Recently, Daxko CEO, Dave Gray, spoke with David Lamb on his Blueprint Podcast. In each episode of the podcast, Lamb speaks with business leaders in and around Birmingham to bring listeners local success stories.
When asked about how he got into start-ups, Dave talks about his early career in Chicago and then in Atlanta, working for a Silicon Valley-based company. He talks about tough times weathering the Dotcom crash and then soon after, being acquired. Gray says that even though all those times were rough, he decided that he always wanted to stay involved with growth-oriented companies.
“I decided that I never want to work for a ‘normal’ company again,” says Gray.
He goes on to explain what appealed and still appeals to him about that atmosphere, “I like the pace and the amount of change that happened. I found that to be intellectually challenging and I found it to be just invigorating and so I thought, ‘I’m going to keep doing early-stage stuff.’ Now I’ve been working in the same place for almost 15 years and I wouldn’t categorize what we’re doing as early stage but it certainly is growth-oriented and change-oriented and I just tend to like that. ”
When asked about his early work experience and what that instilled in him, Gray is quick to go back even further than his professional career. “I worked a full time job in college for the last couple of years I was there and I was working 40-hours a week or more and I was taking a full course load and we were doing a lot of project work and I was playing intramural sports and hanging out with my friends and I think I learned how to manage time…or not sleep much, maybe a combination of the two and so I think some of those early experiences were really more about work ethic.”
“The experience I had with that Silicon Valley startup was really more about product and market positioning. I am an observer and watching…the CEO and the decisions he was making and when the times got rough and listening to his explanations and really taking the blame for why things turned out the way they did. It was an interesting thing to observe a leader going through that….How would I handle that if I was in the same position? Or, How would I try to avoid being in that position in the future? I think those things primed me to be ready to prepare to experience those kinds of things.”
If you’re curious about inception of Daxko or leaders that inspire Gray, those topics and more are covered in the full podcast: