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User:Sam Odio/brag

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Strengths

My strengths probably characterize me as a geek who loves entrepreneurship. Well, actually, maybe I'm an entrepreneur who loves to geek... I'll leave it up to you to decide.

I'm experienced in entrepreneurship

I started my company in high school, as an alternative to the typical minimum wage job. Having grossed over $2,000,000 in 2009, OdioWorks, LLC now supports me and has paid 100% of my college tuition.

OdioWorks, LLC is unique in that it does not operate in a specific industry, and has four different revenue models.

This is a result of my unusual approach to entrepreneurship - which I've named the "see if it sticks" model. Essentially, whenever I have a new business idea, I "throw it against the wall to see if it sticks." What does this mean? I spend no more than 1 week and $100 developing new business ideas. After I've taken the idea from conception to reality, I test my new product or service in the market. I'll only consider investing more time and money if the market reacts positively.

Today, the company's services range from currency exchange (www.DinarProfits.com), to technology consulting (www.myTeks.com), to wiki web services (www.BluWiki.com). The most profitable is currency exchange, which was a direct result of this "see if it sticks" approach. I would have never gotten into the business had I not been overwhelmed by the market's positive response to the initial product test.

Why not just operate one business?

The see if it sticks approach to entrepreneurship has two main benefits:

  • Hedging risk - Entrepreneurship is a high risk, high return area. Some say around 9 out of 10 new businesses fail. By starting and operating multiple revenue models, the company is able to reduce the financial risk of any one failure.
  • Information gathering - I have found it extremely difficult to predict which business models will be successful, and which will not. By "testing" all of them out, I am able to gain valuable information about how the market reacts to my product or service. If the reaction is positive, I will often invest more into that business.


However, this model would not be possible without my company's core competency - the ability to quickly and inexpensively start new businesses. Without this compentency, the see if it sticks approach would be prohibitively expensive and not very effective. The following capabilities contribute to this competency:

  • Website design - It generally takes 1 week and $50 to create a website for a new business. In this way the company can quickly develop an online presence for new businesses.
  • Online marketing - 100% of the company's advertising is done online. Advertising campaigns can be created in hours, and targeted to very specific demographics. Online advertising budgets are flexible, and can start at less than $50. Through online marketing, my websites receive around 2,000 new visitors daily.
  • Subcontracting - By limiting my workforce (right now I am the only employee) and subcontracting out most non-essential services, I am able to limit costs and react quicker than my competitors to changes in the market.


Daily Google traffic to BluWiki.com

My sales and marketing experience

While working for my business, I have been personally responsible for selling over $500,000 worth of products and services. To accomplish this on a shoestring budget, I rely heavily on analytics to evaluate the effectiveness of my marketing campaigns. In particular, I use unique URLs, cookies, and custom toll free numbers as a way of tracking the conversion rate / ROI of my campaigns. To digest the data, I use Google's, excellent (and free!) analytical tool.

I'm especially good at online marketing, including SEO, PPC, & blog advertising.

  • SEO or Search engine optimization advertising, is the process of building a website that ranks high for particular search terms. For example, MyTeks.com was designed to rank first for searches such as virginia computer repair on google.
  • PPC, or Pay per click advertising, is the process of advertising under the "sponsored links" section of search engines for specific search terms. PPC is often much more expensive than SEO advertising, however it allows for greater control over the placement of your advertisement.
  • Blog advertising, using services such as PayPerPost.


"Sarah" was my first computer, which I built at age 13.
I guess I've graduated from PCs to buses

I'm a computer geek

Internet / IT

I could easily manage your company's presence online:

  • Website design - I've been building websites since High School. You can find a list of the sites I have built and operate by clicking here. Combined these sites receive ~3,000 unique visitors and ~10,000 hits each day.
  • Web programming - Through my company's projects I've learned several online languages, including PHP and Ruby on Rails.

Hardware

It's my interest in hardware and networking that motivated me to start my first business in the area of technology consulting. I'm still very passionate about the PC / server architecture.

  • PC hardware - I built my first personal computer at age 13. At 18 I became an A+ Certified CompTIA computer repair technician.
  • Server hardware - I've physically built and maintain several Linux servers, including the server that runs this website. Click here for a list of all my servers.
  • Onboard Bus Computer - My brother recently bought a bus, which he wants to convert into an RV. I'm helping him with the electrical system - installing a touchscreen, computer and PLC to serve as the "dashboard" and control the functions on the bus. More here.

My rigorous academic background

My academic education got progressively more difficult during my time @ UVa:

  • 2nd year, Hard: Pursuing a major in Economics, while choosing to double major in Commerce.
  • 3rd year, Harder: Double concentrating in Finance and Accounting - considered the most rigorous track at the McIntire School of Commerce (UVA).
  • 4th year, Hardest: Completing 1 & 2, while simultaneously taking graduate classes to complete a Masters in one semester.

Frankly, it's difficult to imagine a more rigorous academic curriculum available to McIntire students. In our graduating class, I'm only aware of two other students who are pursuing a double concentration in Finance/Accounting with a double major in Economics. I'm not aware of any students who are double majoring, with a double concentration, while pursuing the McIntire Master's program.

Excelling in this program while supporting myself financially demonstrates an ability to effectively manage my time through multitasking and task prioritization (although others just call it "cramming").

Graduation Dates

Spring 2007:

  • First Major: Bachelor's of Science in Commerce from the McIntire School of Commerce (University of Virginia)
    • First concentration: Finance
    • Second concentration: Accounting
  • Second Major: Economics from the School of Arts and Sciences at the University of Virginia

Fall 2007:

  • Master's of Accounting from the McIntire School of Commerce (University of Virginia)


A screenshot of the BluWiki Homepage.



More about my businesses

BluWiki Web Hosting

BluWiki is a site I started in May of 2005, after I realized that the Wiki engine could be used for more than just encyclopedias. I thought that users, classes, clubs, and even offices could collaborate using the wiki technology. So I started BluWiki to fill that void, because, at the time, users had very few other options. Today, its by far the most popular of all my online businesses - receiving over 5,000 hits daily. (You can read more @ BluWiki:About)

The page you're on right now, http://www.SamuelOdio.com, is hosted by BluWiki and an example of what is possible with the wiki technology.

MyTeks Computer Consulting

Computer consulting and repair was my first serious business. I started it when I was a senior at @ TJHSST, under my company name the company name OdioWorks, LLC.

By Freshman year of college I had expanded nationally, and had technicians serving clients in about 6 major metropolitan cities. However, overall, it was only marginally successful. Given the amount of time I invested in the project, I probably made a little above minimum wage.

Given the low profitability of our computer repair services, I rebranded the computer consulting business as MyTeks.com (click for website). This allowed the company to expand into other, more profitable businesses.

Starting my business taught me some important lessons:

  • It's hard - Running a business is 10 times harder than I thought it would be. Don't expect people to be interested in what you have to offer, at least not initially. Things will be slow, plan to spend the first year just getting the word out and establishing yourself.
  • They need cash - Most startups don't make money, they take money.
  • They won't make you rich for a long time - If your startup is making you a ton of cash, this means you're not reinvesting profits back into the company. This will severely stunt future growth, which is bad, since growth is extremely important early on.
  • If you want to grow, don't do service - If you want to grow fast, don't start a company in a service industry (such computer repair, food service, law, accounting, etc) Instead, start a company that offers a scalable product, which can easily serve new customers cheaply (like google). It costs google hardly anything to serve a million new users, while it would bankrupt a restaurant to try to do so.
  • The world is vicious - Your competitors are vicious, and sometimes even your customers are vicious. Customers will try to take advantage of you. Being naive enough to think customers are honest cost me over $2,000. This doesn't mean that you shouldn't treat them well. You should. The customer is king. But don't be naive about it.

DinarProfits.com currency exchange

I started DinarProfits.com (click for website) about 2 years ago. This has been the company's most profitable business, and it pretty much supports all the other stuff (like bluwiki, and my pointless three monitor setup).

The company imports dinars from Iraq, and then resell them (at less than 1 cent to the dinar) to investors in the US. Most investors are buying them with the hope that they will return to their previous value of over $3 USD to one dinar. If that ever happens, then a $1,000 investment would make you a millionaire. Crazy, huh?

Of course, the chances of that happening are slim - definitely a high risk, high reward type investment. It's probably not something you'd want to put your retirement savings into.

OnTheGrounds.com UVA Classifieds

OnTheGrounds Classifieds was my first project in PHP, which I created in late 2004. It was designed as a craigslist for UVa students.

It was just hacked together and I'm actually kind of ashamed of it... but people use it so I'm leaving it up.

Note: OnTheGrounds is no longer active; I shut it down in 2007.

Download Resume:
Word Document | Adobe PDF

More about me

Still interested? As far as I know, I'm the only Sam Odio on the 'net. A google search will turn up a lot of goodies about my online adventures.

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This page was last modified on 17 February 2010, at 01:16.
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