An Unexpected Gift
My entrepreneurial story really begins about one year after high school with my brother Joe. Living several states away from one another at the time, I was shocked by his presence at one of my graduation ceremonies. I was even more surprised by the gift he handed me: a desktop application development system called CA-Clipper.
Twenty-one years my senior, Joe was saddled with a chronic debilitating disease throughout his life. He defied doctors’ bleak expectations with his infectious mindset of “possibility” thinking. While Clipper was completely foreign to me, and I wasn’t feeling any excitement about it at the time, I embraced the possibilities he was offering me and dug in, mastering the application just the same.
Contributing Beyond Expectations
Not long after, I used my new programming skills to solve a problem at a local radio station where a college friend of mine worked. Once other stations began to hear about my solution, I felt compelled to develop software to mitigate theft. From this, Protection PLUS was born, and it would become the cornerstone of my company, SoftwareKey.com. I managed my business through steady growth over the next ten years until my world took a lucrative detour.
A previous client of SoftwareKey needed help protecting his DVD copying software startup, 321 Studios. Providing him licensing expertise eventually turned into a full-time position with his company as Chief Technology Officer. I was still actively running my own company, so it felt like a risk, but also an opportunity I ultimately decided was worth taking.
Saying yes to the opportunity catapulted me into a scene of cross-country flights between my home base in Orlando, Florida and St. Louis, Missouri, where 321 Studios was headquartered. Keeping up with the success generated exhilarating challenges every day:
The frosting on the cake was watching ten shopping cart orders processed per second when our work was featured on the national nightly news. Protecting the software and selling it online using the SoftwareKey System brought us substantial financial success.
The entire experience was one I will never forget.
Embracing Continual Improvement
By extension of that intense, hands-on learning period, SoftwareKey became exquisitely well-tuned. For the next ten years, I approached my life and business with greater courage. I said yes to consuming business and self-help books, podcasts, blogs, and yes to investing tens of thousands of dollars in hiring business coaches, personal coaches, and professional services. I’ve learned to leverage other people’s talents to get where I want to go faster and devote my energy to what excites me. Of course, my passion for technology always seeks out ways to automate all areas of my business, especially the more tedious and repetitive tasks.
Widening Sphere of Influence
Heartbreakingly, my brother Joe died in 2019. To say that he was an inspiration to me is an understatement, and his passing obliterated any remaining personal excuses I held not to live and give more fully. Since his passing, I’ve expanded my focus beyond the confines of my own software licensing company. This is an invigorating chapter of my career where I feel privileged to share my knowledge with more companies so that they, too, can benefit from all that 21st-century technology offers.