David Moye

In any situation, if you look at the data without bias and without emotion, then the problem reveals itself if you are willing to look. This is true in all aspects of life.


David Moye is a Principal with Forensic IT, a firm providing big data solutions to companies nationwide. He is also the creator of DataSnare, a breakthrough embedded data collection device and cloud-based data reporter designed for manufacturers and business owners who need access to key data indicators without the hassles of sorting through thousands of pages of unnecessary information. David helped found Forensic IT in 2003 and has some 25 plus years of experience as a software engineer and solution architect. Along with at least a half a dozen core programming languages, he is a certified DBA in Oracle and Sybase and has spent years working with MS-SQL and MySql. He shares proficiencies in both Unix and Windows operating systems and has a special expertise in trouble shooting the most difficult and hard to resolve problems. A graduate of Iowa State University with a BS in Electrical Engineering and a minor in Mathematics, David resides in the St. Louis area with his wife Laura and three children.

Where did the idea for your company come from?

I was tired of people guessing at the expense of business, especially when it came to IT and problem solving. I heard of businesses using the three R’s for support (Reboot, Reinstall, Reformat). As IT moved heavily into manufacturing, this strategy did nothing to solve problems, but did a lot to cost money. The idea to be forensic in an approach, to apply tools to extract data like a forensic pathologist, and apply that data to solve the problem, seemed like a win-win for support organizations and companies.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

As a smaller organization, I wear many hats. In a given day, I mentor employees, work on my own development products, handle HR questions (healthcare 401-k, snow day policies, raises, bonuses), pay bills, work on company insurances and eventually look for more customers and finally rest.

How do you bring ideas to life?

Many people have read about billion dollar companies that started with an idea on a napkin. Oddly enough many of our big ideas have actually started with a design on a napkin, sticky note or other scrap of paper during a discussion. I usually bring the idea up to one of my colleagues and then it explodes. We start small with simple designs and proofs of concepts, and then move onto more detailed implementations.

What’s one trend that excites you?

Data application, not data or data analysis, but data application (I might be the only one using that term). What I mean by that is there are lots of companies gathering lots of data and doing lots of analysis, but it is the application of that data analysis back into the company or process that is exciting. To see a customer improve their process or bottom line through the results of our data application efforts is quite rewarding.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

I am always solving problems. At times I wish I had an 8-5 brain but when it comes to problems, the challenge to solve it keeps me focused 24×7. The more challenging the better because it forces me to continually learn.

What advice would you give your younger self?

The best advice I would give my younger self is to think big–all the time and then act. I look at where my company is today and think how it would be if I had started earlier. I certainly had the same drive and mindset 10 to 15 years earlier but shrugged it off. I think big goals and aspirations keep the drive going.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

In any situation, if you look at the data without bias and without emotion, then the problem reveals itself if you are willing to look. This is true in all aspects of life.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Think big. Even if big ideas do not come to fruition, they keep you driven. I have many big ideas on where I see Forensic IT and our cloud-based data gathering product DataSnare going in the future. These ideas have not yet happened but I feel that keeping those visions in my mind helps me drive day to day decisions towards those ideas.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

Delivering what was promised to a customer with greater value than they expected. We have never really had a sales team and have relied on word-of-mouth. That may not be a smart approach because it has kept growth small, but at the same time, it has kept customers satisfied. What I mean by delivering greater value is simple, if we are tasked with installing network switches and see the existing wires are all a mess, we clean them up and organize them. If a customer requests a software product with a list of features, and we see where there are gaps or holes in their design, we usually fill them or fix them at no costs. We allow the scope of a project to creep quite a bit before asking for change orders because building the relationship is more important for long-term growth then nickel and diming a customer over scope creep.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

I did not recognize failure early enough and act on it. There are ideas that you start and you get so caught up in them that you do not see that they are failing. It is like bailing water out of a sinking ship that is failing at a much faster rate than you are bailing. I started building a certain division in our business that I tried to apply the Forensic IT methodology to and it limped along for quite a while. When I finally cut the division and did a closer look at the costs, both to individuals and to the company financially, I was devastated. I made the necessary changes and moved on, but the lesson learned is to apply the data application methods I believe are good for other companies to my own business and act accordingly.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

A new compression/encoding algorithm idea. Here is the idea. If you look at this page and see all of the occurrences of the letter ‘a’ and you can describe their positions on the page (like a very large binary number), then you could call me on the phone and tell me the number and I can recreate the document with all the letters ‘a’ in the correct positions. Example: a=273 decimal (hex 111) which is binary 100010001; b=238 decimal (hex EE) which is binary 11101110. If we say our say these are results of or algorithm then you can apply them (in reverse and recreate the letters they encode as “abbbabbba”. If you apply the 1’s and 0’s for all ascii characters, you could store a document by saving the results of each ascii character and then having software rebuild the document. We can then repeat with all other characters. The algorithm has to recursively get smaller and smaller by applying the same algorithm to the results (in other words, when I describe all the ascii characters and their positions, then treat that as the document and work to reduce that, repeating until it cannot get any smaller). If it works, then think of results–you do not have to store large chunks of data anymore–you store the results of the algorithm to build the data. Imagine a smart home theater that you just key in a code to download the formula to rebuild the movie binary. It would really be exciting to store a large database by just saving the encoding and decoding results.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

Personally I bought some automated outlets for the Amazon Alexa my wife bought me. Now, at night after I let the dogs our for the last time, I say “Alexa, goodnight” and the device shuts off all outside lights, most interior lights, sets the thermostat for the night, and basically lets me use technology to be lazy for once.
Professionally, I started buying the Full-Focus planner. The difference between it and other planners is that it has an emphasis on goals (long-term and short-term) and then includes the day to day tasks as well. It is the focus of long-term goals and ideas that stay at the forefront of your daily plan.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?

Our small business size has been as high as 30 people. We have found the full service payroll software to be a great asset. It allows me to just click a few buttons to submit payroll and get notified of all tax filings, direct deposits, etc. This is something I should have incorporated from day one.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

“Lincoln on Leadership” by Donald Phillips. Regardless of your politics, when you read about the obstacles that Lincoln was facing and the perception of him by his own party and advisers, you can apply that to your position in business. Then you can look at his successes and his drive to keep his visions alive and apply them also. It is a great motivational book that I would recommend to anyone.

What is your favorite quote?

I have two favorites and cannot get to one. Both of them are by John Wayne. “Courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyway”. “Life is hard, it is even harder when you are stupid”.

Key Learnings:

• Think big and have large aspirations. Even if big ideas do not come to fruition, they keep you driven.
• Recognize failure early enough and act on it. Sometimes you need to cut bait before you spend too much money on an idea going nowhere.
• In business and in life, look at all the data without bias and without emotion. This way the problem will reveal itself and eventually lead to a solution.