Austin has been caught between the hard science of numbers and the soft science of human decision making for his entire career. It started early with math team, moved to a degree in Sociology, and ended up here at Conserv empowering conservation professionals to do more with data.
Austin grew up in Birmingham, AL to a family of small business owners. It didn’t occur to him until much later in life that he had never heard his parents complain about their boss, because they didn’t have one.
That’s sort of true. His parents actually had lots of bosses, their customers, and that idea of creating and keeping customers stuck with him. This also might explain why Austin doesn’t do well with having a boss. ¯_(ツ)_/¯
A note on Birmingham, briefly. First, Austin is a city in a Texas, but it’s different from Texas. Birmingham, same thing. Second, and it kind of follows from the first thing, Birmingham is much better than whatever you’re imagining. You should give it a try sometime. We have things like this.
Ok, back to it.
Austin spent much of his youth being forced to study. This would later be the cause of a major revolt, and it’s some wonder that Austin graduated from college at all. He spent most of his time in college in the library reading, while he was supposed to be in class. Not a great way to get good grades, but a great way to get an education.
Eventually Austin landed on a career in analytics – a fancy way of saying Austin helped people make better decisions using numbers. Particularly Austin is an expert in Microsoft analytics tools, particularly Power BI. Hats off to Rob Collie and the team at PowerPivotPro for shaping Austin into the well-rounded analytics person he is today.
Austin’s last role before Conserv was as a Partner and VP of Operations for PowerPivotPro, a Microsoft focused analytics consultancy, where he helped grow the business from a handful of people to many handfuls of people – an experience that taught Austin how to handle the stresses of launching a business.
And there’s a direct line from that analytics work to the work happening at Conserv. Analytics is all about figuring what people care about and figuring out how to measure it and what to do with the numbers. It’s that same tension between the hard science of numbers and the soft science of human decision making.
Today Austin serves as the CEO of Conserv, a startup with a mission of bringing better preventive care to more of the world’s 450,000+ art and cultural collections.
Being a CEO of a startup is not easy. Creating a new service that doesn’t exist yet, persuading investors, earning the trust of customers, all of that is hard. And the hardest and most important part is making sure that we are 100% focused on our customers.
When not at work Austin is with his wife Dylan and dog Scoot, trying to qualify for the Boston marathon, and getting ready for a baby in October (it’s a girl!). There’s a piano in our guest room that needs to be played more and a front and back yard that require more attention than they get – all in due time!
As far as the future of Conserv, Austin’s excited. There’s an opportunity to build a valuable business, to create a lot of value for our conservation customers, and ultimately to support efforts to preserve our shared cultural heritage.
Austin Senseman and Nathan McMinn were looking for a good problem to solve, one worth getting out of bed in the morning for, day after day, for years. And on that count, they’re succeeding. As the CEO Austin’s role is to assemble the team (see Netflix Culture Deck), the resources, and the road map to make it all happen.
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