Bob Parsons, founder of GoDaddy, gave an interview on Golf Digest that I just discovered. He mostly talks about his new venture that has to do with golf clubs but he also gives a peak on the inside story on how he built GoDaddy from the ground up. He almost went broke but that didn’t stop him.
Here are some of the most interesting parts regarding Go Daddy from the interview:
I’VE NEVER HAD A BUSINESS PARTNER. I always go it alone. Why? I started GoDaddy with $35 million. It was a good product, but in the white noise of the dot-com boom, we struggled to be heard and quickly started bleeding money. My bank account shrunk to $32 million.
I thought, I’m not going to worry about this until it goes to $28 million. It goes to $28 million. Now I’m worried, but I decided to go until it goes to $25 million. It goes to $25 million. Then $20 million … $18 million … $12 million … and down to $6 million. At that point, I went to Hawaii to ﬁgure out my next move. I was staying at the Four Seasons, and a guy about my age parks my car. This man just oozed contentment. I thought, What’s wrong with this picture? This guy is probably broke, but he’s happy; I’ve got $6 million, and I’m miserable. I decided to go back to Arizona and keep working on GoDaddy. If the company went broke, I’d go broke with it. But GoDaddy didn’t go broke. If I’d had partners, there’s no way they would have tolerated it going down to $6 million and possibly going broke. They would have been gone, maybe for good reason. When you’re in it alone, only you draw the line. So, no partners.
SO GODADDY TURNED A CORNER, and in 2005 we had built up a war chest of $10 million. It was time to advertise on a big venue. I chose the 2005 Super Bowl. Not cheap, and I was worried our ad would get lost while viewers were drinking and talking. We needed something a little risqué that would catch people’s attention. So we created an ad in which the GoDaddy Girl, Candice Michelle, did a parody of Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction. The ad was to show twice, once early in the game and again at the two-minute warning. After the ﬁrst showing, our servers shook from traffic. The second one, Fox Sports decided not to show. They said it was “out of tenor” with the other ads. But it didn’t matter. The ad was out there, and our market share went from 16 percent to 25 percent that week. We didn’t pay for the second ad, of course, and got a full credit for the ﬁrst one. To this day, that ad is taught in every important class on advertising as an example of what an advertisement can do.