Paul Allen

I’m best known for co-founding Ancestry.com. My career in technology has provided me front row seats at several hypergrowth companies:

■ I learned BASIC programming at Folio Corporation (1988-90)–our search engine software was bundled with Novell and was on 30 million desktop computers
■ My first company sold CD ROM libraries to more than 150,000 customers and made the Inc. 500 list in 1996
■ I co-founded Ancestry.com on July 1, 1997 which quickly became the world’s leading genealogy company. It has generated billions of dollars in revenue and has helped tens of millions discover their family heritage.
■ In 1998 we launched MyFamily.com, which became the fastest growing community (social) site at that time. By 2000 we were the 12th most trafficked web property in the U.S. according to Nielsen Netratings.
■ In 2007 our team at FamilyLink launched a Facebook app called “We’re Related.” We gained 120 million customers in 2 ½ years. We were growing by 1 million new users per week until Facebook changed its Platform and made third-party apps hard to discover and share.

As an entrepreneur, I’m driven by mission and impact. Many of my projects have created value by combining content (especially user generated content), community, and commerce. Most have been family or faith centered.

■ Infobases mission was “to digitize the most important books in every field of human knowledge and make them available on CD ROM”
■ Ancestry aimed to “digitize all the world’s genealogy records and make them available online”
■ MyFamily aimed to provide a free web site for every family in the world
■ FamilyLink aimed to help every user on Facebook build a family tree and connect with their living relatives

In 2012 I joined Gallup with the goal of building scalable technology and a global network of coaches that will take Clifton StrengthsFinder — in my opinion the world’s most important talent assessment for helping individuals and teams — to more than a billion people worldwide.

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