Alex Robinson is a serial entrepreneur who has raised significant amounts of capital to take on big opportunities. His latest venture has already pulled in nine figures and has a lot of room to grow.
During our interview on the DealMakers podcast, Robinson talked about his experience working at Microsoft, facing big external risks in business, finding the right cofounders, what really matters in building a successful business and digitizing the giant commercial real estate space.
Figuring Out What You Don’t Want To Do
Much of our early lives and careers are spent figuring out what it is that we don’t want to do. As well as perhaps picking up a few nuggets, skills, and passions that entrepreneurs end up putting together for great successes later on.
Alex Robinson grew up on the Kitsap Peninsula. A small town reached by a long ferry boat ride from Downtown Seattle.
Virtually his whole family was in medicine in some way. His grandfather was a surgeon. His sister and father are dentists.
Alex knew he did want to be in medicine. However, as with many physicians, his father was also into real estate. Since he was 12 years old he remembers his father getting him up at seven in the morning on Saturdays to go help manage his properties.
Like most of the successful entrepreneurs that have been featured on the Dealmakers Show Alex also found a passion for travel. Even before having Google Earth, he remembers real atlases and globes. In both his junior year of high school and college he enjoyed living in Spain and experiencing new cultures.
He also found he liked building things and was interested in business. In college, he took business administration.
Lessons From Working At Microsoft
Returning from Spain, Alex found the only internship position left was at Microsoft in Redmond, WA. He fell in love with the technology and tech business. After college, he ended up going to work there full time for the next six years.
This was a fast growth period for Microsoft, right when Bill Gates was handing over the reins. Robinson says he was around employee 21,000. There were around 100,000 when he left.
He started in finance and then moved into corporate strategy and product. He ultimately ended up working on OneNote and what is now Office 365.
Alex shared with us some of his great takeaways from this period, which he has also rolled into his own ventures.
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