I haven’t always thought of myself as entrepreneurial, but looking back over the course of my life, that is probably the best way to describe my lifelong passion for creating things that matter. I started my first “business” when I was nine years old, selling baseball cards out of my bedroom. It was a terrible business as my customer acquisition strategy was completely reliant on how hospitable my parents were feeling. In the eighth grade, my entrepreneurial spirit took a different shape as I watched the 2000 election, mesmerized by the romanticism that characterizes the launch, rise, and fall of presidential campaigns. Planning on launching a campaign for President of the United States in 2024 (self-confidence was not an issue for me), I started my career down a political path, taking my first “real job” at the age of 17 managing a countywide campaign in Hillsborough County, Florida (in my hometown of Tampa). Winning that campaign made me think I was addicted to politics. Years later, after numerous political jobs and an internship in the Bush White House, I realized that it wasn’t politics I was addicted to; it was launching things that mattered and winning. I started my first (real) business, Direct Media Strategies, in 2009 – an “online communications agency” that helped political campaigns, causes, and corporations use the Internet to win. In 2011, Direct Media Strategies was acquired by Engage – deemed a “mega interactive agency” by Mashable. At Engage, I had the privilege leading a team of incredibly talented team who led digital strategy for some of the most high-profile political and consumer brands in the world including Paul Ryan, John Boehner, Google, Foursquare, and WalMart.
In 2012, opportunity came knocking and I knew it was time to start-up again, this time launching Citizinvestor.com, now the largest crowdfunding platform for government projects in the world. In 2014, I released my first book, Startup Stories, which chronicles the first two years of Citizinvestor’s life along with a series of lessons I’ve learned about what it takes to launch a company, grind through startup life, and grow a business from the ground up. The book debuted in the #1 Best Seller spot in numerous categories on Amazon including Entrepreneurship, Innovation, and Christian Business.
Today, I spend my time leading Threshold 360: a venture-backed tech startup. More important that “what I do” is “who I am” as a person. As a Christian, I see my career as an opportunity to point others to The First Entrepreneur – God Himself who created value out of nothing and showed us what creativity is. In fact, that’s precisely the topic of my next book, Called to Create, which you can learn all about at calledtocreate.org and pre-order here. My favorite roles in life are that of husband to my wife Kara and father to our newborn baby girl. I love travel, books, photography, and design. But most of all, I love creating things that matter.
I’ve had the privilege of sharing my stories at amazing events and venues around the world, including Harvard University, SXSW, TEDx, the World Forum for Democracy, and The Guardian’s Activate Summit. Here are a few of my favorites.
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