I'm an angel investor, birder, former retail guy and author of three books. As I head more toward my version of retirement, I am devoting less time as an influencer, blogger and online commenter/poster. I've always been a seeker of fun experiences with my family and friends, and going forward hope to make this an even bigger part of my plans. I also have a lot of fun collecting older, finely detailed things made by incredibly talented artisans. And during presidential election years, it's fair to say I'm a political junkie. Although with the latest election results, we have now devolved quickly into a post-fact society, so I'm now re-evaluating how best to invest my time and energies in all things 'political'. I'm not gonna lie, it's a conundrum.
After spending 22 years in retail management, I left corporate mainstream in 2000 and founded Milwaukee's first angel network, Silicon Pastures. Over the past 16 years I've invested in dozens of early stage companies. In November, 2015, I was inducted into the Wisconsin Investors Hall of Fame, and in August, 2012, was the recipient of the George Dalton Inspirational Entrepreneur Award. I've been on the board of directors of a number of private and public companies, as well as non-profits. I've always derived immense satisfaction helping to build something from nothing. And when there's a 'win', it's exhilarating. Conversely, when a startup fails, as most of them do, it's no fun. People who know me will confirm that I don't like to lose! Yes, it's a little crazy making that I've been so into startups, and probably helps explain why I am starting to pull back.
I'm really into birding. It's the source of my spiritual connectedness. For me, when I go birding it's like going to church. Keeping a life list plays to my competitive side. I'm world ranked for having so far identified 737 species of birds in the ABA Area (the United States, excluding Hawaii, and Canada). I'm on the board of the Wisconsin League of Conservation Voters. You can read more about my passion for birds here.
I'm also a bit of a creative irritant when it comes to group dynamics: my contribution is sort of an odd mix of right brain/left brain influences! I try to push boundaries, extend reach, strive for increased market share. Analysis, sometimes probing, combined with the encouragement to explore new ideas and options. This approach tends to upset the status quo. Yep, it just does. Some people love it when things get challenged, and some people break out into hives.
I feel that so far I've lived a full and certainly self-examined life. And I have some peace of mind that I’ve got a fair chunk of it figured out, particular when it comes to understanding the human condition. Not to deny that some things I'll never be able to fully process, or reconcile, or solve. To the contrary: we are prone to repeat history, the really bad parts. And our brains are wired so that many people can't filter and process much less discern the difference between facts, science and nonsense. How can you deal with that? By learning about the human condition. And then having a strategy to deal with it.
Also, sometimes people get dealt a crappy hand (no, I don't believe that everything happens for a reason). But there is always the next hand. Now, I am more accepting, or at least more resigned to much of this. The stuff I have figured out over the course of recent years has helped ground me, and has provided me with some genuine contentment that I honestly didn't have in the past.
With this in mind, I've accumulated what I call my truths, distilled and refined over the past couple of decades of my life, about business, health, and happiness and a bunch of other topics.
Read my truths here.
To date, I've been chairman and lead investor in two startups that have been acquired by Fortune 500 companies: Internet retailer BuySeasons, which owns and manages the largest retailer of costumes in the world, BuyCostumes.com (sold to Liberty Media in 2006), and ModernMed, a healthcare services company, which was sold to DaVita in 2012.
Read more about my investments here.
From the Blog
The Rusinow Family Foundation was founded in 2000. So far we've donated close to a million dollars, although currently the foundation is less active. See more about what we've done here.