Mike Ragsdale is an explorer and entrepreneur. He loves his beautiful wife Angela and their four children. His goal in life is simple:
Mike has visited over 40 countries to-date, including such places as Burma (Myanmar), Indonesia, Hungary, China, Moldova, Dominican Republic, Morocco, Cambodia, Slovenia, Russia, Croatia, India, Ecuador, Poland, Bosnia, Malaysia, Thailand, Turkey, Costa Rica, Romania and many others.
Mike was an Internet pioneer, creating the concept of user-generated content before the World Wide Web existed. He conceived and built AOL’s most successful online communities, including Hecklers Online (AOL’s #1 Comedy Site), ANT.com (AOL’s #1 Gaming Community) and Zealot (AOL’s #1 Sci-Fi Community), among others.
Mike once worked as a cashier in Yellowstone National Park, and has also served as Senior Vice President of a 400-employee healthcare technology company. He’s turned a simple idea on a piece of paper into a $33 million company with over 70 employees.
Mike’s ridden a horse-drawn carriage through Prague on a snowy Christmas night, on the back of a motorcycle through the narrow alleys of Marrakech, and he’s struggled to hold a rusty taxi door shut in Yangoon, for fear of his family being cast from it.
He’s stood with his kids in an ancient brothel in Pompeii, trying to ignore the uncomfortably accurate “how to” diagrams on the walls. He’s taken Hungarian cooking lessons in Budapest, and battled an Australian paintball team with his son in Bali. Mike’s spent the night on a tiny island in the South Pacific where walking, bicycles and ponies are the only means of transportation, by law.
Mike has toasted locals during Munich’s Oktoberfest, and he’s stood on Bosnia’s bullet-ridden Mostar Bridge. He’s ridden camels through India’s Khuri Desert, and attended Mass with the Vienna Boys Choir. He’s fired AK-47s, MP-9s, M-24s, MP-5s and other exotic weaponry with his son at a paramilitary camp near Mělník, Czech Republic… and was later detained by authorities in India after accidentally leaving empty ammo cartridges in his son’s backpack.
Mike’s partied with Hugh Hefner at the Playboy Mansion on several occasions, and is personally responsible for Playboy’s annual presence at Mardi Gras. He’s been at parties with Bill Gates, Steve Case and Richard Branson. He’s seen two different Popes at the Vatican. He’s had meetings at Apple, Google and Facebook, all on the same day. He interviewed Milton Berle and Henny Youngman shortly before their deaths, enjoyed lunch with Brandon Tartikoff before his untimely passing, and once enjoyed dinner with Christy Hefner (she survived).
Mike has retraced the horrifying footsteps of Auschwitz, swam with sea turtles in the Gili islands, and visited Karni Mata, also known as the Temple of the Rat (through which tens of thousands of rodents run freely).
He delivered a stand-up routine to an unimpressed audience at Los Angeles’ famous Comedy Store, and Business Week magazine once pondered if Mike was “The New Seinfeld?” (Obviously not.)
Mike’s traveled by boat through remote Costa Rican jungles, and celebrated a birthday on the banks of the Ayeyarwaddy River, deep in Burma’s mysterious interior. Mike’s been to Transnistria, a country that technically doesn’t exist. He drank water from a well at the Blessed Virgin Mary’s final residence, and he’s partied with drag queens in Bali.
Mike has written two full-length screenplays, and is currently working on a graphic novel entitled Holier Than Thou. He once co-starred in a bizarre series of Hallmark Greeting cards. About 50 cards were sold in total; almost all to Mike’s mother. Mike once bought a restaurant, which he quickly ran out of business. He later successfully ran a fitness club out of business.
Mike created Digital Graffiti (video), the world’s first projection art festival, and served for three years as the “Town Evangelist” for Alys Beach, Florida. He’s slept in a cave in Cappadocia, Turkey (albeit a very nice one), and he and his wife celebrated Chinese New Year in Kuala Lumpur with a bunch of hookers (just drinks, mind you). Mike was doused with foam and other unspeakable fluids during Carnival celebrations in Ecuador.
Mike stood on a stage in Ephesus where St. John and St. Paul once delivered sermons, and engaged in aerial (kite) combat atop the Tordi Palace in India, as guests of the 17th generation of royalty to live there. He once narrowly dodged a shooting spree on top of the Empire State Building, and his family had to be evacuated from their home during a riot at Bali’s infamous Kerobokan Prison. He has sailed with friends to various remote islands in the Caribbean.
Mike’s walked along the Great Wall of China, ridden elephants through the jungles of northern Thailand and drank cat poop coffee in the mountains of Indonesia. (It was pretty tasty, as far as poop goes.) His family were the guests of honor at a wedding in a tiny village in Rajasthan.
Mike drives Truman – a 1986 M.O.D. Land Rover 90 that he restored and brought to the U.S.
Mike sat in Row 1, Seat 1 of a Jimmy Buffett concert, and he saw one of Frank Sinatra’s final performances in a Las Vegas nightclub.
Mike earned a Masters Degree from The University of Alabama in Advertising and Public Relations, and he’s hosted his own weekly radio show. He once made presentations to rooms full of Japanese investors in Osaka and Tokyo, none of which had any clue as what he was babbling on about.
Mike has worked with some of the world’s largest companies, including Time Warner, Microsoft, AOL, Google, New Line Cinema, Comedy Central, Facebook, Apple, Hallmark, Playboy, Electronic Arts, WWF and Universal Studios. Mike’s been featured or quoted in The New York Times, USA Today, CNN, Forbes, Entrepreneur, The New York Post, Advertising Age, The Washington Post, Rovers Magazine, PR Week, The Weather Channel, The Wall Street Journal, The Financial Times, Southern Living, National Geographic Traveller, Newsweek, Forbes, Wired and The Discovery Channel, among many others.
Mike and Angela once took an 9-month around-the-world adventure with their two youngest children. Mike is an Eagle Scout, and was honored with the Van Ness Butler Jr. Award, a distinction to recognize his contributions to his local community. In April of 2014, his family’s home was destroyed in a flood. They rebuilt a new home on the same property.
Mike is the founder of The 30A Company, a lifestyle brand that celebrates the small-town beach life his family enjoys along Florida’s Gulf Coast. The 30A brand has achieved international recognition, being ranked the #1 Independent News Site in America in 2015 by Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism in New York City. Mike was recently honored to speak about the 30A brand and “The Power of Good News” at the 2017 3D Journalism conference in Moscow, Russia. The 30A company recently co-hosted the green room for presenters and performers backstage during the CMT Awards, and in October 2017, along with friend John David Sullivan, Mike launched an intimate new concert series called 30A Sessions (think Austin City Limits meets the beach), and their first musical guest was seven-time GRAMMY award-winning supergroup, Lady Antebellum.