Jeffrey Tinsley is an entrepreneur with over two decades of experience as an internet businessman. He is the founder and CEO of MyLife, “the biggest social site you’ve never heard of,” where he seeks to improve the safety and trust for individuals online.
Starting out in 1994, Jeffrey Tinsley’s career began in the typical incubator of the era: his mom’s garage. From those humble beginnings, he built GreatDomains, which became an early leader of internet domain transactions and was purchased for $100 million. Selling his first startup for a nine-figure payday wouldn’t be the sum of Jeffrey Tinsley’s success, but rather an auspicious beginning to a dynamic career in a new and evolving field.
With his foot in the door of the rapidly growing tech industry and the desire to make a positive impact with his career, Jeffrey Tinsley refused to slow down after that life-changing buyout. The then-nascent field of social media and connecting with friends online was ripe for disruption, and so Tinsley purchased HighSchoolAlumni.com. He transformed the site from an overlooked listings site to a successful social site boasting 30 million users.
But Jeffrey Tinsley didn’t just stop there. The site was then spun into MyLife.com, a company that is focused on allowing people to control their personal information online, with Tinsley creating MyLife’s Reputation Score to help provide a higher level of safety and transparency across the web. The site now has approximately 225 million user pages, forming the Internet’s preeminent people directory and garnering media attention from Fox, The Wall Street Journal, BBC, USA Today and more.
Aside from MyLife, Jeffrey Tinsley continued to find success through other endeavors. His company RealtyTracker did for real estate what GreatDomains had done for websites, and the company was soon bought and its tools incorporated by a marketing leader. Jeffrey Tinsley also founded MediaPass, a B2B platform that provides tools that help publishers attract and retain subscribers, and the company has helped content creators like CBS, Ogden Newspapers and more.
Jeffrey Tinsley is also an investor, but not just in companies and startups. Investing in promising assets is about more than buying low and selling high. So for Tinsley, the best investment of all is in making the business world a better place for others to learn and grow. Jeffrey finds his greatest professional fulfillment in helping shape the successes of the next generation of leaders, through mentorship and thoughtful advice. As a veteran of online business for 25 years, there’s much that Jeffrey can share with tomorrow’s entrepreneurs.
Jeffrey Tinsley’s acumen has been recognized by Ernst & Young, who named him Entrepreneur of the Year in 2009. When not managing his businesses, Jeffrey enjoys the outdoors and spending time with his family.
Our Interview With Jeff Tinsley
What’s the most important thing we should know about you?
I’m a big believer in living a balanced life. Dedicating yourself wholly to your career can be dangerous, and without taking the time to explore your own interests or spend more time with loved ones, that unevenness can negatively impact your work as well. For instance, one of the ways I do this is by spending as much time with my children as possible. As important as your career is, it’s only just one part of you.
What accomplishments are you most proud of?
Without a doubt, I’d consider MyLife one of my proudest achievements, particularly with developing the Reputation Score. And to me, MyLife hasn’t even reached its limit yet — I’m always on the lookout for new innovations or ideas that allow us to evolve our site and its services to provide the greatest amount of trust and reliability when it comes to their online reputations.
What did you waste the most time on when you were first starting your career?
Concerning myself with what other people thought of me and my business. When you start out as an entrepreneur, there will always be doubters who don’t believe that you’ll succeed. The key is to keep trucking on in spite of those negative voices, to prove them wrong.
What is your favorite hobby and why?
I like being outdoors. Whether I’m playing sports or taking a hike, as long as I’m outside and active, I’m enjoying myself.
What excites you the most about your industry right now?
People care about their online reputations and how they are being presented on the internet, especially in light of industry changes like the growing gig economy. That’s exactly what I had hoped for when I started MyLife, and our express mission is to help people fully understand their online reputation and take steps to control it.
What concerns you the most about your industry right now?
Misinformation is a monster of a problem these days. The goal with MyLife is to have as accurate data as possible, and sorting through the noise is a difficult task, but one that we seek to worth with alongside our users to craft the most trustworthy, holistic pictures of their online reputations.
What’s the greatest risk you’ve ever taken?
The greatest risk I ever took came directly after my first great success. I sold my first company, but even after the success of that moment, I knew that I wanted this to be just the start of my career. I kept creating companies that I believed would make a positive impact on the internet and people’s lives, and here I am today. The greatest risk I’ve taken was the decision to keep moving forward.
What tips do you have for getting a seat at the table?
My advice would be to not think about getting a seat at the table. I think the most fruitful way to direct your energy would be to focus on providing as much positive impact as possible. After all, “getting a seat at the table” is practically just a reaffirmation of the fact that your entrepreneurial and business success has directly changed people’s lives for the better.
Do you value intelligence or common sense more? Why?
Both are important, of course, but I think common sense is much more valuable than intelligence. I think of common sense as the application of intelligence — just knowing a lot doesn’t guarantee that you’ll know how to handle a situation.