Mike Mann: Internet entrepreneur turned writer
For internet entrepreneur Mike Mann, work never stops.
Between starting new businesses, charity work and writing books, there’s no time to slow down.
A native of Bethesda, Md., Mann spends half the year at his home in Dewey Beach. Like many folks from the D.C. area who come to the Cape Region, Mann’s family would spend summers at his grandfather’s home on Silver Lake.
“I was born with a house there. I’ve been there every summer of my whole life. I’ve been there 44 years,” Mann said.
Coming to Delaware these days serves as an escape from his busy life.
“I’m really into the water, the beach and the bay. I like to go to the beach and the bay every day. I like the quiet lifestyle. Route 1 is getting a little crazy, but in general, I like driving around the small roads. Especially when there are no tourists around. It’s a very pleasant lifestyle there,” Mann said.
After being in the courier/delivery business, Mann discovered the internet in 1994.
“In ’94 I was just reading about new businesses to start and, really, the more I read, the more I realized the internet was the way to go,” Mann said.
He started his first company, Internet Interstate, which was later merged with Verio Inc. in 1997. From there, he founded BrowserMedia.com, a web development agency and then BuyDomains.com, which Mann said was his most successful business. BuyDomains.com allows users to buy, sell and register domain names. Mann said this business was sold to venture capitalists.
Mann’s most recent company is DomainMarket.com, which is used to buy and sell domain names and build internet portals.
“With the best names that I own we build other companies. What we do is start new companies and try to get the best name we can for it,” he said.
With his success in the business world, Mann has been able to write two books. His first book was called “Make Millions and Make Change!”
“That book is about operating small businesses a) to make a lot of money and b) to use that money and those resources for social good,” Mann said. “It’s a lot of common sense stuff, but its sort of common sense stuff on steroids. It’s all wrapped around this idea of social consciousness and social entrepreneurism where you use your resources for charitable works.”
Mann has released a second book, “Applied Evolution!” which focuses more on science and behavior.
Charity work has been a part of Mann’s career since he founded his first charity, Grassroots.org, which provides free services - such as webhosting and phone service - to other charities.
“Our object is to aggregate services and provide them back into the charity community for free,” Mann said.
Trying to help others has been ingrained in Mann since his sister, Rachel, passed away. Mann’s sister owned a store in Rehoboth called Illusions Designs By Rachel in the space now occupied by The Coffee Mill.
“I’ve always been committed to the charity work since before I had any money,” Mann said. “It’s really not about money; this is all charity work, everything I do. I was brought up with a sick sister who I had to take care of. I couldn’t save her, but these people in Africa just need $1 for malaria medication and it could save their life.”
Make Change! Trust is another charity Mann is involved with that helps funnel money and technology to other charities. Finally, Mann is part of ChangeTheWorld.org, which works with universities to assist nonprofit organizations.
When he doesn’t live in Dewey, Mann’s current home base is Palm Beach, Fla., although he has also lived in Santa Monica, Calif. during the winter.
“Nothing necessitates it. I don’t know what to do in the winter. I know where I go the other six months,” Mann said.
He currently lives south of Dewey Beach, albeit close enough to take in the famous Dewey nightlife if need be.
“We can walk into the neighborhood where the clubs are and we can walk back out if we need to get quiet,” he joked.