Curt StevensWhy did you choose to study computer science?

I first got into computers in junior high because I didn’t enjoy math and I wanted to write programs to do all of the repetitive math for me. I eventually chose CS as an area of study because I grew to love it ("geek," as my daughter would say) and I believed I was more likely to have some positive impact by focusing on something I truly enjoyed doing every day.

What moments in your career have been most exciting or defining?

Traveling to Germany to present to a packed auditorium at my first academic conference. Graduating CU with a PhD and my sanity intact. Working on tablet computing more than a decade before the iPad, and then watching tablets go huge. Being recruited and hired by Apple’s research group. Having my software released on the box cover of MacOS 9 to be used by millions. Having a manager who was so awesome that he changed my mind about the value of engineering managers. Learning that startups are my jam. Being acquired by Disney Interactive and getting to contribute to the genius that is Disney. Leaving Silicon Valley to return to Colorado and start afresh on new challenges.

What is your biggest career or life lesson to date?

There are no guarantees of company success so always choose to work on problems that excite you and challenge you. You’re never done. Be a lifelong learner.

Curt StevensWhat is your current professional role? What is your favorite part of that role?

I'm launching a new company in a new domain. It’s an opportunity to learn an entirely new industry.

I’m also spending time on the CU campus mentoring students, helping them launch companies, and trying to impart an appreciation for what it’s like to work in startups and large companies as a software professional.

Are there any “words to live by,” credo, or top values that you follow?

The success of the team is everything. Individual success flows from there. If you’re not having fun, you’re not doing it right.

What advice would you give to current/future computer science students?

Large companies and small companies are very different environments and very often engineers have a hard time adjusting to one or the other. Spend some time considering how much structure you need to be comfortable and conversely, how much chaos you can comfortably handle on a day-to-day basis.