Bob (Robert) Parsons
(born 1950) is an American entrepreneur
. He is the CEO
and founder of The Go Daddy Group, Inc.
, a family of companies comprising three ICANN-accredited domain name registrars, including flagship registrar GoDaddy.com
, reseller registrar Wild West Domains and Blue Razor Domains. Other affiliated companies include Domains by Proxy Inc., a domain privacy company, and Starfield Technologies, the business's technology development arm.
Parsons was born in Baltimore
, and spent his childhood there. His family lived in Baltimore's inner city and struggled financially. Parsons has said about those days, "I've earned everything I've ever received. Very little was given to me. I've been working as long as I can remember. Whether it was delivering or selling newspapers, pumping gas, working in construction or in a factory, I've always been making my own money.
By his own admission, he did not excel academically. Parsons often jokes that he was able to enter the "6th grade with 4th grade skills," after somehow convincing his teacher to let him enter the 6th grade classroom, even though he failed to meet the requirements to pass 5th grade. In the late 1960s, when the United States was drafting
young men for military service, Parsons followed many of his friends and enlisted in the United States armed forces
. By enlisting, he was able to decide the branch
and military job
he would have during his service.
Parsons has said that if he had not joined the military, he would not have graduated from high school.
In 1968, Parsons joined the United States Marine Corps
He was assigned to the 26th Marine Regiment which was attached and operated as part of the U.S. 1st Marine Division
. In 1969, he did a tour of duty in Vietnam
, serving as a rifleman
in the Delta Company of the 1st Battalion, 26th Marines in the Quang Nam Province
He was wounded on duty, medically evacuated and spent two months at the naval hospital in Yokosuka, Japan recovering from his wounds. As a result of his service and injury he earned the Combat Action Ribbon, the Vietnam Gallantry Cross, and the Purple Heart.
After discharge, Parsons returned home and took up work in a steel mill. However, he soon took advantage of the education benefits he earned in the military and enrolled in the accounting
program at the University of Baltimore
. Parsons credits his military service with providing him the focus to excel in his studies. "The Marine Corps taught me and gave me the sense of doing things right and, more importantly, I got confidence," he said. He graduated magna cum laude
in accounting in 1975. He began his long-term career in software as a self-taught programmer.
The University of Baltimore conferred an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree on Bob Parsons 21 May 2008.
Parsons focused on his career, earned his CPA, and worked for an equipment-leasing company by day while programming by night. In 1984, he founded Parsons Technology in Cedar Rapids, IA
and began selling MoneyCounts, a home accounting program that he initially sold for $99 per copy. By his third edition, Parsons was inspired by Borland
's success selling Turbo Pascal
for much less than the competition and began charging $12 per copy. He also focused his efforts on direct sales
rather than channel sales
. In late 1987, Parsons was able to quit his job and focus completely on selling and programming MoneyCounts. Parsons then branched into other markets when he partnered with Craig Rairdin to sell QuickVerse
, Rairdin's Bible-searching program. Parsons and Rairdin employed the same low-cost direct-market model that Parsons had successfully used with MoneyCounts.
Eventually, Parsons Technology grew to be a 1,000-employee privately held company. The company focused on two main lines, the accounting line that grew out of MoneyCounts (which included Personal Tax Edge tax preparation software, It's Legal, State Tax Edge, and other titles) and the Church Division which sold QuickVerse, Membership Plus, Family Origins, Christian Clip Art, and other related programs. On September 27, 1994, Parsons completed the sale of Parsons Technology to Intuit for $64 million. Later, Intuit sold the software from the Church Division to Broderbund and is now owned by FindEx.
Parsons is founder and sole investor in the Go Daddy Group
Guantanamo Bay blog controversy
In June 2005, Parsons generated controversy by saying the interrogation methods the United States is using at Guantanamo "are incredibly mild. All of the prisoners receive regular medical attention. In contrast, Americans who are captured in the Middle East have their heads hacked off". Following feedback in the comments section of the post, he retracted his statements, saying "After looking at the references...and giving the matter some thought, I tend to agree and think that there's a good argument for changing the way in which prisoners at Gitmo are interrogated."
- Bob Parsons — Profile on GoDaddy.com
- Hot Points — A blog by Go Daddy CEO and founder Bob Parsons
- Go Daddy Live — A radio show hosted by Go Daddy CEO and founder Bob Parsons