Thank you for reading our blog! This is the first of what I expect will be a regular dialogue with (any?) interested readers. So, please respond if you have questions/comments, etc… Note, my blog would not be possible without the help of Anna Miller from Unstandard Design. I hope you agree with me that she did an excellent job creating my website – and consider that a hearty recommendation you work with her if you need similar services.
Since this is my first entry, I thought I would start with some background. I founded ACME Strategy back in 2010 with the goal of combining my interests and skills to deliver a set of services lacking in the market today. My background has included stints at private and public technology companies, but primarily comprised work at various investment banks. As a student at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, I knew I had a strong interest in technology, and a facility for numbers.
My challenge was to turn that combination into a job/career. Back in the froth of the late ’90s in silicon valley, I worked at a couple technology companies, but ultimately realized I was not ready to choose one particular technology company to work for. As a result, I chose a career in technology investment banking. As a tech banker, I reasoned I could use my existing skill set to work with many different technology companies (I could also pay off my student loans!!!).
I assumed I would eventually find a particular client I wanted to work with and join that company full time. I then determined that I had to make sure to find the right tech bank for me. I chose Alex. Brown for three primary reasons: First, the firm had a great reputation in technology. Second, the firm primarily worked with emerging companies rather than well established companies such as Microsoft, Intel, etc.. Third and most importantly, my good friend Steve Bailey recommended the firm and the team highly. Per Steve’s recommendation, I really enjoyed meeting the team, which I knew would be critical to my longer-term enjoyment of the job.
I started shortly after graduating with my MBA in the Summer of 1998. I started as a tech generalist and was soon caught up in the whirlwind (long hours) of tech banking during the first internet boom. After a couple years, I became focussed on a subset of the tech market, communications. During this time, Alex. Brown was acquired by Bankers Trust, and then Deutsche Bank. I found myself acquired in to a firm with around 100,000 employees. Due to our scale at Deutsche Bank, we migrated to a focus on very large transactions/clients so that we could efficiently pay our bills. While it was somewhat rewarding to work with the Ciscos and IBMs of the world, I realized that I preferred working with smaller teams/clients.
During 2006, I took the plunge and decided to join a small-private company that provided technology-enabled services to the deregulated electricity market. For many reasons, that turned out to be a great learning experience. However, in 2008 I found myself back in investment banking. This time I was working at a boutique firm (40ish employees) targeted at emerging technology companies… I thought this would fit my interests and skills quite well. The fit was close, but not an exact match for what I needed.
During early 2010, I realized the need to do something different. I also knew that many companies in the technology sector needed experienced investment banking/consulting execution for deals of all sizes, not just the mega-deals that bulge bracket, or boutiques for that matter, drool over. Many of my clients had downsized their business development teams over the years and found themselves extremely stretched. I then had the ah-ha moment and realized I could create a niche for myself. So I founded ACME Strategy to provide strategy consulting and other services similar to what I had done as a banker.
With the extremely well appreciated support of my family, friends and first clients (Altman Vilandrie, IDT, Mosys, Zarlink, Zenverge…), I successfully launched my business. By the way, I cannot reiterate enough how much the help, advice and encouragement of my support group has meant to me… As a small business owner, the rewards and challenges are frequent and stark.
The key thing is that I very much enjoy my work and my clients. Unfortunately, it has taken me 18 months to get around to items such as a professional web-site/blog, but I hope to continue to build on the existing business. Thanks for reading, and once again, I look forward to any feedback you have!