What inspired you to become an entrepreneur?
When I was 19, I got a track scholarship to Cal Poly. I had a great record and a promising future. But over Thanksgiving, I played a pickup football game and messed up my knee pretty badly. I lost my scholarship and had to decide what to do without sports.
I could’ve stayed in school, but I realized I didn’t want to be there if I couldn’t do track. But most jobs required a college degree. So I got into door-to-door sales for companies like AT&T and Comcast. It was a wonderful opportunity to get myself out there and see what my options were. From there, I jumped into credit card processing and started my own business. I’ve been at it for 22 years since.
What motto do you live by?
My motto is burn the ships, win or die trying. I have it tattooed on my stomach. It comes from a story about when Hernán Cortés and his men first landed to conquer the Aztec empire. Supposedly, Cortés burned his own ships so that his men couldn’t retreat. They couldn’t give up. It was either win or die. That mentality has kept me going over the years.
What accomplishments are you most proud of?
I’m tough on myself, so it’s hard for me to evaluate our work honestly. But when I really look at it, only three companies in the world can do what we’re doing. That took a lot of effort and a lot of capital. We’ve done it with less than $21M, but the next lowest raise for a company similar to us took $180M. I think it aged me by 25 years, but we got here with a lot less than others have. That’s something I’m very proud of.