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Darian Shirazi

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With roots in the Internet business world and extensive experience working for several popular social and e-commerce companies, it is no wonder Darian Shirazi is considered one of the hottest entrepreneurs and startup CEOs today. Born in 1986 in Palo Alto, California, Shirazi became Facebook’s first intern in 2005 at the age of 17. He continued to work for the social media mecca for roughly two years, reporting directly to Mark Zuckerberg. Prior to his stint with Facebook, Shirazi completed an internship with eBay at the age of 15. In 2008 the motivated entrepreneur started Fwix, a hyper-local news program that was designed to crawl the web to compile data that would help small businesses. Shirazi rebranded Fwix as Radius in 2012 and today tracks more than 26 million small businesses in the United States in real time.

Shirazi is a University of California-Berkeley dropout who was named one of the “sexiest startup CEOs” by Business Insider in 2013. Considered a jokester, Shirazi originally named his company Fwix because he was looking for an affordable and short domain name. He initially set up his business office in a Bay Area house he shared with three friends. In 2013, Radius raised around $12.4 million in funding alone.

After his internships with eBay and Facebook, Shirazi attended Berkeley at the request of his parents to study philosophy and computer science. Soon succumbing to his aspirations and interest in big data and technology solutions, Shirazi left school to pursue his own business endeavors. Shirazi was aware of some of the biggest challenges facing small businesses and wanted to develop a solution that would provide them with a way to curate and compile useful social data, which was the thought process behind Radius.

In addition to serving as the CEO of Radius, Shirazi writes about startups, entrepreneurship, and issues facing small businesses for Forbes. He has also invested in several other companies and served as the advisor for Udemy, an online education platform.

Companies and Investments

Radius Inc (Founder and CEO), eBay (Team Member), Facebook (Software Engineer), Homejoy (Investor), Udemy (Advisor), 314px LLC (Investor), Sprig (Investor), MessageMe (Investor)

Lessons Learned

Through his experiences working for social media and consumer-based companies, Shirazi learned that many small companies struggle with finding useful data on how well they are doing. Because of this, Shirazi was inspired to start his own company, Radius.

Shirazi believes that one of the most important keys to running a successful business is making sure all the data and information they have is always fresh and relevant.

A proactive entrepreneur and intelligent businessman, Shirazi places a great deal of importance on targeting interesting local data sources and believes this is a growing trend in the small business world.

Shirazi believes the biggest challenge that small businesses face today is learning how to prioritize leads and understanding which ones are worth pursuing.

Shirazi’s inspiration for starting Radius was to find and provide the best information about small businesses, for small businesses. Through trial and error and research, he believes he has developed a system that can peruse the Web for information about small businesses and then make this information available so marketers, sellers, and consumers can reach them more easily.

Shirazi adheres to the philosophy that everyone should surround themselves with people that are better than them at what they do. By creating a circle of experts, you are setting yourself up for constant knowledge and the chance to learn something at every day.

Success is extremely dependent upon luck and persistence.

Be sure to consider your audience before developing something and putting it online. In doing so, you are more likely to be met with success and prosperity.

Inspiring Quotes

Darian Shirazi's Quotes

Look at America’s history: our country was built on small business. People came here because it was the best place in the world to start a small business.

Darian Shirazi

In the next 10 years, we need to help the underground small business economy with things like immigration reform so labor is cheaper and they can grow

Darian Shirazi

The challenges that a lot of companies have had in the past is that they don’t really understand or are not able to predict how difficult it is to acquire data about small businesses

Darian Shirazi

Influential Books