About

Mike Stankavich

Mike Stankavich

I am a technical fire fighter – I frequently solve difficult problems that others cannot. I also translate from geek speak to English or even biz speak (the horror!) for the non-technology-obsessed.

I started playing with computers when I cut math class to play Space Invaders in the computer lab next door, and a fine computer lab it was – we had both an Apple IIe and an IBM PC with dual floppy drives! I was the quintessential geek – only one girlfriend during high school, but I was the Rubik’s cube champion of the school.

College turned out to be an exercise in youthful rebellion and defiance of others’ expectations. Although I had a National Merit Scholarship, I dropped out after three months, a decision I later came to regret. Twenty-five years later, I finally finished my Bachelor’s degree. I used a combination of challenge tests, certification exams, prior learning assessments, and one online class to get it all done in only nine months. It’s good thing I got an A for the one class – everything else was pass/fail. I considered going on to an MBA, but I came to realize that the doors that an MBA would open would not lead me to places that I want to go, so that’s on hold unless something changes.

After I dropped out of college, I was able to find a job working with computers and accounting that launched me into an IT career. I worked my way up the ladder, reinventing myself several times along the way. After starting out with accounting and clerical work at a home health care agency, I moved on to a local computer store and consulting practice. Over my years in consulting I transitioned from desktop support to network engineer to enterprise software developer. I also became a pretty good Linux sys admin and web developer on the side.

About twelve years ago I was the principal investor and technical lead for a dial-up ISP. Unfortunately we outgrew our cash flow and became one of the early casualties in the dot com bust. During that time I also spent some time consulting as an enterprise software developer to bring in extra cash to fund the business. When the business died, I was able to continue the consulting work and eventually transition to a permanent position. Ten years later, I’m still there. Although I find the day job challenging and interesting, my long term objective is to achieve freedom of time and place rather than being strapped to the 8-5 Monday through Friday wheel.

Over the years, I’ve developed an interest in business as well as computers. I like to understand all the moving parts and look for areas of improvement. For many years I avoided sales and marketing, but over the last year, I have turned my focus to that area and now find it fascinating.

When I’m not working, you can usually find me at home with my family. I’ve been married for ten years and am the proud father of two wonderful daughters. Rochelle is almost five, and Chantelle just turned two. I was deeply into online role playing games for a number of years and later online poker, but my wife persuaded me that she wanted to see more of me than the back of my head, so I stepped away from those pursuits. I do still enjoy watching the occasional NASCAR race or football game, but more and more, I’m looking for activities that involve the whole family rather than the solitary pursuits. We recently got a bicycle trailer, so now I’m dragging the kids around the neighborhood in their cozy little trailer. It’s good to be a dad.

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Yusuf Clack July 17, 2009 at 8:58 am

Mike,

Cool About page. I feel like I know you now. Something tells me you have all of the tools and resources available to make your next move. If I were you I would ruthlessly cut expenses, hire a coach that comes highly recommended from someone you trust, and go for it.

The world needs more guys like you running your own business in the service of others.

Continued Success,

Yusuf

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Mike Stankavich July 17, 2009 at 5:49 pm

Yusuf, thanks for the encouragement! I’m definitely pushing forward to the next level. I haven’t tried coaching yet, but I’m looking at how it would fit in and of course how I could pay for it.

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Renee Yeatman July 20, 2009 at 7:23 am

Mike…quite a journey; of course knowing your vastly superior intellect, I’m not surprised at your success in the computer world. While impressed with your career growth, I’m even more impressed with your “family commitment” growth. It is the rare man who not only listens to his wife and but then makes important changes for the good of the family. Kudos to you; I’m proud of you!!

Renee

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Mike Stankavich July 22, 2009 at 1:47 pm

Thanks Renee, you’re giving me a lot to live up to :) I’ll do my best. Hope to see you at the family reunion next year if not before. We have a nice guest room now that we’re in the new house.

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Mom July 22, 2009 at 5:57 pm

I feel quite honored to be related to such an impressive person, but I keep wondering why no one has challenged you on your use of “other’s” in your bio where you say “in youthful rebellion and defiance of other’s expectations”….. Aren’t you speaking of others’ expectations. (Of course you could just say “my mother’s expectations”….just kidding on that one.) But not kidding, I think you do need the plural form here.

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Mike Stankavich July 22, 2009 at 10:36 pm

If you ever need an eagle-eyed proofreader, hire Mom :) Thanks Mom, your influence, guidance, and assistance is behind much of my success. And yes, I’ll fix the typo. Right now!

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Pi Wen July 25, 2009 at 5:32 pm

Mike,
I came to your page through Copylicious’ blog. or should it be Copylicious’s blog (maybe your mom can help) :). Great bio and personal story! I’m in the process of reinventing my *ahem* “standard” bio into something more personable, so thanks for sharing your bio link on Kelly’s blog. I met her at a WIC networking event and she’s authentic and fabulous!
Pi Wen

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Mike Stankavich August 1, 2009 at 8:27 am

Pi Wen, thanks for stopping by. Hopefully the blog post showing the progression of how I built this about page will be helpful to you and others facing the daunting challenge of the about post. My key learning was not to be discouraged by the messiness of the intermediate stages. That just part of the process. Best of luck getting your page crafted to your expectations. I’d love to see it when it’s done.

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Murray October 7, 2009 at 7:11 pm

Mike, It was fun to read Your blog. I am almost afraid to write a note becasue I know your mom and have been corrected in my writing many times in my youth (and probably childhood, which I don’t remember as well.) Anyway I enjoyed reading about your career (and side roads) and spending a few days at your new home a few weeks back. While I did not stay in the mentioned “guest room” I did very much enjoy your hospitality and that of your eagle eye mom. You have a beautiful new home and even more beautiful family. Loved the video of Rochelle.

Uncle Murray

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Mark-Erik DiBiase November 21, 2010 at 5:51 am

Mike,
Fascinating update on your life since we last crossed paths. That, of course, was almost 30 yrs ago in Academy. Not sure to what extent you may remember me – but I certainly remember you: the guy w the Rubik’s cube always in hand, and with an intellect that boggled my mind. I frequently recall thinking to myself, “how the heck does he know and/or remember all that stuff”. No surprise that you are involved in IT – that always seemed a natural for a brilliant mind like yours.
I’ve enjoyed reading a few of your blogs, particularly the “Jack of All Trades…” entry. I can truly relate, as my career was taken me in rather diverse directions over the years. Examples: Product development/planning for automotive companies, Producing Videos and Managing a recording artist for major record labels, Financial Advisor in securities industry, and developer in Real Estate (most recently). Kinda crazy. I found the last paragraph of that blog quite insightful and very relevant. Very well summarized.
I wish you all the best w your new venture in the Philippines. We have a bit in common, as I also married someone of Philippine decent (Sue Edween – remember her from Academy?), also have two kids in same approx. age range (mine are 7 and 3), and also absolutely LOVE being a dad (like you, it took me a while, but best thing that ever happened to me).
I came across your blog via Facebook. Not even sure which one of us found the other via Facebook – but nice to be connected, and I look forward to reading more about your adventure – that is life – as it unfolds via your blogs.
Wishing you all the best,
Mark-Erik DiBiase

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May June 1, 2012 at 12:07 am

Hi Mike,

I found your about page via Copylicious and you did a great job. Am trying to write mine but it’s still a struggle to make it sound human.

Inspired by yours.

May

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Mike Stankavich June 2, 2012 at 2:49 pm

Hi May, thanks so much for your kind feedback. I’m sure that you’ll persevere and come out the other side with something great. I’d be interested to read it if/when you do.

Unfortunately it’s been a while since I’ve updated this or posted on my blog. Being involved in a startup business on the side while working a full time job can tend to have that effect :) Hoping I’ll get back to it soon.

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Nelda September 6, 2013 at 6:39 am

Hi Mike,

I loved your bio – and very impressed you completed your degree in nine months. How did you do that? I did a similar thing and left college before finishing so I am very interested in how you were able to use challenge tests, certifications, assessments and etc., as I would like to try and do the same. Would you mind sharing?

Thanks in advance!
Nelda

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Mike Stankavich September 6, 2013 at 7:48 am

Hi Nelda, thanks for the kind words! Have a look at my guest post on Personal MBA http://personalmba.com/hacking-higher-education-mike-stankavich/ I went into a fair amount of detail in that article. If you still have questions please send them my way via the contact form.

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