Who is Ray Blakney?


Ray's Random Statistics

Work Experience
20 Years
Languages Spoken
3.5
Coffees Needed Each Day
3 cups
Ideal Hours of Sleep Per Night
8 Hours

Connect With Ray



Ray Blakney

CEO & Co-founder

Born in Cebu City, Philippines to an American father and a Filipina mother Ray grew up in Istanbul, Turkey. He got his B.S. in Computer Engineering from Case Western Reserve University in 2001.

Ray started his professional career as a professional computer geek writing software for a range of companies including Silicon Valley startups, Fortune 500 companies, the U.S. Government and NGO's. In 2006 he decided he wanted a career change and volunteered in the U.S. Peace Corps who sent him to Mexico to work in the heavily indigenous area of Chiapas, Mexico. After completing his 2 years of service he married his Spanish teacher and - Laura - and stayed in Mexico to start a chain of successful brick and mortar language schools.

In 2008 they started Live Lingua to compliment the in person classes at the brick and mortar schools. By 2010 the online classes had outperformed the brick and mortar schools - which were also successful - so he sold the brick and mortar part of the business to focus on growing Live Lingua.

In the past few years he has expanded his portfolio of online education businesses to include sites like Twiducate.com (160,000+ users), Teach Me Mexico, Onmutu.com and Onmatu.com. Even with these other ventures his primary focus remains with Live Lingua.

As the CEO of Live Lingua Ray has a hand in almost every aspect of the business from development of the website and backend systems to working on new media and marketing initiative such as SEO and PPC.

What Inspires Ray To Work?

Freedom.

As the CEO of an online business I have the unique freedom to work when I want, wherever I want. I like to say that "I am always working or always on vacation depending on your point of view". It is not unusual for me to work 12-14 hours a day, but I love every minute of it. I also love the flexibility to be able to work in the office, on the beach or while traveling around the world. As long as the place I go has a good internet connection I have the freedom to be anywhere.

Entrepreneurship has its ups and downs and it is not for everybody. It would be a lot less stressful to work at a 9-5 job and get paid every 2 weeks, but I don't think I could ever go back to working for somebody else. I just don't get inspired if what I am doing is a task I don't believe in. With my work with Live Lingua I work many more hours than I would in a company, but I get to choose my goals and it is up to me whether I reach them or not. I still remember the days when I got a 3% raise each year, and was happy with it. Never again. Once you taste this freedom you work hard not to go back."

What Are Some Of Ray's Hidden Talents?

Creative. Very creative, especially when it comes to business ideas. Laura helps keep me grounded with this, otherwise I try to do too many things at the same time.

Very good sense of direction. I can go almost anywhere once, no matter how complicated the route and can find my way back there again. Even if years have passed since the last time I was there. Not that useful a skill anymore... since we have GPS.

Great sense of hearing, which is a great help in learning other languages. I think I have this skill to make up for my very bad eye sight.

What Are Some Of Ray's Weaknesses?

I can't spell to save my life. Even with spellcheck I make mistacks... I mean mistakes.

I have no sense of rhythm. Even after playing the clarinet as a kid and spending months in intensive ballroom dancing and latin dance classes I can't for the life of me make the my steps sync up with the music.

I hate to do things that other people obligate me to do. This started at a young age. I loved to read, but hated all books teachers assigned me in school on principle.

What Do People Not Know About Ray?

I am an introvert. But you would never know it if you meet me. I have been told many times in gatherings or at conventions that I seem very outgoing and comfortable around other people. That is actually true. But the confusion seems to be because people think that the word "introvert" is synonymous with "anti-social". That is definitely not the case for me. I like being around people. It is just that it exhausts me.

The best description I have heard to describe the difference between introvert and extrovert is that an extrovert gains energy from being with people. An introvert looses energy when they are around people. That applies entirely to me. I have no problem with a 3 day convention, but afterward I need a week of down time to recover.

Favorite Color: Blue

Favorite Food: Apple Pie with sharp Cheddar cheese

Favorite Strange Food Combination: White rice with ketchup

Favorite Drink: Hot Coffee (even when it is over 90 degrees out)

Favorite Animal: Dogs (specifically scruffy mutts)

Favorite Movie: 5th Element (it is so bad it is good)

Favorite Sport: Kendo

Favorite Pastime Travel