Harold Gottschalk, SoftStack Factory

Give us a quick introduction to yourself:

I was fortunate to have parents that migrated to the United States and I was born in this great country in the most international metropolis in the eastern United States.  I received the opportunity to live in several South American countries as I grew up. I attended University in the Northwest and completed my studies on the East Coast as a Computer Scientist. I started in the aerospace industry working with avionics testing equipment software for the military on the east coast and later to a position at General Dynamics Data Systems here in San Diego California.

Describe the path you took to landing the role you currently play at your company.:

Received a BS degree in Computer Science from East Stroudsburg University in the early 1980’s, I started working in the military industrial complex working on avionics, missile control and composite material design and repair software. In 1990 I was fortunate enough to move into commercial software development and was given a software manager's position at HNC Software a neural network modeling software leader. I was a key contributor to many award winning products during my tenure, Falcon a Credit Card Fraud Detection software that currently 75% of the world bank's use to combat credit card fraud was my favorite and most challenging endeavour at HNC. I later worked at a great spin-out company of HNC named Aptex which was during the forefront of the Internet boom, we created some very interesting solutions and I ran one of the development teams, my team advanced our core technology and one of our vertical product lines. I left Aptex in 1998 to co-found several companies Stone Analytics, Imissary and then CSIdentity. I am most proud of CSIdentity Corporation (CSID) which I co-found in July of 2006 with Bill Morrow taking the assets of Imissary and ideas I had created during that period, with the assistance of the other co-founders we created a successful Identity Theft mitigation company that powers a number of key players in the market. CSID grew from the 6 co-founders to over 150 employees today.

In 2012 I left CSIdentity to recharge my batteries and spent the next few years working with mobile hybrid and backend technologies that power todays companies. I am taking what I have learned and have formed a new non-profit in the software development bootcamp space. I am now the CEO/CTO of SoftStack Factory a bootcamp approach to teach qualified millennial adults popular software stacks that deliver mobile solutions.

What would you say your greatest challenges were before you joined 7CTOs?:

As a CTO that was recharging the batteries I was looking at how to re engage myself in the technology business I had been in for 30 years and felt I loved, but I was no longer interested in.

Did your membership in 7CTOs have a direct impact on these challenges?:

7CTOs did impact the challenges I was having at the time. It allowed me to work with a group of like minded individuals that are involved in the local San Diego technology scene. It also provide me with some new perspectives and tools to re engage me in the technology business I so love.

What do you love most about being part of the 7CTOs community and forums?:

I am a charter member of 7CTOs and proud of the fact being in the first forum that has helped shape 7CTOs direction. I was asked to be an advisor at 7CTOs as an advisor I continue to provide directional support and work with our members. The forums provide a space to learn new concepts, to be mentored, to mentor others and grow as a group, also sharing your issues, finding solutions for yours and theirs and seeing the results of sharing within the entire group. One of the original objectives when we started our forum was to do a community project of some sort, which we really did not accomplish as a group, but it spawned an idea within myself to start a bootcamp to involve our youth into the digital economy, SoftStack Factory was born in January 2015.

What do you hope to accomplish over the next 6 to 12 months?:

Over the next 6 to 12 months I am focused on growing SoftStack Factory, taking it from a concept towards reality and our grand vision. The first 6 months has focused on launching and bootstrapping the non-profit, finding initial supporters of the idea, creating our approach, training ourselves and getting ready for the beta cohort of students in the Fall of 2015.