Skip Navigation

Scott Resnick ’09 and Jon Hardin ’08

When Scott Resnick ’09 (left) and Jon Hardin ’08 (right) were still roaming the UW-Madison campus as undergrads, they could often be found wearing Badger red and hanging out at the Terrace — much like their Badger counterparts. But when it came to the social media scene so many students were into, Hardin and Resnick weren’t busy downloading the latest apps on their smartphones and computers. They were developing them.

March 01, 2012

2012 Forward under 40 Award Honoree

UW Major: Computer Sciences (Hardin);
Political Science and Legal Studies (Resnick)
Age: 25 (both) | Madison
President and CEO of Hardin Design and Development (Hardin)
Vice President of Hardin Design and Development (Resnick)

When Scott Resnick '09 (left) and Jon Hardin '08 (right) were still roaming the UW-Madison campus as undergrads, they could often be found wearing Badger red and hanging out at the Terrace — much like their Badger counterparts. But when it came to the social media scene so many students were into, Hardin and Resnick weren't busy downloading the latest apps on their smartphones and computers. They were developing them.

While living in Chadbourne Hall, Hardin and Resnick struck up a friendship that turned into a partnership when, along with several other students, they founded InZum. This online video streaming software business even won the group a $2,500 prize during the tenth annual G. Steven Burrill Technology Business Plan Competition, hosted by the Wisconsin School of Business in 2007.

"There was an issue though," recalls Resnick. "That first business was a complete failure."

However, that didn't stop Hardin and Resnick from continuing to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams. In fact, both credit the UW for creating an environment that allowed them to succeed after college.

"The University of Wisconsin played a significant role in both of our lives, and allowed each of us to explore a career outside of our normal course curriculum," says Hardin.

Hardin and Resnick went their separate ways after that initial failed venture, but only briefly. They reunited when Hardin founded Hardin Design and Development.

As president of the company, Hardin oversees the development of hundreds of web, Facebook, iPhone, and Android applications. And in his role as vice president, Resnick focuses on new business development, account management, and portfolio investments.

Together they've built the company into an industry leader in mobile applications and software development, and they've won numerous awards, including top honors at the cutting-edge Consumer Electronics Show. Their work has even appeared in Apple Computer's popular iPad commercials.

With clients like Mercedes-Benz, Disney, CNN, IBM, AT&T, FedEx, and Sony, it might be reasonable to assume these guys had to pack up their belongings and set up shop deep in the heart of Silicon Valley. But no, their tech firm is thriving in Madison, the place where the Wisconsin Idea was born. And the core principles of the "Idea" continue to live on through Hardin and Resnick, inspiring them to give back to the community and UW-Madison. They've carried this idea to their company, says Hardin, by hiring sought-after UW alumni and giving Badger students valuable internship opportunities.

The pair also helped found Capital Entrepreneurs, an organization dedicated to sparking new business development in Madison. Starting with twelve members in 2009, the organization has seen its membership rise to seventy-five in 2011.

In addition, Hardin has worked to build incubator space for early-stage technology startups in downtown Madison. And Resnick is currently serving his first term on the City of Madison Common Council, where he is also a member of the Economic Development Committee.

So when it comes to community and Badger spirit, these two clearly have an app for that.

In their own words

Jon Hardin

What was your favorite class?

The History of African American Music with Craig Werner broadened my horizons more than a lot of the classes more closely tied to my major.

Who is your hero?

Steve Jobs. I can say without a doubt that without Steve Jobs, Hardin DD would not exist — or would certainly not bear any resemblance to its current form. We were truly privileged to be alive to witness how the world changed due to the work of Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and the other innovators who competed to shape technology and the society that depends on it.

What do you do in your free time?

I have remodeled about 2,500 square feet of basement in my house and have built a theater, bar, library and three bedrooms. I like working with my hands and building things, since it's basically the opposite of sitting in front of a computer screen. I'm also an avid car collector and currently drive a Maserati Quattroporte and a Porsche Boxster S.

What was your first job?

Working the sales floor at Target, although before that I helped my dad (Dr. Jeff Hardin in the UW zoology department) with web development tasks in his lab.

What's your guilty pleasure?

I consider myself somewhat of a cigar and Scotch connoisseur. For a different side of the term guilty pleasure, my wife and I both enjoy watching Jersey Shore.

If you could trade places with any person for a week, living or dead, real or fictional, with whom would it be?

Scott Resnick.

Scott Resnick

What is the one thing every UW student must do?

Each student should spend a summer in Madison. There is a certain beauty to the Memorial Union that can only be appreciated when it's 85 degrees and sunny on a Saturday afternoon.

What is your proudest UW achievement?

I received a Pathways Scholarship to study the qualifications for obtaining state public defenders, and I spent nearly three years doing research and presenting my findings. One year after I graduated, the legislature voted the reforms I advocated for into law.

What is the greatest benefit of a UW degree?

There are Badgers literally all over the world. From Nepal to Necedah, you can always find someone to sing "Sweet Caroline" with on game day. Our alumni provide one of the greatest personal and business networks anywhere in the world.

What was your first job?

Answering the customer complaint line at Footlocker. I never dealt with a happy person in one and a half years.

What five items would you take to a desert island?

Portable generator, TV, DVD player, popcorn and the complete series of Lost.

If you could trade places with any person for a week, living or dead, real or fictional, with whom would it be?

Easily Ira Glass, the host of This American Life. In order to produce each episode he interviews dozens of potential guests, and every week is something new.

Related News and Stories

<

Kristian Johnsen works to make a more inclusive military culture, where LGBT service members can find the acceptance and community they need for pe...

>