Dennis Yu on Pizza, Creativity, and Marketing for the Golden State Warriors

Recently Shawn Collins from This is Affiliate Marketing interviewed Dennis Yu, founder and CEO of Content Factory. You can find that interview here.

Dennis provided valuable insights guaranteed to help affiliate marketers at all levels – from beginner to advanced. The interview covered a wide range of topics, from pizza toppings to managing over 1,000 emails a day.

Dennis Yu and Shawn Collins

Dennis Yu (L), founder and CEO of Content Factory with Shawn Collins of ‘This is Affiliate Marketing’ podcast. (Image credit – AffiliateTip.Com)

Harry Perry – an interesting character and a fixture at Venice Beach

To start the interview Shawn asked Dennis about a photo he took with Harry Perry – a symbol of Venice beach. He’s an old gentleman on roller skates with a guitar that has red and white circles on it, and he plays weird riffs and chants.

Dennis remembers seeing him there since he was a teenager, and said it must have been about 30 years since Harry has been playing on the beach. So much so that he has a permanent tan!

Pineapple as a pizza topping?

Shawn – who was raised in New York City and has had authentic NYC-style pizza, then asked Dennis about another picture of him with a pizza that had pineapple as toppings. Shawn felt that the pineapple as a topping does not do justice to pizza.

Dennis was casual about this, and said that though he loves all the meat and cheese he can get on his pizza, he likens pineapple to a dessert – akin to cinnamon and apple pastries at Pizza Hut.

Dennis has 5 million frequent flier miles!

From beach bums and pizza, the conversation turned to Dennis’ travels. Shawn asked if Dennis has been traveling a lot. And traveling he was! In the last two weeks, Dennis had been to London, New York, Budapest, Phoenix, LA, and San Diego. Schedule permitting, he had additional plans to go to Israel or Greece.

Naturally, Shawn asked the obvious question one would ask a world traveler – do you use the same airline? Dennis answered that with a yes, and said his travels had netted him 5 million frequent flier miles from American Airlines.

One star review to the W hotel in Scottsdale

So, what made Dennis give a one-star review to the famous W hotel in Scottsdale? Well, turns out it was a pair of swim trunks! After speaking at a conference, Dennis was invited to a pool party which required that everyone wear swim trunks.

Dennis did not remember reading anything to that effect and went wearing his shorts. He was not allowed in and then had to shop for overpriced swim trunks in Scottsdale. When he finally was able to get in, he had already missed most of the event. Hence, the one-star review.

Managing 1000 emails a day

Dennis has a blog post on his website about managing 1000 emails a day. That’s quite a task and so Shawn asked how he managed this, and if he maintained a zero inbox.

Dennis outlined his emailing protocol wherein he gets about 600-700 emails every day, and sends out 300-400. His average response time is about 8 hours, and he uses Gmail’s boomerang tool. This helps him reprioritize his tasks and prioritize important emails. Lastly, Dennis has a ‘DDD’ protocol which stands for Due, Delegate, and Delete.

And that’s how he processes 1000 emails a day. 

Sleep and rest

Given his busy schedule, Shawn wanted to know how much did Dennis sleep every day? Dennis gets an average of 6 or 7 hours of sleep with a bit more over the weekends. He is also an early riser which gives him a two-hour head start.

Dennis says that he has been called a night-owl and an early bird – both of which are true! Dennis advocates getting sufficient sleep, as it keeps you focussed. A sleep-deprived life can result in a “decreased output”, says Dennis. 

Busy people are more focussed

Contrary to popular opinion, Dennis believes that busy people are more focussed. For instance, married people have a lot going on and therefore must make the best of the time they have by remaining focussed and getting it right the first time.

Dennis remembers his early days at Yahoo!. He was one of the early hires when the team was really small. He remembers getting a lot done during that time since he was more focussed. However, as the company grew and got to 10 or 20K employees, Dennis remembers people jamming stuff on his calendar and taking his focus away. So, staying busy does not take away from your schedule, but actually forces you to actually become more productive since you must make the most of the limited time you have.

Creativity is in all of us

Dennis recalls being mentored by the CEO of American Airlines during his time at the company. He remembers the CEO would put his feet on the desk and stare out into space. Really what was happening is that the CEO was doing something more important – being creative.

To be creative, however, we first need to have clarity in our minds. Clarity leads to ideas, which then leads to creativity. For some people such “aha!” moments come when they perform physical activity, such as working out or going on a hike. For others, it could be something like listening to one’s favorite music.

Dennis believes that creativity is in all of us, and a clear mind is the only underlying requirement.

Favorite sports team – Golden State Warriors

Asked about his favorite sports team, Dennis says he likes the Golden State Warriors. And it is not simply because he runs a lot of ads for them, but because of the culture that they have built.

The team uses science and training as part of their ability, like Steph Curry with his dribbling skills. They use water therapy and they have different drills with lasers for hand-eye coordination. They also use VR and AR to do things like visualization against the other team. Watching replays is another important piece of preparation.

Dennis is very impressed by the technology the team is using to prepare their players for championships.

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Dennis Yu with Kenny Lauer, former head of Marketing with the Warriors, 

who gifted him with a warriors hat, shirt, and basketball

Perks of being in the Bay area

Golden State Warriors is local to the Bay Area and all tech companies want to work with them, Dennis says. Additionally, being a stone’s throw from companies like Google, LinkedIn, and Twitter helps them get early access to tech and other such perks.

So, for instance, Google spent $50K to fund an ad campaign, they brought in a professional crew, set up the room, offered coaching, and took care of everything. Facebook gave them access to a lot of new betas.

With this tech in tow, Dennis increased the check-ins at the stadium. By selling more tickets and increasing the ROI manifold, Dennis and his engineering team also had a chance to work with Stripe engineers. They became the first to sell tickets or merchandise on Twitter using Stripe relay. 

Dennis Yu
Dennis Yu
Dennis Yu is co-author of the #1 best-selling book on Amazon in social media, 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.