Zack Storms has the world-changing attitude of a superhero and the name to match, but what’s his origin story?
He grew up in Essex, a Smallville-type town in Connecticut, surround-ed by a few thousand people, white picket fences and a church on a hill. He excelled in school and sports and, being extremely social, threw parties and hosted events to bring people together and feed off their positive energy like a non-socially awkward Rogue from X-Men.
But he yearned for something more, so he went to McGill University in Montreal, where his hero’s journey meandered a bit. “At university, your job is to figure out what to do with your life. Then you graduate and your job is to actually be something and do something,” Storms says. “It took me a while to figure out what those things were.”
He started figuring those things out 15 years later, in Edmonton. By then, he was the scientist who’d moved out of the lonely lab and into the entrepreneurial world, with the goal of building new technologies into businesses that help people. This helped him see that he’d had his super power all along. “I realized I wasn’t hanging out and having fun with like-minded people who wanted to make positive impacts on society.”
So he invited a bunch of like-minded people to his birthday, which doubled as the first Startup TNT (Thursday Night Tradition), where funders and founders focus on what they’re feeling and thinking before getting bogged down with balance sheets and financial forecasts. Storms is like a free-market Professor X with Wolverine sideburns, who’s created a safe space for entrepreneurs to blossom into the superheroes they’ll become. He even has a catchphrase: “Have fun, make friends, build companies.”