Monday, September 15, 2014

The Story Behind The Big Disrupter by Paul Markun

The story of why I dedicated two and a half years learning to write a thriller and rewriting The Big Disrupter three times until it was ‘right,’ is as much a story of why I stopped being an entrepreneur and business guy.

Why did a Formula One race car racer, like Niki Lauda in Rush, stop racing and start loving?

Why did actors decide to become politicians, from Ronald Reagan to Arnold Schwarzenegger?

Why did Bill Gates become a generous active philanthropist and leave tech behind?

One of the reasons is the joy in the challenge of something entirely new. In my case, having started and built several businesses, even a completely new market, product, service or category is . . . a lot like the last business. Writing a thriller, however, where the narrative is entirely from your own imagination, is completely different. So, the thrill of being terrified, lost, and then finding oneself is part of the reason.

Another reason behind The Big Disrupter is the simple artistic gratification of creating something that brings enduring enjoyment. The reality is many business products or services are tools or assets that are consumed deep in the machinery of survival. Sure, we’re glad we have them. Yet the high tech products and services I was part of are distant dots on a Moore’s Law curve even just a few years later. However I still pull out books my Mom wrote thirty years ago and hear her voice, learn, and laugh.

Fundamentally, throughout my life I have been stunned by the beauty, creativity, audacity, genius, arrogance, sexiness, kindness, ruthlessness and insanity of so many people. I’m drawn to unusual people. I’m shocked by usual people–marveling at their contentedness and lack of conflict in a happy, steady life. Building a story allows me to share some of these wonderful characters, whether I met them in mountain towns, over boardroom tables, in bars, or churches.

In the end, however, there is a dream along with the entertainment. My goal for The Big Disrupter is that some brave and wealthy philanthropists are motivated by the story and decide to fund their own billion-dollar prize for social entrepreneurs. In the end I think all of us want to make a difference, and there are a surprising number of uber wealthy who could put their imprint on something meaningful, if it suits their style and sensibility. I hope they create their own Big Disrupter.

About The Book:

An anonymous donor creates a prize for One Billion Dollars to inspire social entrepreneurs to promote world change. Lionel Lane, an idealistic entrepreneur, partners with his brilliant ex-girlfriend Maxine Gold to turn around his struggling San Francisco - based company Double Vision Beverages to compete for the Big Disrupter Award. With the help of a venture capitalist and an eccentric financier, Double Vision expands into energy drinks using the pure water from the mountains of Telluride, Colorado. Talented 21-year-old extreme skier, Reddi Christiansen, becomes the face of their quest for the youth market. One by one the leading competitors in the Big Disrupter fall victim to unexplained tragedies. The police are mystified. The prize for social good becomes a death trap, but too rich to resist. Desperate for protection, Lionel, Maxine and Reddi enlist a former Navy Seal cyber guru. The faster they race towards the approaching award deadline, the more the escalating dangers threaten to spin them off a cliff.

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About The Author: 

Paul Markun grew up an entrepreneur and dreamer, starting with his first paper route at age nine in the Canal Zone of Panama. Living in Telluride, Colorado, he started four companies with best friends before he was 24, including Fly By Night Builders, The Illusions Company, High Country Trekkers–you get the idea; great names, cool ideas, not much income. He moved to Silicon Valley, got more education and tech experience, and started SoftIRON Systems and Fullspeed Networks, and rode the wave of the late 1990s to success. He sold SoftIRON Systems to the Williams Company (WilTel), a Fortune 300 company. In 2001 his company Fullspeed was acquired by Callisma, which became Pac Bell and then AT&T. You know them, right? In the first decade of the 2000s, he joined fellow entrepreneurs to lead marketing for Netcordia, which later IPO’d as Infoblox (NYSE:BLOX). He also ran marketing for Sitecore, a web software company, growing it 10 X from an $8 million fledgling niche provider to an established global corporation. Paul continues to be involved with emerging companies to this day. Paul met his wife Rachel, an attorney, when he was 18 and she was even younger at the University of Chicago. Their fountains of inspiration are their two sons and a daughter. A passionate story teller, he turned his energies to writing about topics and characters close to his own heart.His first novel is The Big Disrupter.

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