Austin-based Zello Inc. offers a push-to-talk app for smartphones and tablets. There are versions of the app for consumers and work environments. Clients include Waste Management Inc., Iron Mountain, Restoration Hardware and Marriott International.
I waited too long to start my own company.
From early in my career, I knew I wanted to operate a business. I have always loved entrepreneurship and had studied business through college. I mapped out a couple of paths, including being promoted through a larger organization. It wasn’t too long into my career that I realized I didn’t have the political skills or tolerance to keep going higher in the organization.
I believed that in my mid-to-late 20s before I started a business I really needed to have a set of competencies. I dabbled in engineering a bit but realized pretty quickly I was never going to be one of the best programmers. Eventually, I joined a pretty early-stage startup and was the No. 2 two guy for a while. That company was ultimately acquired.
My final wake-up call was 9/11. It was such a traumatic event. In my case, I was in Europe and was stuck there for a week separated from my family. It was a good time to think about the path I was on and what I was going to do. It was the impetus for me to realize that I needed to go back and quit my job and start my own company and see what happened. I left a lot on the table financially and it was a terrible time to start a business. This was right after the crash so raising money was impossible. But I impulsively decided to start my own company and funded it with my own money. It took about eight to ten years but it was successful.
I spent a lot of years trying to understand what it takes to run a company when the time would have been better spent just doing the job.
Here I am now working at a third company – the second I’ve been CEO of. But now I’m 55 years old. Looking back, I think I spent a lot of years trying to understand what it takes to run a company when the time would have been better spent just doing the job. I ask myself, “Why did I spend 15 to 20 years getting ready?”
By the time I did I was 40 and had five kids, no funding and no insurance. The stakes were so much higher. It’s also much harder when you start a company later in your career when you have other outside obligations to make it through tough times. You have a lot more to lose.
Follow Zello Inc. on Twitter at @Zello.
Pictured: Bill Moore | Photo courtesy of Zello Inc.