WHO Michael Assante
OLD JOB U.S. Naval Intelligence officer
NEW JOB Vice president of intelligence, Vigilinx

For the business world, these are insecure times. These are also times when information can be a company’s most vital asset. So a guy like Michael Assante has a lot to offer. Assante, 30, is a former U.S. Naval Intelligence officer who in 1997, while still on active duty, co-founded LogiKeep Inc., a security-intelligence provider based in Dublin, Ohio, which is now a part of Vigilinx.

OLD SKILLS THAT STILL MATTER “It’s no secret that you don’t get a lot of sleep in the Navy: I averaged about four hours a night during my seven years of service. But that prepared me for the 24-7 lifestyle of an entrepreneur. During our search for funding, we had to make about 40 presentations to VCs, and my ability to keep plugging along definitely made a difference.”

LEARNING CURVE “Leading a team at a start-up is hugely different from leading a group of officers. I’ve got to understand the motivations of everyone on our team — from software developers to sales and marketing folks. Which means that listening, instead of just directing, is essential.”

TEACHING NOTE “Set reasonable expectations. If you think that you’re not going to be wearing a lot of different hats, that’s a problem. All the same — and I learned this in the Navy, too — you can’t experience the exhilaration of success if you’re not willing to put yourself out on a limb.”