But what if it works?
I wasn't born an entrepreneur. That's my Dad.
I co-founded my first company, an ad agency called Hello Viking, in 2007. We grew it to 15 employees in six years, producing work for Thrivent, PwC, 3M, the University of Vermont, Tracy Anderson Method, Best Buy and Sears. I served as CEO and led creative. While we were operating Hello Viking, we used the agency as an incubator.
First we launched Curation Station, a hosted SaaS software solution used by CNN, Marshalls, 3M, Mattel, Starkey Labs, H&R Block, Nature Valley, Fallon, Coyne PR, and Attention USA to gather all kinds of digital content, vet items that fit their strategic goals, then distribute content across websites, live events, email marketing and social media. Curation Stations was a precursor to the likes of Percolate, Sprinklr and Falcon. I helped develop the software’s business strategy, co-lead national sales, public relations and helped manage client relations.
Later, we launched BannerPalooza, the online banner ad production shop. We built bespoke, virtual production teams to develop creative for 180LA (Sony and Boost Mobile), Almighty (FCHP), Mullen (Zappos), Carmichael Lynch, Fallon (Travelers Insurance and Chrysler),
Kruskopf Coontz (3M), The Martin Agency (American Cancer Society), MMB (Subway), the New York Knicks and Valassis (New Balance, Vitamin Shoppe and IKEA), among others.
In 2007, I created a speaker-series called Conversations About The Future Of Advertising (CATFOA) that continues to thrive. We've welcomed over 25 guests to Minneapolis to talk about the future, including Faris Yakob, Valeria Maltoni, Rick Webb, Julie Roehm, David Armano, Ana Andjelic and Joseph Jaffe.
While I wasn't born this way, I've come to identify as an entrepreneur. I'm the one inside the large organization instigating prototyping sprints, producing education seminars, and figuring out how to de-risk opportunity.