Give us a quick introduction to yourself:
I grew up in Sedona, AZ. The most famous tech startup out of Sedona was Nullsoft (Winamp), which sold to AOL for $400MM; so that's my goal... to beat that. I studied Computer Science at The University of Arizona, and I've been a Co-Founder & CTO of various startups in San Diego for the past 8 years (Pelotonics, TweetPhoto/Plixi, SlimSurveys, & Portfolium).
Describe the path you took to landing the role you currently play at your company.:
After getting my Bachelors, I took a development job in Phoenix at Rio Salado College. While I excelled as a junior developer and eventually was leading the development efforts for multi-million dollar projects with IBM & the US Army to educate soldiers through our eLearning programs, I felt that the government culture wasn't for me. So, I moved to San Diego for the weather and the beach, and ended up working at an agency building NFL websites, NCAA websites, and eventually CBS' property NCAA.com.
I remember the moment in time when the entrepreneur spark went off in my head. When I saw NCAA.com being advertised on national television during the march madness tournament in 2008, it blew my mind that I built something millions of people interacted with. From there on out, I wanted to make world-class consumer facing products, and I've been doing it ever since.
My current company Portfolium (think LinkedIn for college students), I'm leading the technology efforts and building a world-class team in San Diego! Portfolium is the Career Readiness network, connecting students from 2,000+ universities with opportunities to discover, develop and prove their skills to employers. Leading colleges and universities select Portfolium's e-portfolio platform to set their students apart by showcasing digital work samples and clickable credentials that can't be captured in a traditional resume. Top employers partner with Portfolium to connect digitally with students and to drive more effective campus recruiting efforts by matching job opportunities with candidates' proven competencies.
What would you say your greatest challenges were before you joined 7CTOs?:
As a serial-entrepreneur, I find myself in the "early-stage" of companies a lot. Which means, by the time we build out a solid yet small dev team, and get the product to a relative success, we end up selling the business. Going through this cycle a few times now, I've realized my worst trait, which is delegation. I'm a fast developer, and know how to execute like no other. Though when it comes time to delegate a task to a co-worker, and they're busy, or think it will take longer than I think it will take, I tend to just pile on the work and do it myself.
Did your membership in 7CTOs have a direct impact on these challenges?:
Yes, the exercises and lessons that Michael puts us through help my see the role and leader I need to grow into. As my team grows and more responsibilities are put on my shoulders, by doing my job as CTO more effectively and less as a developer, I will be able to deliver a product better than I would be able to build myself.
What do you love most about being part of the 7CTOs community and forums?:
The leadership guidance from Michael is top notch, and building a deep relationship with my cohort is priceless.
What do you hope to accomplish over the next 6 to 12 months?:
As we (Portfolium) grow our team size 2-3x over the next year, I want to be able to keep learning new leadership and management skills to make sure I'm building a world-class tech team and an amazing culture and place to work. Also, to keep building my trusted network of technical colleagues in San Diego.