An Entrepreneurial Superpower

One of my entrepreneurial superpowers is asking questions at scale. Before I started Ancestry I went to libraries and conferences and asked questions. I learned why and how people do genealogy, best books and tools, etc. When we had 1M monthly users I ran surveys to learn more about them. I learned our visitors spent $528 per year on genealogy. They bought more than 20 things including family tree software and data CD ROMs. Multiplied...
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The World’s Most Interesting Man

Forget the beer commercials. Ray Dalio is definitely the world’s most interesting man. On the one hand, he wrote an amazing book “Principles” to help other humans discover the principles that will help them be successful at work and in life. It describes his life journey and the principles he learned from making painful mistakes. It’s incredible. Some of Ray’s best principles are truths others great thinkers (Peter Drucker, Don Clifton) previously described. For example:...
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Celebrating America’s greatest active entrepreneurs

Gary Hoover, who is arguably America’s foremost student of business history and entrepreneurship (he has 57,000 books in his personal library!), asked this fascinating question: “Who is the greatest active American entrepreneur?”   Spoiler alert. Gary selected someone who still runs the company he founded 46 years ago. This company has revenues of $50 billion, has 335,000 employees, and is listed on Fortune’s 100 Best Places to Work. You should read Gary’s article on Hooversworld.com...
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CEO Dilemma: Invest in People or in Automation?

Prominent CEOs often say something like “Our people are our greatest asset.” I saw this on the back of a diesel truck while driving through Colorado recently. Is this just lip service? I wonder how many CEOs actually believe it. How many CEOs consider their employees their single most important asset–a resource to be valued, protected, developed, invested in, and rewarded? To be prioritized above everything else, and preserved at all costs? On the other hand,...
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StrengthsFinder and early stage investing

I visited the other day with the FIRST INVESTOR IN ANCESTRY.COM. He is an amazing man, a retired entrepreneur, a mentor to hundreds of entrepreneurs, and a very successful investor. He was not only the first investor in Ancestry.com (which is worth billions), but also in 1-800-CONTACTS (probably worth $500M) and in Omniture, which sold to Adobe for $1.8 billion. His top 5 includes Futuristic, Activator, Maximizer and Significance. I told him his Futuristic/Activator explains why he was...
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Life-changing books

Tomorrow I’m speaking at the BYU College of Humanities. I need your help. As I finalize my remarks, I’m looking for help from a few people who can tell me about a book that changed their life for good. Please visit my Facebook page and post your story here: https://www.facebook.com/paulallen/posts/10157479592470577 Dear Facebook friends: Please answer this question: (Outside of scripture), What book changed your life for the… Posted by Paul Allen on Wednesday, October 12, 2016  

Honoring My Mom and Yours

My wonderful mom recently celebrated a special birthday with her twin sister. These are two special ladies, with 17 kids and more than 60 grandkids between them. There is nothing my mom loves more than a phone call from one of her kids–except a long visit from one of us. She has lived her entire life putting her family above everything else as her most important priority. She was a grade school teacher before meeting my...
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Gallup, Meet Utah. Utah, Meet Gallup.

Gallup has been conducting polls throughout the United States for decades. And Gallup knows Utah well because Utah — or its largest metro areas — is often highly ranked for things like frequent church attendance, daily learning, optimism, charitable donations, well-being and more. Utah also ranks very low for things like the smoking rate and its presidential approval ratings. Utah is a pretty, great state, if you ask me. Even The Economist is impressed, calling...
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Best. Kickstarter. Ever. (for Entrepreneurs)

I really really like this new Kickstarter campaign. I can’t wait to see how much money it raises. And I can’t wait to read the book. If your name is Eric Ries and you created the Lean Startup movement–and you have friends like Fred Wilson and Brad Feld promoting it–your Kickstarter project to write the follow-on book is going to get fully funded. That’s not even a question. The only question is how many unexpected...
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3 Websites for Early Stage Tech Investors

Peter Thiel reminded the TechCrunch audience this week how unique and impactful Silicon Valley is. He predicted it will continue to lead the world in innovation and disruption for at least the next two decades. He said he’d be “long on Silicon Valley” and “short on New York.” New York is developing a fantastic startup culture; but data shows that no one is close to Silicon Valley in attracting the best talent, churning out the best...
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