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This Army Vet Went From Low-Income Childhood To Silicon Valley CEO
Sonny Tosco, 30, knows how to hustle. It’s a skill that came in handy during his time at West Point, his six years of service as an Army operations officer, and most recently in his role as CEO of Limelight Mobile, a social platform that lets users source real-time images from anywhere in the world.
Tosco sat down with Task & Purpose to share what drives him.
His roots reach back to one of California’s many low-income immigrant families. Growing up, he knew the only way he could attend a top-tier school was through a scholarship, and that knowledge drove him to perform exceptionally well. In 2002, Tosco was accepted to West Point.
“My transition from academy life to active-duty service in the Army wasn’t without its challenges,” Tosco said. “My first unit was a dud; cynicism and distrust ran rampant in the ranks. Because I was disillusioned, I began exploring entrepreneurship during off-duty hours.”
Tosco moonlighted as a bouncer and seriously considered opening a nightclub. However, a second assignment to a significantly better unit, along with three deployments in short order, drew his attention back to military service.
A rapid series of personal tragedies, to include the loss of both his parents, a close friend, and a miscarriage with his wife, compelled Tosco to reevaluate his career and transition out of the military in 2012. The rugged adjustment, followed by a brief stint in sales, was marked by depression and stress.
“I finally hit my breaking point one night and almost took my life when I realized how little purpose I had,” he said. “I made a commitment that night to only do meaningful work from that point on, and decided to bring Limelight to fruition.”
Seizing every opportunity is a habit Tosco honed early in life. That hustle came in handy as he put in sweat equity to build his dream.
“I made it my goal to go to an event or meetup every night, sometimes two per night, to be able to grow out my network and tell the story of our product,” said Tosco. “I would commute up to two hours for these events five, six days a week. My team of eight had to adopt that mentality early on and it became ingrained in every team member.”
Today, Tosco is raising seed funding for the app, and has built something he’s truly proud of. Now in its second version, Limelight App is sticky enough that a robust 35% of all users log in on a daily basis (as compared with 5% for the majority of new social platforms).
“Now that we have a beautiful app that’s connecting with people, we’re working to grow our user base,” said Tosco. “I was fortunate to connect with Don Faul, U.S. Naval Academy ‘98 and former Chief Operation Officer of Pinterest, and his advice has definitely helped guide our team through uncharted waters.”
Faul advised Tosco that no two products will take the same journey to find the right product and market fit. He also encouraged Tosco to leverage his military experience in leadership and systems building.
Tosco has discovered that in startups there will always be some type shortfall in terms of personnel, resources, or time. He credits Limelight’s success to his West Point education in psychology and systems engineering.
“Understanding how people work and how to build great organizational structure has been key,” he noted. “Tech is here to stay, and will be a future literacy. I always advise veterans to educate yourself and learn how to program.”
Tosco also advised transitioning service members to link to a cause greater than themselves in order to stay motivated.
“I try to advance the veteran entrepreneur cause because I believe we have the leadership and character intangibles that are missing from many organizations,” he said. “Find what drives you, what your purpose is, and as I’ve done with Limelight, set an example for veteran success after the military.”
A VA worker survived a shooting at his hospital. Now he's stuck in a 'bizarre' maze of federal workers' comp claims
RIVIERA BEACH — When a distraught patient opened fire at the VA Medical Center in February, Albert Gaines' long ago military training kicked into gear.
"When I saw the arm come up, I knew what was next, pow, pow, pow," said Gaines, who was doing his job, cleaning patient rooms, when gunfire erupted. "I hit the deck to minimize the target."
Now, three months after what his bosses at the hospital call "the active shooter incident," the 65-year-old Riviera Beach man still feels like a target is on him.
President Donald Trump could issue a pardon on Memorial Day for Navy SEAL Chief Eddie Gallagher, former Special Forces Maj. Matthew Golsteyn, and Marine Scout Snipers accused of urinating on Taliban corpses, the New York Times is reporting.
The White House is working with the Justice Department and military services to get the paperwork necessary for the pardons in order, according to the Times.
If the Pentagon had to take Consumer Math class in high school, they'd flunk.
The U.S. military—correction, the U.S. taxpayer—is spending more money to buy fewer weapons. The reason? Poor acquisition practices, according to a report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO).
"DOD's 2018 portfolio of major weapon programs has grown in cost by $8 billion, but contains four fewer systems than last year," GAO found.
Editor's Note: This article originally appeared on RFE/RL: Afghanistan.
KABUL -- An air strike has mistakenly killed at least nine Afghan police officers, including a commander, during a battle with the Taliban in the southern province of Helmand, local officials say.
They said that 14 officers were also wounded in the May 16 strike in the Nahr-e Saraj district , which is located outside the provincial capital, Lashkar Gah.
Chuck Norris contains multitudes.
He's an Oklahoman and an Air Force vet, an actor and martial artist. The intensity of his badassery formed the basis of one of the earliest and most ubiquitous internet memes. He's a fictional member of Delta Force and a Texas Ranger, his beard a source of such virile endurance and strength that it makes Samson's biblical mane look like a bouquet of hobo pubes.
Now, Norris will live forever as the ultimate instrument of righteousness: an M1 Abrams tank.