My name is Adil Wali and I nap a lot. I start companies because I get bored easily and because I like doing fun things.
I’ve never held what one would call a ‘normal job’ in my life, though I suspect I wouldn’t exactly flourish in that environment. My single favorite thing to do in the world is to innovate — particularly in the world of technology and usability.
Somewhere in between the naps, I learned about hard work from my parents, who came to America (Darien, IL) to give my siblings and me endless opportunities – thanks Mom and Dad. I first applied that work ethic to video games, winning world championships and sponsorship deals throughout high school and college.
At the age of 14, after I became Microsoft Certified, I started my first web-development company, SteeZo Media. The company enjoyed triple-digit growth until I exited to attend graduate school, which is when the napping (and the fun) really picked up.
While earning an MBA from Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), I served as a leader or contributor for several start-ups, including AbbyMe, which utilizes CMU natural language processing and artificial intelligence technology. Following AbbyMe, I joined up with fellow CMU graduates on ModCloth.com, an indie fashion online retailer.
There, I went from being one of the first people to invest to being the CTO overseeing employees in six countries building a next-generation fashion e-commerce platform.
Around the same time I got involved in ModCloth, I started a company called Crowd Interactive, a web 2.0 development company specializing in Ruby on Rails. In this capacity, I split my time between Colima, Mexico, where the company is headquartered, and the Bay Area, where the tech action is. I spent a majority of my time consulting our top clients on product management and technology strategy and building a product development division.
Crowd Interactive faced some interesting challenges around managing a multinational, progressive, mostly generation-y workforce. So my wife and I invented a solution for continuous and painless 360-degree feedback called ClearGears.
Today, I am on the board of directors of ClearGears and Crowd Interactive and I spend all of my time at ModCloth, working on reinventing the user experience and supply chain around e-commerce and creative goods.