Why I Started a Company That Starts Companies

My ideas for Powershift were developed during an unusually formative time. It was the 80’s. These exhilarating initial years of the PC, network and software era felt exclusive- like being part of a select few invited to an amazing, secret party. In my early twenties I experienced what it took to found, build, and lead fast-growing technology companies. For example, with no co-founders and no preliminary outside capital, I grew BSG from a startup to a $100M company during the mid 80’s to the mid 90’s. I knew firsthand of the pains, challenges and thrills of building a technology startup and so I found it inspirational to meet the unique few who had the same rare vision for this relatively undeveloped new era. Through friendships and business deals with pioneering entrepreneurs like Michael Dell, Ray Noorda, Ross Perot, Ann Winblad, Bill Gates, Esther Dyson, John Doerr, Mark Cuban, Marc Benioff and others, I shared and discovered a lot about tech entrepreneurship. From semi-tricking Ross Sr. to do business with me, being office neighbors with Mark in Dallas, befriending Michael as a fellow budding tech entrepreneur in Austin, organizing guerrilla marketing events around the country with Marc… to meeting Ray at the 1982 Fall COMDEX in Las Vegas, and talking about customers and early technology ideas with Bill Gates en route to our keynotes at the PC Forum - we all knew we were onto something huge.

Addressing the Issues

I had a very clear vision in mind for needs within the tech entrepreneur community. Even after working with and knowing most major VC’s, I still thought there needed to be a unique model for the development of startups: a company that started companies. To paint the scene, those who wanted to start a company didn’t have much of any support. Yeah, you could find some great trade shows like COMDEX and Networld, but there were no incubators, no accelerators, relatively few VC firms, and not many networking groups.

Until the internet boom, it was difficult to start a tech company. In fact, not only did I have little to no support, my friends thought it was very strange and probably crazy that I left the safety net of a really great job with Andersen Consulting (today we know as Accenture). Similarly, I had a difficult time trying to hire employees away from those cherished corporate jobs. After experiencing challenges around founding and funding companies, recruiting top talent, building high caliber Boards of Directors, managing growth, and more, it was clear to me that those were the issues that needed to be addressed. I decided to pair successful entrepreneurs with the top talent we had at BSG, to create an accomplished group that had stellar experience in developing companies. That was the birth of Powershift Group.

In Twenty Years

Since I started Powershift almost 20 years ago, we’ve experienced major “power shifts” that touch people's lives across the world. These are the disruptive technologies, political changes, evolution of entrepreneurship and private equity, and a lot more... so stay tuned to the blog as we share our personal thoughts, dreams and ideas about these major shifts, what they are and what they mean.

Looking back, I’m proud to say we’ve built even more on our entrepreneurial experiences and added tremendous depth within the Powershift network since then. I invite you to poke around the website to learn more about our ventures- and adventures. The portfolio page is a great summary of what we’ve accomplished over the years, and what we’re building right now. We aren’t stopping there.

To the Reader

If you share our vision and passion for the future, I encourage you to subscribe to the blog and keep connected.  I also want to extend an invitation for readers to send any suggestions by using our contact page, give us a shout via social media, or shoot a message through email. We’d love to hear from you.

I feel fortunate and honored to have a long run of fascinating and challenging ventures with our Powershift team. It’s my hope that we can use the Powershift Blog not only as a chance to archive thoughts and ideas, but also to raise crucial questions, share meaningful experiences, cultivate an entrepreneurial ecosystem and most importantly, inspire entrepreneurs to boldly invent.