March Feature: Meet Tobias Flaitz, Sedo's New CEO
We sit down with Tobias for a quick Q&A
On February 1, 2012, Tobias Flaitz (previously of Hubert Burda Media in Munich, Germany) became the new CEO of Sedo Holding AG (including Sedo and its sister company, Affili.net). We sat down with Tobias to welcome him to the company and discuss his views on the domain industry and his new role at Sedo.
Q: Last month, you attended DOMAINfest Global in Los Angeles, and got to meet some key players within the industry. What is your first impression?
A: Very positive! I had a lot of interesting conversations and realized that the attendees came from a wide range of industries. Alongside professional domainers, we saw competitors and customers, as well as other domain service providers, many of which are now Sedo partners. There were discussions about domain-specific issues such as domain valuation and monetization models; new TLDs and live auctions; and trends in the online space such as SEO, mobile advertising, and affiliate marketing. This was a good start for me in my new role as CEO, since I was able to talk to our target audience about things that were relevant to their specific sector.
Q: Compared to Sedo, Hubert Burda Media is a more traditional firm with a longer history. What’s the biggest difference?
A: Burda is a media company with a variety of both traditional and internet-based activities. Sedo, on the other hand, has a business model that is more focused, and after beginning as a start-up, it has become – after 11 years – a successful company that still maintains some of its start-up culture.
Q: What advantages do you see in working with a young, midsized business like Sedo?
A: The speed of smaller companies is especially beneficial in light of how quickly online business changes, and that speed also facilitates proactive action and reaction to market demands and trends. I also got to see and appreciate this speed with the online side of things at Burda. On top of this, I find Sedo’s international orientation appealing, since this is not something that always exists in midsized companies.
Q: What have you focused on during your first several weeks as CEO?
A: I’ve spent a lot of time taking a closer look at our products, business model, and internal processes, as well as getting to know my new colleagues. As my focus is on business strategy, some of the most relevant questions for me have been: Are there areas in which we are not realizing our potential? Where can we grow? How can we improve our products and services to match the needs of our customers, in both the business-to-business and business-to-consumer arenas?
Q: And based on that, what are your initial goals for your new role?
A: In terms of Sedo’s existing goals, in the short term, I will identify new business opportunities with the intention of developing these and putting them to use in the long-term. My goal is to put the pieces of the puzzle together and to understand the different building blocks of the company so that, in the end, I have a good understanding of the whole thing.
Q: What about long-term strategy?
A: After that, prioritizing, focusing well, and moving quickly to realize changes are especially important. In terms of the overall strategy, identifying the right course of action in order to realize our potential quickly is vital, in order to ensure subsequent growth. This growth is based on building up our unique selling proposition (USP) and the value that we add to our customers and partners.
Q: When did you first come into contact with domains?
A: My first interaction with domains was during college. At that time, universities generally had internet access, which I frequently used for—among other things—posting my own content online. However, I didn’t have my own .de domain name. Today, I have a handful of domains, with both .de and .co extensions, some of which are unused names that I registered some time ago for my online wine business.
Q: If you could choose freely, what domain would you register now?
A: Since I like to travel, and have to make stops in a lot of different countries, my current favorite would be travel.com. Given that it’s a favorite topic for me, wein.de would also be a top candidate. But, like most premium domain names, both of these are already taken!
Tobias Flaitz, CEO Sedo.com In 2012, Tobias Flaitz became CEO of and a member of the Board of Directors for Sedo Holding AG. Before this, he worked with Hubert Burda Media in Munich, Germany, where he had executive responsibility in the fields of Strategy and Business Development. Prior to this, Tobias worked for many years as a Strategy Consultant for Accenture and Booz & Co. in Europe, the US, and the Middle East. He has an MSc in engineering and holds an MBA from the Universities of St. Gallen, Switzerland, and Berkeley, CA, United States.
Is there someone at Sedo you’d like to know more about? Email shout[at]sedo.com!