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Hub & Spoke

Lee Sult, General Manger of Corvid Cyberdefense

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A Quick Overview

Coming from a family comprised of half law enforcement and half entrepreneurs, Lee has been two things throughout his career.  

  1. An investigator and a formally trained investigator at that – allowing him to take problems and break them down into their different pieces.  
  2. An entrepreneur – with several small businesses, and learning how to navigate both failures and success throughout those lessons 

One of Lee’s crowning achievements in his career took him over to Singapore where he co-founded and ran a cybersecurity company called “Horangi.” Like many, Lee’s plans were disrupted by COVID and he moved back to the United States to be near his wife and stepped away from day-to-day operations at Horangi. Back in the US, Lee took on coaching small businesses as a virtual start-up advisor. Most recently, Lee joined Corvid Cybersecurity as their general manager. Corvid is a US defense contractor, solving the Department of Defense’s hardest problems.   

Lee’s career thus far has taught him many things, most notably: being your authentic self is what will get you far. Being honest about what you’re good at and what you may lack is the kind of transparency that’s appreciated in any work environment. Similarly, for budding entrepreneurs and start-ups, Lee follows the Jim Collins line of thinking: “you can only grow your company, as fast as you can find good people.” Surround yourself with good people and you will grow with them. 

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Article Hub & Spoke

A Swimmer & A Football Player Walk into the Hurt Hub

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Davidson really taught me how to look at any problem and come up with a solution. It’s made me versatile if anything else.

A Quick Overview

Many people think they know exactly what they’re meant to do right out of college. Through his time on the football team, keeping him on track for academic success, Chris Trinetti graduated from Davidson in 2014 with a major in economics. Chris had his eye on investment banking, so he went for it. After a bit of time in the field, Chris became interested in technology and a more “people-facing role.” Chris moved to Chicago where he got involved with the cloud technology space. After, Chris branched out on his own and moved in consulting and advising different types of organizations, from start-ups to nonprofits. 

When asked about advice for Davidson students after college, Chris hesitates, “I’m not ready for this question yet,” he claims. Even so, Chris recommends self-awareness and taking stock of who you are and what you’re really good at. As someone who initially followed the expected career path, and not necessarily the career path he truly wanted, taking that big step back can be difficult, but as seen through Chris, is doable. Ask yourself the big questions now and check in with who you really are and where your values lie. 

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Article Discussion Startup

Aniyia Williams on Human Connections & Leading a Startup

Just a few of Aniyia’s accomplishments: 

Want to learn more? Just take a look at her website.

In her discussion, Aniyia Williams laid out the three steps it takes to create a start-up, assuming “you’re doing this the scrappy way and with modest resources.” We’ve laid out the core of what we heard and learned from Aniyia.

Part 1: Gather People & Gather Info

“Honestly, the biggest barrier to starting a company is you.”

  • To start a company, you have to be trying to solve a problem. In Aniyia’s words “you should be solving a problem for a community you’re from or have meaningful access to.” this is extremely important. The only way for you to come up with an effective solution means you need to completely and deeply understand the community and who you’ll eventually be selling to. 
  • Decide your end goal, so you can be running the business that you want to in five or ten or fifteen years. Dig deep into your personal uniqueness and what you bring to the table to solve the problem you have identified.

Part 2: Prototype and Monetize 

“What is the basic bare-bones thing that you can sell and you can make money from today?”

  • Make a prediction about what the solution might look like – build the bare bones of what that would look like. Build that prototype and deliver on the product you’re promising your customer.  
  • Pulling from Tara Reed, owner of Apps Without Code, Aniyia asks herself these questions: 
    • Does anyone want this? 
    • Will they pay you money for it? 
    • Why are they paying you money? 

Part 3: Listen and Iterate (& Pivot If Needed)

“Iterating never ends.”

  • Strong feedback loops are essential in this stage. To figure out if a product is working, you need the data to see if your product is solving the problem it set out to solve.  
  • “Happiness is actually not having it all. It is letting go of what you don’t need. So get rid of the stuff that’s not working and double down on what does.” 

A Few Other Tips from Aniyia:

  • Don’t Boil the Ocean: Get specific with the problem you’re trying to solve, don’t 
  • Don’t Do It Alone: lean on others, learn from others, and grow with others.   
  • Always Be Learning & Failure is Always an Option: although failure is not ideal, it’s the way to learn and be open to learning always. 

After her keynote address, Aniyia sat down with our very own Carson Crochet ‘22, creator of CAbuddy, for a more in-depth chat. As a student herself, Carson’s questions focused on where to find resources and how to move forward without necessarily having a degree in business. The three things to take away from Carson & Aniyia’s chat:

  • Perfection can cripple you. Aniyia labeled herself a “recovering perfectionist,” but at a certain point, you’ve got to let go and just go for it.  
  • In discussing failure and her relationship to it, an important lesson to learn is not only being ok with hearing no but also realizing that sometimes a ‘no’ is simply a way of saying “I don’t know how to solve that” or “that creates too much work for me.” And if you can solve and work your way around that problem, that ‘no’ can become a yes. 
  • Finally, love and human connection are more important than the money being made or the products being sold. “Humans are born with an inherent need to be loved, and once they learn how, to give love.”
Listen to full the full lecture on our YouTube.
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