I first met Kevin while working side by side on the management team of our first startup in college at Santa Clara University. It was 2002, and while Silicon Valley was drastically changing all around us we were pounding the phones 10 hours a day cold calling into pizza restaurants, car dealerships, cell phone stores and anyone we thought would spend money to advertise on the dorm room doors at their local college or university. While most on the phones grew frustrated and tired of hearing “no”, “not interested” and “don’t ever ‘bleeping’ call me again” time and time again, Kevin kept revising his pitch and his audience until he found a niche that worked. He then shared the strategy with the team and helped coach those around him to follow a similar pattern until they found something that clicked.
Fast forward a few years and Kevin was still coaching… this time though as the Executive Director of the newly minted Santa Clara University Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship where I also served as a catalyst and adviser during its inception. Here, Kevin now served as the face and hub for thousands of SCU alumni, undergraduates and graduate students looking to grow a great idea into a great company. Successful companies still thriving today such as Bookrenter.com, <ahref=”http://ancientfaces.com”>AncientFaces.com and many more received much of the rocket fuel they needed early on leveraging the programs, connections and mentoring received through the CIE. Inspired by those he served each day for nearly 5 years, the MBA he picked up during his tenure, and the encouragement of those around him, Kevin ventured out to start his own great company shortly after leaving in early 2010.
Kevin’s patience, persistence and routine pivots early on have now brought us Founders Network, a private community of tech startup founders committed to helping each other succeed through peer mentorship. Members must go through a vetting process to ensure the integrity and collective value of the group, however, as a member myself I can simply say that the attitude and culture of this group reminds me of the stories I hear of those who were working to develop the early internet… or Silicon Valley in the early 90’s… where almost everyone was trying to help everyone else navigate and succeed. Ego is checked at the door and at 140 members and growing, it has become one of the most powerful resources for me and my peers to connect with like minded doers working tirelessly to manifest their dreams. To this end, if you are passionately working to build your own technology business right now and in any stage of development from “I’ve got an idea” to raising a Series A round of funding, I highly recommend you check out the group ASAP. Code “FNOSI” will also get you 50% off the application fee.
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Sean, brings me back to the good old days at AllDorm. Thanks for the nice write up. It’s been a pleasure working with and alongside you over the years. Looking forward to your talk on Infrastructure 101 tomorrow!