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Thursday, August 11, 2022

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Stories of Leadership: Frank Jensen

Jensen credits SDSU for enabling him to launch his own business.

Frank Jensen received his master's degree in educational technology from San Diego State University in 1992.

He currently serves as the chief executive officer for Binary Labs in San Diego, a custom software development company. Binary Labs offers product concept and design, media development, software solutions, and services for e-Learning applications, including mobile application development.

He received his bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and now lives in La Jolla with his wife and children.

Tell us the highlights of your professional career.  What are your proudest achievements?

The SDSU "EdTech" program enabled me to launch my own business. It gave me the skills and connections to take the leap and start BinaryLabs just after graduating. I am proud and thankful that the company has been in business since 1993, and that we have been able to provide a steady paycheck for many talented and committed people over the years. 

I am also proud of our commitment to innovation. I keep trying new things, and failing, and trying again.  Our most recent foray is into the iPad app business, and we are having a decent amount of success with some medical apps.  (Insert Shameless Plug here: please see for more info.)

What’s your favorite college memory?

As a working graduate student living off campus, I did not really have the full Aztec experience. However, I did meet some of my future collaborators through the EdTech Program. John Vitaglione, Louise Russell, James Sigismonti, Liz Herrick and many others. They are all great people.

Who was your favorite professor and/or what was your favorite class?

Wow, that’s a tough one! The EdTech faculty was one superstar after another, all with unique expertise. Bernie Dodge was a huge influence. His simulation and games class changed the course of my career.  Allison Rossett became a mentor. Brock Allen was immensely entertaining and talented. Farhad Saba was an inspiration for business endeavors.  

If you were to give current SDSU students some advice, what would you say?

First and foremost, no matter what field you are in, learn to write well. Formal and informal communication is critical to advancing your career. Learn to spell, use proper grammar and expand your vocabulary. If you ever want to rise above middle management or start your own gig, you need to write well.

What are you currently reading? What’s your favorite book?

I get this question all the time. It’s impossible for me to pick a favorite book, song or movie, for a couple of reasons. First, the answer is conditional. It depends on mood, point in my life, genre, etc ...  And second, I have forgotten most of them.

What is your passion?

My wife and kids, dreaming up new apps and bringing them to life, playing golf, laughing and enjoying the outdoors.  

What is your motto?

“If you have a personal motto you are limiting yourself.  Imagine all the good mottos you are leaving behind.”

If you won the lottery, what would you do with your winnings?

I would pay off the mortgage, put the kids through college, keep building apps occasionally, help others launch businesses, bust the teacher’s union, enable my siblings to do whatever they wanted, take my wife on a trip around the world and spend time on tropical islands. I’m hoping the lottery was big that week.

Which trait do you value most in your friends and colleagues?

A sense of humor and the ability to have a good conversation.

If you knew you could not fail, what would you attempt?

I would be a professional hockey player.