Cameron Chell, is a serial entrepreneur who moves from start-up to start-up as fast like a world-class decathlete, which he was. the founder and former Chief Executive Office (CEO) of FutureLink Distribution, one of the first application service providers (ASPs), created an entrepreneurial bent early.
He dropped out of high school after 10th grade to spend more time on a budding personal computer consulting business in Alberta, Canada. Two summers later, he designed an irrigation valve that ran on an FM circuit. Undeterred by manufacturers' lack of interest, he went out and began bidding on irrigation contracts. By the time he was 17, he had major lines of credit with Canadian banks and a firm conviction that each and every product, including software, was a service.
For me, becoming an entrepreneur is about looking at massive opportunities that'll change everything. `When we may do that, how extraordinary would that be?' Chell asks.
After finishing fourth within the Canadian Olympic trials in 1992, Chell worked like a stockbroker and then started seeding high-tech companies - numerous of which were his ideas - locating the board of directors, raising venture capital and taking them public. But a visit to a venture capitalist conference in 1995 convinced him he didn't have the millions required to be on that side with the game.
With $2 million, Chell got back into the start-up game in 1996 with an idea he'd been mulling for some time - a computer utility company that would connect its application software to customers over telephone and cable lines. FutureLink was born, and Chell became a thought leader in the ASP industry and named head of an ASP consortium comprised of leading technology corporations. FutureLink did a reverse takeover of a corporation traded on NASDAQ in 1998 and grew quickly, but Chell currently was antsy.
When everybody knows it could be done and also the larger organizations have adopted the model and are using it, that is when it's time for me to move on, Chell says. To me, the operational stuff isn't the difficult stuff. When points are going really well, that's when I wish to leave. When points are tough and everybody is betting against you, that's when I stay on.