a digital entrepreneur and aspiring polymath
Hi, I’m Brian David Crane. It’s nice to e-meet you.
Since you’re here, you’re probably wondering about me in a business context. This is my “hero’s journey” in a nutshell:
I was raised in a small southern town at the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, and I got an early start as an entrepreneur. My first business, Brian's Windridge Lawn Care, was launched with “a rake, a mower, and a dream” as a friend of mine put it after my dad showed up with a riding lawn mower in the back of the family minivan – instead of the yellow mountain bike that I craved.
It was a valuable lesson: Give a man a fish, and he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he eats for a lifetime.
At 16, tired of applying aloe to sunburns, I stopped cutting grass and started recycling old printer cartridges and cell phones when I co-founded Cash4Cartridges USA. While at the University of Tennessee, I grew the company to help pay my way through school, and sold it shortly after returning from living and studying abroad for a year in Argentina - one of the most adventurous, best years of my life.
Flush with cash and early success under my belt, I made some really foolish investment decisions that put me within spittin’ distance of bankruptcy.
After this experience, I moved to Silicon Valley to be part of the original leadership team at Inflection. Thanks to several amazing mentors, I learned how to build and profitably scale web properties. To date, I’ve helped launch a handful of multimillion-dollar digital brands, including Archives.com, which was bought by Ancestry.com for $100 million, just three years after its launch.
While at Inflection, I created a side hustle: Spread Great Ideas, through which I began investing in digital brands and projects that advance causes which are near and dear to my heart i.e. liberty, civil rights, philosophy, and personal sovereignty. To this day, our team at Spread Great Ideas helps those brands profitably reach a larger audience.
I also created a software company, CallerSmart, which helps our users with unknown or wanted calls and texts. Dubbed "turnt up caller ID" by BuzzFeed, CallerSmart users compete amongst one another to keep over 600 million U.S. phone book listings accurate and up to date for everyone. As the founder, I’ve written for Inc., Forbes, Yahoo's "Small Business Advisor" section, and elsewhere online about how to successfully build and run distributed teams – as well as some of the hidden downsides of being a digital nomad.
Personally, I travel slowly with several of my close friends and work from different parts of the world, changing locations every few months. Recently I’ve been spending six months of the year at my home and office in Bali, three months in Europe, and three months in the U.S. This started after I sold most of my possessions – except for my Piaggio (Italian for macho scooter) and my beloved treadmill desk – to pursue a more holistic lifestyle.
I consider myself an "aspiring polymath," i.e., someone who desires to be deep in multiple disciplines. I’m an avid reader and a student of the habits and tools of the world's top performers. And I love to connect and collaborate with talented people all over the globe.
P.S. Why go by “BDC”? Because if you put the “a” before the “i” in Brian, you get “Brain,” which rhymes with Crane. It happened in school. All. The. Time. So I started going by my full name as a sort of mental speed bump – only to then have that get shortened!
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