Thursday, May 31, 2007

Ancestry's CEO Interviewed on News Hour

Ancestry's CEO, Tim Sullivan Tim Sullivan was interviewed recently on PBS News Hour with Jim Lehrer. You can watch the video or read the transcript. Very sympathetic. Here are the points that interested us:
  • Sullivan states, "We digitize and take actual images, photographs of these documents. Sometimes, if they're typeset, we can use some technology we call "optical character recognition" to create digital indices. But a lot of the times, most of the time, since these are handwritten records, we actually have to go through and transcribe, in rather laborious fashion, name by name, date by date, and place by place. "
  • The interviewer tells us that Ancestry spent $3 million to digitize its military collection. We've mentioned before the question of volunteer indexing vs. paid indexing. How many volunteer hours does that translate into?
  •'s CEO, Tim Sullivan (technically, CEO of Ancestry's parent, The Generations Network) was previously CEO of the online dating service
  • Tim Sullivan stutters a, ah, lot more than, ah, Heritage Book's Craig Scott.
  • Despite a relationship with FamilySearch that many assume to be rocky, Tim's backdrop for the interview prominently showed the headquarters buildings of FamilySearch and its owner, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
  • The interviewer mentioned something we've failed to mention to you before. Free access to Ancestry's military collection extends through D-Day, June 6th.


  1. Do you work for Why doesn't anyone ask Mr. Sullivan why he hasn't taken his company public? He was supposed to build the company up and sell it or have an IPO. Has he failed? Are the rumors true that Mr. Moon is going to fire him before the end of the summer?
    How about some REAL Ancestry Insider answers?

  2. Dear IPO-Hungry-Anonymous-Poster,

    Welcome back! Thanks for repeating your question of last week. I can think of but 2 reasons for such deep seated aggression.

    1. You worked for You received stock options. You heard (as you reported in your last post) rumors that Tim replaced Tom to affect an IPO. You got fired. You faced the buy or lose choice on those options. You borrowed money from a big scary man to purchase the stock. The IPO never came. The big scary man wants his money back.

    2. You've been wearing your black spidey suit again.

    It seems the Insider is not the only one with an interesting story to share! Do tell!

  3. I'm not the anonymous who posted May 31, 2007, but I did work at TGN (,, etc.) for quite awhile. A few month agos, I ran into the person who recruited me to join (at than time) The person ended up as a VP before leaving a couple of years ago. Person told me they'd already sold all but about 10K of their exercised stock options, and said person most likely had a pretty good chunk of stock as a VP. Don't know if it was to private investors or sold back to the company. I'm hanging on to my shares and hope to be proven wise--rather than otherwise.

  4. Dear Anonymous,

    Sorry for the misidentification. You two look too similar!

    If I can find some time this week, I have some info. that may interest you. Stay tuned!


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.