startup builder | communicator | strategist | connector | angel investor | geek
The Whole Story
While studying political science, religion and philosophy at the University of Southern Maine, I authored a thesis on the societal impacts of networked technology. Later that year, I published The Virtual Journal, the world’s first web magazine – and with it, selling the world’s first web advertisements (to Hayes and Mitsubishi).
After that, I served as chief technology advisor to Maine Governor Angus King [now US Senator], helping Maine set an early example of responsive, secure online government. Governor King appointed me to the Highway One Advisory Board, where I served with Senate and Congressional leaders to address issues ranging from broadband access to cybersecurity.
I co-founded Pop!Tech, the world’s preeminent conference about the intersection of technology and culture, and was president of the conference for three years.
I started BrainPaste.com, the company that invented dynamic customer acquisition. Industry guru Don Tapscott said BrainPaste posed “a new challenge to the old order” and USA Today said it “uncorks an idea that can never be put back in the bottle.” This once-radical e-commerce method now facilitates billions of dollars in online commerce each year. BrainPaste was acquired by Internet entertainment network R3Media, and I became their chief communications officer.
A year later, I teamed up with PR pros and started fama PR, a Boston-based communications agency. Over four years, we built the agency into one of the leading independent PR firms in the US. I departed fama PR in 2006, embarked on a year-long globe-wandering sabbatical, and then relocated to coastal Los Angeles, where I consulted for organizations on strategy, communications, and business development.
I served on the Grassroots Finance Committee of Obama for America. This was my third engagement with a major political campaign, having worked for Bill Clinton as his state student coordinator, and on Angus King’s successful bid to become the nation’s only independent Governor.
I helped launch EdgeCast Networks and was its VP of Communications and Marketing until the company was acquired by Verizon for $400M in 2013. Prior to Verizon’s acquisition, we carried almost ten percent of the world’s Internet traffic and our 5,000 customers included many of the world’s busiest sites, such as Twitter, Tumblr, Yahoo, Wordpress, Etsy, Pinterest, and Disney-ABC.
Following Verizon’s acquisition of EdgeCast, I became chief evangelist and VP communications of Verizon’s digital unit, a position I held until I left Verizon in 2015.
I’m an active angel investor, with investments in companies including HER, Roomi, Clearbit, hiku, Plum, Scout, Sellbrite, and Barricade (recently acquired by Sophos).
Over the years, I have consulted for hundreds of corporations, elected officials, non-profits, and law enforcement agencies on issues ranging from communications to cybersecurity to drug policy.
From 2016 – 2018, I was founding partner of Proverbial, a strategic consultancy with expertise in communications, public affairs, strategic partnerships, and helping companies access smart, well-connected risk capital.
I am co-founder and CEO of Acquicent, a financial technology company in Los Angeles.
I am also a frequent commentator on American culture, regularly pontificating in and contributing to media outlets including The Huffington Post, Money, Consumerist, the New York Times, Investor’s Business Daily, the Wall Street Journal, and WIRED.
Last but not least, I am an occasional photographer. My photography has earned more than 100 print credits ranging from TIME and the Wall Street Journal to niche fashion magazines you’ve never heard of.
I live in Venice, California.