A bit about me – I am not a typical undergraduate. I stopped out of Stanford seven years ago to start a software company with a group of fellow students. Over the last seven years I saw the company grow to fourteen employees, hire and fire two outside CEOs, drop to three employees, appoint me CEO, go through a full restructuring, encompassing capital and personnel, exit our principal line of business, enterprise software sales, develop new lines of business, enterprise standards management, grow back to twenty employees and acquire our nearest competitor. Over that time I worked through the full lifecycle of high technology entrepreneurship, birth, life, near death, taxes, growth and maturation.
A bit about the company – SSB BART Group, provides auditing services for web sites and web applications that need to be accessible to individuals with disabilities. The company has always, and will always, pursued the “double bottom line” – providing a social good, enabling access to technology for people with disabilities, as well as a return to our shareholders. As part of our mission we aim to employee a high number of blind and visual impaired individuals and currently over 60% of our employees are blind. A staggering and saddening statistic is that 70% of working age blind people are unemployed – I am proud that in some small way we have helped impact that.
A bit about how I got to the point of writing this plan – I spent the last few years building the company to the point where it could operate independent of my day-to-day participation. Over the last few months I have split my time between running the company and completing my degree at Stanford. This has required a significant level of effort, and accordant stress, but has allowed me to finish my degree while not negatively impacting the company’s growth.
Personal Business Plan
A bit about now – My experience at Stanford has allowed me to rediscover the passion of working with a group of smart, driven individuals focused on creating a compelling tomorrow. Over the course of the last few years the drudgery of running a company combined with the imminent prospect of complete emotional, physical and financial collapse, won out over the joy of bringing something new into the world – my satisfaction with life suffered accordingly. Upon exiting Stanford my hope is to feed the flames that have been rekindled in my time here and continue my work in building high impact organizations.
A bit about the rest of my life – In the long term I plan on positioning myself to be involved in the creation and implementation of new, high impact ventures over the span of the next forty years. I aim to drive the creation of global, pervasive and enduring organizations that have a positive impact on the day-to-day live of billions of individuals. I would like to focus on large consumer markets, in contrast with my principal experience to date in selling to large, corporate customers. To help transition between these industries, I plan to pursue an MBA during the next major chapter of my life. During or after the MBA program I hope to meet Mrs. Right, settle down, get married and have babies.
A bit about the meaning of my life – My feeling is that the biggest value that I can bring to the world is driving those around me to achieve excellence and fulfill their potential in life. My belief is that the noblest pursuit a life can have is the betterment of those around you. My time at SSB has provided me a unique opportunity to pursue that providing employment opportunities to individuals that are blind and would most likely not otherwise find gainful employment. In general, I have found these individuals to suffer from no lack of competence of motivation – simply a lack of opportunity and access – something grace has provided me a chance to offer them.
A bit about marketing – In my professional life I aim to position myself as someone that is a competent and caring executive that is known above all to be fair and trustworthy. I plan to use my experience in reviving SSB to build a style of leadership that brings a sense of comfort in stability in the face of chaos – the calm in the eye of the storm. I plan to stand out in the crowd in the best way I know develop and maintain a unshakeable reputation for moral behavior and fairness.
A bit about getting there – In the short term the key components for achieving success in my life revolve around (i) finishing my course of study at Stanford (ii) executing a graceful exit from SSB BART Group and (iii) completing a course of study at a top ten MBA program. I define a graceful exit from SSB BART Group to either be the sale of the company to an acquiring entity or appointment of an appropriately qualified replacement Chief Executive Officer.
A bit about the help – My personal Board of Directors currently contains a revolving group of about fifteen people pulled from all walks of life and covering both professional and peer group individuals. I normally review my personal goals and direction on a yearly basis as part of a manifesto I publish and formally ask for comment on. More generally, one of the great blessings of my life is a set of wise and understanding parents who are the first stop for most pieces of advice worth following.