Honorable Heathen

The thoughts, ideas and perhaps even wisdom of Hal Halladay

Friday, October 07, 2005

I am Hal Halladay.

I am currently CEO and a founder of Know More Media, an online media company that publishes unique online content in vertical business-to-business markets. I also publish a blog on leadership principles called Leadernotes.com.

While my career started on Wall Street, I have been an executive or investor in several start-ups for the past several years. Technology and the Internet have been my fascination from a business standpoint. I love working in places where the answer isn't clear and the path not specifically drawn and where there is an opportunity to grow personally. After surviving the tech slide of 2000, I thought I would see what life was like in a small, industrial company. This experience convinced me that I missed the volatility (and tremendous upside) of leading a technology company.

I found my way back to working in technology with the help of Tim Stay, with whom I had worked to build freeservers.com into a top player in the web hosting industry. Freeservers became North Sky, Inc and from 1998 to 2000, I was President and CEO of this Internet community that grew to become a top 50 web property. We were eventually acquired by About, Inc. Tim is also a founder of Know More Media, a great entrepreneur and a trusted business partner.

I spent some time as a founding partner at venture capital firms Aspen Grove Capital and BizCradle, LLC. These were short–lived experiences due to detoriating market conditions in 2000-2001 but valuable nevertheless.

Prior to NorthSky, I was CFO and a Director at Inari, Inc., a provider of home networking products that utilized power line transmission of digital signals (eventually acquired by Thomson). It was pioneering technology that had been initially developed by Novell. I think we were too early and definitely undercapitalized to be a part of the current growing market of digital transmission such as broadband over power lines.

As noted, I started my career as an investment banker. It was an extremely valuable experience but after seven years I wanted to see a business up close - not from 30,000 feet and not as an agent but as a stakeholder. It was a difficult decision but I have no regrets. I worked desperatley hard but happily for Furman Selz in San Francisco, Paine Webber in Los Angeles and Kidder Peabody in New York where I started in 1990, coincidently the same day Iraq invaded Kuwait and stopped the market dead.

Through all these experiences, I have met many wonderful people. This has been the most meaningful aspect of my career. I have also developed expertise in building value in companies and have had plenty of experience raising capital and in advising middle-market buyers and sellers. I received an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago and a B.A. from the University of Utah.


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