Thomas Knoll
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Thomas Knoll

COO @ & Revelry Ventures – I get to help entrepreneurs build their ideas and teams.

Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States
Member since February 23, 2010
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I am a(n):


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If you're an entrepreneur or corporate innovator, why?

I want to change the world.

What's most frustrating and rewarding about entrepreneurship/innovation?


What's the No. 1 mistake entrepreneurs/innovators make?


What are the top three lessons you've learned as an entrepreneur?

1. Nothing matters more than the team.
2. The customer is most important.
3. Make people's pain go away.

Full bio

Every day I get to wake up and help people turn their ideas into realities.

Before Revelry, I built 5 startups and sold 2 companies. I have been building online communities since 1996 - including my time as Community Architect at Zappos. I advised a dozen other friend's companies and mentored hundreds of founders at 500Startups, TechStars, Up Global, and local communities... My point is: I have been through it. I know how shitty advice is. I know how hard it is to create something from nothing and convince others to join you. 

At Revelry Labs, I help people transform their businesses. We used to be a dev shop. People would say, "I want this specific thing built." And we would say, "Of course, we can do that." Over the past four years of 1,156% growth, we became Corporate Innovation partners, because our clients understand that the real challenge is not getting something built -- it's HOW to frame the problem, HOW to build quickly and iteratively, WHY we try to solve problems and create new opportunities in the first place. 

So, yes, Revelry ships a lot of code. But, we also help our partners test their ideas quickly. We rub off on their teams. We make Digital Transformation exciting instead of scary. 

Anyway, while I have a technical background, I prefer to speak in gardening and architecture metaphors. I am inspired by storytelling, psychology, evangelism, architectural theory, social economics, game mechanics, cultural anthropology, compassion, and ants. Yes, ants.

Before I dropped out of college, I was studying to become a missionary. I left that path because I grew tired of the Business of religion. Now, I help businesses understand the needs and behaviors of their customers, translate their vision and mission into the language and culture of their customers, and convert customers into communities of evangelists.

Oh, and I fall in love with almost everyone I meet.