Rob is a 20-year tech industry veteran, software developer, startup founder, investor and entrepreneur – and the creator of Innovating with AI.
Rob’s story starts at age 12 – when he learned to code and built his first HTML websites. A few years later, his first online business was featured in Entertainment Weekly, and he was off to the races in a career that combined tech and entrepreneurship with journalism, public communications and a unique approach to building companies that make their customers and employees proud.
Rob founded a 1-million-user cloud storage startup that was acquired in 2009, and since then he’s built, acquired and invested in a range of tech startups, including acquisitions of MasterWP and Understrap and the launch of EveryAlt, BusinessEnglish.ai and Inbox Autopilot, three AI-powered software-as-a-service platforms.
Rob is the CEO of HDC, a web development firm that has served brands including Harvard University, MIT, The World Bank, and Marriott. His software powers more than 100,000 websites, including sites for Intel, Facebook and The Oscars.
Dartmouth College School of Engineering
Harvard Business School Entrepreneurship & Innovation
Syracuse University School of Public Communications
IBM Certified Machine Learning Professional
Google Certified Data Analytics Professional
On a personal note…
These days, it’s easy to fall prey to the mantra of the Endless Hustle. Yes – it’s important to work hard, push yourself out of your comfort zone and have serious goals.
But it’s even more important to have a solid reason why you’re doing all that work. Is it to keep up with the Joneses or the Instagram stars? Or is there deeper meaning to what you’re doing?
For me, that deeper meaning takes the form of ensuring that my team, my students and I can devote more time to family, health and relationships. That’s why everybody at my company has the freedom and flexibility to take off at 11 a.m. on a Tuesday – they don’t have to ask for permission. It’s just built in to our rules.
For my part, success means going all-in on being the most caring, most present, and most honorable husband and father that I can be.
Rather than allow the success of my business to suck me into more and more work, I very intentionally parlay that success into more time with my family.
I know it’s a cliche to say “you only live once.”
But how many nights, weekends, bedtimes and school days should we sacrifice at the altar of work?
When we look back, which are we more likely to regret: turning down a project, or missing those special family moments?
This philosophy applies to pretty much every area of life: I am not my job.
Instead, I am defined by how many people I can help with the resources I’ve accumulated from having a successful tech career.
One of those resources is time – so I can give my son 100x more love and attention than my dad was able to give me.
So I can be a true teacher and mentor to him and his friends, never trading precious family time to burn the midnight oil at work. Work comes and goes, but kids are only kids for a very limited time.
To paraphrase some ancient wisdom: “It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken adults.”
And to my surprise, I’ve discovered that teaching – helping tens of thousands of people achieve comfort and freedom – has been even more fulfilling than the tech consulting that filled the first chapter of my career.
Here’s what I found: teaching, sharing and raising up the people around me was even better than the fleeting pride that comes with the Endless Hustle.
Real growth and happiness come from helping others – and business success is just a path to helping as many people as possible.
For me, the second act of my career wasn’t about tripling my productivity – or about escaping the grind to a tropical island. It was about teaching and sharing, so that as many people as possible could benefit from the good luck that got me to where I am today.