Get to know Wicked Bandwidth’s Co-Founder, Steve McCarthy! Steve helped found Wicked in 2014 alongside Mike Murphy and Mike Spieldenner, and oversees Wicked Bandwidth’s daily operations from product and delivery to sales and customer relations. Steve brings over 20 years of experience in telecom to his role as Principal, having worked for CLECs, MCI, and most notably as Founder and Chief Operating Officer of NEF, which he started in 2004 with fellow Wicked Bandwidth founder Mike Murphy.
In his free time, Steve enjoys spending time on Martha’s Vineyard with his wife and two daughters, playing guitar and riding his motorcycle.
We recently sat down with Steve to ask him a few questions:
Sarah: Steve, how did you decide to start Wicked?
Steve: We decided to start it based on our experience looking at a bunch of markets; St. Louis being one of them. Even cities that are considered “well connected” don’t have great internet connectivity in certain pockets and still have underserved buildings. It seemed like a good business opportunity to go into buildings that were underserved and offer internet access, knowing the need for bandwidth would grow every year.
Sarah: What are some of the particular challenges of starting an ISP in Boston?
Steve: There’s lots of competition here and the building construction process is very cumbersome and expensive. There’s also an incredible amount of marketing coming from Comcast and Verizon — you hear their messaging constantly, you see it on TV and at sporting events. The general population doesn’t understand enough about internet speeds and bandwidth, so there’s a huge amount of confusion out there. Part of the challenge is how do you get your message through to people with all of the marketing hype out there. The term “Gig” has been made popular by Google, but a lot of customers don’t know how much they need to run their business.
Sarah: Is the intention to keep Wicked in Boston?
Steve: Not necessarily. In fact, I think the model for Wicked Bandwidth plays better in a Tier 2 city, like Providence [RI], Manchester [NH] or Worcester [MA], where the cost to construct in the street is less expensive and the process is less cumbersome.
Sarah: What are some of Wicked Bandwidth’s differentiators?
Steve: The fact that we’re a small time Boston-based company. We can be so much more flexible and offer things to our clients that they really need and that can help them grow their business. Other companies might offer them an off-the-shelf product that’s a one-size-fits-all solution. We get to be creative with our solutions to best serve the customers we’re going after.
Sarah: How would you describe working with the other team members at Wicked?
Steve: I think there’s an informality to having a real small team where everybody kind of does a little bit of everything. It’s fun because you can get involved in different parts of the business, where at a larger organization you wouldn’t. It would be a great opportunity for a sales person that doesn’t have a lot of industry knowledge to come in and learn everything about the ISP business.
Sarah: What do you love most about Boston?
Steve: I like the fact that geographically it’s a relatively small city — everything’s focused within a few square miles. I also love the spirit; Boston feels like a small town even though it’s a big city. And it’s got a great start-up community.
Sarah: When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Steve: Dentist. Aside from being a rock star! Every kid wants to be a rock star or the president, and even the president would rather be a rock star!
Thanks, Steve! Stay tuned over the next few weeks as we profile Wicked Bandwidth’s other founding members!