Software developer Chris Dykes was two years into a stint as chief information officer of Louisiana’s Department of Health and Hospitals when he decided to step out on his own and pursue his entrepreneurial dream.
“I was 35 at that point so I said ‘If I don’t do it now I’ll never do it,’” Dykes says. “I just decided to take a leap.”
That was 2014. Today Dykes is all-in on his business, Clear Blue Design, which provides data solutions to streamline processes, automate manual tasks and add consistency to clients’ business information. Within the company, Chris has started a mobile app called Freebird that lets users anonymously share ideas to reduce the fear and embarrassment that can deter idea sharing. In March, the LSU graduate shared his own ideas on a stage with other Baton Rouge-area thinkers at the 2017 TEDxLSU event.
All of this, however, almost never happened. Although Dykes had dabbled in part-time work for his own company and had kicked around the idea of full-time entrepreneurship, he was committed to his government position. That changed when he found himself in the middle of a large-scale reorganization of the state’s IT services and face-to-face with philosophical differences about the direction for the overhaul. He decided it was time to strike out on his own and take Clear Blue Design, which he started in 2007 as a part-time venture, to the next level.