Contact me: Here.
Born: May 28, 1975
Hometown: Arcadia, CA
Current home: Hong Kong
Occupation: Founder & CEO, MWI
Hobbies: Family, friends, skateboarding, reading, writing, triathlon, trail running, drawing.
Books: Workin’ on it.
Brief Bio: I was born and raised in Arcadia, California, the youngest of four children. My dad was a rocket scientist for NASA and my mother was a public school teacher. Based on results, my favorite activity as a kid was breaking my arms (1 mountain biking, 2 skateboarding). I grew up reading voraciously, doing some creative writing, drawing a lot, and skateboarding. The only thing I thought I could do for a career was art, so I planned to study at Art Center in Pasadena after high school and perhaps a year or two doing general studies somewhere else. But I’m Mormon, and so at age 19 I went to serve a two-year mission for my church in Brazil where I learned Portuguese. Being in the Amazon jungle for two years changed my mind about a few things, and I decided that when I came back to the US I would study business instead of being an artist. I had run a skate shop while in high school and loved the business side of things, but hadn’t realized until I was in Brazil and was looking at a college pamphlet a friend of mine had that you could study business in college.
I ended up getting a Masters of Information Systems Management from Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. But two years before I graduated, while working for the startup that would become Omniture, I decided I couldn’t wait to graduate and started a web design firm. That was in 1999 and today that company is MWI, which I still run. It’s the only job I’ve ever kept for more than five months. Today MWI still does web design, although our focus is on the entire gamut of online marketing services. We like to get involved with our clients as their virtual online marketing department and handle everything from strategy to execution. We make it easy by allowing clients to pay a fixed monthly rate, and in return they get everything taken care of that’s related to online marketing, and a nice set of monthly reports that show that everything is going well. MWI is headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah, but I am currently living in Hong Kong where I’m opening a branch office of the firm.
I also enjoy writing and have been privileged to write for various publications including Fast Company, Business Insider, VentureBeat, South China Morning Post, and Forbes, where I write regularly as a contributor. If you would like me to write a guest post for your blog or publication please contact me, I’d love to.
I’m married to a beautiful, smart woman and we have two young children who have replaced our TV as our source of entertainment. I still enjoy skateboarding, reading, and drawing, and have added trail running and triathlons to my list of hobbies.
Where did the name Don Loper come from anyway? When I went into the LDS Missionary Training Center (MTC) preparing to be a missionary in Brazil, I went prepared with a slew of 25-cent polyester ties I had picked up from the thrift store. One of those ties I ended up wearing virtually every single day of my mission (just to prove it could be done). Another was “Supra-Long.”
This other tie was about two inches wide at it’s widest point, but front to back it was probably a good third of an inch thick. It was a shiny, brown, polyester with thin, diagonal, colored, stripes. It was ugly as sin. But the best thing about it was it’s six-foot plus length. If I held one end above my head, it still almost reached the ground. If I tied it with the two ends even, it came down to a little above my knees.
Every once in a while I would tie it so that it bounced off my shins while I walked, and if anyone commented on it, I would proudly display the small label on the tip of the smaller end that read “supra-long.” I was very pleased with the return on my 25-cent investment.
One day, I was walking down a hall in the MTC with my buddies, and suddenly, a missionary 30 feet away points at me and yells, “Is that a Don Loper tie?” I had no idea what he was talking about, and could only stand there puzzled as he ran up to me, turned the tie around, and proudly displayed the label I had never bothered to look at, and it read, “Don Loper of Beverly Hills.” Pleased with himself, he said, “Yep, I knew it,” and then he quickly walked off.
To this day I have no idea how he knew this 30-yr old tie I had was a Don Loper, or where he ever heard of the company.
Somehow the popularity of Don Loper ties grew in the mission, until there totalled at least two missionaries with them. Elder Jonathan Mattern’s mother sent him one in a box with 50 other ties to give to the natives, and I had mine. I ended up giving mine to Elder Adalto Serpa Bonfim, since I only wore one tie all the time anyway and had no need for a second tie taking up space in my baggage.
So why do I use the name so much? Oh, I don’t know; it was just a funny incident and the name’s convenient because no one else ever uses it for anything. That’s really all there is to it. I’m also hoping the real Don Loper, who happens to still be in business making ties in Beverly Hills (although he doesn’t make the stylish polyester ties of yore), will someday contact me and want to buy the domain name from me.
I received this email one day. I thought it was kind of neat, so here it is:
Date: Wednesday, November 04, 1998 6:48 PM
Subject: Don Loper
>Don Loper died several years ago. He was my dads second cousin.The Loper
>family dates back to the 1600′s. Don Loper was a famous designer from CA.
>from Randy Loper