Chris Cope is the founder and CEO if SlimWare Utilities, a company that provides cloud-based software to clean, repair, update and maintain personal computers. He is a serial entrepreneur who wrote his first video game when he was 12 years old, and was the founder of Click Ad Equalizer and MP3 Advance.
Sramana Mitra: Chris, let’s start at the beginning of your journey. Where are you from?
Chris Cope: I was born in Alabama. I have lived there and in Los Angeles. I now live near Biloxi, Mississippi which is on the Gulf Coast. That is where I live and work now. I had two step fathers who ran businesses. One ran a trucking business and the other ran a construction business. Along with the trucking and shipping business, my step father and brother raced cars. That was a very cut throat business that requires you to win a lot if you are going to make any money. Growing up my experience with entrepreneurship was that it was very competitive by nature.
My father was a computer scientist. When I stayed with him I would take classes at UCLA because he taught there. He taught at UCLA while he was doing his graduate work. He is where I got my passion and desire for computers and software.
Sramana Mitra: Did you go to college at UCLA?
Chris Cope: I took a lot of classes there but I went to school at South Alabama. A lot of computer science students come out of there. It is very inexpensive to get a good undergraduate degree in computer science from South Alabama so a lot of students go there. That was my home town and I met a lot of very smart, interesting people who came there to get their degrees. I never graduated because by my junior year the Internet bubble was exploding.
That was in 1999 and big money was being shoveled out via affiliate programs. Back then companies would pay various amounts of money to send visitors to their website. Back then much of the value of a website revolved around how many people were visiting the website every month. That is where I got into Internet marketing.
Sramana Mitra: How did you get involved with Internet marketing? What were you doing that enticed you to drop out of college?
Chris Cope: I was obviously working a lot of jobs and I discovered different methods to drive traffic to websites. I would then sign up for their affiliate program and I would drive traffic to their websites and make money. I did that while working at Circuit City and as a satellite installer. Balancing all of that with school became a big challenge.