5 questions with Joe Sriver of 4giving

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At Fast Future, we like to hear about the lives of executives and entrepreneurs in our region. That’s why we started a new series – 5 questions. We will ask five general questions about the jobs of tech leaders.

For our first installment, we chatted with Joe Sriver of Minneapolis, Minnesota. He’s the advisor and former CEO of 4giving, which provides an easy way for organizations, including nonprofits, sport teams, schools and more, as well as individuals, to start fundraising campaigns for any one-time or ongoing activity or event. Here’s what he said.

1. What do you see as your top priority as CEO?

Joe Sriver, advisor and former CEO of 4giving.

Courtesy image,
Joe Sriver, advisor and former CEO of 4giving

Joe Sriver: As CEO of a small startup, my top priority was always making sure we were on the “right path.” This single priority included many smaller priorities: having a unique differentiator from our larger competitors, determining who the right hires should be and when to hire them, saying “no” at strategic times, which I certainly can’t claim I did as much as I should have. Being funded by our founders gave us some freedom.

2. What’s the most important factor in building your teams?

Joe Sriver: I was fortunate to reach out to a few developers I knew and worked with at my last startup and asked them to join me. Our team is very small, and we work well being small. At my last startup, though, I found that great developers know other great developers and we were able to grow through people that not only I and my co-founders knew but eventually through our developers’ contacts.

3. What books have you read lately to keep yourself current?

Joe Sriver: I’ve actually been reading more current events/news related books. I think these have helped me to focus on causes and issues that may not be in the mainstream but can use fundraising help from a startup like 4giving. However, I do subscribe to a few tech blogs and podcasts for up-to-date information, specifically: Brett J. Fox: great advice and knowledge, some that I may know already but a refresher never hurts!

I’ve subscribed to a bit more than a handful of Medium writers, ranging from business, tech, startups, entrepreneurship and general life coaching. I feel these have helped me gain a good cross-section of current knowledge, techniques, etc.

Also, local, state, regional blogs that send daily digests: Fast Future (obviously top on the list), American Inno’s MinneInno, tech.mn and a few others.

4. What tech trends are you watching?

Joe Sriver: It is interesting to learn about local startups and entrepreneurs and see how their ideas relate to helping individuals, organizations and in general (as comedically alluded to in the series “Silicon Valley“) and how they make the world a better place! The trends I watch change. In general, though, I have watched cryptocurrency and how it may be valuable in the nonprofit space; however, crypto has taken a downturn lately. Artificial intelligence is something I watch as it may relate to specifically helping the nonprofits 4giving helps.

5. What do you like most about being in Fast Future Country?

Joe Sriver: I was fortunate to work in Silicon Valley in the early 2000s. When I moved back to Minnesota in late 2005, I thought I’d have a tough time finding like-minded entrepreneurs and startup enthusiasts. I met a few people early on who opened the door to the burgeoning startup scene in the Twin Cities. I have been fascinated seeing the speed of startup and entrepreneurship growth not only in the Twin Cities but all over the Midwest. I’m a native of Indiana and was able to meet alums of my alma mater, Purdue, who have ties to startups in Indiana and surrounding states. I’ve determined that entrepreneurship has always flourished in the Midwest and am glad that there are a number of Midwest-based investment funds and angel groups that are forming all the time – and finding success.

Joe Sriver is a member of the Fast Future Slack channel. Click here to join.