I struggle with this question all the time, or perhaps I should say, I ponder this question all the time…it’s not a struggle.
But while the topic of the post is easy, publishing it is not. I think it is an understatement to say that “I’m a private person,” so while you probably won’t see me post my inner most thoughts on this blog, I feel obliged to at least give you the basics. Here goes…the Ken Truesdale snapshot.
The shortest of the sections…. An INTJ for you Meyers Briggs fans….really quite an accurate description of me, worts and all. I live for family, I love to work. I listen before I speak, I investigate, then solve. I like to build things (businesses, systems, etc.) I’m a recovering perfectionist. Efficiency is key, Quality is efficient. Honesty runs deep, I need authenticity from people around me.
Married to an amazing woman, Pauka. Could go on about her forever.
Four kids ranging in age from 11 to ……well, let’s just tackle this right now. My oldest son Brady, died in 2014 at the age of 22. Much of who I am, is shaped by that event. So, how about I say, I have four kids: Patrick 11, Evan 14, Kelli 22, and Brady is timeless. I love them all, with all I have to give.
One crazy dog — probably a topic for another day.
Born, raised, and remain in San Diego, California….no, I have never surfed.
I knew a traditional university was not my path, so after high school, I studied photography at Brooks Institute. Left before graduation, believing I would accelerate my learning, by jumping in and doing it….in retrospect, just jumping in and doing it, has been repeated often in my professional career(s)! I spent about four years assisting photographers in San Diego, architectural, and commercial studio mostly. After a few years though, the magic of a white piece of paper turning into an image after being immersed in fluid was gone, and “the business” of photography was left–I was ready for a change.
Perhaps not change, but a proverbial, pivot. It was the late 80’s and I was falling in love with computers. So my next business venture, was producing and staging multi-media presentations. For you millennials, before there was instant digital images, there were transparency slides, reel to reel audio decks, and large format video. I spent a lot of time making “Candid shows”, local theme shows and fancy powerpoints for corporate events. Eventually, that meant a lot of travel–I was ready for a change.
Those computers were really fun, and connecting them together was interesting. So, in the early 90’s I took a few classes, took a few tests, and voilà, I was a CNE, ready to build and maintain computer networks for small organizations. I kept that up for another four year stint, but those computers and networks needed attention; attention that was pulling me away from the early years of my first two kids–I was ready for a change.
What if I could make a living, WHILE I was raising my kids. Data On Call was born, with the hope that all these computer servers, would be making money, while I was being a Dad. Of course that dream of automation, came with a lot of late nights, and hard work. DOC’s value prop, was to allow small businesses to disseminate information with all the latest technology. This was 1995, so websites, email, and yes faxing, lead the way. We ultimately followed the growth, which was centered on the power of connecting traditional faxing, to the Internet. This time, I had help. Family investors, friends turned colleagues, friends turned owners, and employees. It was a “real” company…complete with headaches. This time, change found me, rather than me needing change.
In 2005, j2 Global came knocking on the door, and asked if we’d like to sell the company. A few months later, the deal was done. I’m proud to say much of what we built, including some of the team, remain at j2. Myself, I was going to leave to unknown new beginnings, but a few months into the transition, I found myself on the j2 executive team. I held roles in product and corporate development, and spent a lot of team vetting, and integrating acquisitions large and small. We built the company from ~$100M in revenue, to over $500M within my eight years there. It was a good run, but I realized I prefer small companies–I was ready for a change.
In 2013, I left again without a plan for the future. I spent the next couple years immersing myself in the Angel Investment world. I’ve helped a dozen or so startup companies with my cash, and my time. I really enjoy that world, but it was missing some key components I need in my professional life–control, and immediate results. So my money is still working with those companies, but my time is not.
Early in 2014, I was ready to start The Office Stuff, but a week later, it was derailed. My well being became my only job after Brady died–I hope to embrace that job forever, regardless of what else I do. But now, The Office Stuff is off the ground. Just getting started, but looking forward to helping the self employed be successful.
So that’s (a part of) me. I’ve never had a resume, so it was a fun look back!
PS. Likely the last time I will post a picture of myself!!!