Kings of Social Media

By admin • Feb 23rd, 2011 • Category: Extra

BusinessQ Editor, Jeanette Bennett, participated today on a panel of social media gurus at the Big Business and Technology Expo at UVU’s UCCU Center. These people didn’t become panel people by mistake. Their impressive accomplishments make them more than qualified.

Rich Christiansen

In his former life, Rich was best known for his successes as general manager of Mitsubishi Electric’s PCU Division, a product line manager at Novell, and general manager of He has more than 20 years of corporate management experience in leading cross-functional teams and organizations in the technology industry. He is a skilled market innovator with a strong technology background and a thorough understanding of how to deliver technology to the marketplace. His true passion and talent, however, is in starting and launching technology-oriented companies. Several of these most recent successes include Tornado Solutions, Know More Media, Cyclone Trading Company, MortgageSaver101, Mountain Grabbers LLC, Castlewave and Custom Dreams LLC. Rich describes himself as “a perfectly good business executive turned entrepreneur.”

Eventually Rich grew tired of the corporate world and in 2003, he formally left it and is having the time of his life, building, managing and selling his own compilation of technology companies.

“I am not sure it should be legal for one individual to have this much fun,” he says. “I take great pride and satisfaction in mentoring young, talented individuals and in helping business opportunities emerge.”

Since graduating from MBA school Rich has founded or co-founded 31 businesses. These ventures were bootstrapped from between $5,000 and $10,000 of starting capital. Eleven have become successful multi-million dollar businesses, and ten have been outright failures. Interestingly, Rich values the failures the most. It is from these he gleans knowledge, resources and experience with which to improve and move forward. Of course, the successes have provided valuable lessons as well. Most recently, Rich has channeled his passion for entrepreneurism into two successful projects. The projects were tied together — Rich wrote a book and created a company simultaneously. While working on the book, Bootstrap Business, Rich and his co-author, Ron Porter, bootstrapped the company Castlewave. The sole intent of the company was to prove the principles in the book. They started Castlewave with exactly $5,000, followed every principle in the book and grew that business to $1.2 million dollars at more than 60 percent the first year. They eventually sold Castlewave to a small publicly traded company.

Rich and Castlewave both received ample praise and accolades.
- Castlewave was acknowledged as one of the Top 25 Companies Under Five Years Old in Utah Valley by the Utah Valley Entrepreneur Forum.
- Rich was voted one of the Coolest Entrepreneurs in Utah Valley by Business Q.
- Castlewave was voted the Number One Utah Valley Start-Up to Watch by Business Q.

After the entrepreneurial whirlwind Rich took a sabbatical and returned to Nepal, the country he loves, to trek in the Himalayas with his family. Now formally off of sabbatical, Rich is engaged in two new projects.
- Writing a second book titled “The Zig Zag Principle.”
- Building and managing Frog Hair, a trading company.

Rich’s long term-goal is to be actively involved in helping enable commerce and capitalism in developing countries. Of keen interest to him right now is Nepal. He helped educate and raise a young woman from Nepal as his daughter. Rich has many strong ties to this amazing country and is currently helping a second young person from Nepal receive a college education.

“I am passionate about educating women in third world countries,” he says. “My goal is that before I hit the age of fifty — which is coming up very quickly — I want to be educating 1,000 children in third world countries.”

On an even more personal note, Rich is committed to his beautiful wife, has five wonderful sons and an adopted daughter, all of whom are the center of his universe.

Paul Allen

Paul Allen has founded several companies in the consumer content and social space. He was the Founder and CEO of in 1997. While at, he launched in 1998, which became the fastest growing community site of its time, providing free web sites for millions of families. In 2002, Allen founded 10x Marketing, an internet marketing agency that was sold to Innuity in 2005. In 2004, he started, a fast-growing company that helps entrepreneurs and small businesses raise debt or equity financing.

Since 2007, Allen has been working at The company’s Facebook app, We’re Related, was at its peak the #1 non-game application on Facebook, with 80 million users, until Facebook changed its platform policies and design, affecting all of its third-party apps. Now, FamilyLink is focusing on building apps and websites for families, including a new Facebook game called FamilyVillage, in partnership with local game developer Funium. This is the first game that lets you create characters for all your relatives and ancestors, and use them to build a prosperous village. As part of the game play, an actual family tree is built for each user and billions of actual family history records are searched in the background, so each player can discover records and photos from their own family history. Paul calls this the “gamification of genealogy.”

Paul is in love with Christy, his wife of 22 years. They have 8 children, including 3 daughters who attend BYU. He is hoping one of them will marry Jimmer (we have a half-court gym in our basement, hint, hint) so he can retire and fulfill his lifelong dream of being a basketball statistician. He graduated from BYU with a degree in Russian in 1990. He is suffering from a serious but useful addiction to his Blackberry, iPhone, iPad and Amazon Kindle.

David Bradford

David Bradford is a proven business leader with nearly 30 years of experience in using innovation and foresight to play a significant role in the world of information technology. Today, Mr. Bradford serves as Chairman of the Board of Fusion-io, a company that is revolutionizing the data centers of the world. Mr. Bradford served as CEO until April of 2010.

During his tenure he brought a new level of maturity, excitement and communications to the organization, positioning it as a long-term growth company. He also attracted and hired Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple, to be the company’s chief scientist, secured key strategic partnerships with IBM, Dell, Samsung and H-P, grew company sales over 500 percent, raised more than $100 million in capital, and saw the company named the #2 Most Promising Company in America by the Wall Street Journal.

He is the Founder of LDS.Biz, a professional network of thousnands of LDS business people from around the globe, launched in September of 2010. He is also the co-founder of Funding, named the #2 Best Start-up to watch by Business Q magazine. He was also on the original advisory board of Omniture, which recently sold to Adobe for more than $2 billion. His personal database of contacts from Linkedin, Facebook and various business connections around the globe numbers more than 15,000. At Fusion, his advisory board includes, among many others, the former Secretary of Health and Human Services, Michael Leavitt, NFL Hall of Famer and Managing Partner of Huntsman-Gay Capital, Steve Young and former CEO of Cadence and a member of the board of directors of Oracle, Ray Bingham.

From 1985 to 2000, he served as senior vice president and general counsel of Novell, Inc. the world leader in computer networking software. Mr. Bradford helped lead Novell from start-up through a series of acquisitions, public offerings and business development activities which led to its place as a multi-billion dollar corporation. His responsibilities at Novell spanned four different divisions including legal, government relations, business development and security. During his last three years at Novell, Mr. Bradford reported to Eric Schmidt, now Chairman and CEO of Google.

During this time period, Mr. Bradford also twice served as chairman of the board of the Business Software Alliance, the world’s leading industry trade association representing companies like Microsoft, Novell, Lotus, Oracle, etc.

From 2001 to 2008, Mr. Bradford was actively engaged in a variety of work including serving as a national co-chair for Romney for President, a partner with one of the top ten law firms in the country, Greenberg Traurig, as general counsel of Dynix Corporation, the world’s leading supplier of library software and as general counsel to the governor-elect of Utah, Jon M. Huntsman, Jr. (now the amabassador to China). Additionally, he served as CEO, founder and advisor to multiple Web 2.0. Mr. Bradford has also been very active in the angel, venture and private equity markets and continues to serve as a senior advisor to Huntsman-Gay Global Equities.

David Bradford has been honored as the Alumnus of the Year from the Brigham Young University Law School. He has a law degree from BYU, an MBA from Pepperdine University and a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Brigham Young University.

For the past 10 years, Mr. Bradford has been on the board of directors of Pervasive Software, Inc of Austin, Texas, a leading, publicly traded, data management company where he serves as chairman of the audit committee.

Mr. Bradford’s involvement in the computer industry from the earliest days of the PC, led to his being featured on the PBS Special, “The History of the Internet.”

He led a team that wrote and passed the Utah Venture Capital Enhancement Act which eventually provided a pool of more than $200 million in capital enabling the state to invest in numerous venture capital funds.

Bradford serves as an advisor to a number of companies at varying levels including Mangia,,,, Linking Universe, Funding Universe,,,,,, the Utah Technology Council,, and the V.I.E.W. (Virtual Immersive Educational World).

George Wright

George is known for creating cutting-edge marketing campaigns that are world famous. As a creative thinker, he has developed a strategy for business and marketing that has been proven to grow businesses and build brands.

His work has been cited in many business publications from noted authors like Seth Godin, Josh Bernoff and Andy Sernovitz and is currently published in marketing textbooks and taught by universities across the country.

In addition to being a natural leader and a marketing strategist, George has demonstrated that YouTube and other social media sites can be harnessed to achieve corporate purposes.

Described by Advertising Age as the “#1 advertisement in the history of the internet,” and by as “one of the 13 best marketing ideas of all time,” George’s “Will it Blend?” marketing campaign set a new standard for social media based marketing. Delivering an impressive 700 percent increase in sales, and delivering half-a-billion online views, “Will it Blend?” has been featured on the Today Show, the Tonight Show, the History Channel and The Big Idea and has proven that social media tactics can be used to accomplish corporate objectives.

George is the recipient of multiple international awards, including a Clio, Telly, .net, Silver Anvil, Golden Spike, YouTube, Best of Broadband and Communicator awards.

George is also an accomplished keynote speaker and travels worldwide sharing his experiences and insights into creating effective social media strategies for companies.

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