Who is Connor? The Quick Story (Jan 2021)

January 20, 2021
Connor portrait in desert
Here's a picture of me in the middle of the Las Vegas desert for a team photo shoot.

Hey there! As I begin this journey of sharing my experiences, I thought I'd give you a little backstory to set the stage and help you understand why I'm so passionate about what I do.

It's January 2021, and I'm living just outside the vibrant city of Las Vegas in a house with 6 other guys in the startup space. I wear two hats – a Business Development/Marketing Advisor at PaySplit, a startup, and a Product Lead at Convesio, a rapidly growing WordPress Hosting startup. I've been lucky to work with amazing people and embark on incredible adventures, but let me rewind and take you to where it all began.

My journey started right smack in the heart of the United States. I grew up in Overland Park, Kansas, also known as OP. School wasn't my favorite place back then. As I've grown older, I see both sides of the education debate. At the time, I wasn't interested in the assignments teachers handed out; I had my own interests to pursue.

Around the age of 16-17, my baseball career came to an end due to persistent arm injuries. It was a tough time for me; I felt lost without baseball, and school wasn't offering much solace. So, I began exploring Digital Marketing – building websites with WordPress, running Google/FB ads, and diving into SEO. By my junior and senior years of high school, I ran my own digital marketing agency while helping another agency with paid ads. It boosted my confidence, and I felt empowered knowing I could make money online. I'd often say, "Well, if all else fails, we can start another agency."

When the time came to choose a college, I was on a mission to find an excuse to move to San Francisco and pursue other endeavors. My parents weren't exactly thrilled with the idea of me moving to SF and seeking tech jobs.

Because of my experience with various software products as a digital marketer and the guidance from a mentor who'd worked in Silicon Valley, I was determined to be part of the startup world, building cool products and meeting interesting people. That's when I discovered coding bootcamps, specifically MakeSchool.

In August 2018, I moved to San Francisco to kickstart my journey at MakeSchool and dive into software development. During my first 6 months in SF, I shared a small room with a roommate in the Tenderloin neighborhood, which was quite an eye-opening experience for a suburban kid like me. The Tenderloin neighborhood is notorious for being a "sketchy" area in San Francisco. I encountered more homeless people in one block than I'd ever seen before. But strangely, I grew to appreciate this gritty part of the adventure.

connor at first apartment
My little place in the Tenderloin Neighborhood in SF.

Within about 8 months of moving to SF, I met the CEO of Convesio. I joined the startup full-time as a software engineer. Those in-between months were a whirlwind of coding marathons, happy hours, meetups, networking events, and forming friendships during those all-night coding sessions.

The first 8-12 months as a full-time professional were no cakewalk. Transitioning from being a student to a professional brought its own set of challenges, including imposter syndrome and the stress of making mistakes. Finding my groove and confidence took time, but once I did, the stress eased, my confidence soared, and I started enjoying the ride. Lesson learned: changing your environment and taking breaks are crucial for mental well-being.

Almost two years into my journey at Convesio, I got promoted to Product Lead – a goal I had in mind, but I thought it might take until I was 24-25, not 21. This proves you can achieve almost anything with a plan, a starting point, and a strong work ethic.

My life has been quite nomadic since going full-time at Convesio about 2 years ago. I've moved three times in my two years in SF, going from the sketchiest neighborhood to one of the nicest areas. Beyond SF, I spent time in Asia, Europe, LA, and Las Vegas, where I am now. My remote job allows me this freedom and keeps me motivated and energized.

Drink by the ocean
Drinking some local wine on the island of Corfu in Greece. What a great view!

Outside of Convesio, I've worked on numerous passion projects and helped small to medium-sized businesses with their websites and marketing. About 6 months ago, I joined PaySplit as a business development and marketing advisor, which eventually led me to the PaySplit house in Vegas, where I am now.

Professionally, I took some risks by not taking the traditional education route, but it's safe to say it paid off. While I never saw myself as a lifelong software engineer, I do love coding and building things. My real passion lies in the product and business side of the tech world.

So, that's the story of how I got to where I am today. There are countless more details, stories, and incredible people I haven't mentioned here, but I'll be sharing them in future content. If you're still reading, thank you for sticking with me. Your interest means the world.

As a parting thought, I often reflect on the goals I set in high school, which people thought were crazy. Things like working at a tech startup, getting into a management/product role, moving to SF – all those dreams have come true. It's proof that you can turn your dreams into reality with vision, curiosity, and a strong work ethic.