Entrepreneur in residence, DeveloperTown
Frank Dale has spent most of his career in the entrepreneurial world. Happily.
“If I look at the last three to four places I’ve worked,” he said, “it’s been in industries that didn’t exist 10 years before I showed up.”
Dale, who grew up in Westfield, earned his bachelor’s degree and master of arts from Valparaiso University (where he studied ethics) and an MBA from Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business.
After college, he took a one-year job in which he traveled the country teaching values and leadership skills to college kids. Among the lessons he learned was the need to develop broadly applicable skills to give himself options, rather than choosing a specific industry in which to work.
From there, Dale “fell” into software when someone he met while working at a leadership conference offered him a job with a Seattle-based startup called WhatCounts, which provides e-mail and blogging solutions for businesses. “I thought it would be great to learn from the ground up how someone builds a business,” he said.
He moved back to Indiana in 2007, did some consulting work, then joined Compendium, the Indianapolis-based content-marketing company, as vice president of operations at the end of 2009. After becoming president in February 2011, he helped drive Compendium’s client-renewal rate to better than 80 percent.
In January, a new opportunity came along with DeveloperTown, which helps startups get their products to market quicker. Now he’s focused on running and coaching the companies in which his new employer has a significant investment stake.
“I like solving challenging problems,” he said. “So I’ll look at where the gaps are, what I need to learn, then I try to find opportunities that give me a chance to stretch.”
He likes to stretch outside work, too: He and a friend are planning a trip to climb Mount Kilimanjaro later this year.•