Paul Campbell is a former executive at Microsoft's offices in Santa Monica. He's also an entrepreneur and a Silicon Valley dot-com success story.
Campbell has a track record of finding business opportunities at the right place at the right time. He's now applying his skills to the urban media content industry as the president and chief operating officer of L.A.-based QD3 Entertainment. The company produces music, movies and TV shows for BET and Amp'd Mobile, among other platforms.
While he was an economics student at the University of Toronto, Campbell started his professional career selling college branded sweaters, cardigans, and other apparel to the university bookstore, alumni organizations and sports teams.
"All I could find to buy for my mom was T-shirts and socks so I went to the university and they gave me a free license to the logo," Campbell said. "I learned a tremendous amount about cash flow and accounts receivable."
And while he was writing his thesis on the Industrial Revolution, he saw the opportunities in modern transformations brought about by increasing use of the personal computer. He learned as much as he could about the big players in the industry.
"One name that kept coming up as being seminal to Microsoft and Apple was Xerox."
Xerox in Canada had recently hired a new chief executive, Rich Barton, and he was making an appearance at a local job fair. "We were supposed to move through a line and just shake his hand. There were a barrage of people, but I ended up stopping to talk to him for five or 10 minutes before someone came and moved me along."
The next day, Campbell wrote a letter to the Xerox executive's office asking him to be his mentor. He soon had a job offer, even though he told Barton he wanted to go straight into running his own business.
"He told me that I had a lot of ambition but that I would benefit from working for a company like Xerox for a few years," he said.
After his stint there, Campbell worked at Internet companies in Silicon Valley including Personal Library Software, which developed Lexus Nexus-type technology for clients including Dow Jones & Co. He worked at the McKinley Group, an early search engine that was acquired by Excite, and he started his own consulting company that built an online yellow pages application.
Perhaps his most successful venture during that time was with a streaming media technology company called Network 24. Campbell came on as the vice president of marketing and product management and helped write the business plan. Network 24 started with $6 million of Series A venture capital and was sold in 2000 to Akamai Technologies for $200 million.
He took a year off to travel he went back to England, where he was born and to Mexico and Canada, where he'd gone to school. He also did some consulting. Then he started as a director of business development for Microsoft Corp., where he worked with the music and film industries, helping MTV Networks with a digital media strategy and building broadband channels for BET, Nickelodeon, MTV, VH1, and CMT.
During his time at Microsoft, Campbell met rap artist Quincy Jones III, now the chief executive and chief creative officer of QD3.
Jones was already deep in the process of creating a multi-platform urban entertainment company and Campbell was intrigued.
At QD3, Campbell splits his time between creative, organizational, and technological responsibilities, he said. The company has strategic distribution partnerships with Comcast, an output relationship with Viacom, and broadband channels on Joost and YouTube, and content licensing deals with Amp'd and Helio mobile services.
"We are aggressively continuing to strike distribution deals for our content, and we are continually developing content in original short form and longer DVDs," he said.
Campbell lives in Santa Monica and plays tennis, basketball and watches movies in his free time. He also visits Texas frequently to visit his daughter, Saqqara.
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