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SmartBiz Industry Expert

Michael Schneider
Fluidesign
President

The startup bug struck early for the 25 year-old president of Fluidesign, Michael Schneider. At the ripe age of 10 he began his first business venture, selling customized note paper to fellow students and making about $200 a week. In response to his ingenuity, he was disciplined and almost suspended for selling on public school property.

Schneider has known that technology was in his destiny since receiving his first computer at age five (in 1985). While attending the Buckley School in Sherman Oaks, California, this hobby led him to his next startup project, an online store for new and used video games named Video Game Central. A year later he and a friend founded Fluidesign while constructing a website for a relative’s business. The duo also developed modeltrain.net, the most popular site for model train enthusiasts at the time.

After Buckley, Schneider enrolled in the University of Southern California, where he was accepted into the Marshall School of Business and the prestigious Lloyd Grief Center for Entrepreneurial Studies. During his enrollment, Schneider was admitted into the exclusive Southern California Entrepreneur Academy. Through this exercise, he was able to associate with mentors who would later be peers and clients. His graduation from the academy in 2002 served as an inspiration for him to dive into Fluidesign after college. In 2003, he graduated USC with a B.S. in Business Administration with an emphasis in Entrepreneurial Studies.

Today, as president of Fluidesign, Schneider oversees development, design, marketing and sales; and growth. With 12 employees, he predicts the company will improve 50 percent over last year’s $1 million in revenue. In 2004, he won the United States Small Business Administration’s “Young Entrepreneur of the Year” award and the acknowledgments have continued with Schneider being named one of the “Top 22 Entrepreneurs Under 25” by Business Week Online. He repays his community with pro bono work for organizations such as the Sinai Temple, the Pediatric Center at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, the Lili Claire Foundation, The Karma Foundation and Homeboy Industries; and guest lectures for the same professors who once admonished him for poor grades. In addition, he is a member of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization and Lloyd Greif’s Entrepreneur Mentor Program at USC, where he regularly advises that “Grades do not equal success.”



Re-branding Through Web Design
Fluidesign's reworking of Infinity Studios' website started with deep research on what would work and what wouldn't. The result, in some ways, even surprised the client. The lesson is that small companies should demand individualized attention from their designers. MORE

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