Today I had to run ten excruciating miles on a treadmill because I am training for a half marathon. Typically, I like to enjoy these long, painful runs outdoors, but due to the rain I opted to put in the miles at Northeastern’s Bager & Rosen Center, a.k.a. the smaller gym on campus. The good thing about the treadmills there is that they have mini television sets attached to them, which offers a bit of a distraction to the pound-pound-pound of my feet underneath me.
Though there is no sound on these TVs, I typically turn the channel to CNN and read the scrolling updates on the bottom of the screen, and today I was especially surprised at what I read: The Founder of GoDaddy is under fire for killing an elephant.
I found this to be a peculiar update that led to many questions. Why was this startup founder out killing elephants?
Once I got home, I did some research: Apparently Bob Parsons was trying to help starving people in and stop elephants from destroying crops in Africa (he defended himself via Twitter). While I think this is an important issue, I also pity the life of the elephant.
However, I figured I’d write a bit more about GoDaddy and its founder while I was doing my research.
GoDaddy.com is the world’s largest domain name registrar and is the main company of The Go Daddy Group, Inc. GoDaddy was founded by Bob Parsons in 1999, and has since grown to include more than 47 million domains under management. Parsons got his degree in accounting and originally founded Parsons Technology, a software development company that provided packaged financial and accounting software for home and small businesses.
It’s interesting (and a bit ironic?) that Parsons is an entrepreneur who created a domain name registrar, since so many other entrepreneurs are probably buying domain names from GoDaddy to start their businesses and give themselves an online presence. The popularity of GoDaddy also shows how easy technology has made it for businesses to buy and grow their own websites.
Though I hope Parsons does not go out and kill anymore elephants, I do think he must be recognized for his entrepreneurial success, as well as his efforts to make a political statement.
Every Sunday evening I go to the Curry Student Center and meet with several other female students at Northeastern. There, we discuss what is going on around campus and pitch ideas for stories to one another, trying to figure out what it is that the female population of Northeastern wants, or needs, to know. Once we come up with these ideas for stories and write them up, we can then post them online to the Northeastern branch of Her Campus, a national online magazine for college women.
Her Campus has a national home page, which serves as a hub for information, news and updates relevant to the interests of college women. With content on style, health, love, life and careers, the national site is supplemented by campus-specific content. The site individualizes its content college-by-college by establishing My Campus branches at schools across the country.
Created by three undergraduate Harvard students, Her Campus is the definition of an entrepreneurial venture. The founders, Stephanie Kaplan, Annie Wang and Windsor Hanger collaborated to create Her Campus and their idea was a winner in Harvard College’s business plan competition, the i3 Innovation Challenge, in March 2009. Since Her Campus’s launch in September 2009, the website has proven to be largely successful and now has campus branches
The founders (now graduates, except for Annie Wang, who has taken a leave of absence from Harvard) currently work in their office in Cambridge near Harvard University that was provided to them after winning the i3 Innovation Challenge. They have formed partnerships with Seventeen Magazine and The Huffington Post, and have been featured in The New York Times and The Boston Globe.
100+ college across the country now have Her Campus branches, with new branches popping up every week. Readers of the site can enjoy new articles daily, and monthly giveaways. Kaplan has been featured on Fox25 News to talk about various subjects, including last week when she went to talk about the pros and cons of joining Greek Life. The women have been featured in Inc. Magazine’s 30 Under 30 Coolest Young Entrepreneurs, Glamour Magazine’s 20 Amazing Young Women, and The Boston Globe’s 25 Most Stylish Bostonians.
The group of women writing for Northeastern’s Her Campus branch (including myself) are also exhibiting a sense of entrepreneurialism. We meet each week to discuss our ideas and ways to make the website better, without any one authority member telling us what to do. We direct ourselves, without pay, to generate relevant and interesting content for the Northeastern community, and simultaneously create writing clips for ourselves. We strive to make our branch website better each week, gaining more website views inch-by-inch each month. By being a part of this particular venture, we are all adopting the spirit of entrepreneurialism, and learning more about what it takes to create a successful business: A good idea, knowledge of online content and a group of hard working individuals ready to make a difference.