Week 3 Guest Speaker Roundup – by Miniushka Mujtaba

A Conversation with Sean Percival, Internet Entrepreneur & Former VP of Online Marketing for MySpace

By UCLA X425 Student Miniushka Mujtaba

When not playing doting dad to his new baby daughter or cracking complex Google algorithms just for a laugh, Sean Percival (@percival) helps build Internet startup companies and sells them for a huge return on investment. Sean’s personal story embodies the American Dream. A high-school drop-out, he moved to Las Vegas at the age of 18 where he worked as a janitor at Vegas.com.

Sean Percival at UCLA X425 - Photo by Miniushka Mujtaba

He quickly moved into a tech support role, and pursued his real passion of building websites as a side job. In 2006, he built his first internet startup company. With an initial investment of $12 for a domain name, he sold the company in 2009 for $100,000. Sean made a name for himself, and after working for several startups, he was hired in 2010 by MySpace to lead their online marketing team.

While average parents start saving for a college fund when they have kids, Sean invested in an internet domain name for his one year old daughter – to use (or not) as she chooses once she grows up. And herein lies the crux of the discussion we had with Sean at our UCLA Extension class last week. The act signifies how important Sean believes it is to own and build one’s personal brand online.

Whether we like it or not, if you use an online social platform (and therefore have a social media footprint) you become a searchable, online brand. The content we post on Twitter and our online LinkedIn profile is all searchable on Google. Therefore, it is up to us to build, maintain, manage and be responsible for our online profiles and reputation. In particular, it is what prospective employers or clients will see when they research the ‘you’ brand. So step one is to build profiles on all the major social platforms, start using them sensibly, and link them to one another.

In Sean’s own words (submitted to me via a tweet): “It’s important to own your name (or brand) online, and that can be done through authentic use of all the major social platforms.” I for one am inclined to agree, and just spent $25 to buy my own domain miniushka.com. That’s the easy part – now I need to fill it with compelling content.

Watch out for Sean Percival’s new Internet project launching soon. The guy that counts Barack Obama and Mark Zuckerberg among his Twitter followers must be doing something right – and I’m excited to see what’s next!

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