"Serendipity." That's how info2knowledge founder and CEO Todd Sherron says he came to start the business. Coming from an entrepreneurial family, with his father and two brothers owning their own businesses, Todd was raised with the ideal of working for himself.
"I was always told, 'As soon as you can, Todd, get on your own,'" he said. But "getting on his own" took years of education and hard work. The seeds of the company were sown while Todd was earning a masters degree. He took classes in statistics and quality management and got hooked.
Todd continued his education and was invited to be a member of a research team funded by the National Science Foundation and a consortium of executives put together by CEOs of companies including Xerox and Procter and Gamble. This opportunity provided a bird's eye view of 11 companies in varying industries over a five-year period. Todd focused on leadership issues, with the goal of providing practical applications for organizations that engage in quality practicesa goal that gave birth to several of the services now provided by info2knowledge.
Todd's PhD also provided several invaluable tools used in the creation of i2k. One of his classes focused on entrepreneurship, and Todd used the opportunity to create the business plan for i2k and get important feedback and guidance at that early stage. In the course of researching his dissertation, Todd formed a relationship with the company that would become his first client: TXU.
In the early days of business, Todd was a one-man company, working at a university to pay the bills and running i2k on the side. His initial efforts included attending conferences, trade shows, and seminars to pitch his idea to potential customers.
"I heard 'No' so many times I thought that was my first name," Todd laughs, recalling the response of some conference and trade show attendees. Saying he tried to hear k-n-o-w instead of n-o, Todd focussed on educating himself even further regarding what would benefit his potential clients. And soon, in addition to the no's, Todd also began to hear "yes" from some important places.
As the business took off, Todd began to consider running info2knowledge full time and focusing on growing the company. It was at this time that Todd was training for his first marathon, and he used the training runs for thinking time. During a 12-mile run, it hit him that now is the time. Three weeks later, he'd quit his job at the university, packed up, and moved to Austin.
Thus began what is now known as info2knowledge.