Startup Grind 2014

I attended the 2014 Startup Grind event at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California earlier this month. Derek Andersen has started quite a movement here. It was the highest energy startup event I’ve attended in years–and the cast of speakers was spectacular. I particularly enjoyed listening to George Zachary, Reid Hoffman (founder LinkedIn, venture investor with Greylock), Ben Horowitz (Andreesen Horowitz), MC Hammer, Scott Cook (Intuit), Jessica Livingston (Y Combinator), Dave McClure (500...
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New Employee Checklist

The primary purpose of this blog since Nov 2003 has been to discuss topics related to being an internet entrepreneur. But my own personal role has changed several times during these past 6 years, as I’ve been CEO of an internet marketing company (which was sold in June 05), head of an internet incubator (Provo Labs), and then since January 2007, I’ve been 100% focused on running FamilyLink.com (including its genealogy properties, WorldVitalRecords, GenealogyWise, and...
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Utah Angel Investor of the Year

On Tuesday, June 23rd at the Hilton Hotel in Salt Lake City, FundingUniverse will be announcing the first ever Utah Angel Investor of the Year award winner. The top 15 finalists for this award are Alan Hall, Craig Earnshaw, David Carter, Gary Williams, Hal Widlansky, JD Gardner, John Richards, Kent Thomas, Kyle Love, Mark Madsen, Martin Frey, Nobu Mutaguchi, Robert Kunz, Scott Frazier and Warren Osborn. Having been a big fan of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year awards for many years, I think it is exciting that...
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Brainstorm Breakfast for Entrepreneurs in Rexburg, Idaho

I worked this week in Missoula, Montana where my brother and his family live. On my way home, through Idaho, I decided to stop in Rexburg, the home of BYU-Idaho, and do some networking with entrepreneurs here. In the tradition of the old Provo Labs Brainstorm Lunches (nick-named Twinkie Talks because the restaurant we ate at gave us all twinkies) I am holding a Brainstorm Breakfast at Joe’s Filling Station (diner) at 727 North 2nd...
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Utah entrepreneurs: don’t miss this free lecture series

Josh Coates is one of the most talented and energetic entrepreneurs/engineers I have ever met. I had the pleasure of serving on his advisory board at Mozy.com for a brief period as he was first launching his company. He outgrew my very part time services very quickly and I watched him build a very exciting company and sell it for a very large sum in a very short period of time. Very, very cool. I...
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Near Death Experiences

No, this blog post is not about metaphysical near-death experiences, but I bet the title caught your eye. (As an aside, I read the book Life After Life as a teenager, and thought it was pretty interesting. Since reading that book, though, I’ve seen many efforts to commercialize near-death experiences that I think are bogus. I firmly believe in the immortality of all human souls, and I believe that some near-death experiences are genuine, but that...
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Big Event for Utah Investors and Entrepreneurs, Nov. 20th

Mark Cuban pointed out on his blog last week that President Elect Obama has made his first mistake: he failed to appoint a single entrepreneur to his economic advisory team, when it is clear that "entrepreneurs that start and run small businesses will be the propellant in this economy." He suggested that the new President should "ask the people who are actually starting new businesses what they need," so that the government doesn't adopt policies that will backfire by hurting entrepreneurs.

This morning I watched a 1 hour documentary on the Biography Channel about Sam Walton, the founder of Wal-Mart, who by 1985 was the richest man in the United States. It was especially interesting to see how he grew up during the Great Depression, and how many of his values and goals were shaped by watching his father eek out a living during the depression.

What to do with good news and bad news

Last week I sent an email to the investors in World Vital Records with a bunch of good news. We had a record sales week. We are signing more partnerships. Our marketing programs are gaining momentum. Our content collection is growing fast. One of them emailed back with a question: how are our Facebook apps doing?

Recruiting 2.0

Some people say that the most important role of a CEO is "resource allocation"--deciding how to spend company resources. But I remember as Amazon grew and brought in a seasoned COO, Jeff Bezos said he was grateful to be freed up from operations so that he could spend more time recruiting. Perhaps the most important role of a CEO is to bring the right people together to accomplish the company's mission.
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