David Stocker, attorney, is the Vice-President of Client Services and Head of Legal Affairs for Tigunia, L.L.C. David was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona, where he attended high school, finishing second in his class of 456 in 1978. After graduating cum laude from Mesa Community College with an Associate of Arts degree in Music, he continued his education by enrolling in the University of Nevada, Las Vegas where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Music Performance and graduated cum laude.
Upon entering the working world, David supported himself by working as a professional musician in the showrooms and casinos of Las Vegas for a period of time before making the decision to attend law school. He soon obtained his Juris Doctor degree, graduating in the top one third of his class at California Western School of Law in 1993, and was admitted to the bar that very same year. The newly-minted attorney David Stocker then started a private legal practice which he owned and operated until 2008.
These days, David lives in his home town of Phoenix. He is currently a high-ranking corporate executive and legal expert with Tigunia, L.L.C., an information technology and consulting firm founded and co-owned by his younger brother. David is also in charge of quality assurance at Tigunia. In this capacity, he oversees software development and other important projects within the company.
When not working, David Stocker, attorney, enjoys mountain biking and recreational car detailing. He also spends a considerable amount of his spare time providing voluntary legal services to people in his community.
Where did the idea for your career come from?
My brother, Marc, started the company in 2007. In 2013, he partnered with Bret, the firm’s other majority owner, and they began software consulting. When I joined in 2016, it was only the three of us and a couple of developers at the company. At that point, they needed someone to help with administrative tasks, project management, and legal work. Marc was approaching burnout and I was looking for a position where I could use my legal and managerial talents, so it was a mutually beneficial arrangement. Tigunia has grown considerably since then. Today, the company has 80 full-time employees, as well as more than 200 clients across different industries.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I’m a fan of rising early and getting straight to work, so I start at about 6:30 am and I work until 5:30 or 6 pm. My role at Tigunia is multi-faceted in nature. I typically deal with large projects, but other issues come up throughout the day, as well. For example, I usually edit the statements of work that go out to our clients, but recently I had to lead a sales call for a large project. I’m also working on editing the website we just launched at Marc’s request.
How do you bring ideas to life?
It can be difficult to bring ideas to life in a corporate environment, but with Tigunia, we have meetings twice a week that facilitate the process. If I have an idea I think is valuable, that’s where I’ll bring it to the attention of others. Otherwise, I try to wait for an opportune moment to raise an issue when I think my voice needs to be heard. In that vein, I mentioned some ideas to my brother over lunch while he happened to be in town last week.
What’s one trend that excites you?
We specialize in Microsoft Enterprise software, so it’s very exciting to see the constant development of the various software that we interface with.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Organization is key for me. I always have a list of what I need to do, and I’m constantly going through it to see what needs to be done in what order.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I wish I hadn’t majored in music in post-secondary school. As much as I enjoyed it, the mix of music and money isn’t great, and I wish I had practiced it as a hobby instead of trying to pursue it as a career. I’m proud of myself for following my dream, but if I could go back in time, I’d major in something like accounting or business and keep music on the side.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
It’s important to think critically and not just take whatever you’re reading at face value or believe whoever is talking to you without verifying that what they say is true. Unfortunately, a lot of people make important decisions based on whatever they’ve been told instead of thinking for themselves, which is unwise, lazy, and dangerous.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
To me, there are three elements in life that are very important: work, family, and exercise. I’m not the greatest person at balancing those, but they’re all important to attend to on a regular basis. I also do my best to contribute to the community through volunteering and through my faith. I try to help others as much as I can and be of service to those in need whenever possible.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
I’m always looking for ways to make myself useful to others, and I try to maintain a good attitude even when others around me are not in a good mood.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I believed that a certain line of business would be successful and profitable, but it turned out not to be. One thing I’ve learned is that even if you fail at something, you have to keep pushing forward and keep trying. Inevitably, mistakes are going to happen, but you can’t give up.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I would like to see a marketplace that’s more transparent with pricing and reasonable with profitability. When I buy something, I don’t want to feel like I’m being gouged in every transaction. When you’re buying a car, there’s a lot of information made available to the consumer—there’s a lot of transparency. I want to see that in other areas as well. If someone were to devise a feasible way to make that happen, I think they could build a fantastic business around it.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
The best $100 I recently spent was on dinner at a restaurant for myself, my wife, and our two daughters. My eldest daughter just started college, so we went to visit her and had a night out. It was so much fun for all of us to be together again.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
I know it’s not stylish, but I’m a big fan of using my work email account as a to-do list. I know a lot of people use Teams or Slack to stay in touch with people, but I prefer to use email.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
It’s an old book called The Inner Game of Tennis by W. Timothy Gallwey. His books use sports as an effective vehicle to relate philosophy. To illustrate, one of his points is that there’s a mentality in sports that can be applied to life in general about not overthinking what you’re doing. Another book I just started is called The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday and Stephen Hanselman. Ryan publishes a free daily message where he talks about ancient philosophy and rules for life that can help people.
What is your favorite quote?
It’s a Latin phrase: “Amor fati.” It loosely translates into embracing whatever fate brings you. Sometimes horrible things happen, but instead of being upset and ruminating over them, the trick is to make the best of what life has given you and come out wiser from the experience.
- Think critically and keep a positive attitude.
- Wait for an opportune moment to speak when something important needs to be said.
- Make the best of whatever life brings you. Even if something bad happens, remain stoic and learn from the experience.
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.