Montana Public Radio

Can Do: Venture Capitalist And Microsoft Veteran John Connors Shares Secrets To Tech Success

Oct 19, 2018

“You can take on new assignments in areas you don’t really know, and if you recruit the right people, set the right goals and everybody works very, very hard, you can accomplish amazing things.”

That’s John Connors, a managing partner at Ignition Partners, a leading enterprise software investment company with more than $1.5 billion under management. Listen to this episode of "Can Do: Lessons from Savvy Montana Entrepreneurs" to learn about how Connors, who grew up among the ranches and oil rigs of eastern Montana, rose through the ranks of Microsoft's financial positions to become that company's Chief Financial Officer, and then a managing partner at Ignition.

John Connors brings a unique perspective to the venture capital world, informed by years spent working alongside two giants in the history of tech: Microsoft's founder Bill Gates, and its CEO, Steve Ballmer.  In his role at Ignition, he's an active mentor to the companies he helps launch, serving in recent years on the boards of Parse, Splunk, Nike, and a dozen other firms. John was named to the 2013 Forbes Midas List, a ranking of the world’s top venture capital investors, and to Business Insider’s 2013 list of top enterprise technology VCs.

John and his wife Kathy share a deep commitment to community, with a philanthropic focus on youth education, faith communities, and free-market think tanks. John received his BA in accounting from the University of Montana, where he also received the Distinguished Alumni Award.

Not bad for a kid who grew up working cattle ranches and railroad crews in remote Miles City, Montana, one of seven children of a journalist mother and teacher-coach father.

Listen and learn on this episode of Can Do: How doing your homework will help you succeed in a world where the breathtaking speed of change dooms most tech startups to failure; the importance of viewing your project as a marathon, not a sprint; and why you and your collaborators need to genuinely enjoy working with people if your business is going to succeed.