Pixel Tracker

Sunday, November 18 , 2018, 9:09 am | Fog/Mist 52º

 
 
 
 

ONTRApalooza in Santa Barbara Inspires Entrepreneurs to Create Better Businesses

ONTRAport founder Landon Ray speaks from experience as hundreds of professionals gather for the three-day conference

Crappy visions create crappy work environments.

Landon Ray found that out the hard way more than a decade ago, when the serial entrepreneur launched Page One, a software company working to improve search engine optimization for real estate websites.

The goal wasn’t as awe-inspiring as Ray had hoped.

“What we had was people who were there for the paycheck,” he said Thursday morning to a crowd of hundreds attending ONTRApalooza 2014 at Lobero Theatre.

A picture of Bakersfield flashed across a screen, symbolizing said “crappy” vision, which elicited laughter from entrepreneurs in the audience.

Ray, founder and CEO of Santa Barbara’s ONTRAport, went back to the drawing board before coming up with ONTRAport. The company, founded in 2006, takes technological challenges away from entrepreneurs, helping automate that part of business with services and products so owners of small and mid-sized companies don’t have to.

The company has grown from a half-dozen employees to more than 100, and, more importantly in Ray’s mind, has been awarded several honors for workplace quality.

Ray said entrepreneurs who bought tickets for the annual three-day conference — featuring speakers and workshops that conclude Friday — shouldn’t strive for riches and fame.

They should create better businesses that boast believable missions, making a difference in a fun, worthwhile way, such as Toms shoe company, he said.

“What I want is for us all to have a life that we really love,” Ray said. “Why are we creating a business at all? What happens if you succeed? Help, I think, comes from people, and the best help comes from people who are inspired.”

Ray gave tips during a keynote at ONTRApalooza, which drew entrepreneurs from across the county, although this year’s festivities focused on bringing in more locals.

Helping Realtors didn’t stir Ray or his employees, but assisting entrepreneurs overwhelmed by technology got the creative juices flowing.

“All of a sudden we were the best version of ourselves,” he said. “All of a sudden help arrived.”

With investors and product reviews, ONTRAport gained traction, earning awards such as a No. 10 ranking for software by Inc. 500’s 500 Fastest Growing Privately Held Companies, Red Herring’s Top 100 North America Tech Startups and one of Achievers’ 50 Most Engaged Workplaces.

On Thursday, Ray announced the company had also been named to Outside’s Best Places to Work 2014.

He wished everyone the same luck in finding an idea they could be passionate about.

“Making yourself rich is not good enough,” Ray said. “No smart person is going to work to make you rich.” 

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made using a credit card, Apple Pay or Google Pay, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Email
Select your monthly membership
Or choose an annual membership
×

Payment Information

Membership Subscription

You are enrolling in . Thank you for joining the Hawks Club.

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.
You may cancel your membership at any time by sending an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >

Meet Your Realtor Sponsored by Village Properties

Photo of Cimme Eordanidis
Cimme Eordanidis
"Since I truly enjoy doing what I do, interacting with people and representing them during one of life's most exciting events is very rewarding."

Full Profile >