Learn About Ryan Kopf
Ryan Kopf is an entrepreneur and CEO with 20 years of software development experience. Passionate about sustainability, Ryan has managed the installation of over a million dollars in solar power, grows food with an automated farmbot, and contributes to open source software.
As the founder of seven annual anime conventions and the world's largest anime dating site, Ryan is thrilled to bring joy and happiness to thousands of people annually. With a diverse background in sustainable energy, property management, and innovative technology, he aims to create solutions that simplify lives. Fluent in Japanese and Spanish, Ryan's global perspective is enriched by his membership in Rotary and the Jaycees, as well as his appreciation for rum, limes, and owls.
I planned to do this by earning 10 million dollars by 2024 and using the money to build robots, but with the setbacks of COVID-19 and incredible advancements in artificial intelligence, I have yet to discover what the future will hold.
Born on September 8, 1988, in Iowa, Ryan Kopf was raised by his fiercely determined single mother, who worked tirelessly to provide for her family. Growing up near his grandparents, Ryan was influenced by his grandfather's military background and small business ownership - he owned his own towtruck - as well as his grandmother's invaluable support in raising the family.
Nurtured by his mother's love, Ryan discovered a world of inspiration and adventure through books, immersing himself in titles like Goosebumps and the Golden Compass. Financial constraints shaped his early experiences, as he spent summers at his paternal grandmother's trailer, finding joy in building forts from sticks and stones.
As he worked his way through college, fueled by scholarships for A+ students, student loans, and part-time jobs, Ryan channeled the passion and resilience instilled in him by his mother into his pursuits. He dedicated his free time to organizing geeky conventions, founding internet companies, and exploring various interests such as video game development, TV show production, radio DJing, and creating song parodies.
He discovered additional inspiration in the characters of anime, with figures like Vash the Stampede exemplifying the good character qualities like resolve, determination, and a selfless dedication to aiding others despite personal costs. Ryan was able to translate this inspiration into a business of running anime conventions, which bring joy to thousands of people every year.
Ryan currently organizes seven anime conventions across the Midwest, with the largest being AniMinneapolis and Anime Midwest. Himself in charge of public relations, human resources, management, accounting, communications, and technology, Ryan brings together a few dozen other staff members to collaborate on making memories for fellow fans of anime.
Ryan is actively managing several growing and popular websites, including the largest convention list in the world, the top anime dating site, the news site Iowa Owl, a ticketing platform, a service for preventing spam, and an app for absorbing languages.
Ryan is now dedicated to AI-projects, such as Analso, an AI-chatbot designed to help you learn Japanese in both romanji and hiragana.
Ryan Kopf: My Complete Biography
Growing up in Iowa, I was raised by an incredibly hard-working single mother. Some of my earliest memories include climbing trees and hanging upside down at around six or eight years old. We lived in low-income housing apartments near the YMCA, which has instilled in me a lifelong appreciation for programs that support those in need.
My recollections of that time may not be entirely accurate, but when I look at Google Maps, the area looks quite familiar. I think I was literally hanging upside down from a tree, as children often do, on the day I first met my mom's future ex-husband and my sister's dad.
While I was academically bright, my street smarts were somewhat lacking. My grand schemes as a child involved concocting new beverages by mixing root beer and cream soda, expecting to make tens of dollars – but hey, I was only ten myself.
In elementary school, the Talented And Gifted program introduced me to a computer program called HyperStudio. Although it now seems like a less sophisticated version of MSPaint, it sparked my creativity and excitement for computers. Without a computer at home in the 90s, I turned to books and even earned the chance to be "mayor for a day", leading a parade. Later I ran for mayor of the same town - after all, I had a whole day's worth of experience! I am appreciative that I lost, because the job sounds less rewarding than I had hoped, and I don't envy Muscatine's future mayors with all the challenges they would face.
During middle school, I had a free period every day, which I spent in the computer lab with permission from the teacher. The computer closest to the door became my domain, where I explored RPG Maker and learned about downloading music. Financial constraints prevented me from affording CDs, so I made do with what I could find. It wasn't until later that I learned about piracy and its impact on creators.
It was in this environment that I learned my first programming language, Perl. Looking back, I could not have started with a better language. Some people are shuddering just reading that, but hear me out!
High school, much like middle school, was relatively uneventful. Thankfully, we had settled into a stable home and were no longer living in the countryside. I found rural life to be incredibly dull – it might have been enjoyable with access to snowmobiles, guns, bows and arrows, or horses, but we had none of those. Instead, my main pastime was reading. Now, we had finally returned to a more urban setting. To me, it felt like a return to civilization.
Embracing high school life, I joined several clubs and enrolled in numerous Advanced Placement classes. When a friend wanted to establish a history enthusiasts club, I gladly helped. He became the club's figurative mayor, and I took on the role of city administrator, so to speak. We watched anime, ocassionally discussed history, and dedicated ourselves to fundraising. My fundraising ideas outshined the typical bake sales, which would only bring in $100. Instead, we hosted dances and raised thousands, enabling our club to take dozens of members to take incredibly fulfilling and rewarding trips to Medieval Times and various science museums in Chicago.
During this time, I also took on the roles of author and editor for two literature magazines published at the school. My own writing was mediocre, I must admit, but it was nice to read and print the great works submitted by other students. I believe that being a programmer, which involves using straightforward and commanding language, can make creative writing more challenging.
Throughout high school and my time at Muscatine Community College, I held various jobs, including working at banks and credit unions. While I took some interesting classes, it was my high school AP teachers who provided some of the best learning experiences, particularly my Macro Economics teacher.
At 17, I ventured into starting a "youth center" in a downtown basement. It stayed open for six months, attracting only a handful of visitors daily. This experience taught me the crucial role of marketing in a successful business, as our youth center struggled to gain visibility and reach its target audience.
After earning my Associate degree, I attended the University of Iowa, where I engaged in typical student activities. I joined the residence hall government and ran for student government. Despite our party having fewer candidates than others, I believe we achieved a higher ratio of total party members to votes. It seemed that people typically voted for student government when their friends were running. The important part was that we found campaigning both fun and rewarding in its own right.
Campaigning was an enjoyable experience. I connected with individuals who had innovative ideas and abundant enthusiasm. Although I never expected to win, either in my run for student government or mayor, the experience was invaluable. I've learned that fear of failure shouldn't deter us from trying new things.
Research has shown that happiness can be attained through experiences. My adventures - running for mayor, student government president, organizing high school clubs, and writing and publishing - have been beyond what most people attempt. I believe these experiences contribute to my overall happiness and satisfaction.
If you're thinking of taking on a new challenge, but hesitate for fear of failure, my advice is to go for it!
During college, I began organizing conventions and delved deeper into computer programming. These pursuits eventually became my full-time occupation. While I may not be able to fit all those on these experiences here, you can find details throughout my website and within the conventions themselves. In my free time, I've endeavored to read more, enhance my programming skills (including refining my Ruby gems), and learn the Japanese language.
Since finishing at the University of Iowa, I've embarked on a multitude of exciting ventures. As the founder and CEO of my company since 2010, I've had the pleasure of organizing over 50 anime conventions across the years, managing over a million dollars in solar panel installations, and operating the world's largest anime dating website. Drawing on my 20 years of experience in writing software, I also developed Cons.mx, an impressive platform for selling tickets that has streamlined the process for countless users.
Outside of my professional achievements, I've cultivated a diverse range of interests and skills. I'm conversational in both Japanese and Spanish, which has been invaluable during my annual business trips to Japan. As a certified scuba diver, I enjoy exploring the depths of the ocean, while back on land, I grow my own vegetables using a Farmbot I built myself. My love for real estate has led me to build a portfolio of rental properties, and my commitment to community involvement is reflected in my memberships in Rotary and the Jaycees.
My passion for creating technology that makes people's lives easier is a driving force in my life. As I continue to grow and learn, I strive to develop innovative solutions and explore new avenues of personal and professional fulfillment. And when it's time to unwind, I savor the simple pleasures in life, such as the delightful combination of rum and limes, and my fondness for the enigmatic charm of owls.
Over the years, I've achieved a great deal and attempted even more. My journey has been filled with learning, growth, and exploration. So, what's next on the horizon? Well, I've always been intrigued by the potential of robotics and artificial intelligence. Perhaps it's time to venture into the world of cutting-edge technology and see how I can contribute to shaping the future. After all, life is about continually pushing boundaries and discovering new passions.
Ryan Kopf's Globetrotting Adventures, Including Japan
Exploring fascinating destinations and broadening my horizons is one of my greatest passions. I firmly believe that immersing oneself in diverse cultures and connecting with people from all walks of life is key to fostering a deeper understanding of the world and our role within it.