Scott Nelson

You can only do so much planning. Sometimes it’s best to jump off the cliff and figure it out on the way down.


Scott Nelson is the Founder and CEO of Tap Water Watch.

Scott started his career in strategy and finance in energy development. After hydraulic fracturing (fracking) began raising water contamination questions, he started his entrepreneurial career building models and software to identify the risk of water contamination near drilling operations.

The next major milestone that added critical services to the company’s offerings was the Flint Water Crisis. Since then, Scott has brought together a team that offers a turn-key solution to water quality issues including: risk identification, water testing and remediation.

Scott is passionate about his work and committed to helping the communities that he serves. This year, he spearheaded the Making Water COOL in School initiative, which makes direct donations to schools and helps them access funding to replace old, contaminated fountains with filtered bottle filling stations.

Where did the idea for Tap Water Watch come from?

The idea came from helping find solutions to water quality issues.

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

A typical day begins with coffee while writing out a daily list of tasks that I plan to accomplish that day.

After that, I get as much knocked off the to-do list as possible. Afternoons are typically consumed by phone calls and meetings.

How do you bring ideas to life?

I’ve found the best way to bring ideas to life is to create a general roadmap and then brainstorm and strategize with the team in charge of execution.

What’s one trend that excites you?

The most exciting thing for me in the world of water is the improvements in technology. In the past, there was so much data out there but no real models and software to make sense of it. Today, we are better able to combine this data and see the best path to a solution.

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

A habit that I have continually worked to break is trying to do everything. The habit that I’m working to replace it with is delegation.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Not to force things. I never planned to be an entrepreneur in the water industry but that’s where my career has led me. It’s important to be open minded, living in the present and follow the opportunities that present themselves.

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

You can only do so much planning. Sometimes it’s best to jump off the cliff and figure it out on the way down.

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

Constantly following up with customers to see how we can make their experience better.

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

Always keeping an eye out for new trends and problems that I can help solve.

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

A problem that we’ve faced in the past and still face today is identifying a problem and then investing too much time and money building out a solution before it’s really been tested in the market. Oftentimes, as entrepreneurs we envision a solution and want to start building it right away to get it to market. So, it’s always important to build solutions alongside your customers that will be using it and really listen to them to understand what’s most important for them.

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

A solar panel for the back of a cell phone

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

On a plane ticket to San Diego to see my new nephew, Jagger!

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

Hootsuite. It helps us save time by simply making one social media post that gets sent to all of our social media channels.

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

Start with Why by Simon Sinek.

He shines a light on the most important aspect of any business: its purpose.

What is your favorite quote?

“Try not to become a man of success. Rather become a man of value.”

-Albert Einstein

Key Learnings:

• Before you move forward with an idea, get input from your team.
• Do not force things. Always follow your path.
• Always design a product or service alongside your customers, using their feedback. They are the ones that will be using it.