Avinash Kaushik // Interview With Google’s Digital Marketing Evangelist

In many ways, Avinash is the king of the “side hustle” – he has many roles that include:
(1) Speaker & Advisor – an established speaker who has consulted for some of the world’s largest brands
(2) Entrepreneur – recently sold the education company he co-founded for a reported $10M
(3) Writer – a thought leader in the world of analytics who wrote the best selling book: “Web Analytics: An Hour A Day” as well as building a large following on his blog: Occam’s Razor
(4) Googler – leads a team of 70 storytellers, as Google’s Digital Marketing evangelist

I’ve known Avinash for a few years from our time at Google. But in prep for our interview, I realized how little I knew about his personal story.

Who was the real Avinash behind the guy on stage? What experiences shaped his outlook and how did he end up in such a unique role at Google? What role did his writing play in shaping where he was today?

He hasn’t shared much of this before so I’m thankful we had a chance to get personal & discuss his incredible journey.

We go into everything from living in a factory as a kid in India, to building a life in the US & becoming a best selling author.

Five Things To Listen Out For

(1) Early Years – Growing up poor & living in a factory in India
(2) Starting his career – Moving to Saudi Arabia, the US & why he was attracted to web analytics
(3) Writing & Building An Audience – How he built an audience of 150k monthly readers on his blog, wrote a book & landed a high profile role at Google
(4) Starting From Scratch – If he was starting again, how he would focus his time to build his brand and audience again?
(5) Personal – His fear of being broke, what motivates him & what success means to him personally.

Time Stamps

  • Background of how Bilal & Avinash know each other [1m38s]
  • Explaining what his job is to his mum [2m51s]
  • How he got his job at Google [3m44s]
  • Growing up poor in India & living in a factory [5m16s]
  • What he wanted to be when he grew up? [7m38s]
  • Where his work ethic came from [10m31s]
  • Moving to Saudi Arabia & the USA [12m44s]
  • Earning $500/month – still 7x more than he would have made in India [14m16s]
  • What it felt like to be poor [18m10s]
  • How he uses the fear of going broke and losing his job to motivate himself [20m45s]
  • Losing his job again at Silicon Graphics [26m17s]
  • Why it can make sense to take a title & pay cut [28m40]
  • What attracted him to web analytics [29m46s]
  • Taking the plunge to start a company and knowing when it’s the right time to go for it [30m28]
  • Starting a blog and role of personal branding [32m40s]
  • Why he was wrong about people not wanting to pay for a book when they could get it online for free [38m22s]
  • Taking 6months to get to 1000 visitors, now at 150,000 visitors a month [41m15s]
  • Content vs Amplification [43m39s]
  • “If I can listen to 50 podcasts, why should I listen to you” [45m35s]
  • Career limiting moves [51m33s]
  • Owned vs Rented platforms, eg. email vs social [58m39s] – why you need to focus on building your own audience because “rented” platforms like Facebook & Instagram have less and less organic reach. As of June 2019, Instagram has 10-20% organic reach and Facebook has less than 5% – learn what you can do to avoid these issues
  • Why he gets more engagement from 9.5k email subscribers than 200k twitter followers [1hr47s]
  • Advice for growing an email list [1hr2m14s]
  • What’s motivating him [1hr3m53s]
  • Can you be happy if you always want to stand out? [1hr5m43s]
  • Spending 4 hours a week to learn something new [1hr7m12s]
  • Advice to 18-year-old Avinash [1hr8m15s]
  • What success means to him [1hr9m28s]
  • 4 people he mentions: [1hr9m40s]
    • 1) Thomas Baekdal writes about media, analytics, social and broad digital trends
      2) Mitch Joel is a marketing rockstar, his blog illustrates why
      3) Seth Godin’s incisiveness and pithiness, and of course his take on marketing is legendary
      4) Kaiser Fung is incredible with big data, advanced math and visualizations
  • Examples of failure [1hr10m38s]
  • What matters most [1hr15m5s]

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