Shoot The Hippo: Call to arms

Tom Bowden CRO

Tom Bowden CRO - Face Recognition Software. Taken at Google Analytics Certified Partner (GACP) Summit. Mountainview, CA 2011

This blog is written by HP Group’s Head of Conversation Rate Optimisation (CRO) and User Experience (UX) Tom Bowden. Tom graduated with a First Class degree in English Literature and in 5 years began his career copywriting for leading UK SEO company HP Group. From there he blossomed into a PPC account manager which led to the progression to Landing Page Optimisation and ultimately Conversion Rate Optimisation. Tom is a member of the elite Google Analytics Certified Partner program. Out of office hours Tom runs the small UK based charity Building Malawi.


“I aim to help empower you to make better decisions in order that you can make every website that you are involved with easy to use and provide an enjoyable experience. I aim to help you:

1) Analyse performance

2) Locate areas for improvement

3) Effect change.

Through this you will have to execute egos, undermine ignorance and lay the smack down on emotive decision making. Follow my advice and you will become an assassin. Your ultimate aim: to Shoot the HIPPO.”

Shoot the HIPPO

Accept no compromise: Shoot theHIPPO

A True Hippo Story

From my time living in Malawi and developing Building Malawi.

A friend of mine runs a wonderful charity in Malawi. They were working in a small village next to a reservoir where an aggressive hippo lived. The hippo had killed a number of people in it’s long life and fearing for the safety of the local children that were soon to attend school he decided that the organisation would pay to have the hippo re-located. He met with the Malawian minister for wildlife and explained the predicament and suggested that the hippo be moved to a sanctuary or game park or some such lovely retirement home. The minister looked him in the eye and said ‘Just shoot it, it will save us all the bother’ and then turned around to continue his work developing policy.

Many years ago when my friend first told me this story I was appalled. How could the minister be so heartless? How could he be so cruel?

But then I began work as a conversion rate optimisation consultant. Since that day I have warmed to the minister. He is right. What is the point in the effort? Think of the times that the Highest Paid Person’s Opinion (HIPPO) has wreaked havoc in business. Think about the number of times you have kept your mouth shut in fear despite knowing a better solution. Think about the additional benefit that could have been added if only someone had listened to you. After all you have all the facts in hand.

The Hippo had wreaked havoc throughout it’s live and it will never change. So it must be removed!

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