Changing my blog topic

In an effort to focus my time and attention on one company for the next few years, I have decided to change the title of my blog from Paul Allen: Internet Entrepreneur to Paul Allen: Internet Genealogy.

I have been blogging for more than 3 years. I think I have made about 750 posts during that time, many of them about internet marketing, entrepreneurship, angel investing, the success of Google and other popular web sites, and other such topics.

Someday I’ll probably write a book for entrepreneurs. And someday I’ll probably change the focus of my blog back to entrepreneurship.

But if all my readers will forgive me, the primary topic of my future blog posts will be online genealogy.

I’m feeling wonderfully about my decision to focus on one thing, especially because it’s the thing I love the most.

When I attended CES this week (Monday to Wednesday), everything I saw, heard, or read, was processed through the filter of “how does this relate to family history,” or “how does this fit into our vision of connecting families?”

I had this same experience from 1996-2002 when I started Ancestry.com and MyFamily.com with my friend Dan Taggart. During those bubble years I had extraordinary amounts of energy, I didn’t want to sleep, I was driven like never before. I know my friend Dan Lynch had a similar experience when he joined MyFamily.com. There was something truly special about this company and this company’s mission.

But things changed, and all of our founding team left the company over the years. I left in February 2002, and out of respect to all my friends and investors there, didn’t do anything in family history for the next few years. But enough time has passed, and the time is right to refocus all my energy and resources on this wonderful mission: of connecting families.

I think the simplest way to describe the mission of WorldVitalRecords.com is “to bless all the families of the earth.” (See Genesis 12:3 if you are interested in a biblical reference where Abraham was given a promise that he and his seed would provide such a blessing.)

I’m certainly not claiming any inheritance of this promise, although as an amateur genealogist and as one who loved math in my early years, I’m pretty confident that the vast majority of people on earth today are descendants of Abraham.

Modern civilization and technology has tended to break down families and disconnect the generations. We have become so industrialized, so mobile, so independent.

My hope is that WVR can enable families to use technology to connect, communicate, share, preserve, and grow closer together. I’ve never been involved in a more fulfilling cause than when we pursued this same mission at MyFamily.com, and now we’re starting over. At the same time, The Generations Network (the new name of MyFamily.com) is doing wonderful things, and I’ll be cheering them on as they continue to help families around the world.

As far as mission goes, I see WVR as being on the same team as TGN. They have 800+ employees that are trying to help families connect and share. And we have 8.

I think that will change as we grow. We may be 1% of their size right now, and have 1% of the amount of data they have on their site today. But I think the time will come when we will be 10% their size and have 10% as much data. And who knows where it will go from there?

Competition will be good for this industry, and will spur more innovation and wider adoption. More families of the earth will be blessed if more companies focus on providing content, tools, and services that help them.

I want to apologize to hundreds of entrepreneurs in advance who will not appreciate my change of blog topic and will continue to email me and ask me for advice or guidance as they start their ventures. I’m going to have to turn down most of these requests for help, until World Vital Records is executing on all cylinders and I can take a breath.

But I want to welcome all my new readers who love genealogy and family history.

I invite you to comment freely on this blog and email me with your ideas and advice. Let’s create something really significant together. It feels great to be back with you. Thanks for the notes of encouragement and the ideas you’ve been sending me and the team already.

8 Comments

  1. Paul, I would encourage you to change your mind. Many of us who are internet business owners love to learn more about internet marketing techniques…your knowledge is a vast database that we all love to be able to tap into. Also, as much as you love family history – I really think you are better known for internet marketing. You are known here in Utah and many other places as the Internet Marketing Guru!

  2. I wasn’t at all surprised to see Jeff’s comment….but must share that I’m thrilled to read this post from Paul. What is also interesting to me is that Internet Marketing, Genealogy, and even Entrepreneurship DO NOT have to be mutually exclusive. In fact, they should not and cannot. I was surprised and flattered to read my name in this posting. The 3 years I spent at Ancestry/MyFamily were among the most memorable of my career. To work on something you truly believe in and truly enjoyed made it something far more than work.

    Dan Lynch

  3. Shaun

    I agree with Jeff. Paul, look at Mark Cuban’s blog. He only focuses on a couple of things in business but he blogs about many different things.

    If you want to start another blog, go for it. But keep this one the way it is. I feel like it’s the only way I have a connection with what is going on in our high-tech backyard.

    Thanks!

  4. Joe

    Hate to see you go this route but I guess you have have given up on getting many businesses going with your knowledge or what you have learned over the years and just want to fall back on something you know and enjoy.

    Much easier to get something going when you know the market and like doing it. Though it does seem like you have given up on everything else.

    What happened to your great Provo Labs incubator? Did none of those business make it? I read your post earlier about it all, but still seems like you have totally dropped them. Were you not able to use your knowledge to get those businesses going?

    While I hope you do well in this new venture, I hope you don’t abandon everything you have built up over the past 3 years!

  5. Although I will miss reading your posts on internet marketing I have to commend you for chasing your dream. I wish you the best of luck in your new (old) venture. Thanks for all the time you’ve put into helping other entrepreneurs in the valley.

  6. As an “outsider” to the Provo Entrepreneur scene (but as a BYU Alumn), I have enjoyed the fact that I stumbled on your blog and subsequently the myriad of other similar blogs that have ties to Provo labs. Good luck on the redirected focus and I hope that you will continue to sprinkle business topics throughout your posts…

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