The Rest of the Story

Chicke Fitzgerald shares the story behind the story of the other influencers mentioned in the book.

Startup Nation - Saul Singer and Dan Senor

Startup Nation

When I was writing The Game Changer and had decided to have the CEO of “The Company” be an Israeli man, a friend of mine from Israel suggested that I should read Startup Nation.  He shared with me incredible statistics from the book about the number of successful startups build by entrepreneurs from Israel and that per capita there are more IPOs from these companies versus their peers.  I was fascinated and decided to use the book as a backdrop for Avi and Amanda’s discussion of the IPO and how they would position it.  I haven’t interviewed the authors, Saul Singer and Dan Senor, but I would love to one day!

My Decade with Diana: The Perpetual Power of the People's Princess - Maureen Daly

My Decade with Diana

In crafting the story of Catherine, I wanted her to be able to achieve not only her goal of climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, but also to get her MBA.  Since the story is set in Tampa, it made sense for it to be at Tampa University.

Also, since her husband needed to do some high power networking, having him join the Lifework Leadership program also fit.  When I went through Lifework Leadership, it was held at the campus of Tampa University.

One of the first sessions that I attended was with Maureen, who wrote this book.  She told the fascinating story of the dresses and how she came to own them just before Diana’s death.

Her personal story is compelling and she and I have become good friends in the ensuing years.  To wrap it all together, I thought that having Catherine be a fan of the royals also made sense.

Since Maureen’s name is now on the School of Business, it was the perfect bow on the story to have her be friends with Amanda, Catherine’s mentor, who asks her friend to see if they will accommodate the timing of Catherine’s climb in the Executive MBA program.

Jace Everett - Wrote and Performed Bad Things, the theme song of HBO's True Blood

Jace Everett

When I tried to figure out how to knit together Jonathan and Tim and later, Jake.  The show True Blood was the tie and since Jace Everett wrote the theme song, Bad Things, it was a great way to put it all together.

When Jace was in middle school, I gave him his first guitar, my beloved 12-string.  I had never been very good and he loved music, so it was the perfect gift.   His mom and dad are dear friends of mine.

Jace is a supremely talented musician and I hope that through this book, a few more people will discover his genius.   Oh and Jace, I have forgiven you for losing my guitar…..

Multiplica - The Design Firm

Multiplica
Multiplica team

As an entrepreneur, one of the things that you never forget are those that took that leap of faith to believe in your vision and be there to help.

Multiplica was one of those companies.

Nicolas Visiers Würth and Anne Marie Dono invested time to help articulate our vision and they helped us immensely by creating the design for our self-service portal for our initial product.  It took us awhile, but we finally released the first version of that portal in June of 2016.

Nicolas has continued to provide advice and encouragement and in the story narrative was one of the team that celebrated the Company’s success at the IPO.

Thanks to both Nicolas and Anne Marie and to your very talented team. Thanks for agreeing to be our Digital Marketing Partner the next leg of our journey.

4th Source - The Development Firm

Joe Aschenbrenner

When I finished the book, it took awhile to realize that I didn’t have an executive in charge of product development.

In real life the absence of that person can be a bit more stark.  When I first wrote the book, I had been told many times that I needed to find a technical co-founder and each time I was frustrated, as it was very difficult to find everything that we need in a single individual.

When we were ready to begin development on our first generation product, I checked around with a number of other entrepreneurs in the Tampa area, secretly hoping to find someone interested in becoming my co-founder.

I found a company that I wanted to interview and when I was preparing for the meeting, it occurred to me that I should learn something about the executive team.  Staring back at me from their website, was my neighbor Joe. We had lived next to each other for at least a decade, and I never knew what he did.

His company had all of the skills that we needed and Joe believed in what we were trying to accomplish.  So it seemed only fitting to have him as a character in The Game Changer, as our Acting CIO/CTO and the one who would one day help us hire that key person once we were ready.

While we have since found our technical co-founder, I still want to thank Joe for his belief in us.  And to Bruce, Memo, Paris and the rest of the team, including our all-girl band that worked on our last project, thank you!

Chicke's Story and an Introduction to 4thSource

The Board and the Advisory Board

One of the most important parts of a team are the advisors.  They may hold different titles — acting this and interim that, or chairman or board member or if you are fortunate — investor.  But nevertheless, they are essential.  This is because in the early stages of a company’s formation, while you need absolutely every key executive perspective represented, often you can’t afford it.

So you tell your story to people that you admire and hope beyond hope that they will be willing to exchange some of their valuable time for equity or perhaps even for deferred compensation.

I am fortunate to have a team of board members and advisors that have gone over and beyond to get the company where it is today and to give me courage to reach the summit, which I can see in my mind’s eye.  The Game Changer is the culmination of that dream and hopefully a prophetic view into the future.

Thank you to Peter, Olivier, Jody, John, Caryn, Flo, Chris and Roxy.

The Survivor - Mike Smith

I promised to tell the story of the Survivor, from the integrated planning workshop in The Game Changer.  Over the course of the past decade, my consulting firm has done more than a dozen of the RapidStrategy™ three-day workshops.  This was where you were introduced to the Survivor by the Facilitator in The Game Changer, in one of those workshops.

Mike Smith is that guy.  He was always there for me and while everyone else went up to their rooms at night, he worked through the night to document what transpired during the day in our work sessions.  He was [almost always!] cheerful and cranked out an enormous amount of work.  I looked good in how we were able to synthesize what had happened in those sessions because of Mike.

A few years ago Mike was diagnosed with cancer.  I am glad to say that Mike is indeed a survivor of more than just those workshops and the all-nighters that he pulled to make them successful.  While he hasn’t been involved in my present tech venture, I wanted him to have a cameo appearance in the book as an extra bit of thanks for all that he has done for Solutionz.   It is that reputation that has provided the foundation for transitioning from a consultancy to a technology company.  He and his wife Connie, who was also one of the amazing supporters of my first technology venture, live in Colorado.  Thanks.

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