Posted on Wednesday, Jan 20th 2021
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Identity Automation Founder James Litton built an identity management software company from Houston and then went upmarket.
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 circumstances? James Litton: I am a native Houstonian. I’m a rare breed. I was born and raised in Houston. In terms of circumstances, I think I’m from your quintessential American middle-class family. Sramana Mitra: What did you do for schooling? James Litton: Of course, once I got through my primary and secondary education, I took a number of college courses, but I’m a graduate of the School of Hard Knocks. I entered into the workforce fairly early when I was about 19. I was working on, what ultimately ended up being my path, information technology. I took on a significant interest in information technology from the very early days.
Right after high school, my first job was as a printer operator. Then by taking advantage of some opportunities in networking technologies, I entered into my first managerial role probably two years after I entered in to the workforce.
Sramana Mitra: Can you put this in the context of chronology? What year are we talking that you were in the workforce? James Litton: That would have been 1988 or 1989. Sramana Mitra: This is pre-Internet. James Litton: Exactly. Sramana Mitra: What happens next? James Litton: What started me on the trajectory that I, ultimately, leveraged to go down the entrepreneurial path was networking. It all started with Novell NetWare. This is going back to the very early days of Novell NetWare. The company that I was working for, which was a mortgage company, didn’t have anybody in-house to manage that network system for them, so they used external contractors. I saw the opportunity there to take that over.
Having some degree of familiarity with computers from my childhood, I jumped right on and took it upon myself to learn everything there was to learn around administering this Novell system. We go way back. This was pre-ethernet and the token ring networks. I started to manage all of that. That’s what my role evolved into – taking ownership of all of that technology – and eventually building a team of people that supported that back office.
Sramana Mitra: What year does that bring us up to? James Litton: If you don’t mind, I’m going to pull up my resume here. I haven’t looked at that for a long time. Sramana Mitra: Essentially, we’re just trying to get a feel for your background, and how that leads up to the entrepreneurial story. We don’t have to be ultra-precise. James Litton: That would have been about 1990.
Our conversation continues
here. This segment is a part in the series : Best of Bootstrapping . Bootstrapping to an Exit . Why is Bootstrapping Important? . How Can You Play this Low-Probability Game Intelligently? . Do NOT Go to VCs as Beggars - Go as Kings . Excess is NOT Required for Success . Bootstrap First and Raise Money Later . Some Bootstrapping to Exit Case Studies . The Buy Side of Bootstrapping to an Exit . Blitzscaling vs. Bootstrapping . Bootstrapping to Unicorns More »» . Cinedigm Acquires Bootstrapped 1Mby1M Company Future Today for $60 Million . Mailchimp Bootstraps to $600M Revenue . Bootstrapping from Arizona to $10 Million . Bootstrapped Basecamp Executes a No Nonsense Strategy . How Under30Experiences Bootstrapped to $5 Million . Bootstrapping with a Paycheck . How Algo.ai CEO Amjad Hussain Bootstrapped using Services from Michigan . Seed Investors Who Like Bootstrapped Businesses . How iHeartRaves CEO Bootstrapped a Niche e-Commerce Company to $20 Million . Bootstrapping with Services . How The Intern Group CEO David Lloyd Bootstrapped to $13 Million . How Passageways CEO Paroon Chadha Bootstrapped from Indiana . How SmartBuyGlasses CEO David Menning Bootstrapped to $50 Million . Death by Overfunding . How RainmakerForce CEO Mack Sundaram Bootstrapped Decisively to $5 Million+ . How FormAssembly CEO Bootstrapped a Virtual Company with a Paycheck . TimeSlips CEO Mitch Russo Bootstrapped to Exit with Sage . The VC-Entrepreneur Compensation Disbalance . BioConnect CEO Bootstraps with Sophisticated Strategic Maneuvering . Tremend CEO Marius Hanganu Bootstraps from Romania . Gesture CEO Jim Alvarez Bootstraps to $10 Million . SproutLoud CEO Bootstraps to $30 Million from Florida . Tuft & Needle CEO Bootstraps to Over $100 Million . Co-founders Bootstrap Linguamatics to Over $10M from the UK . Ownership Matters . Vainu Co-founder Mikko Honkanen Bootstraps from Finland . Entrepreneur Couple Bootstraps to $10M from Colorado . 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Bay Dynamics Co-founders Bootstrapped Using Services . Building an AI Software Company from Dallas . RJMetrics Co-founders Bootstrapped First, Raised $22M Later . Bootstrapping Niche E-Commerce Business BuyAutoParts to Exit . TemplateMonster was Bootstrapped to $15 Million . Bootstrapping Edge Hosting to $18 Million . Bootstrapping, Fund Raising and Exiting with Sefaira . Bootstrapping IdeaScale to $5M from Scratch . Bootstrapping to $10M from Finland . Happy Grasshopper CEO Dan Stewart Bootstrapped to Inflection . Bootstrapping Gravity Pro Using Services . Founder Builds Multiple Bootstrapped Education Software Companies . Bootstrapping to $10M from Australia, Raising $25M from the US . Bootstrapped Y Soft to $30M from the Czech Republic . Bootstrapped from Belarus, Raised Money from Silicon Valley . Bootstrapped SproutLoud to $30M from Florida . Bootstrapped 2600Hz Using Services . A Serial Bootstrapping Entrepreneur’s Journey . 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Master Bootstrappers with $1+ Billion in Exits . Bootstrapped Ultra Mobile to Over $100 Million . Bootstrapping a 2-Sided Marketplace to $10M