Keynote: Sean Lane

Thank you Dr. Sukumaran, for inviting me to share some remarks today. To the graduates, your family, and your friends…it’s an honor to be here with you today to commemorate such an important milestone in your lives.

Sean Lane

Today I’d like to share some perspectives on the impact of both days and decades in your life. While the concept of days may seem so different from the concept of decades. They are the two things you are likely to remember the most. They are the two things that deserve the most of your focus and your dreams. You will remember days. Like this one. You’ll remember the day you started your first job. the day you left your last job. The day you fell in love. The day you launched your first app, your first product, your first CAR-T therapy discovery. You’ll remember the day your child was born or the day you lost someone you loved. But the days you remember are created by all the days you don’t. Everyday deserves all of you. Living in the present is something I admittedly have not always done well. Slowing down to enjoy the moments of life can be extremely hard. Your mind always wants to be somewhere else. Thinking about days in the future or days in the past. But mastering the ability to be present in the day you are in will pay dividends in your life. The days you do remember will be better, bigger, and more meaningful if you spend your day in the present. Days are important, days are manageable. They’re bite size. You can do anything for a day.

The next thing you will remember are decades. I stand here today. On this day that I will remember and a day you will remember, exactly two decades from when I sat where you are sitting. Two decades ago, if you asked the new miami grad, newly minted second lieutenant in the US Airforce version of Sean Lane if he thought he’d be standing on this stage - he’d say there is absolutely no chance. I still think it’s a miracle I graduated at all. I still think I may get a letter one day from Miami that starts with “oops we made a mistake”. But decades make such a difference. Decades are where the real magic happens. Let me go back 3 decades - 1992. The internet was new to me. I fell in love with technology and computers and the internet and this idea that you could build something that others could use. I also had a dream to be a spy. I wanted nothing more than to be in military intelligence.

I remember the day I was told I couldn’t be an intelligence officer in the Army because I’m colorblind. I remember the day when I was working at cedar point in october at 18 years old with no clue how I was going to afford to go to college, and I searched on alta vista, it was a search engine we used before google, for the “best college in ohio” and Miami university popped up. Honestly, I’d never heard of it. I remember the day i packed up my car and drove to miami and showed up on the doorstep of admissions armed with enough money for one semester - saying “I’d like to go to school here”. I still don’t know why they let me in. I remember the day the airforce detachment here in Millet Hall told me I’d needed lose 60lbs in one semester in order to get a scholarship - which was the only way I could afford to come back to school the next year. I remember the day I weighed in and was told I made it by one pound. I remember the day they told me I was selected for military intelligence. I remember the day I graduated, like you just did. That decade was intense. I went from a chubby computer nerd in my parent’s basement with no way to pay for college- to a college graduate, a military officer, and my dream of becoming a spy had come true.

The next decade was equally as intense. I remember the day I landed in Iraq for the first time. I remember the day I met my wife. I remember the day I showed up at NSA, an absolute dream come true for me. I remember the day, back in Iraq for the third time when I realized that I could use technology to produce better intelligence for warfighters - bringing together my passion for computers and software with my boyhood dreams of espionage. I remember the day in Afghanistan I called my wife, then fiance, and told her I was staying longer - again. I remember that day being the day I decided to leave the military and start a company. I remember the day I got married. I remember the day I sold my infiniti G35, which was a very cool car back then, and bought a ford ranger for $2,900 on craig’s list so I could afford to go out on my own to start that company. I remember the day I stepped into our first office. I remember the day we sold our first product,
$87k to Lockheed Martin. I remember the day we landed our first multi-million dollar deal. I remember the day we had our first little girl, Mallory. I remember the day we decided to sell the company. And of course, I remember the day we actually sold the company. That decade was transformative. I went from a young starry eyed lieutenant, to a 5 time combat veteran, an intelligence officer at the largest agency on the planet, a husband, a father, and an entrepreneur.

Over the last decade, I remember the day I met with a state senator in Ohio trying to figure out why the opioid epidemic had devastated my hometown and trying to figure out what we were going to do about it. I remember the day I walked into my local hospital and learned why we couldn’t track or prevent doctor shopping - that was the day I realized healthcare didn’t have the internet. I remember the day we started Olive to build the internet of healthcare, called CrossChx back then. I remember the day I met the investors who said that idea could be a mutli-billion dollar company and could change the healthcare industry forever. I remember the day we got our first $5m of funding. I remember the day I interviewed our first software engineer - he still works at olive by the way. I remember the day our son Sean Jr was born and one of my investors showed up in Baltimore and told me I needed to move to Columbus if we wanted more funding. I remember the day we announced our first big layoff. I remember the day I came up with Olive - our newest product so our company could rise from the ashes to achieve our vision. I remember the day we sold Olive to our first customer. I remember the day I sold that $2,900 ford ranger. Then I remember the day I realized I had made a huge mistake and bought it back again. I remember the day I remember the day my daughter Amy was born. I remember the day we shut down all of our offices as COVID19 struck. I remember when we hit a billion dollars of value. I remember the day we crossed 1,000 employees. I remember the day we hit 4 billion dollars of value. I remember the day I was to speak to you at graduation - right here right now.

Your decades are transformative. They will change your life in ways you can’t imagine. But those decades are made of days you remember - and all the ones you won’t remember. Live every day in the present. They won’t all be good days, but bring all of you to them, even the bad ones. They will define your decades. Don’t focus on the weeks, the months, or even the years. Be present in your days and they will turn into great decades. Enjoy this day. Slow down. Be present. If you let them, these days will turn into decades that will absolutely change your life.

Congratulations. Love and Honor.