David Norris | Crain's San Francisco

In this ongoing series, we ask executives, entrepreneurs and business leaders about mistakes that have shaped their business philosophy.

David Norris


loanDepot is a nonbank consumer lender and market leader offering home mortgage, refinance, equity, and personal loan products. Since April 2014, David Norris has overseen the management of loanDepot’s distributive retail channels, which includes 180+ loan stores nationwide. 

The Mistake:

It took me a long time to realize that different people and different personalities fit best in different environments. I think that half of my ‘career years,’ from an external standpoint, looked very successful, but did not give me the same satisfaction as working for smaller companies.

I started my career in law enforcement and moved to high-tech growth companies. It took me a long time to realize that I wasn’t really built for large companies. I enjoy less structure, I enjoy being able to enact decisions quicker I think that it took me quite a while to realize that you need to really understand your own personality and your own strengths and likes and then find businesses that match that. 

When I worked in law enforcement, I remember opening the closet where the coffee maker was. Inside of the closet door was the government schedule of pay, and I could look right there and see in 25 years from that day what I was going to earn. And I realized I didn’t want that kind of structure in my life. I wanted it to be more of an adventure.

I resigned very soon after and started my own company.

Find roles that are most appropriate so you can have fun every day.

The Lesson:

Stay curious and be honest. 

I would go as far to say that I almost have career ADD.

I found that every business was the same. They’re all revenue, expense, most of the departments are the same, you need to have people that sell. Every business, whether non-profit or for-profit or government are very, very similar.

There’s no reason why somebody, unless it’s a personality type, would stick to just one career. If you live one life you might as well do a lot of things in it and enjoy it.

Knowing whether you like structure, lack of structure, whether you’re a risk taker, not a risk taker—you eventually need to reconcile that within your own self and find roles that are most appropriate so you can have fun every day.


Photo courtesy of David Norris. 

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