Anthony Pica's Bio
Hi there. I'm Anthony. Nice to see you here. This is a reflection of my professional journey that I decided to share. If you read this and find that we share similar interests, I’d love to hear from you.
At birth, a seed is planted. Your Life's Task is to bring that seed to flower, to express your uniqueness through your work.
—Robert Greene, Mastery
From breaking computers to fixing them
My passion for technology dates back to the late ’90s—a time when JezzBall was popular. When I was 10, I customized and hacked the family computer, which often confused and annoyed my parents when I broke things. During the heyday of IRC (internet relay chat), I coded bot scripts for online communities. In school I had fun programming applications in BASIC. I stayed up late playing games like Starcraft online, which is where I had my first experience with leadership as I organized guilds of gamers who competed in tournaments while thwarting DDoS attacks.
Eventually, I transitioned from breaking the family computer to fixing my friends’ and relatives’ computers and home theater systems. I turned any tips I received straight into new components for computers I custom-built. At one point, I had five machines networked together in my cramped bedroom: two running Windows and three Linux.
I started building websites for gaming communities. It was a kind of poetic art for me to hand-code HTML and CSS in notepad. It felt like I was at the intersection of being a writer and a painter: scribing the code concisely on a blank canvas, formatting it to be semantically structured and human-readable, and balancing the line-by-line details with the big picture intention to transform letters and numbers into a graphical piece of art.
Before I knew it, local businesses were hiring me to fix their computers and networks.
Following the path of curiosity from computer science to business administration
I entered university as a computer science undergraduate because I wanted to learn more about how computers and digital technology worked.
At first I was enamored at everything under the hood of the box filled with intricate silicone parts sitting under my CRT monitor. But in class I found myself getting bored of having to limit my focus to the tiny world of circuit logic and 1s and 0s, so I switched my major from Computer Science to Computer Programming & Networking.
I learned C++ and built applications and more websites. I studied how computers “shook hands” to communicate with each other and transfer data.
But yet again my curiosity got the better of me as I became interested in the broader world of technology and business. I switched to a liberal arts degree in Business & Technology.
Inspired, I dug deeper into each new topic I encountered at university. I explored interests in philosophy, psychology, leadership, business administration, and marketing.
Here’s what I discovered:
- In my Creative Writing class, I enjoyed the art of communicating ideas through the written word.
- In my Customer Service class, I learned that I have an innate ability to empathize with people.
- In my Project Management class, I realized I was good at organizing and thinking ahead.
One of my final projects at university was to create a marketing strategy. It was a kind of meta plan I decided to make: a marketing strategy to help other businesses execute their marketing strategies.
Despite getting a B+ for "not following one of the rules", I saw something special in the strategy I designed, so I followed through on it.
Building a one-stop shop for digital marketing needs
A new idea comes suddenly and in a rather intuitive way. But intuition is nothing but the outcome of earlier intellectual experience.
Excited, I triangulated my passion for creativity, technology, and leadership. To local small businesses I provided professional services like graphic design, website development, and computer support.
In 2005, I formalized my services by founding Gray Thought Solutions LLC in New Jersey. My father co-signed the bank’s paperwork, and it felt like the wind was at my back knowing he believed in me. Motivated, I didn’t want to let him down.
Through my new business, I expanded the range of solutions I provided: brand identity, web hosting, SEO, database programming, print and digital advertising, and more. The skills I started developing at a young age had positioned me as the go-to digital marketing expert for small businesses.
I scaled the business over the next few years, growing a global SMB clientbase and building a team. The agency was known as a one-stop shop for digital marketing needs.
In 2011, one of my clients Vicasso requested that I work in a full-time capacity to help grow the business faster. The founder offered me an enticing opportunity.
Joining a B2B SaaS company as Head of Marketing
It’s been a decade since I joined Vicasso, and I’m grateful for being hired when there were no marketing or sales departments.
Like an artist standing in front of a blank canvas, I felt like there was no limit to my creativity. I experimented with new business ideas. I designed sales and marketing initiatives and campaigns. I shaped the way the entire company operated as each wave of inspiration hit me.
The reward of my efforts was twofold:
- I helped transform the startup into a multi-million dollar business, earning placement on the Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing private companies in America.
- It’s fulfilling to have developed hands-on skills across multiple functions, including product, marketing, sales, and operations.
Scaling the marketing organization at Vicasso, I now lead a team of five. Sharing my knowledge and coaching people has become another passion of mine.
Founding a Salesforce Trailblazer Community Group
During the early days at Vicasso, I customized our technology platform called Salesforce to automate many of the sales and marketing processes I established. I saw something special in Salesforce.
I founded the #SalesforceNJ user group to introduce more people to the power of Salesforce.
The first couple of meetings had only five people show up, but with consistency we grew to monthly events with ~50 attendees. It's been an honor to connect developers, administrators, and business users to share experiences and learn from each other.
We still meet monthly. If you’re curious about Salesforce, you can sign up here to receive meeting invitations.
Much of my career has been in the Salesforce ecosystem, and along the way, my technical curiosity drove me to earn 10 Salesforce certifications. In 2021, I was nominated by a colleague into Salesforce’s Marketing Champions program, which gives me access to early product updates and a community of Marketing Cloud and Pardot experts.
Fostering a passion for writing
The curiosity that influenced my transition from computer science to business administration continues to fuel my love of learning.
I’ve found that one of the best ways to satiate my curiosity is to take notes as I’m observing the nuances of life—and write about them. I’ve noticed parallels between the structure of software code I used to create and the writing I enjoy today.
I believe writing is the medium for clear thinking.
To cultivate my writing practice, I joined an online writing community in 2021 called Foster. And in 2022, I was selected to be a Contributing Editor. I’ve found that helping people improve their writing has a positive side effect on my own writing.
Work Smart, Lead Better
Get ideas on Strategy, Collaboration, and Mental Fitness
I launched a newsletter called Work Smart, Lead Better where I share ideas on strategy, collaboration, and mental fitness. Starting in 2021, I shared one idea every week. It might have been the first time I ever followed through on a New Years resolution.
Click here if you’d like to subscribe. Emails are typically only 250-450 words.
“The best thing about your newsletter is that it’s short and to the point. It always has one core powerful message and skips the noise!”
—David, Founder & CEO, Intros.ai
If you made it this far, thank you so much for reading. Here’s what I’m currently doing. I’d love to hear from you, especially if you share any of the following interests:
To sum up, I enjoy spending time on:
- Reading and writing
- Building websites
- Smart Automation
- Music theory, piano, ukulele
- Ping pong, volleyball, and going kayaking
- Philosophy and Stoicism
- Learning blockchain tech, crypto, NFTs, and web3
- Understanding Physics & Quantum Mechanics
- Knowledge management (Roam Research)
…and generally learning new things about the world we live in.
Engaging in different activities and hobbies fuels my creativity. And I like to connect the dots from seemingly different aspects of life—and write about it. For example, what can humans learn from plants about resilience?
If you’d like to connect, you can reach out on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Instagram.