Joe stump on How Leadership Ambition Becomes Longer-Term Focused

In Chapter 8 of 17 in his 2011 Capture Your Flag interview, Internet entrepreneur and SimpleGeo CTO Joe Stump shares how his ambition has shifted from shorter to longer term focus as he has built his company. In his 2009 Capture Your Flag interview, Stump noted his preference for short-term sprint projects. Since, as an entrepreneur building a company, Stump learns the startup journey is filled with consecutive challenges that build upon one another. As a result, Stump adapts both his personal and professional approach to think longer term. Stump is the co-founder and CTO at SimpleGeo (, a San Francisco-based mobile location infrastructure services company. Previously Stump was Lead Architect at Digg. He programs in PHP, Python, Django and enjoys scaling websites. He earned a BBA in Computer Information Systems from Eastern Michigan University.


Erik Michielsen:  How has your passion for doing sort term sprint projects played out as you’ve built your own company.

Joe Stump: The thing that has really changed and that has surprised me is when I first started SimpleGeo, I was like, “Well, I’m going to come here.  I’m an early stage guy.  I probably won’t fit in very well once we raise like a big round and decide to go big and what not.”  So, the thing that has surprised me is that as I’ve gotten further into it and as we get closer to what I thought would be the end game, is that there is a whole new set of challenges and it basically rolls and comes in phases.

Where as in the me from two years ago that just started SimpleGeo would probably say, “By the series B, that will probably my clean exit point.”  And now we’re getting real close to probably raising a series B and potentially over the next six months.  And if that does happen I want to stay another year because I have a whole new set of goals.  And it’s uh… where as in I think before my normal thing would be to come in, fix the stuff and work the things I wanted to and once I kind of hit that finish line, look for something else and move on.  

Now, quite frankly, you know I started it, my name is attached to it in a fairly significant way, I have a pretty large, obviously, equity stake in the company and so it’s constantly changing.  SimpleGeo is completely a different company in every way, shape and form than it was six months ago and it’s going to be, again, a completely different company six months from now.  So, it’s kept me engaged in a way that I probably wasn’t expecting.