VP Sales & Marketing at Insites
Paul Wood has been in the Local Search business for nearly 30 years and is a expert in strategic planning, product development and Go-to-Market strategies. His experience covers multiple executive roles across Europe and North America in both Sales and Marketing for large and small digital agencies. Paul recently joined Silktide Ltd., a SaaS technology company that helps digital agencies sell their digital solutions more effectively, as Vice President Sales & Marketing.
Q. What has your routine been since the Lockdown?
Pretty much the same, I guess, sort of like everyone else. My six-year-old goes to kindergarten, so one of the first things I do is I make sure I am smiling in the morning. It sounds like a small thing, but it is getting pretty dark in Estonia and if I walk in with a grumpy face, I need to deal with a grumpy six-year-old. I do not want to do that; it is something I learned from my dad.
The other thing is, I always used to do the International Herald Tribune Crosswords. So, every day I get up and I do the crossword on my phone instead of waiting for a newspaper to arrive. These are the two things I do. The crossword puzzle which gets my mind engaged, and my son, who gets a smile on my face.
Q. Are Crossword Puzzles a hobby?
Yes. For about 35 years, actually, my whole family except my sister does it.
There used to be an argument about who got the puzzle first, my dad would start but never finish it, and as his spelling wasn’t so great, so my other brother and I would seek to finish.
Q. Do you have any other hobbies that people maybe don’t know about, or something about you that people don’t know?
Something about me, for a hobby, it’s football.
I’ve been an Arsenal Football Club supporter since 1972. All of the Liverpool and Chelsea fans know this because I make a point of telling them.
The other thing I think is unique is that I like to go on fast transportation. I have been on the Concorde and I have gone 461 kilometres an hour on the train in Shanghai. I have ridden in a car at 237 kilometres an hour. I like to travel exceedingly fast and since we are not allowed to travel now it is something to think about. The Concorde used to fly over my house in England every day and I told my parents I wanted to fly with it.
And one day when I was 15, I told my mother that I wanted to fly on the Concorde for my birthday present and she said yes. We managed it because we had business class tickets back to the US each summer, and mine was on the Concorde ticket instead of a Business Class ticket.
Q. What was it like?
It was cool and I actually sat in the cockpit for take-off.
I was in the lounge when some guy walked up to me and said “Mr. Wood”. I was thinking I’m 15, I’m not a “Mr” Wood. He said he was the co-pilot and I was invited into the cockpit for take-off. It was remarkable, a little cramped though.
The sky was a deeper blue and you just feel a little bump when you went over the speed of sound and I got to experience that.
Q. If you were to have dinner with one person in the world, dead or alive, who would you have dinner with?
I have two answers.
First, I am a big David Bowie fan. I would like to have dinner with David Bowie because I found him absolutely fascinating. Not only from a musical and creative perspective, but he was so far ahead of most people, not just musicians, but most people, in understanding the impact of the internet. In 1999 he said the internet was not only a tool, but it was also going to change everything.
The other person is, I have an 11-month-old son named Isaac who was named after Isaac Wood who left England in 1726 for America. And we don’t know anything about his parents, so we haven’t been able to trace that line back. I would actually like to know who his dad was, what made him go to America, what it was like pioneering in the 1700’s in America.
Q. Do you remember what your first job was?
My family was always involved in oil fields. My grandfather was actually killed working in the field when my dad was nineteen. My dad and my brother worked in oil fields.
So, my first job was the lowest person on the totem pole painting oil rigs in the Mississippi, forty-degree weather and ninety percent humidity. You were just covered in dirt and grime, so that is why I wanted to get a desk job.
Q. Where did you grow up?
In fact, I primarily grew up in England, but then I went to the University of Texas. My dad was from Marshall, Texas, and my mother from Mississippi.
Q. What would be your favorite comfort food?
Mm hmm, That’s a tough one.
If I were describing a comfort food whether it would be like a stew for me or a pot roast, that is great. My mother used to make chicken fried steak, rice and gravy, which was the family’s comfort food. Yes, with my background we ate a lot of things like Collard Greens and stuff like that.
Q. Do you cook yourself?
I do. My wife would disagree, but I cook.
I can put a meal on the table, but I serve it a little bit better than cook it.
Q. If you had one message for your Siinda colleagues, partners, and members, what would it be?
Well, first off, I miss everybody.
You know, I’ve been going to the conferences for a number of years, and I have been catching up with some people but it’s so much nicer in person.
It’s been remarkable because 2020, a tough year, and we expected the worst. I’m really amazed at how many of our partners have come through supporting small businesses, and how many customers have stayed by our partners, which also says a lot about our members.
We just finished the Siinda Landscape Study (with Silktide) and the results show a great improvement in the online engagement of small businesses and that is a testament to what our members and partners are doing.