I graduated Saint Louis University in 1995 with a double major in Accounting and MIS. I picked up MIS late my junior year, as I began to realize that things were moving quickly with respect to the Internet (although no email addresses had yet been distributed to SLU students then.)
I was fortunate enough to interview on campus with Accenture (then Andersen Consulting) and went through a relatively tough interview process. I was thrilled to receive an offer, and started in September of 1995.
I cannot think of a better way to gain a deep yet broad understanding of business other than working for a top tier consulting firm right out of undergrad. I stayed at Accenture for 12 years before the travel became too much to be as home as much as I wanted, newly married and wanting to start a family. So I veered off the partner track and did what came naturally. I looked to follow my passions and focus on what made me happy – creating and building companies that provided value for its customers. You see, I did this ‘on the side’ nearly my entire career at Accenture and even after for a few years while working for a local consulting firm. Whether it was a online educational investment advisory, a niche PR/content firm, or other endeavors, I always felt that when I was working *for* a large corporate entity, I never was running at more than 50% of my true capacity.
In April, 2010 I co-founded with Tommy Stiansen, Norse Corporation. Norse’s disruptive technology, live, actionable cyber-risk intelligence, works to prevent damage caused by malicious hackers, reduce losses due to eCommerce fraud, and finally reduce the complexity and cost associated with protecting some of our client’s most precious assets – their data.
Since we began, there has not been a single day in which I felt like I was ‘going to work’ in the morning. This has been an incredible and exhilarating journey that is perhaps 1/3 complete. We’ve raised the required funding, gone from two to 20 employees in three locations, and will have three game-changing SaaS solutions in the market by Q1 2013. We’re in partnership discussions with some of the world’s most admired companies, and we’re fortunate to have an incredibly talented team positioned to execute on our plans.
I am the sort of person who values productivity, innovation, and making things ‘orders of magnitude’ better. While I don’t regret any time in ‘Corporate America’, and it was a great foundation, I wasn’t nearly able to fully live our my values. Starting Norse allowed us to create a company with a culture that embraced our values, and bring on members of the team that shared in those same values.
I am very proud of what we’ve accomplished thus far (some of which we can’t disclose publicly) and I encourage anyone with the thought of following their passions to not deny those feelings. You might not be able to go at it 100% immediately, but do *something* to keep the fire lit, until the time comes to jump into the deep end and throw everything you have into realizing your potential.