Scottsdale Chamber hosts Bob Parsons at Scottsdale Forward

 

GoDaddy founder Bob Parsons at the recent Scottdale Forward event hosted by the Scottsdale Chamber of Commerce. (Photo credit: Peter Jordan)

GoDaddy founder Bob Parsons at the recent Scottdale Forward event hosted by the Scottsdale Chamber of Commerce. (Photo credit: Peter Jordan)

Sometimes we need to be reminded of things we already know. That’s exactly what Bob Parsons did for a Scottsdale Area Chamber of Commerce audience.

Bob founded GoDaddy, right here in Scottsdale. He’s still its biggest stockholder after selling a majority share and making millionaires of many of his employees. He’s started or bought more businesses, all right here in Scottsdale. His Harley Davidson dealership in the Airpark is the largest in the world. His Scottsdale National Golf Club has members from coast to coast.

That alone should send a message. But if you didn’t hear it, Bob was blunt when he keynoted our Scottsdale Forward event. He’s not sure what’s next for him, but “If I start another business, it’s going to be located in Scottsdale.”

Why Scottsdale?

— The weather.

“Life is short. You might as well be where the weather is good.”

— City leaders.

“It’s easy to do business with the city. It’s incredibly well managed. The city is clean, safe and beautiful.”

— The talent.

While many political and business leaders fret over the quality of education in Arizona, Bob said he’s been able to hire the talented people he needs here. He pays them well, so they can support other local businesses.  “That raises the income level for everyone so business can thrive,” he said.

— The state.

“Scottsdale’s in Arizona, baby, and Arizona is one of the last great states,” Bob said. “I love the way it protects business. It’s a right to work state. It protects our Second Amendment rights. It’s second to no one in beauty in a large number of ways.

— Taxes are fair.

With a net worth estimated at $1.8 billion, Bob can live anywhere he wants. “But let me tell you. I’m not going anywhere,” he said. That message was inspiring all by itself, and it’s a great slogan as we market Scottsdale to companies considering moving here. But that wasn’t the only wisdom Bob shared. He also told us how to build a billion-dollar business.

— Timing.

Bob started the company that became GoDaddy in 1997 with no idea what it would do. Eventually, the company created do-it-yourself website software, which led to selling domain names. The first domain sold in October 2000: ghettojustice.

But in all the noise of the Internet boom, the company was getting no traction and losing money. He came close to shutting it down.

And then the dot.com crash came, “and that’s what made GoDaddy a success. We were the only ones still paying our bills. Where I couldn’t buy advertising before, I had people lining up to sell to me.”

— Follow your heart.

Bob’s father once told him: “Do what you love, because when you love something, it tells you its secrets.” That must have been echoing in his memory when he started putting together the exit plan to shut down GoDaddy. He’d traveled to Hawaii to clear his mind for the task.

“There was a guy parking cars. He probably didn’t have a whole lot, but he was so happy. I looked at him, and I thought, ‘I’ve got $6 million and I’m miserable.’”

In that moment, he decided to keeping going. “If I lose it all, I can always park cars or be a stick man at the casino.”

— Delegate.

Bob delegates as much as he can, because it gives him more bandwidth. He expects the same from his managers.
“If I have a manager who says he has to do it himself to do it right, we’re going to have a conversation or he’s going to be gone,” Parsons said. “If someone asks one of my managers if he can take a week to go to Hawaii to play some golf, and he says yes, that’s a good manager.”

In our everyday lives, we can get caught up in the crises of the hour. We can focus too much on minor blemishes and lose sight of the big picture. I’m glad Bob spoke at Scottsdale Forward, reminding us of what is great about Scottsdale and building a business.

Editor’s note: Mr. Hiegel is president and CEO of the Scottsdale Area Chamber of Commerce.

Scottsdale Camber of Commerce President and CEO Mark Hiegel at the recent Scottsdale Forward event. (Submitted photo: Peter Jordan)

Scottsdale Camber of Commerce President and CEO Mark Hiegel at the recent Scottsdale Forward event. (Submitted photo: Peter Jordan)

 

Editor's Note: Mark Hiegel is president and CEO of the Scottsdale Area Chamber of Commerce.

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