Fail Harder

Over the course of the last 10 years, I am proud of the fact that I have devoted every ounce of my heart, brain, and soul to the startups that I have had the honor of working for.  From LinkedIn recommendations making outlandish comparisons of my work ethic to Lance Armstrong and Jack Bauer – the one thing that’s clear about whom I am as a person is that I literally ‘live to work’.  Now, if ‘work is life’ then the only way to survive thrive is to cultivate an environment where work is challenging, thoroughly engaging, and (most importantly) fun.

When those factors are at the core of your work ethos – work transcends being ‘work’ (insert negative sarcasm) to not feeling like work at all – it is exciting like a 5-year old going to Disneyland for the first time (i.e. Herzberg’s Hygiene Factors for driving job satisfaction).  It is this deep, emotional engagement with work that transforms accounting ‘work’ into a fun & interesting process of task execution that enables the discovery of new insights that will substantively contribute value to the company – it drives people to perform at exceptionally high levels for inordinately long period of time and be immensely fulfilling in the process.

The reason that ‘startups are my life is that they are a bare knuckle, knock ‘em down, drag ‘em out brawl that pushes the limits of every ounce of your being.  After crashing my third company at 19 (having 2 successful minor liquidity events on my two prior) for which I raised angel financing - I realized that one incredibly important aspect of startups is having extraordinary depth in your experiential and pedagogical knowledge-base.  Hence while at university, I took ten classes a semester because I simply really enjoy learning.  As I transitioned into my career, each step cultivated a strategic skill set that I saw as instrumental to building companies.

Korean Acquisitions of Microcap US Trading Industrials

During the tail end of the mid-00s economic boom, the high flying Won made the acquisitions of US trading industrials extremely attractive. This pivotal role taught me how to quantitatively tell a company’s strategic narrative and made me fall in love with finance.

EUR / JPY Trader & Outsourced Treasury Manager

JPY is one of the most technically precise, beautiful currencies whose daily movements were like a symphony – the pairing always fascinated me because of the underlying macroeconomic landscape that drove the carry-trade. I was responsible for managing the FX risk for firms with between $5 - $35m in annual exposure

Angel Financing for E-Commerce-focused Apparel & Footwear Startups

During the tail end of the mid-00s economic boom, the high flying Won made the acquisitions of US trading industrials extremely attractive. This pivotal role taught me how to quantitatively tell a company’s strategic narrative and made me fall in love with finance.

VÆL Project – Men’s High Fashion Footwear

My first deal while at the private equity group was for a very promising men’s footwear brand, VÆL Project.  After the first stage of the deal closed, I was appointed to run the brand.  The founder and I became best friends and, in March ’09 while the S&P was crashing around us and hitting 13 year lows, we went to China raised $1.1m in financing and took the company over ourselves

PhasedReduction: Social Platform for Quality of Care Performance Analytics for Hospitals

I co-founded an enterprise healthcare startup that was like Facebook meets Google Analytics for hospitals – where the analytics delivered federally mandated healthcare quality of care metrics (like mortality rates, readmission rates, and complications of care). Over the first year, we deployed the platform to 3 hospitals in California, 1 in Ohio, and 6 in Florida

Cloven Footwear: Hybrid EVA + Hiking Inspired Footwear

We raised $4,1m in our seed round from mainland China, Singapore, and Taiwan to capitalize on major technical developments in injection EVA. The strategy was to take the comfort and lightness of EVA-styled footwear like Crocs, fuse it with technical hiking performance of Merrell, and give it a little Ralph Lauren Style.

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