Do the crazy thing

About

I develop teams that bring new products to market.

 

In 2013 I cofounded a technology company to transform the commercial real estate industry. In 2016 we merged with our largest competitor to accelerate our shared vision.

We've raised over a hundred million dollars and employ 200 of the most interesting people I know.

Crain's New York named our young company one of the "Best Places to Work" in 2015.

I moved from Seattle to NYC in 2014. My cofounders and I shared an apartment in Little Italy at 147 Mulberry Street. We had no customers, no employees, and no office. We had no idea how quickly that would all change. 

Boarding my flight to NYC, I was radioactive enough to set off dirty bomb detectors. I had to carry a note telling Homeland Security I wasn't a terrorist.

I got divorced in 2013.  

I was also diagnosed with cancer in 2013. It was a tough year. 

I studied customer development with Steve Blank in 2012. That changed my life.

In 2011 I started an innovation consultancy with one of my best friends. We worked with Nordstrom Labs and the Microsoft Garage to launch products and innovation practices. We were very good at this. 

In 2010 I set a goal to own 300 things or fewer. I got close, but it turned out harder than I expected.

My writing went viral, eliciting the praise and scorn of the internet. The most surreal moment was going to Linkedin and seeing something I wrote as "trending on the web".

I teamed up with a few friends to create the first “live” party in Turntable.fm. That was a big deal for a few weeks.

In 2010 I brought some of the first Startup Weekend events to the Middle East and Central America. This is the most rewarding work I’ve ever done.

I dropped out of the University of Washington twice. Once as an undergraduate Art Major. The second time as a master’s candidate in HCI.

I hit 47 miles per hour on a bicycle with a bee in my spandex. I didn't know about the bee until the bottom of the hill.

In 2007 I joined Redfin to scale their real estate sales operations. I was laid off during the 2008 recession. 

I got married in the town of Ganges on Salt Spring Island, a small haven off the coast of British Columbia. 

In 2005 I bought a motorcycle and crashed it – three times. I got good at fixing motorcycles.

I delivered pizzas for about nine months and thought it was a great job.

In 2003 I opened a music production studio and arts space in Seattle, where I got to work with incredibly talented people. Many went on to find great success, including wins at the Oscars and Grammys. 

I studied music production in college and promoted hip hop shows.

In 1999 I snowboarded off a cliff at high speed (on purpose) and hit a tree before I hit the ground (not on purpose). I actually hit several trees and tore my MCL. I spent the next few months in pain, on crutches, and smoking lots of pot.

I didn’t like high school and graduated in three years instead of four.

I wrote songs in math class.

I acted out in elementary school.

In 1984 I went to Disneyland for my birthday. They were celebrating Donald Duck's 50th anniversary with "Happy Birthday, Donald!" parades. I thought these parades were for me.

I was born on June 11th 1982, on Capitol Hill in Seattle WA.

 

Writing, Talks, and Interviews

 

The one investment most startup founders don't make early enough

Fast Company, April 4th 2017

 

Donald DeSantis on discovering what you want

Entrepreneur Takeover, June 20th 2015

 

Donald DeSantis on the absolute power of product market fit

Growth Hacking Podcast, June 11th 2015

 

Designing your career path

Design Driven NYC, April 17th 2015

 

How I fought through cancer to launch my startup

Inc, February 5th 2015

 

Thoughts on turning 30 in the tech biz

Geekwire, June 11th 2012

 

What startups can learn from a crime boss

New York Times, January 17th 2012

 

Everything I need to know about startups, I learned from a crime boss

GigaOm, January 7th 2012

 

What being hopelessly single taught me about pitching tech celebs

Geekwire, November 6th 2011