posted May 17, 2012, 3:10 PM by Marshall Sansbury   [ updated May 18, 2012, 7:53 AM ]
This is the beginning of a new day! For as long as I can remember it has been an aspiration of mine to try my hand at being an entrepreneur. There have been many friends and family members who have encouraged me and for that I am extremely grateful and blessed. My career to this point may appear to be zigging and zagging but there has been a reason. 

My first professional passion was broadcast television production. KDFW-TV in Dallas (back when they were a CBS affiliate) hired me to produce electronic graphics for their weekend newscasts. As a young 20 something it was an awesome experience to have the power to place words and graphics on the television screens of north Texas. Live television creates an adrenaline rush like nothing else I have ever experienced. It also laid the foundation of my professional life and the modest success I've been able to achieve. Perhaps the biggest trait live television instilled in me was the importance of meeting deadlines. When the 10:00 news starts and your first deliverable is at 10:00:30 one second late is too late and deadlines can never be extended. My clients and colleagues seem to be amazed when I commit to deadline and actually deliver a quality product on time and on budget.

At WFAA-TV (an ABC affiliate owned by AH Belo) I spent almost 2 years working the rotating shift in the graphics/art department. There was more pressure to not only meet deadlines but to learn some serious multitasking. This was never more urgent and pressing than during the fall when the NFL, NCAA football, baseball playoffs and many other sports overlap. Working alone on a Sunday night managing live news and weather at 10:00 while preparing for sports special was seriously intense. If you add in a major news event like a plane crash, earthquake or other natural disaster on a Sunday well, that was crazy intense. It was a great experience that taught me to take a deep breath and keep up with live television while preparing for the next minute and the minute after that until it was over. 

At KERA-TV (a Public Broadcasting Station) I learned the art of post production television and numerous hours of directing live pledge breaks and other on-air fundraising activities. I spent over 6 years there and made some great memories. I was lucky enough to win a national Advertising and Promotion Award from PBS for my work on "The Family Project" on-air promotions. The producer was gracious enough to include my name on the application for the award. My infant to toddler daughter used to come visit me when we had special guests like Big Bird, Wishbone, Barney, Lamb Chop and other PBS children's characters. She doesn't remember too much but she does have the photos and a few precious memories. KERA taught me that not everything has to be hair on fire fast. That long form documentaries and special projects allowed for a more artful and patient approach to broadcasting. 

Since leaving broadcast television in the late 1990's there have some wonderful professional experiences that have shaped my approach to sales, marketing and promotions. There were the 3+ years at Warrantech where I produced training, corporate communication and client videos. This experience taught me to do more with less and was the introduction to using personal computers to produce videos. Broadcast was still dominated by dedicated "black boxes" for production back then. Warrantech also afforded me the opportunity to learn interactive CDROM production. This was still several years before the explosion of the Internet. I also helped build Warrantech's first eCommerce site which sold home warranties. There weren't many sales at that time but the Internet excitement and fever hit me hard. It was the closest thing to Live TV that I could find. The immediate gratification of seeing your work put out there for the world to see. 

From there it was a chance to make millions at a Dot Com start-up. I was about a year too late. The bubble had already shown signs of busting by the time I joined the party. 

Another start-up recruited me to form a creative and usability team in Dallas for their new endeavor. Rebate Processing. I had never even imagined that such a business existed let alone could be profitable. But the executive team there at the time had a great idea to use technology and the Internet to take cost out of the process and to scale to potentially millions of mail-in submissions a week. It was rough going with the bursting of the Internet bubble and 9/11 but against all odds Parago became a leader in the industry in a relatively short time. Their main competition had been in business for 40 years and Parago caught them quickly and by surprise. I learned many skills and gained valuable experiences there. Product prototyping, product development, usability, user experience, sales and sales support, marketing and most importantly how to grow a business. I was tasked with gaining a foothold in Interactive Promotions, Sweepstakes, Games, Contests and other types of consumer promotions. From 2006 to 2008 the business grew to close to $1 million thanks in large part to Circuit City. They were a great client and they appreciated what my team could deliver for them and the incredible timelines we could deliver to, 

If you're still reading I'll get to the point. My career seems to have been all over the place. The president of one company who looked at my resume asked..."what are you, schizophrenic or something" with a chuckle. I just laughed and told him it all makes perfect sense when you look at the takeaways from each experience. Television taught me the importance of deadlines and not having a second chance at perfection, to work fast under extreme pressure and deliver a quality experience for the viewers/customers. The corporate world has taught me to do more with less, exceed customer expectations, handle crisis with a level head, and under promise and over deliver. All things considered when I am in sales mode clients know they can trust me to lead them in the direction they want to go with a quality solution that delivers more with less and hits their deadlines and budgets. 

It's been a wild ride so far and I'm looking forward to the future.