Rags to Riches: Bob Parsons, Founder of GoDaddy.com

-

The founder of GoDaddy.com has never asked much from other people. Surprisingly, this simple philosophy spawned a business model which uncovered a dot-com goldmine.

Bob Parsons grew up in a low-income section of Baltimore, Maryland. He admits that he wasn't the best student, claiming his teachers may have passed him out of "pity or a desire to see him enter the Marine Corps with a high school diploma." He entered the Marines and did a standard two year tour of duty as a rifleman, arriving in Vietnam in 1969. Wounded less than a month into the tour, he was released from active duty in 1970.

Parsons returned home to dangerous and unpleasant work in a steel mill, an experience which inspired him to continue his education. With new-found drive and perspective, Parsons attended the University of Baltimore to study accounting, graduating magna cum laude.

At school, Parsons spent some time studying computer programming, which bloomed into a hobby. He bought a book on BASIC and taught himself how to program using his own computer. On his website, Parsons quotes his father, who said if you love something, it will tell you its secrets. At the time, Parsons couldn't have known just how valuable his computer's secrets would prove to be.

Tinkering with his computer, Parsons wrote an accounting program for himself. Then one day, it hit him: if the program worked for him, it could work for other people. Parsons formed "Parsons Technology" in his basement and began selling his software. The addition of another program created by Craig Rairdin, a future company member, put Parsons Technology in the spotlight. Called "Quick Verse," the program was constructed to search bible verses. From sales of both programs, Parsons Technology took off. The company grew to nearly a thousand employees and made it onto the "Inc. 500" before sales started to decline. Parsons sold the company to Intuit in 1996, just before the dot-com boom fizzled out.

After selling his first company, Parsons said a temporary "aloha" to software sales. He went to Hawaii intending to shut down for good. Instead, he got an idea. In 1997, he founded the GoDaddy group, whose sole purpose was to create an alternative to the reigning internet domain registration monopolies. The company sells website address registrations and a number of other services at low costs. Parsons says he built GoDaddy on the principles of "providing superior customer service, competitive pricing and a responsibility to do the right thing." The father of GoDaddy says his outlook has been to "make a little money from a lot of people" instead of trying to make as much as possible at all times.

Parsons's unique approach is paying off. Once again, he has a company in the "Inc. 500;" last year, the GoDaddy group ranked number 8, with more than $40 million in revenue. Asking for very little has garnered Parsons wealth, respect, and a growing number of internet fans. In fact, he's become something of an internet celebrity. BobParsons.com, his personal blog, details his unique perspective on life and features a steady stream of postings from fans. There is even an unofficial website dedicated to Parsons.

Not simply GoDaddy - Go Bob.