Q&A With David Eisner: Being Your Own Boss At 29

David Eisner is the founder, president and CEO of Dataprise, Inc., one of the largest IT management service providers in the Mid-Atlantic region for small to medium sized businesses. Eisner steered his professional career to become a top business owner in the IT industry by focusing on making technology easy to understand by non-technological business personnel. For the last 15 years Eisner has instilled in his employees that his “customers should be focused on running their core business-not their technology, that is where Dataprise comes in.” Eisner started Dataprise from his apartment back in 1995 and since then, has grown the company into a nationally acclaimed IT provider. I personally learned much from Eisner’s interview, and found his belief that, “the toughest business decision I’ve had was the decision to start,” insightful.

WashingtonExec: Please tell us a little bit about your background and the formation of Dataprise.

David Eisner: Shortly after graduating with a degree in Computer Science from the University of Maryland, I learned quickly that small businesses were left out of the technology boom of the early 1990’s. Working for large companies, I saw first-hand how IT firms ignored small businesses.

By 29, I knew I wanted to be my own boss. Through mentors and people I worked with early in my career, I learned many lessons about advocating technology to non-technical people, writing sales proposals, generating business, and the benefits of proprietorship. Importantly, I learned quickly that tech can be tough on people not in the business and its important to always break down the details into pieces people can understand. In order to start my own firm, I left the security of working for a large company with only one requirement — that my next technical position be as an independent, not an employee. This work-style gave me the freedom I needed to work all day and build my company at night. Besides, I had nothing to lose: I was single with no money to speak of and all I had in addition to an old beat-up Nissan was my IBM PC.

At the time of Dataprise’s founding in 1995, the IT industry was on the rise. Smaller companies were beginning to invest in more and more IT infrastructure. Also, the Internet boom had begun. Businesses were poised to capture huge productivity gains and rapidly increase their competitive advantage. This was a primary catalyst that led to the rapid growth of the information technology services industry. I had a vision– to create a way to get this new technology in the hands of small and medium-sized businesses.

Dataprise has successfully evolved with the marketplace ever since, delivering on the promise established at the beginning –allowing organizations to concentrate on managing their businesses while we manage their IT. Dataprise solved a problem that helped enable small businesses compete right alongside of big businesses – leveraging technology as the great business equalizer. Having such a positive effect on so many companies is a great source of pride to Dataprise’s employees and management.

WashingtonExec: You are involved with a couple outside committees and nonprofits, please tell us about Project Reboot and what it offers the community.

David Eisner: Our firm strives to encourage a setting where employees feel inspired and valued, and where they can grow and prosper, both personally and professionally. Giving back to the community is important to all Dataprise employees and while it has always been important at Dataprise, several years ago, the employees developed the “Dataprise Gives Back” program, where each time the company exceeds its monthly goal, Dataprise will support organizations selected by employees including S.O.S, Children’s Villages and Habitat for Humanity. The more Dataprise surpasses the monthly target, the more the firm contributes to the selected organizations.

In 2009, we announced our partnership  with Project Reboot, a Rockville-based computer recycling program sponsored by The Capital PC User Group (CPCUG). Project Reboot accepts old and unneeded computer equipment, makes any necessary repairs and upgrades and then delivers the refurbished devised to local charitable organizations.

I’m proud to mention that our certified network engineers volunteer their time to pickup unwanted computers, monitors and peripherals from clients, wipe the equipment clean, perform diagnostics and make repairs and upgrades, preparing them for use. So far, Dataprise and its clients have donated thousands of pieces of equipment to Project Reboot.

The firm is also a sponsor of the Montgomery County Students Information Technologies Foundation (MCSITF), a non-profit organization established to promote student education, career training and prepare them for college by teaching students computer skills.

In our more than 16 year history, Dataprise has always looked out for what is in the best IT interest of its clients. In 2008, I contributed to the Maryland Tech Tax Coalition’s successful efforts to convince the Maryland General Assembly to kill a proposed computer services sales tax. At the request of the Coalition, I testified before the Maryland General Assembly, emphasizing that initiating the tax would cripple Maryland small businesses.

Dataprise contributes and supports additional organizations including the University of Maryland Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Cancer Center, Teach for America, Muscular Dystrophy Association, American Red Cross of Baltimore, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Make-A-Wish Foundation, American Cancer Society, Association of Retarded Citizens and the Lance Armstrong Foundation.

Dataprise employees are encouraged to pursue their own philanthropic activities, and many serve as volunteer policemen and women, firefighters, educators and community activists.

WashingtonExec: You have your own personal blog, what is your view on social media? Professionally and personally? What future do you think it holds?

David Eisner: I think it is great. Business and clients are interacting as never before. The feedback from clients is that they are building stronger relationships; this will only have a positive impact on business. Through our blog, tweets, Facebook page and article submissions, our goal is to provide valuable resources for our clients, potential clients and anyone who is concerned about their business’ IT needs. We know technology is always changing so we are continuously developing new ways of providing technology support services to our clients. Our goal is to help SMBs thrive and succeed with their IT needs.

WashingtonExec: What is the best piece of advice that you have ever received?

David Eisner: If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life. I really love the IT industry and technology in general. And I’m lucky that my job is also my passion.

WashingtonExec: What’s the toughest business decision you have faced?

David Eisner: I’ve always said that the toughest business decision I’ve had was the decision to start. Once on the move, a business starts to take on a personality and a momentum of its own.

 

*Featured in a July issue of the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority online magazine e-Bird.

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