Crowell: You love building new things. For the past 20 years, you've been in technology leadership positions in the vibrant Silicon Valley. What do you like best about Silicon Valley culture? What do you see as major challenges and opportunities in technology in the days ahead?
Wasson: Silicon Valley is pure magic. You can’t walk into a coffee shop without bumping into someone designing the next Google, Facebook or Uber on the back of a napkin. I love the culture of innovation that celebrates curiosity, empowerment, and the courage to dream big.
One of the biggest challenges facing Silicon Valley is a pervasive belief that success requires unbridled greed, a thirst for power, and winner-take-all aggression. While many leaders fall into that trap, I’ve found the opposite approach to be infinitely more successful. When you make your passion serving others — even in one of the most cutthroat industries on the planet — you’re far more likely to win.
Crowell: A few years ago, you shifted gears and began focusing on using your technology and business expertise full time to help people in need. Where did this passion come from, and how do you hope to accomplish it? What is your BHAG (big hairy audacious goal)?
Wasson: If the goal of your career is to live a comfortable life, you’re missing the entire point (and most of the fun). My driving passion is to follow the example of Christ by investing whatever talents and resources I’ve been given to help others. Chasing happiness any other way is a dead end.
My big hairy audacious goal is to do something that impacts millions of people around the world for good. We live in an era where technology enables unprecedented reach — not just to the rich and well educated, but also to people working hard every day to break the cycle of poverty.
While big dreams are exciting, however, I think it’s equally important to think small. Every day we’re given dozens of opportunities to lift up those around us or to bring them down. Even an incredibly simple act of unexpected kindness to a stranger, friend, or family member can make all the difference. Living that way is just as audacious, and it’s often what God values most.
Crowell: How has your education from the Crowell School of Business and Biola — and your wealth of executive experience — helped you launch your latest endeavor, DreamStart Labs? Talk about Business as Ministry and how this manifests itself in your work.
Wasson: DreamStart Labs is all about using innovative technology to help people in the developing world break the cycle of poverty. Designing products for people in mud huts may feel radically different than serving customers in glass skyscrapers, but the secret to success is the same. It’s about waking up each day thinking about how to make others around you successful. Conventional wisdom says that’s crazy. I say it’s the key to everything.