Inrix CEO Bryan Mistele is transforming how companies get traffic information. Photo: Annie Laurie Malarkey

Bryan Mistele wants to eliminate one of society’s biggest issues — traffic. How’s he going to do it? Find out in this episode of Nextcast.

Growing up, Bryan knew he wanted to run his own tech company. After spending time in high school working with electrical engineers, he wrote down a life goal: start and be CEO of a two hundred person tech company.

Now with 300 employees, he and his team at INRIX are tackling the ever-present problem of traffic. Bryan tells Nextcast how they’re making this worldwide problem completely personal, by optimizing technology and getting people where they want to go. He also shares his secrets of success the perfect combination of persistence and naivete.

  • When Brian left Microsoft, he thought INRIX would be completely funded within a month. Twelve months and 70 rejections later, his company finally came to life. He credits this with a healthy balance of persistence and naivete. “Venture capitalists all told us we would be crushed…now we are the leader.” (5:52)
  • He also says he owes much of his success to wisdom gained in his early years, working at an electrical engineering firm (1:44). Following their advice of finding a partner who shares your career goals led him to the wife who encouraged him to persevere in the face of VC rejection. “If I hadn’t had that person in my life I never would have gotten off the ground,” he says. (2:30)
  • It’s always been Bryan’s dream to run his own tech company, from the time he wrote it down as a life goal at age 16. He noted that in a big company, your future is tied to someone bringing you along up with them. Now, as a CEO, “whether it succeeds or fails, it’s up to me…and I like that.” (5:19)
  • Is this a trend? Bryan explains that traffic cameras actually cause more accidents than they prevent. What other improvements to the world of traffic does INRIX have to offer? We’re less than a decade away from seeing them all come to life. (8:05)

Previously on NextcastDr. Gary Flake, CEO @ Clipboard … Todd Hooper, CEO @ Zipline Games

Nextcast founder Jeff Dickey is passionate about technology, business and philosophy. He works as the chief cloud architect at Redapt, a Redmond-based cloud and big data infrastructure company.

[Editor’s note: GeekWire is proud to partner with Jeff Dickey who produces the Nextcast entrepreneur interview series].

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  • Dan

    Very impressive. Congrats Brian.

  • Kate

    These is an inspiring interview.  Thanks.

  • ElRenegau

    nice interview – one piece of constructive criticism to the interviewer: you had a list of good questions prepared but limited yourself to going through them more or less sequentially. In my opinion, there were lots of areas to further explore in Brian’s stories with follow up questions – maybe around data nuggets on red light traffic cameras, or the whys on the books that inspired him or more anecdotes around the experiences with VCs. Again, not intended as a slam – the interview was enjoyable; just a wish from a captive watcher who would have liked to steer the conversation into other areas that may yield useful insights as well.

    • Jeff

      Thank you for the great feedback and I agree.  Bryan is a wealth of information and we talked about doing another longer form interview in the future.

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