10 Things You Didn’t Know About Bob Parsons

Most of us know him as the founder of GoDaddy, the world’s largest domain name registrar that revolutionized the online market. But, there’s more to his intriguing personality than simply his significant business contributions. Here are 10 lesser-known facts about the charismatic entrepreneur, philanthropist and decorated Marine, Bob Parsons.

1. A Service Decorated U.S. Marine

Yes, mettle and resilience have always been at the core of Bob Parsons. Before making waves in the corporate world, he served in the Vietnam War as a rifleman in the Delta Company. Reflecting the valor he demonstrated and the hardy worth of his character, he was awarded an esteemed Combat Action Ribbon, Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry and a Purple Heart as testament to his service.

He often credits his time in the Marines for his disciplined approach to business. Indeed, the hardships he endured in Vietnam contributed towards instilling within him the resolute spirit of an entrepreneur. He often says, “I’ve learned that anything in life worth having comes from patience and hard work.”

2. A Turned-around College Venture

Parsons didn’t initially find college easy. He flunked out of high school and his first semester at college had a similar outcome. Post his Marine service, however, he tried again and graduated magna cum laude from the University of Baltimore with an accounting degree. He also went on to teach at the college for a few years.

If anything, his initial failure, eventual triumphant return and even stint as a teacher underscores the famous Churchill quote: “Success is not final, failure is not fatal, it is the courage to continue that counts.”

3. A Pioneer in the Software Industry

Before revolutionizing the online domain market, Parsons exhibited his innovative thinking in another arena-the software industry. He founded Parsons Technology in 1984, a company that developed and sold financial and tax preparation software.

It started as a one-man project, but due to Parsons’ entrepreneurial acumen, the business grew to a 1,000-employee strong enterprise. He eventually sold the company to Intuit for a remarkable $65 million in 1994.

4. Philanthropy Is A Huge Part Of His Life

Bob Parsons has always been passionate about giving back. The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation, co-founded with his wife, has donated hundreds of millions of dollars to various charities. Healthcare, education, veterans support, and homelessness are primary recipients of their philanthropic ventures.

Parsons and his wife Renee are signatories of The Giving Pledge, an initiative started by Warren Buffet and Bill Gates. This is a commitment by the world’s wealthiest individuals and families to dedicate the majority of their wealth to philanthropy.

5. He’s an Avid Golfer

When he’s not busy running enormous businesses or serving underprivileged communities, Parsons enjoys a good golf game. In fact, he’s so passionate about it that he owns Parsons Xtreme Golf (PXG), a company that manufactures golf equipment.

Under Parson’s vision, PXG focuses on developing top-notch golf clubs, without any emphasis on cost. As a testament to their unyielding commitment to quality, PXG’s gear is touted by several professional golfers, reflecting Bob’s love for the game and his business acumen.

6. He’s a Motorcycle Enthusiast

Bob Parsons takes his hobbies as seriously as his businesses. Not only does he cherish a good golf game, but he’s also an avid motorcycle rider. Parsons owns a Harley Davidson dealership and a cycle-themed restaurant in Arizona.

7. He’s a Film Producer

As if other facets of his life weren’t interesting enough, Parsons also dabbled in filmmaking. His company YAM Worldwide has a division dedicated to film production, BIG YAM, The Parsons Agency. They have created multiple films, including a feature-length documentary.

8. Real Estate Mogul

Diving into digital markets and traditional entrepreneurship aside, Parsons also ventured heavily into real estate. He’s involved in Arizona real estate and his firm YAM Properties manages more than 2.1 million square feet of retail and office properties.

9. He’s Big on Empowering Employees

Parsons believes that a company’s success is defined by the happiness of its employees. His commitment to this ethos is obvious in the way he treats his staff. For instance, his Harley Davidson dealership was once voted the number one “Best Place To Work” by the Phoenix Business Journal.

10. He Believes in Keeping Things Simple

For someone who has attained such significant success in a varied set of fields, it might seem like Bob Parsons maintains a strictly regimented, complex lifestyle. However, he’s big on simplicity. His philosophy is that if you can’t explain your idea or model to a 10-year-old in five minutes or less, it’s too complex.

For more information on Bob Parsons, click here. And for more on his philanthropic work, click here.