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A Rising Star

A Rising StarAt age 33, Tufts graduate and Web.com Chief Executive Officer Jeff Stibel is one of the youngest leaders of a publicly traded company in the country.

Medford/Somerville, Mass. [01.02.07] Judging by his track record in business, you’d never guess that Jeff Stibel graduated from Tufts little more than a decade ago. The 33-year-old chief executive of Web.com, a web-hosting company, has already held senior-level positions at a variety of technology companies. And in his current role, he is leading Web.com into a new era of profitability and expansion.

"I'm incredibly passionate about growth, whether it's individual growth and learning or whether it's company growth," Stibel, who earned a degree in psychology from Tufts in 1995, recently told BusinessWeek. "I always want to be doing something new, exciting, and rewarding, and that speaks both for myself personally and for the company."

Thus far, Stibel’s career has been nothing short of exciting. In 1999 — at age 26, four years after he earned a degree in psychology from Tufts — he became chairman and CEO of Simpli.com Inc., a search and marketing technology company. A year later, he joined the executive ranks at United Online, Inc., which owns and operates Internet service providers such as NetZero and Juno, and web services, including Classmates.com and FreeServers. In 2005, he became CEO of Atlanta-based Web.com, which was then called Interland. Under his leadership, the company has expanded into new areas and seen revenues rise.

“Shares of the stock have more than doubled since [2005],” BusinessWeek reported. “On Nov. 7, the company reported third-quarter revenue of $12.3 million, its first-ever organic revenue increase, on 11 percent year-to-date subscriber growth. During the third quarter, Web.com also started to diversify into patent licensing.”

The path to success, Stibel told BusinessWeek, has involved sacrifices. But they’ve all been worthwhile, he said.

"I ended up waiting to marry my wife for seven years because I was focused on building my company,” Stibel told the publication. BusinessWeek reported that the two moved back and forth across the country several times as Stibel’s career evolved.

According to Stibel, one of the youngest CEOs of a publicly traded company in the country, all his career moves have been in pursuit of a lifelong dream.

"I knew that I wanted to build a company," Stibel told BusinessWeek. "I wanted to get that technology experience, as well as that business experience, as well as be around people who were exciting and innovative and work toward being the motivating force to drive things forward."

Learning from the people around you, he told BusinessWeek, is one of the keys to success.

"Soak up as much information as you can," he told the publication. "Don't be afraid to make mistakes, and be proud of your mistakes. At the end of the day learning and getting experience and getting advice from others shouldn't be seen as a weakness, it should be seen as a positive. The more that you surround yourself with great people, the better off you'll be for the long term."

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