Tyler: Alright, everyone. Welcome back to another episode of the Business Blast Podcast. I’m your host, Tyler Wagner. Today, I have with Chris Parker. He is the founder of whatismyipaddress.com which has grown to a monthly audience of six million visitors. He now raises awareness of online safety and privacy issues for entrepreneurs. Welcome to the show, man.
Chris: Thank you for having me on, Tyler.
Tyler: Of course, grateful to have you here, Chris. We’ll dive right into the first one. The first question I have for you is, what is the best story, from your life that has an underlying valuable message?
Chris: I think if it’s for entrepreneurs from the underlying story is—there was a one time that I had an advertiser approach me, and I was really excited about the opportunity. It was a company name that I recognized, and I went ahead and, “Great. Let’s sign them up. Let’s get them into my platform.” I started running ads on my site for them, and things started getting squarely about two weeks later. About two weeks later, I found out that it was not really the advertiser that I was dealing with but someone who had a typo-squatted, got the .net instead of .com and had copied their site, and it looked exactly like them. I got defrauded out of a good chunk of ad revenue. The life lesson I learned is, do your due diligence regardless of who you think you’re talking to.
Tyler: Yeah, man. That’s wild. I’m sorry that happened to you. But I guess, from what you do now, it probably helped catapult that.
Tyler: The next one I have for you is, what is the most valuable piece of information we should know that’s within your expertise or industry?
Chris: There’s probably like three things that all of your listeners should be doing. Automated offsite backups, backups aren’t really backups unless they’re not in your house. If your house burns down and your backup is right next to your computer and it gets cooked, you don’t really have a backup, and there are great cheap resources out there for that—carbonite and what not.
Use of password manager. You basically have to assume that if you’ve created an account somewhere, the account will be compromised, and that password will become public. If you used the same password twice, you just significantly increased the risk of a second account being compromised, in conjunction with the first.
If you really want to scare yourself and see how big of an issue it is, there’s a website called Have I Been Pwned?—with a P instead of an O. You type in your email address, and it will tell you everywhere your email address has been associated with a breach.
That will give you a clue of like, “Oh, it was compromised in this Adobe breach. It was available in this breach.” It’ll concern you how many times your email address has been associated with a breach where there was likely a password associated with it.
Tyler: haveibeenpwned.com, where’s the P at?
Chris: Instead of the O, it’s a P.
Tyler: Oh, okay. I look forward to getting scared later. I’m going to look at that.
Chris: That means you should use 1Password, LastPass, Dashlane, something out there that allows you to create, basically, random passwords that even you don’t know that on your local machine you can use.
Probably, the third is like that one. Anywhere you can enable two-factor authentication, do it. That means, not only do you need a password but they need to be able to prove that something is in your possession. Usually, for most people, it’s an SMS message sent to your cell phone. It’s probably not ultimately the best mechanism for two-factor authentication. It can be cracked and misused, but at least for most of us, it’s better than nothing.
Tyler: I usually use, for some of my stuff, I use Google Authenticator which is also a two-factor authentication thing. The next one I have for you is, what is your best piece of overall business advice? I guess I like to dive in more to this. I’m assuming from the thing that happened to you in the story you said it’s kind of what catapulted you to create all this—I could be wrong—so, how did you start in the entrepreneurial world and the security world?
Chris: I think I always wanted to run my own business. I started out when I was 12, delivering newspapers to make an extra couple bucks a week or something like that. I had tried a number of businesses, put together a number of websites that had made a little bit of money but weren’t just really scalable. Kind of the one thing that worked out for me that was unintentional was whatismyipaddress.com.
It was a solution I needed for a technical problem at a place that I was working. I put it together just to tell me what my IP address was. Whatever Internet connection I was on, I could quickly go there, and see what the IP address was, a good way to work with technical support to resolve connectivity issues, stuff like that. It turned out to become really popular.
I started adding Frequently Asked Questions, and it became the site that it is today with a tremendous amount of content, and that moved towards security and privacy. Early days of the Internet, people didn’t worry about that sort of thing, but these days, people are a lot more concerned about, “Who knows where I’m going, what I’m doing, what websites I’m visiting, building online profiles of my behavior,” stuff like that. People started getting alarmed about that.
Tyler: Totally. If you can give your younger self one piece of advice, what would that be?
Chris: From the entrepreneurial aspect, I think it would have been, hire a business coach much earlier. About a year ago, I started working with a business coach, and the insights that you don’t have about your own business can be pretty incredible. Just having someone who can look at your business from the outside, who isn’t stuck in the industry mindset that you might be in, it has just been proven tremendously invaluable to me these days.
Tyler: In your opinion, what’s the key to happiness?
Chris: The key to happiness, I think there’s a book a long time ago called, Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff. You’re going to have problems with your business. You’re going to have challenges in your life. I think if you expect that, you’re setting yourself up for more success. If it’s not a game changer, just roll the punches, and don’t worry about that stuff. Enjoy your family, your friends, your pets, things like that.
Tyler: What is the best book that you’ve read and what is the number one thing you’ve learned from that?
Chris: There’s a book that I just recently read by Ryan Levesque called Ask. It’s a methodology for understanding your audience better and communicating with them in a much more effective way, it’s something that I’m in the process of implementing on my site, and really being able to directly communicate with the different types of people that are using my website.
Tyler: What is your favorite quote and why?
Chris: There’s this quote, and I’m now struggling to remember it, oh, there it is, “If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room.” I don’t know who originally said it, but I think it’s good to stay humble. As soon as you start thinking you got all the answers, you’re in for a big surprise.
Tyler: Yes, man. I love that quote as well. Thank you so much for coming on. The last question that I have for you before we let you go is, where is the best place for people to find and/or connect with you online?
Tyler: Perfect, man. Thanks again for hopping on.
Chris: Thank you. Have a great afternoon!
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