A Day With The Blingo.com Founder

I have not made an entry here in a while, primarily because I have been spending a lot of time on a duet of consulting projects, as well as my pet weblog on internet security issues over at Spamroll.com. But I had a chance to reconnect with an old colleague for the last 24 hours (during his visit), and I found it important enough to jump back on Thoughtmarket.

The old colleague I am talking about is Frank Anderson, and his new company/website is Blingo.com. We worked together for a number of years (during our consulting days), and have remained friends since (even though he doesn’t go fishing very much anymore). I have always found our discussions about business and technology enlightening, but this time around it was especially the case.

Entrepreneurs have a hard time impressing me. I guess it has something to do with having been one for so long. I have heard too many business plans from slick sales types, and guess I am a little jaded. It makes me a hard person to reel in for participation. Frank pitched me on the Blingo idea almost a year ago. I was sceptical, to say the least.

Blingo.com is the latest creation of Frank and his partner Rob Davis (a purported software engineering genius who can actually communicate with regular folks). These guys put together a search engine that offers random free prizes to lucky users. The site requires no registration (unlike iWon), and the search results are powered directly by Google. It is a pretty simple model – produce profitable search results (something made easier when you partner with the big boys), and give some of that benefit back to loyal users with useful products like iPods, TIVOs and movie tickets.

Ok. Simple model, great partners, and a hot search market. Sounds like Blingo has a lot going for it. But there is more.

Mr. Anderson is exceptionally committed to his operation, and that is something I have seen in few people. He spends a good part of his day analyzing results, exchanging thoughtful communication with happy users, and discussing improvements with his technology cohorts. Most web entrepreneurs spend their time yacking on the phone, talking about how great their ideas are, and hoping to scrape some spare change from a few low-tier VCs. Frank spends his time “doing.”

In the technology start-up world, it doesn’t matter how great your idea is, how fast you can talk, or how much money you can raise. What matters is execution, and the Blingo team seems to be doing that with exceptional vigor, as well as tolerable enthusiasm. Keep a lookout for great things coming from Blingo, for no other reason than who is running it.

I now wish I had accepted the opportunity to invest.

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