Anthony has navigated PriceSpider with some astute strategic moves. Read on to learn more. Strategic maneuverings of real entrepreneurs, by the way, are great learning opportunities.
Sramana Mitra: Let’s start at the very beginning of your journey. Where are you from? Where were you born, raised, and in what kind of background?
Anthony Ferry: I was born in Inglewood,California. I haven’t strayed very far from there. I moved down south a little bit into South Orange County in the mid-70’s all the way through high school. In college, I ventured just a little bit up north to a local state college called Cal State Fullerton where I majored in Computer Science.
I was pretty adventurous and always the first to try new things or figure out the new thing. That has played out through my entire life and career. When I graduated high school, I was interested in a lot of different things. I ended up going to community college for a couple of years.
I took all kinds of classes – art classes, design classes, computer classes. I was trying to see which one stuck. I got hooked to computers and technology. I was pretty active. I played baseball and soccer. I had a lot of sports as a kid. I gave that up in high school for computers. I turned into the stereotypical nerd. I just loved gadgets and computers.
Sramana Mitra: When did you come out of college?
Anthony Ferry: I graduated in 1993.
Sramana Mitra: What did you do after that?
Anthony Ferry: I was a good student. I thought I was going to stay in college a little bit longer than even my Bachelor’s. I had looked to transfer to ASU for Computer Science Ph.D. I was pursuing classes at the Master’s level. While taking some Master’s classes in 1993, I ended up putting my resume out there and got a few quick jobs offers that were very intriguing and interesting. Then I ended up jumping out and not completing my Master’s in Computer Science. I entered into the workforce right then.
Sramana Mitra: When did you start this company?
Anthony Ferry: This company started as a spin-off of another company that I had started in 2001. We launched it in February of 2002. That was a technology consulting company that I formed with two partners called Neudesic. PriceSpider was a spin-off of that company a few years later.
Sramana Mitra: I’m looking to understand what you did before starting this company.
Anthony Ferry: My first job out of college was as a computer programmer. I was a Software Developer for an educational software company. We wrote the administrative software for K through 12 schools. I did that for a couple of years. I got recruited out of that to work for Taco Bell Corporation writing systems for their back office to manage their labor and forecasting for their stores.
I worked at Taco Bell for a few years. During my tenure there, I was pulled on to a special project run by Pepsi, the owner of Taco Bell. They also owned KFC and Pizza Hut at that time. They were looking to build a common system for all the three restaurant divisions. I was pulled on to that project to represent Taco Bell’s interest in that project. That project is where I met my two partners. We built some great bonds through that project.
As that ramped down, I ventured out from Taco Bell into the technology consulting world, which is very enlightening and educational. I learned about how much work is done for large corporations by vendors and technology specialists who come in on a project basis to supply a specific or niche skill set.
I went to work for Quickstart Technologies. It’s a local Microsoft consulting company and I cut my teeth on that space. I then ventured into a staffing company for a little while to try my hand at creating my own division of consulting. I joined forces with Tim Marshall and Parsa Rohani who were my partners in Neudesic.