AOL Inc.
AT&T Wireless
First Franklin Direct
First National Bank of Omaha
Fleetwood RV
HighMark Capital/HighMark Funds
Loyola Marymount University
McKesson Corporation
PERSIST Technologies
Raindance Communications
San José State University
Stanford University

Serving a broad range of marketing needs across many industries, from consumers brands, technology and financial services to health care and education; and from start-ups to Fortune 100 companies.




Entrepreneur Profile: PATRICK DI CHIRO

Name: Patrick Di Chiro.
Title: Chairman and CEO.
Company: Thunder Factory, an integrated marketing firm.
Location: San Mateo with offices in L.A. and New York.
2004 revenue: $3 million.
Number of employees: 24
Year founded: 2001
Source of startup capital: My savings and a loan from my brother.
Background: Chief communications officer of E-trade, VP of global technology marketing for Visa, partner at Ketchum, director of international marketing for American Express.
Age: 48.
Residence: San Mateo.
Web site:

Reason for starting business: I felt that clients were not being well-served by the traditional marketing/advertising/PR industry, and I felt that I could do a much better job.
Most difficult part of decision: Flying without a net is always a little bit scary, but it’s also exhilarating. I had a vision for doing this and I had to do it. Nothing was going to stop me - not even a market that was starting to go sour.
Biggest plus of ownership: Being able to follow and rely on my own judgment and instincts. I had very senior positions, ran major operations for the last 15 to 20 years, but when you’re working within the context of a big company, you don’t have that kind of independence - freedom of thought and the ability to follow your own course.
Biggest drawback: There are no drawbacks for me. I completely found my métier in life when I started this company.
Biggest misconception: That you work a lot more. I don’t. I think about business all the time because I love thinking about it, but I don’t work more.
Biggest business strength: It’s a combination of three things: a passion for what I do, having a vision and sticking to it, and having the experience to make it all happen. Without experience, I wouldn’t have this business. I tried doing this once before, in a little bit different form in New York City, but I wasn’t ready for it yet.
Biggest business weakness: Financial management. We finally reached the point where we can afford to hire a VP of finance, and we’re about to do that.
Biggest risk: Aggressively expanding into L.A. and New York. We moved into L.A. 18 months ago, and now we have an eight-person office. New York is still very small - two people - but we just signed a lease for 2,500 square feet in SoHo and we’re hiring several people. I fully expect New York will be at least as big as our California operations.
Biggest mistake: Hiring the wrong people who didn’t fit our culture. I made a couple of doozies there, but luckily I believe in correcting and moving on.
Smartest move: The same thing - people. Making some incredible hires that have been major catalysts for the growth of this business.
Biggest worry: I don’t have any big worries - just a lot of little ones every day.
Top source of inspiration: First, my parents. And today it’s very much my team.

Most challenging task: Finding and hiring strong people.
Favorite task: Actually helping clients to build their business and seeing them succeed. That sounds like a canned answer, but I really enjoy seeing then achieve results.
Least favorite task: The financial stuff. Dealing with the typical cash flow management issues that every young company has.
Biggest frustration: Managing cash flow.
Source of support in a business crisis: My team.

Key goal yet to achieve: To build a wholly owned global network.
First move with capital windfall: Acquire some interesting marketing technology we’re looking at and that will accelerate our global expansion.
Five-year plan: Continue to hire great people, attract world-class clients and build a great culture. Expand internationally. And I see some M&A activity in our future.
Inducement to sell: I’m having too much fun.
First choice for new career or venture: Running an elegant little hotel and restaurant in wine country somewhere with an Italian theme.

Most-admired entrepreneur: Howard Schultz, the Starbucks founder.
Most interested in meeting: Him.
Stress reducers: I walk with my dogs. I enjoy wine tasting and cooking.
Favorite pastimes: Traveling in wine country of any sort, vintage automobiles, playing guitar, anything to do with furniture or interior design.
Favorite book: Anything by Dickens. “David Copperfield” is probably my favorite.
Favorite film: “Glengarry Glen Ross.”
Favorite restaurant: Jardinière.
Favorite destination: Capri, Italy.
Automobile: 2003 Toyota Prius Hybrid.