Who: Michael Assante
Old Job: U.S. Naval Intelligence officer
New Job Cofounder and COO, LogiKeep Inc.
For the business world, these are insecure times. These are also times when information can be a company's most vital asset. So a guy like Michael Assante has a lot to offer. Assante, 29, is a former U.S. Naval Intelligence officer who in 1997, while still on active duty, cofounded LogiKeep, a security-intelligence provider based in Dublin, Ohio.
Old skills that still matter: "It's no secret that you don't get a lot of sleep in the Navy: I averaged about four hours a night during my seven years of service. But that prepared me for the 24-7 lifestyle of an entrepreneur. During our search for funding, we had to make about 40 presentations to VCs, and my ability to keep plugging along definitely made a difference."
Learning curve: "Leading a team at a startup is hugely different from leading a group of officers. I've got to understand the motivations of everyone on our team — from software developers to sales and marketing folks. Which means that listening, instead of just directing, is essential."
Teaching note: "Set reasonable expectations. If you think that you're not going to be wearing a lot of different hats, that's a problem. All the same — and I learned this in the Navy too — you can't experience the exhilaration of success if you're not willing to put yourself out on a limb."
A version of this article appeared in the April 2001 issue of Fast Company magazine.