist University and a degree in Economics from the prestigious London School of Economics.
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