Member Profile: Steve Papermaster, CEO of Nano

Steve is a technology entrepreneur and public policy expert who is highly experienced in founding, growing and funding innovative technology companies around the world.

About Bloomberg Breakaway Membership


Steve is a technology entrepreneur and public policy expert who is highly experienced in founding, growing and funding innovative technology companies around the world.

Steve spent two terms in the White House serving as a senior advisor to former U.S. President George W. Bush on domestic and global strategy for innovation, technology healthcare and science. As a presidential advisor, he helped lead the National Nanotechnology Initiative, the Human Genome Project and the White House Fellow, one of America’s most prestigious programs for leadership and public service.

He has founded, led or served as a board member for several private and publicly traded companies, including LabNow, Moxie, Medaphis, Powershift Group, ROME Corp. (acquired by TriplePoint Technologies), TechRepublic (acquired by CNET Networks), Perficient (NASDAQ: PRFT), Vignette Corp. (NASDAQ:OTXT), Per Se Technologies (NYSE: MCK), Tipping Point Technologies (NASDAQ: HP), Novell and BSG Corp.

Steve is a recipient of the Ernst & Young “Entrepreneur of the Year” award co-founded the “World Entrepreneur of the Year.” He co-authored the book “Smart Life,” a guide to technology innovation that drives major social changes around the world.


What defines a successful leader?

How followers behave in the leader’s absence.

Culture and talent are important to any company’s success. How do you engage and inspire your workforce?

We rely on rituals that create a weekly, monthly and quarterly cadence for the entire organization to (a) align everyone’s work with their strengths, (b) recognize employee contributions and company wins, (c) authentically own our mistakes and improve continuously.

Innovation and disruption are reshaping industries every day. What do you see as the number one game-changer facing businesses today?

Technology is transforming the way we buy, sell, and do everything and consumers expect effortlessness at every touchpoint. As a result, established businesses must reinvent the way they connect with, sell to and serve customers beginning with a deep awareness of and empathy for their unique customer journey.

Challenges abound in today’s fast-changing business environment. What keeps you up at night?

As a founder, I have learned that unless I expand my outlook, leadership and self-awareness, I can create a ceiling on our growth. By continuing to do the things that got us here, I can become the anchor that holds us back. The key is to deliberately unlearn my go-to practices and approach each stage of our growth with a beginner’s mind so that I don’t limit our potential.

Why did you join Bloomberg Breakaway?
I was introduced to Bloomberg Breakaway by a friend and mentor, Verne Harnish, who recommended it. I joined for the opportunity to connect with and learn from other leaders around the world in an intimate setting.

Even CEOs need downtime. How do you recharge?

Spending time away from my business to attend learning events and conferences gives a fresh perspective and re-energizes me. I also love being active outdoors and especially enjoy kiteboarding when it’s warm and snowboarding when it’s cold.

In the news

Nano Media Highlights Reel

Interview with CNBC

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Steve Papermaster


About Bloomberg Breakaway

Membership in Bloomberg Breakaway combines exclusive, one-of-a-kind peer networking with insight from industry experts, innovators and global leaders.
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