If Harper Lee Were a Tech Entrepreneur...
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Chris Scotton has been writing The Great American Novel since the mid-'90s, when he ran a high-flying telecom firm in London. The DC area native kept chipping away and finished after a failed search engine company. The Secret Wisdom of the Earth came out Tuesday (first printing of 100,000); it tells the story of a 14-year-old boy who causes the death of his younger brother and moves to Kentucky coal mining country with his mother. He becomes friends with the cool kid in town and ends up witnessing a murder. Chris, who now runs DC-based ClearEdge3D, says the book was inspired by a real-life story and describes it as a combination of Deliverance, To Kill A Mockingbird and Stand by Me.
Chris, whose brother-in-law is VC guru Gene Riechers, has also served as entrepreneur-in-residence at CIT, where he sourced investment deals for the organization. He took over as CEO of ClearEdge3D in 2011 after CIT invested in the CAD tech firm and its founders wanted to focus on the tech and not running a company. Chris says writing a book and leading a company are completely different, but he plans to stick with both. (He has 2-3 more book ideas.)