David Bloom

4322 North Quad
Adjunct Clinical Associate Professor of Information, School of Information


Faculty Profile
David Bloom: Now in his fifth career

David Bloom doesn’t sweat failure. Why? Because he’s an entrepreneur.

Bloom has built 13 start-ups – new business ventures from the ground-up. A high-speed digital library system, a big-data analytics company, and a handheld diabetes manager, among (many) others.

Of these, “a third of them are gone,” Bloom says casually.

For most of us, failure is anything but casual. But for people like Bloom, failure comes with the territory, because entrepreneurs think out-of-the box -- “it’s part of the job description,” Bloom says. This means they can’t stop trying new things; some are bound to fail. 

This kind of life would drive many people crazy, but “we’re not motivated by the things that motivate most folks,” explains Bloom, adjunct clinical associate professor of information, and UMSI’s most recent faculty member.
“We have to practice delayed gratification,” he says, “use the best science to take our best shot, then find out later – sometimes way later – if we got it right.” At this, his grin expands.

Bloom is teaching SI 663: Entrepreneurship in the Information Industry in Winter 2018. He previously taught at the Ross School of Business for several years, at the Rackham Graduate School and LS&A.
Bloom grew up in the city of Detroit. In high school, he was a music geek, he says. He played keyboards and sang in the choir. So he went to Oberlin College in Ohio to major in music composition. It was his first lesson in failure, he says, and it wasn’t an easy one: He flunked out.

“I learned there are some really great composers out there—and I ain’t one of ’em,” he says.

He did an about-face to earn degrees in electrical engineering and industrial and operations engineering from the University of Michigan. Early on, he worked for the Burroughs Corporation (now Unisys) as a staff engineer. It was there that he became a teacher – “an evangelist,” as he puts it – about a promising new technology. “It was called ‘email’.”

Bloom, who lives in Chelsea, MI. with his family, adds that teaching at U-M is his fifth career, preceded by roles as engineer, project manager, coach, and journalist (he started the site www.arborweb.com while at the Ann Arbor Observer in 1996; it’s still in operation).

Along the way, he has had some great mentors – and is now a mentor himself. Meanwhile, Bloom loves his role as teacher at UMSI, he says. “Working with the students here at UMSI is intrinsically motivating. They expect a lot of us. They should.”

by Sheryl James for umsi.life