My Entrepreneurial Journey (est. 2008)

This month marks my 11th anniversary on Twitter. It’s also the first time I’ve had the freedom to discuss side projects without fear of retribution from an employer. Some of these stories come up in conversations with clients or entrepreneurs I coach, making me realize I never took the time to capture them in one place. Like the time I met with Mark Zuckerberg, or when I had lunch with his sister Randi. Or the time I was on the Tyra Banks show to talk about Twitter. Each of these could easily be their own story. And maybe one day I get the time to write them. But in the meantime, here’s a timeline with brief commentary. Enjoy!


Post-Colonialist Cacophony: Thoughts on the New Orleans Education Experiment

Tony Zanders in New Orleans

For the past sixteen months, I’ve studied, investigated, challenged, promoted, questioned, and embraced the education reform dialogue surrounding my city. Ultimately, I’ve oscillated from a critic (as a native, tax-paying, product of the public school system deemed worthless), to an advocate (as a former director-level staffer at a non-profit funded by national corporate foundations), to a critic again (as a parent navigating the system in question.) This journey has subjected me to insult from fellow reformers who were unaware of my New Orleans heritage, and ostracization from fellow natives who speak uninformed of data supporting progress in our schools.


Failure as a Currency

One of the first stories I was told at 4.0 was of Kinobi — a hardware startup founded by Chapman Snowden that took part in 4.0’s Launch Cohort 1, and closed its doors a few months later. I was somewhat confused by this — not that Kinobi failed, but that 4.0 was sharing this with their new communications director as a narrative that should be core to our brand. After all, most incubators and accelerators I knew of hid their Kinobis from the public eye (minus TechStars). But having come to the other side of the fence, I now understand the value of Chapman’s story, and more importantly, my own.