Slides: All I’ve Learned by 28

September 3, 2012

Here is the download link to the PDF slides of the “All That I’ve Learned by 28″ project I did earlier this month to document what I have learned in the first 28 years of life and to back up my brain before heading to graduate school. Feel free to share.

The content is broken up into four sections:

  1. Introduction
  2. All That I’ve Learned About Life
  3. All That I’ve Learned About The World
  4. All That I’ve Learned About Business

I’ll be posting the videos in late September.



My TEDx Presentation – “Creating a Better World”

January 20, 2012

On December 10th, 2011 I gave a TEDx presentation in Raleigh on “Creating a Better World.” Here is the video.

And here are the slides from the presentation:

TEDx Ryan Allis – Optimism for the Next 40 Years of Human History

Changing the World Through Business

November 18, 2009

Here are the slides from my speech last weekend at the Entrepreneurship Education Forum in Norfolk, Virginia.

The presentation was called, “Changing the World Through Business”

The link is:

UPDATE: Here’s the video…



Message at Jaycees Ten Outstanding Young Americans

September 15, 2009

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Tonight I’m in Orlando with Jess for the U.S. Junior Chamber (Jaycees) Ten Outstanding Young Americans (TOYA) Banquet. I was very proud to be one of the recipients, along with nine amazing individuals with whom I’m honored to be associated.

The speeches tonight that the winners gave were truly inspirational. I had the opportunity to give a four minute speech to the U.S Jaycees in the room and I wanted to post the text of the speech here.

TOYA Speech

Thank you for this award and honor. Thank you to my lovely girlfriend Jess for joining me tonight. Thank you to Peter Ansbacher and the NC Jaycees for nominating me.

What I love about Jaycees is that it is an international organization of young folks in our generation passionate about service who want to change the world.

When I came into this room tonight the second sentence of the Jaycees Creed on the back of the program caught my eye. It says “The brotherhood of man transcends the sovereignty of nations.” Grab your program and read it with me now. “The brotherhood of man transcends the sovereignty of nations.” This sentence spoke to my heart. It is with this inspiration that I speak tonight.

I am an entrepreneur and social entrepreneur. The phrase social entrepreneur may be new to some. To me, it is someone who rearranges resources to improve the world. In this sense, all of you are social entrepreneurs. My friends, there are some truly great leaders of our generation in this room tonight, not only the award winners but all of you as Jaycees. You may be one of these leaders. Tonight I’d like to speak directly to those in this room who are the leaders of our generation. I’d like to share a great challenge that our generation faces that is especially dear to my heart.

Let me start by sharing two facts that strike me. One from the World Bank and one from UNICEF.

First, 2.56 billion people, that’s 40% of humanity, people just like you and I, live on under $2 per day, PPP adjusted (1). That’s half a latte at Starbucks. Imagine living on $2 per day. Second, on average 24,956 children under five die each day in the developing world (2). This doesn’t have to happen. As we sit here at this wonderful banquet and nice hotel in Orlando, we must remember that so many do not have the opportunity we have been given.

We are all social entrepreneurs and we have the opportunity to reshape our world. For the first time in human history we have the resources and communication technology necessary to end extreme poverty and hunger in our lifetime. There is no way we will have true global security until all of us have access to education and opportunity, starting from the simple principle that all lives have equal value.

I look forward to spending the next five decades working with many of you to change the world. We are all social entrepreneurs. We are all leaders. So let’s use our leadership capacities to build something greater than ourselves.

This is our calling. This is our opportunity. It is our time. Thank you!


Here are the bios for the winners from the Jaycees website:

Ryan Allis, 25, Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Ryan is co-founder and CEO of iContact, the leading provider of e-mail marketing tools for small to mid-sized businesses. He started iContact at the age of 18 and has built iContact into a company with more than 180 employees and 50,000 customers. An active board member of Nourish International and with his own non-profit foundation, The Humanity Campaign Inc., Ryan’s goal is to reduce poverty and hunger and increase access to education, healthcare, technology, and entrepreneurial opportunities worldwide.

Lt Colonel Steven Matthew Beasley, 37, Rapid City, South Dakota. Currently serving as Commander of the 34th Bomb Squadron and B-1 Instructor Pilot at Ellsworth Air Force Base, his military career has included designing training routes for stealth fighters in preparations for Operation Desert Strike to serving as a B-1 pilot over Afghanistan. His commitment to volunteerism at orphanages in Djibouti, Africa and through organizations such as Habitat for Humanity has inspired those around him.

Jacqueline Baly Chaumette, 40, Sugar Land, Texas. Councilmember for the city of Sugar Land and President and CEO of BalyProjects, LLC. Through her company, Chaumette is currently working on replacing aging local school district buses with clean-fuel buses. On City Council, she is the only woman, only black person, and youngest person on the city council, where she helps oversee the city’s policies and budget. Her work with the city of Sugar Land has involved planning Town Square, the city’s new downtown.

Lieutenant Colonel Troy Edward Dunn, 37, Washington, D.C. Currently, Dunn is the Commander, 11th Mission Support Squadron, Bolling Air Force Base, Washington D.C. where he has administrative command authority over 48,000 Airmen in 95 countries and 34 states, including 9,400 Airmen in the National Capital Region. As Air Staff Branch Chief and Air Force Crisis Action Team Leader, Dunn was the Air Force’s number-one authority on personnel readiness and deployments. Father of two autistic sons, Dunn has launched the Heart of Autism Project to provide a closer look into this national issue through a documentary, series of interviews with professional organizations, and personal accounts of families sharing their story.

Kathryn Cunningham Hall, 23, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Founder of Power Up Gambia, an organization formed to provide the necessary funds to purchase a solar powered electrical system for Sulayman Junkung General Hospital (SJGH) in The Gambia, West Africa. Hall is now working on her second project, providing power to a sister clinic of SJGH. Power Up Gambia is dedicated to providing reliable electricity and water to healthcare facilities in The Gambia through solar energy to make primary and lifesaving healthcare available to Gambian citizens.

Cameron Johnson, 24, Roanoke, Virginia. Currently President and CEO of Cameron Johnson Inc., by the age of 21, Johnson had started 12 profitable Internet companies and had been the youngest American appointed to the board of a Tokyo-based company at the age of 15. Consultant to several Fortune 500 companies, Johnson is a frequent speaker and an author, and volunteers his time focusing on promoting financial literacy among young people in America.

Atif M. Moon, 24, Rancho Palos Verdes, California. Born with cancer that left him wheelchair bound, Moon is a nationally ranked Wheelchair Tennis player. He works for Bertech Industries, an Electronic Distribution company. Moon will be pursuing a Masters degree in Sport Management in Spring 2010. He has co-founded the Center for Global Understanding (CFGU), a non-advocacy, non-religious organization to encourage the Muslim American youth to participate in civic engagement and is a role model through his example of living a full life with a disability.

Gary C. Norman, 35, Baltimore, Maryland. Founding principle of Norman Access and Conflict Resolution Consultants Group, Norman provides a range of legal and non-legal services extending to pro bono and professional-related activities. Serving as Chair of the Animal Law Section of the Maryland State Bar Association, Norman is also leading the planning for the first-ever MSBA animal law symposium. He is immediate past president of the Maryland Area Guide Dog Users, Inc., and is a well-published author and noted speaker.

Michael Richard Simmel, 31, Allendale, New Jersey. A professional show basketball player with the Harlem Wizards Basketball team, Simmel is a featured performer and performs in front of millions of people all across North America. He is one of 3,000,000 Americans living with epilepsy and is also one of 2,500,000 affected with bipolar disorder. Constantly donating his time and talents encouraging and advocating for people, especially children, who have other disabilities in addition to epilepsy, Simmel has his own non-profit organization, The Bounce Out the Stigma Project, to help empower young people and educate the public.

Robert J. Witte, 41, Plano, Texas. Partner with the law firm Strasburger & Price, LLP, Witte combines his expertise in business litigation with his leadership in actively mentoring young lawyers. He is a noted author and speaker, and has led countless humanitarian efforts and record-setting philanthropic initiatives for organizations including the Dallas Summer Musicals, the Dallas Heart Ball, the Make-A-Wish Foundation of North Texas, and the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

Sources for statistics used:

1 – 2008 World Development Indicators: Poverty Data Supplement, World Bank

From p. 10: “…the number of people living on less than $2.00 a day has remained nearly constant at 2.5 billion. From Table 3: “People living on less than 2005 PPP $2.00 a day (millions), 2005 – 2.564″

2 – UNICEF State of the World’s Children, 2009

From p. 121, Statistical Tables, Table 1 Basic Indicators, Summary Indicators, Developing Countries “Annual Number of Under 5 Deaths (Thousands), 2007 – 9109″ To arrive at 24,956 deaths of children under five per day I took 9,109,000 total deaths per year for children under 5 in developing countries and divided by 365.

MIT IDEAS Competition Slides – The Great Opportunity of Our Generation

April 13, 2009

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I wanted to post my Powerpoint slides from the presentation I gave at MIT for their 2009 IDEAS Competition on Monday night. You can view them on Scribd or below via this blog post.

The topic was “The Great Opportunity of Our Generation”

Some of the formatting is off in Scrib but mostly OK…

MIT IDEAS Social Entrepreneurship Competition, Ryan Allis, The Great Opportunity of Our Generation, May 200…

Here are some notes from the award ceremony following my presentation from Joe Chung. Congratulations to the winners! AquaPort, HeatSource and EGGTech were especially interesting to me.

Opening: Nick Fontaine
Keynote: Ryan Allis

Chancellor introduced
$2.5k IDEAS Award Winners
Oladapo Bakare
(water filtration)

Professor Thomas Byrne introduced
$2.5k winner
Vision Group (seeing machine)
Quinn Smithwick
Brandon Taylor
Yi Fei Wu
(project image directly into eye, bypass distorting part)

Barbara Baker introduced
$5k IDEAS Award winner
sponsored by Baruch Family
Global Citizen Water Initiative
Scott Frank
Stephanie Bachar
(place water in tube for 24 hrs to see if clean)

Allan Powell introduced
$5k IDEAS Award Winner
sponsored by The MIT COOP
Saba Gul
Dr. Ishrat Hussain
Nadeem Mazen
Ghanzala Mehmood

Presented by Dean Stephen Lerman
$5k IDEAS Award Winner
sponsored by the office of dean of grad education/Yunus Challenge Winner
EGGTech Blandine Antoine Emmanuel Cassimatis Alla Jezmir
(providing battery for lighting to those in tanzania without electricity)

Yunus Challenge Winner
$7,500 IDEAS Award Winner
Alexander Fabry
Aviva Presser
Hugo Van Zuuren
(microbial fuel cell solution for providing electricity)

Presented by Professor Thomas Byrne, MD
$7,500 IDEAS Award Winner
Braille Labeler
Aleksander and Anna Anita Leyfell
Adelaide Calbry-Muzyka
Josh Karges
Karina Pikhart
Maria Prus
Rachel Tatem
(electromechanical braille labeler)

Presented by Professor Michael Cima
Sponsored by the Lemelson – MIT Program
$7,500 IDEAS Award Winner
Amy Qian
Celeste Chudyk
Scot Frank
Allen Lin
Mary Masterman
Catlin Powers
Saad S
(encapsulating solar radiation through textile/material that provides heat during night)

Winner’s Retreat 2 Days at Endicott House

Video on Entrepreneurship & Goals: Work Your Way Up | Dare Mighty Things

March 23, 2009

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In June 2008 a young entrepreneurial filmmaker by the name of Patrick Sargent came out to the iContact office in Durham to do a documentary on entrepreneurship. His film, Work Your Way Up, launched today and is available on his website. Here’s the trailer.

And here’s an excerpt from the film where I talk about the immense impact the simple act of writing down my goals, framing them, and putting them in my closet has had in my life.

Here are some words from Patrick: The purpose of Work Your Way Up was to create a film for aspiring entrepreneurs that they could use to guide and inspire them on their journey as entrepreneurs. This project came to fruition about a year ago when I was scouring the market for a film on entrepreneurship for aspiring entrepreneurs. After lots of searching I realized something. There weren’t any.

It was at this time that I decided I was going to set out to make one myself. It was going to be difficult but I knew that if I approached it right I could make a commercially viable film for aspiring entrepreneurs. I started pre-production on Work Your Way Up in May, started shooting in July, and now nearly nine months later Work Your Way Up has become a reality. Work Your Way Up is unlike anything that’s been made before. It’s a film aimed directly at aspiring entrepreneurs. Work Your Way Up speaks directly to the heart and soul of the entrepreneur. The film proves you that you absolutely can do it. This is shown to you directly from the life lessons of those who have already created successful businesses. The full video is available now at

StartingBloc Presentation: A Vision for the World in 50 Years

March 23, 2009

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The last two Saturday mornings of my life have been spent on Powerpoint. But it was worth it.

So I’m standing in front of 150 social entrepreneurial peers at Yale on Saturday, attempting to set the scene for why I think we can actually end poverty, hunger, genocide, warfare, and preventable disease in our lifetimes.

First, I start with the challenges.

This is a continuation of the last post “The Great Challenge of our Generation.” The material comes from my StartingBloc presentation on Saturday, “The Immense Opportunity our Generation Has.”

First, let me take a step back and take a shot at some of the major the causes of this economic decline. Some of these causes may be controversial or debatable, but it’s a stab.

The Major Causes of the Economic Decline

  1. De-regulation of financial industry in 1999 (Glass-Steagall)
  2. Low interest rates to stem 2001-2002 recession
  3. Easy credit to unqualified home buyers from 2002-2007
  4. Lack of consumer savings in the U.S.
  5. Over-leveraging of trading accounts
  6. Over-derivitization of securities, de-linked from their underlying assets (CDOs, credit swaps, MBSs)
  7. The collapse of key counterparties to risk

And the resulting effects of the declines…

The Effects of the Economic Decline

Mar 2008 – Forced Sale of Bear Sterns to JP Morgan
Jul 2008 – IndyMac Bank collapses
Sep 2008 – Bailout of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and AIG, Forced Sale of Merrill Lynch and Wachovia, Collapse of Lehman Brothers
Oct 2008 – $700 billion U.S. government TARP
Feb 2009 – Unemployment rises to 7.6%, over 3.6 million jobs lost, DJIA down 50% from Oct 2007 peak, $787 billion U.S. government stimulus package

Finally, I listed the key global challenges we currently have:

Key Global Challenges

  1. Extreme hunger and food distribution
  2. Water sanitation and distribution
  3. An $11 trillion U.S. government debt and unfunded liabilities in Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security
  4. Lack of access to childhood education
  5. Infant mortality, Malaria, measles, TB, diarrhea, HIV/AIDS
  6. Human rights violations and sex trafficking
  7. Climate change causing increasing temperatures
  8. Nuclear proliferation
  9. Major conflicts in Congo, Palestine, Sudan, Afghanistan, Iraq
  10. Lack of transparent leadership in Zimbabwe, N. Korea, Somalia

And finally listed all the great entrepreneurial opportunities there are in the world that entrepreneurs can work to solve–all of which could generate a billion dollar business…

Key Global Entrepreneurial Opportunities

  1. Agricultural production yields
  2. Food distribution and logistics
  3. Water collection, sanitation and distribution
  4. Wireless electricity distribution
  5. Wireless mesh broadband networks
  6. Ending conflict through trust and communication
  7. Leadership transparency consulting
  8. Improved education and reform
  9. Improved preventative health care and reform
  10. Clean tech/alternative fuel (the coming Green Revolution)

A Vision for the World

So, with these great challenges and opportunities in mind, I’d like to work with each and every one of you over the next fifty years to shape a world that addresses the great inequities of opportunity in the world all based on the principle that all human lives have equal value. A world in which…

  1. There is no killing of humans on a mass scale (genocide or warfare)
  2. All humans have access to the basic human needs of clean water, nutritious food, shelter, and primary education
  3. We end preventable diseases like malaria, TB, and measles
  4. We are environmentally sustainable

Is this possible?

Some may laugh.

But there’s no legitimate reason why humans have to kill thousands, tens of thousands of humans on a mass scale. Especially not in an age of increased communication and hopefully increased trust. Is there?

There’s no legitimate reason why if we have the logistical ability to get a package to Shanghai by the morning that we can’t create a system that enables basic, inexpensive food to be produced and distributed to starving children in the developing world, especially not in an age of increased grain yields. Is there?

There is no legitimate reason why preventable diseases can’t be prevented in the next 50 years. By definition. Is there?

And there is no legitimate reason why we cannot find alternative energies to fossil fuels that don’t destroy the world. Is there? We already have them. They’re just a bit more expensive per KWh than fossil fuels. This price doesn’t include the true cost of the externalities caused by the fossil fuels currently being paid by society. As Tom Friedman talks about in Hot, Flat, and Crowded, once we scale the usage of alternative energies, their price per KWh will quickly come down to be sustainable from an economic and environmental standpoint.

We’ve had bigger challenges before. In 1962 in the midst of the Cuban missile crisis. In 1943 in the midst of World War II. In 1930 in the middle of the Great Depression when unemployment was at 25%. These are challenges our generation can overcome if we make the right sacrifices and investments in education, infrastructure, leadership, and sustainability.

People laughed at Edison when he said he had a device that recorded sound.

People laughed at Marconi when he claimed had a device that wirelessly transmitted sound.

People laughed at Yunus when he said he could lend to poor women with no assets.

Your thoughts? Is this world possible?

Video: Speaking at Collegiate Entrepreneurs Organization 2008

October 23, 2008

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Speaking in front of 1,500 people can be a little scary. Especially when you’re about to pull your pants off and dance in front of them.

When I was 16, I ran for President of the Manatee High School Key Club, a community service organization. I got up to give my speech. My knees knocked. My hands shook. My voice faltered. I lost to Mark Pinto.

Going into college, I was still a nervous public speaker. I tried to imagine the audience in their underwear but that was just awkward and didn’t help at all.

I didn’t get over the fear until my 2nd year when I had to speak to 60 attendees at the UNC Entrepreneurship Club every Tuesday at 6:30pm.

Finally, I could speak to a group of college students without nerves.

But them came speaking to ‘old people.’ You know, those scary adult-people. I didn’t really get over that fear until early 2006. I spoke to 500 economic developers at the Southern Growth Policies Board Conference in New Orleans and then 400 professors and administrators in Orlando at the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship Educators.

In 2007, I ended up speaking in front of about 3,000 people over the course of many different events. In 2008, I spoke in front of 8,000.

But none larger than the speech on November 8, 2008.

I had already introduced Robert Kiyosaki to the group the day before–one of the great honors of my entrepreneurial life. His book Rich Dad’s Guide to Investing planted the seed in my mind and provided the path at 17 to “build a company and take it public.”

I had been the emcee of the conference along with Gerry Hills for the past two days. It was my 7th time at the Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization conference. I knew my audience. I was them–just four years removed.

But it was still scary. 1500 people.

What if I messed up? What if I fell while running onto the stage? What if too many clothes came off while ripping my dress pants off to reveal track pants for the Soulja Boy dance? What if, what if?

After practicing “Finding The Purpose of Your Life in 6 Lessons” all the way through in front of Jenna and some amused caterers, I was fired up and ready to go.

Here’s the video… (The dance to Soulja Boy’s Bird Walk is in part 3 at 1:20)

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Speaking at ACG Research Triangle | Dare Mighty Things

July 23, 2008

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I spoke at the ACG Research Triangle breakfast meeting this morning on How to Build a Company to $1 Million in Sales. If you wish to download the slides from the event they are available at

Collegiate Entrepreneurs Organization Keynote 2007

October 23, 2007

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Here’s an excerpt video clip from my keynote speech at the Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization Annual Conference in Chicago. Enjoy!

“Entrepreneur Ryan Allis dances to Crank That Soulja Boy during the middle of the Collegiate Entrepreneur Organization keynote speech, Finding The Purpose of Your Life in Six Lessons, presented November 3, 2007 at the McCormick Conference Center in Chicago in front of 800 college entrepreneurs.”

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