Business, Entrepreneur, Start Up

Chris Heivly (Co-founder MapQuest) on Entrepreneurship, Startups, and Life.


“What’s the golden rule? He who owns the gold, makes the rules.”

It’s been an intensive two days here at Data Nerds HQ, as we’ve been blessed with the opportunity to interview, listen to and learn from Chris Heivly. Accelerate Okanagan hosted Chris in our hometown of Kelowna, British Columbia in order for local entrepreneurs to get a chance to meet and learn from one of the biggest and best.

You may be wondering, who is this Chris Heivly guy? As one of the nation’s leading entrepreneurs in how to turn start up’s into multimillion-dollar companies, he has been dubbed “The Startup Whisperer” and most notably co-founded MapQuest, which was sold to AOL in 1999 for $1.2 billion. Chris also ran and sold Rand McNally and Accenture. Chris has personally invested more the $75 Million of his own capital into up and coming businesses to help them get off the ground. He currently manages The Startup Factory which has invested $50,000 in 35 companies (the largest seed investment firm in the SE US.) On top of all this, he also writes for various outlets including Inc., Forbes, TechCrunch, and The Washington Post. His first book was published in September 2015 and is called Build the Fort and the list goes on, but I think you get the idea.

Chris graciously allowed us to bombard him with questions for an hour this week and we compiled this interview summery to share with all of you.

**Disclaimer: Please be aware that these answers are summarized and not meant to be taken in context. Take advice at your own risk, yada, yada, yada.**

Question #1: Typical morning?

  • Minimum of 7 hours sleep (read our blog post on the benefits of this.)
  • Do not set an alarm, unless you have a flight. Chris has the ability to do this but for the majority of us, try using an app like sleep cycle as an alarm to wake you up at the right time.
  • Allow sufficient time to exercise, eat, review calendar, check emails, and prepare for the day.
  • No meetings scheduled before 9:30 AM. He uses a self scheduling tool (not exactly sure which one but WhenIWork has good reviews.)

Question #2: Motivation?

  •  People, helping and teaching other entrepreneurs is a true passion of his.

Question #3: Apps used daily?

Question #4: New Year’s resolutions?

  • Recalibration: Every year he will go through his calendar and recalibrate. It’s seems highly successful people run an extremely tight schedule and will eliminate or adjust often. Lesson learned: stop wasting time (check out Toggl to see where all your time goes.)

Question #5: Health Tips?

  • Exercise for a minimum of 30 minutes per day for 6 days a week. He prefers walking on the treadmill in the morning.
  • Remove sugar from your diet. This is a hidden killer, read more here…
  • Learn portion control, trick you mind by using a smaller plate. Interesting enough this is becoming increasingly common in the weight loss world.

Question #6: Recommended books?

Question #7: Best $100 purchase in 2015?

  • Merrill And Vans shoes.

Question #8: Meditation?

  • He asked to follow up in a year. Meditation’s growing popularity has clearly crossed his path a few times lately. Here are our favourite two apps to get started: Headspace and Omvana.

Question #9: Recommended travel destinations?

  • Greece
  • Caribbean
  • St. Thomas

Question #10: Best skill/talent your looking for in 2016?

Question #11: After The Startup Factory, what’s next?

Question #12: Networking/Office attire? Casual vs. Business?

(Personally my favourite answer.)
  • In every situation you are either buying or selling. If you are buying, someone is coming to you asking for something, dress appropriate but it the ball is in your court. When you are selling, you must dress the part, depending on the occasion . Chris has written more about this here.
Left over tid-bits from our conversation:
  • Communication is everything.
  • Prioritize everything is 3’s.
  • Schedule 1-2 hours per week to review everything.
  • Always be learning.

This was one of the best experiences of 2015 and once again, thanks to Accelerate Okanagan and Chris Heivly.

(Maybe 5 since I love you all.)

1) Help promote this post by sharing it!

2) Leave a comment telling me something interesting that you learned about Chris from this post? (Fill out the Gleam widget below for more entry options!)

3) Contest is open Internationally and will run until December 11, 2015.

3) Within 7 days our team of super nerds and wizards, will randomly select the winners and they will be contacted via email to claim their prize!

Thank’s for participating and Good Luck!

Build The Fort Giveaway

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In 2010 I became infatuated with pay-per-click (PPC) marketing, in 2012 I decided to quit my job and joined the “Entrepreneur Club”. Fast forward a couple years and now we have Data Nerds. We specialize in internet marketing, growth hacking, direct response, web development and design. We are always hiring geeks to join our team in Kelowna, BC. Email me at

47 comments on “Chris Heivly (Co-founder MapQuest) on Entrepreneurship, Startups, and Life.

    1. I would recommend starting with pocket as it will allow to save articles and read at a later date. I personally use it a ton while travelling so I don’t miss any of my favorites!

  1. I too never set an alarm and wake up every morning around the same (early) hour. The only time that I do is if I need to get up earlier than that. Loved that book as well, “Who Moved My Cheese.” Great post, thanks so much.

    1. I just hit my first year using Sleep cycle and it is totally different than using an alarm Agnes. Try it out or try the Within’s Aura, hearing great reviews so far.

  2. This was comprehensive article fill with tips and personal interviews by leader Chris Heivly in his field co founder of MapQuest. These apps are unfamiliar to me . Enjoy reading especially about getting sleep this is so important thanks for sharing.

  3. Very interesting interview. I love knowing just a little bit more about motivated and successful people. I love his travel recommendations. Would love to go to Greece.

  4. I really enjoyed reading these tips. I also want to check out some of the apps and books mentioned. I’m always looking for great suggestions from others who have achieved success.

  5. Interesting interview. I really like his tips about getting a good sleep and not setting an alarm. I rarely set an alarm and I find it has really helped me as I now work hours that are more in line with my body clock.

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