• May 2015
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Published: May 01, 2009

40 Under 40 Web extra

Co-founders of Lead Research Group

The same entrepreneurial sprit that compelled Ryan Rasmussen (right) to start a childhood lawn-mowing business so that he could buy a new bike has led to his success today. Rasmussen and his business partner, Matthew Marsh (below), 30, co-founded Lead Research Group, a marketing and advertising lead-generation service, from the living room of Rasmussen’s home. Today, LRG clients include Bank of America, Direct Dish, Morgan Stanley and New York Life.

Ryan Rasmussen

Most important lesson learned:
You cannot win until you lose. I say that because I used to get down on myself and my business, because I was not growing at the rate I desired. Yet, this was valuable education for me at that time. I was learning the dos and don’ts of running a successful business. Losing allowed me to learn how to win.

Next big step:
I would love to take LRG public and expand our services on an international level. I love thinking big! I feel that if you swing for the fences, you increase your chances of knocking it out of the park.

Advice for other young professionals:
Work hard and enjoy what you do. It's been said a million times: If you have passion for what you do, success will naturally come. This, combined with hard work, dedication and the willingness to learn, will definitely allow you to elevate your success to the next level. Also, never be a know-it-all. Know-it-alls don’t allow themselves to learn new things. I listen to everyone, because they either teach me what to do or what not to do.

What you do for fun:
I love to wine, dine and travel. Going out to a nice dinner while listening to a little Frank Sinatra is a great time. I also enjoy traveling to San Francisco and New York. I love the city! It's so organic there – filled with action, success and diversity. I like the fast-paced lifestyle.

If you could have dinner with anyone – alive or dead – who would it be and why?
Jack Black – that guy is so funny! He makes me laugh just looking at him. I am a huge comedy buff, so to sit down with a guy who can make me laugh just by looking at me is my idea of a perfect dinner.

Matthew Marsh

What – or who – has been your greatest inspiration?
The great business writers of the world have been my most compelling success models. To learn and evolve through the wisdom of others is our most valuable asset as human beings. This, combined with my partner, Ryan Rasmussen, who never loses focus, is always pushing for the next step, and is funnier than Jack Black, have been my greatest inspirations.

Most significant challenge you’ve had to overcome and how you did it:
Starting LRG by far has been my most difficult challenge. We pioneered a business model that no one before us had attempted. A lack of industry leadership combined with dark waters made this a questionable enterprise. Long hours and metric tons of Starbucks Coffee have been my best allies.

Most important lesson learned:
You can’t do it all yourself! However, there is nothing more scary than handing over the captain’s wheel. Accepting that mistakes are inevitable, taking joy in the learning process and ultimately building team worth from solving problems together have been the most difficult and most rewarding lessons I’ve learned.
Next big step:
Retire young and wealthy

Advice for other young professionals:
Persistence is the key to any endeavor. Once you’ve accepted it, you will bang your head against a wall until it breaks (the wall – not your head), and you will be successful. Be painfully pragmatic about what you choose to do with your time; it’s your most valuable asset, so do what you like and find someone else to do what you don’t.

What you do for fun:
My company is the most fun I can have. I love my job, and I love my team. When I’m not working, I like to run on the beach, be totally immersed in a new subject from all the Amazon books I just purchased or relax with a friend and a movie.

If you could have dinner with anyone – alive or dead – who would that be and why?
Isaac Asimov, one of the most inventive and prolific writers of our time. His unique brand of logic and creativity makes him the most interesting science fiction writer I’ve read. He was well educated, witty and charming. I would have taken him out for a Ruth’s Chris blue cheese steak anytime.


Anthony Ferry & Tim Marshall  |  Albert Ko  |  Sarina Jain
Ryan Rasmussen  & Matthew Marsh  |  Laynie Newsome
Jeremy Yamaguchi  |  Rib Hillis  |  Allyson Ames
Steve West  |  Zach Lyons  |  Darlynn Morgan  |  Ryan Farrelly
Ben Byassee  |  Heather Shelton  |  Jerry Mason
Brandon Hall, Tom Leahy & Jake Kloberdanz  |  Nichole Carroll
Taite Bergin Michael Carroll  |  Ryan Steelberg  |  Scott Graham
Heidi Steele  |  Robert Pagliarini  |  Ari Benowitz  |  Scott Nguyen
Jennifer Backhaus  |  Jason Koch & Newt Morris IV
Steve Economos  |  Michael Avenatti  |  Anthony Dever
Wendy Hicks & Stephanie Pollaro  |  Martin Pupil  |  Timothy Young
Jennifer Sinclair  |  Terence Nelson  |  Autumn Strier  |  Scott Cross
Todd Henderson  |  Jesse Ohayon  |  Tim Timmons