On Life and Startups

On Life and Startups

What do you say to re-introduce a website that hasn’t been active in nearly 10 years? The basics, I suppose.

My name is Mac Bartine, and I’m a high growth startup CEO living in Knoxville, TN with my wife and twin step-sons. I like lots of different things – including growing businesses, and I enjoy thinking, talking and writing about my passions.

Primarily, in this blog I’ll be writing about my experiences in entrepreneurship and my intention to live well in the time that I have. And, I’ll share resources I find that help me in those pursuits.


As I mentioned before, it’s been a while since I used this domain for anything. Beginning in 2007, I used bartine.com to inform friends and family regarding the progress of my then wife April’s struggle to survive breast cancer.

After 2 years of being an inspiration to everyone around her, working full time until she went into the hospital for the final time, and going out with a party instead of under a physician’s care, April passed away in August of 2009 at the much-too-young age of 35, and I stopped writing here shortly thereafter.

I share this part of my life so you know I’ve seen the valleys of life, just like you and everyone else. We can all agree: those periods suck. I can also attest that the valleys – whether personal or professional – still have their moments and are worthy of our attention, so I won’t be skipping over them here.

Fast forward to today: I’m very happily re-married to an amazing woman, have twin stepsons who I adore, and we’re a successfully “blended” family – the boys’ biological dad and I even coached their basketball team together a few years back! Life is good.

Noah, Jill and Owen

It’s taken me 10 years to return to writing about what’s important to me, and I have to say: I’m excited to be back!

I credit the fact that I’m generally happy these days to very good fortune and to my study of psychological research.

Specifically, I’ve studied and am interested in peer reviewed research on what has been proven to help people to thrive and live well, which is also known as the “Positive Psychology” field of study.

You can count on me bringing in research and facts to my posts here, and I’ll welcome good resources you suggest as well.

A few years ago I combined some of my favorite life lessons and positive psych research into a response to a question on Quora, “What are the top 10 things I should experience in life?”, which got picked up as an article by Inc.com. I wouldn’t say that article encapsulates everything I believe is truly important, but it’s a good list if I do say so myself, and I expect to occasionally expand on some of the article’s 10 subjects here.

Summing up, I want to write here about life and all its facets. I may also occasionally share a personal creative project that I’m particularly excited about at a given moment in time.


My first real job out of grad school in 1996 was at a startup that made statistical process control software. The company had a creative solution that customers liked, was filled with talent, and was battling to win against bigger companies with worse technology. You could say it was a classic startup experience.

While that company didn’t “make it”, the time I spent there gave me the startup bug, and I’ve stoked the fires of that passion ever since.

Over the last 23 years, I started multiple solopreneur businesses, had a lot failures and a few successes, learned a little about business management, more about working with people, and a lot about promoting products and ideas online.

In 2010, I became a partner in a great digital marketing agency called VIEO Design. There, I learned a lot more about business and the importance of having a great team. Nearly 10 years later, I’m very proud to remain a silent partner at VIEO. They’re better than ever with a variety of clients ranging from advanced aircraft manufacturers to thought leadership in the psychology of influence.

In October of 2015, I became CEO of SmartRIA, a SaaS (software as a service) startup that simplifies compliance for the wealth management industry.

I was fortunate to take over leadership of SmartRIA after our founder spent considerable time and money to build a solid beta version of the software and get dozens of trial accounts in use.

Nearly a year later, we officially launched in August of 2016 and had 39 paying users by the end of that year. 2 1/2 years later, we have grown to thousands of paying users and our reputation within our industry is growing rapidly.

I’ve learned several very interesting lessons at SmartRIA, had some great victories and plenty of failures too, and I expect to discuss some of the best moments that are appropriate for sharing here. More frequently though, I’ll be talking about the high growth startup experience in general, and sharing what I observe to work well to solve problems in the startup environment.

Combine the Two: Life and Startups

What I really want to think about and write about here is where the subjects of living well and working in a high growth startup environment intersect. Sometimes, they mix like oil and water. Sometimes, they come together like the best birthday party guest list ever.

I’ll also write about regulatory compliance, the arts, and other topics that are important to me and my business.

Here’s to living well and starting up new adventures!


One Response

  1. […] I shared in my first post, my first wife died in 2009, which led to me taking a Positive Psychology course from the […]

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