tom

What are your main duties and responsibilities at Testive?

Right now my main responsibilities are (1) setting the vision and (2) raising the money we need to make the vision possible.

What’s your favorite part about working at Testive?

My favorite part is watching people grow and become more than what they were when they started. I’m really lucky because I get to see that in both the staff and the students.

When you’re not working, what do you like to do?

I spend most of my time with my wife Tracy, my two girls Kaya and Laney, and my dog Max. I also spend a good chunk of time advising new entrepreneurs.

What’s your favorite food?

My favorite food is easily chicken nuggets. I can eat 100 chicken nuggets in a sitting. Luckily, chicken is a great lean protein. For our holiday party, my co-worker, Alex, got me a shirt that says “I love chicken nuggets.” You know how when you’re wearing something that you love, people give you compliments about it? Well, I wore the shirt on my way home and five different people told me they liked it.

What’s your favorite movie and why?

My favorite movie is 300. It’s the story of a small group of expertly trained Spartan soldiers defending and out-battling 100,000 attacking meat heads. It’s the perfect example of a small group of dedicated people changing the world. It’s also a great cautionary tale about loyalty. I also love how it doesn’t commit the traditional American faux pas of ruining the story arc right at the last minute. Story-telling, like teaching, depends on coherent arcs, and I love it when arcs are used well.

If you had to choose a song that best summarized your personality what would it be?

My favorite song is “You Are My Sunshine” by Jimmie Davis and Charles Mitchell. My colleagues describe me as a relentless optimist, but I’m not, really. I’m inspired by the love of others. Testive is an amazing team, so what people are actually seeing is reflected glow.

What quote do you try to live your life by?

“T’ain't what you do. It’s the way that you do it.” ~ Jazz musicians Melvin "Sy" Oliver & James "Trummy" Young.

Excellence in all things is what makes great memories. There’s almost nothing that I look back on where I did an okay job that I feel happy about. Pragmatism is such a heavy cross to bear sometimes. Particularly as CEO, I have to NOT do so many things that I love so that I can pull my weight where it really matters.

Are you a cat or a dog person?

I’m a dog person. I don’t understand how people cannot like dogs. They’re basically cuddle machines optimized for love output. People who don’t like dogs really confuse me. (Notably, Miro, my co-founder.)

Mac or PC?

I’m a Mac person. I lived so much of my life without appreciating craft and beauty. Now I’m making up for lost time. I won’t work on a Windows machine under any circumstances. I considered going to Tuck for graduate school, but they got the axe because they require all their students to use ThinkPads.

If you had one piece of advice to give college-bound students, what would it be?

Pick a major that has the fewest, possible requirements and spend your time doing things that you love. I was an engineer in college and I had 32 out of 34 classes spelled out for me. Most of those classes were a complete waste of time. I believe that college is a time for being inspired and discovering who you are. Earning credits toward a major pushes exactly in the wrong direction. Study abroad, fall in love, make some mistakes, create something new. (Hint: none of those things occur in class.)