This is a live blog of the lunch keynote address at Internet Summit 2012 in Raleigh NC.

Tim Sullivan (@ancestrydotcom) who is the President & CEO at which is the world’s largest online resource for family history. – 16 yr old
digitized 11 billion records
2.5 million subscribers – 1 million in the last 3 years
$460 million annual revenue

If you do not innovate as much as the competition you will not stay on top.

How does work with these questions?

Subscription models stink?
Based in Provo, UT?
Who really cares about genealogy?

None of these are an issue and people who ask these questions in a negative manner are wrong.

How do you spark interest in genealogy?
everyone is willing to comment and add to a family conversation if it is expressed in the proper manner.

What is a Niche? And do we care?

  • Sometimes, a niche is just technological immaturity
  • Where a technology or service is in the product cycle
  • From cars to phones to The Internet were all niche products in their early stage of production.
  • they are no longer niche products, but widely used by most everyone.

total of 35 million “extended families” in the 5 core markets – US, UK, CA, AU, SW

Now with the integration of the social graph and the advance in DNA testing, is no longer a niche product and is helping to change how people find their families.

Family History used to be really hard between libraries and microfilms. Due to this it was a very time-consuming and expensive way to go about it.

The internet has allowed us to democratize access to family history discovery.


  • 16 years and $155 million in digitized information
  • member contributed content
  • member family trees
  • users now help us structure content


  • Image displays
  • Hinting
  • Social – Facebook integration
  • Mobile
  • Cousin collaboration – DNA is helping this collaboration to be authenticated.

TV Advertising & Sponsorship

Talent is extemely important to any organization, almost as important as actual organization for your company.

Your staff is the core of your company so why not have a huge focus on hiring great talent?

Take that staff and stretch them beyond their immediate capabilities.

You can not be scared to fire people. While treating everyone fairly at all times, but recognizing great talent.

Gave a shout out to Berkeley for their great pool of intelligent talent.

Capital Structure should not drive business strategy

  • to try a lot of different strategies
  • plus and minus to everything
  • that exist to maximize returns for shareholders
  • they shouldn’t play a dominant role in influencing business operations/strategies.