A mere decade ago, Ben Edwards founded Swappa, an online marketplace for gently used phones and other tech. At the time, Edwards was working in software development when he was sold a blacklisted cell phone on Craigslist. From that day on, the St. Joseph native knew there had to be a safer way for consumers to buy and sell online with other people. It’s been his professional obsession since.
We caught up with the bearded techie to find out five things you don’t know about the charismatic CEO.
5. I love to code.
“I started learning to program when I was about 14 years old. It was probably the most significant thing I’ve ever learned in my life. It has affected just about every educational and professional opportunity I’ve had in the last 25 or so years since. It shapes the way I think about everything—which is algorithmically.”
4. I am a perpetual entrepreneur.
“Also, I’m not very good at it. I’ve challenged several pieces of conventional wisdom related to startups and starting businesses. Y Combinator’s Paul Graham once listed the #1 mistake that kills startups as being a “single founder” and starting a company alone, rather than part of a team, which is what I did with Swappa in 2010. The other is starting a business with a family member, which I’ve done teaming up with my brother on Mitch e Amaro in 2019.”
3. I love naps …
“ … and I can fall asleep anywhere in a matter of minutes. For a while I considered this a ‘talent’ of sorts, but now realize it’s probably the product of chronic, self-imposed sleep deprivation. At the advice of Bill Gates (his top five recommended books of 2019), I recently read a wonderful book called Why We Sleep and it’s helped me realize I don’t get enough sleep, haven’t for 20+ years, and I am not proud of it. In fact I think it’s stupid and I’m working to change it. I already treat food and fitness as essential pillars of good health and good living; sleep is being added to that list as of 2020.”
2. I’m a fan of symphonies.
“From composition to performance—it’s one of the most amazing things humans can do. My complete lack of any musical talent whatsoever no doubt contributes to my appreciation. As a kid, I remember listening to Beethoven CDs on my discman on road trips to and from St. Louis. Beethoven’s Ninth is my absolute favorite, and I can’t wait to see the Kansas City Symphony perform it again at the Kauffman Center this season.”
1. Meet Mitch!
“I have a pit bull named Mitch. If you’re going to get a dog, you should adopt from a shelter and be ready to treat it like a member of the family.