In the military, everything you learn becomes useful to you even after you settle down into civilian life. The traits Dan Anton acquired in the Army like goal setting, goal achievement, teamwork and leadership skills have continued to bless his business Atlanta SEO. Dan comes from a family with a long line of service members. James Anton his father is a proud military man, and his grandfather Henry Anton also served. Military service stretches back to his great father, and little did Dan know that he would one day proudly serve his country as an Infantry Ranger Army Major. At the time, he was just a video game lover who made his money collecting and selling games as hobby while at Neptune High School.
Along with trading, selling, and buying games, Dan wrote guides for MMORPGs like EverQuest. Soon, Dan’s video game interests became more than just a hobby, and he started to earn thousands of extra dollars in cash in month from the sales of guides and rare video games.
“The more you sweat in training, the less you bleed in battle.”
—Navy Seals Motto
9/11: The Tragedy That Awoke a Sleeping Giant
On September 11, 2001, Al Qaeda terrorists hijacked four planes. One was overthrown and crashed into a field in Pennsylvania, one hit the Pentagon and two others collapsed the Twin Towers. In total, they killed 2,996 people and wounded 6,000 others. In that moment, Dan became more than just a video game nerd. In fact, it seemed childish and petty to even like video games or private sector interests when his country had just been attacked. It awoke Dan’s fiery inner warrior that could not tolerate such an insult on American soil. He, along with thousands of other passionate Americans, joined the military and went after Al Qaeda.
Dan had natural talents as an athlete, and he had actually been a champion of boxing for both New York State and New Jersey. Even before the military, he developed leadership skills as the head of his guild on EverQuest. Later, Dan’s leadership skills were developed even further because of his ongoing dedication to excellence and a sharp eye for detail. He attended OCS and even reached 2nd Lieutenant while he served in the Army. Dan has always been an overachiever. It’s more exciting to seek new challenges after old ones are taken down, and after he finished the harsh and demanding training of Ranger School, he wanted to get AirBorne certified. Dan succeeded quickly, and he has an extensive list of achievements and awards.
“To be prepared for war is one of the most effective means for preserving peace.”
Mentally and Physically Strong: Combat Ready!
Once Dan completed his training, he had both physical and mental preparation on his side. He found a big difference between the bloody battlegrounds in EverQuest and the real battles in Iraq. Fighting in Iraq, you didn’t get a reset button if you made a mistake, and Lieutenant Dan, along with his men, often took to the battlefield away from the green zones for combat missions. They were there to seek and destroy the enemy—there was no room for anything in between. In the span of about a year, the exchanging gunfights between Al Qaeda and Dan’s unit were fiery furious, and he lost many good Army brothers because of the War on Terror. Despite those heartbreaking losses, he masterfully guided his unit so that they had confirmed kills in the hundreds with multiple strategic captures. With the deployment over, Dan returned back to the states.
Exciting Times: The Beginning of the Online Communities
When 2006 struck, Myspace took over as the dominant social media platform, Youtube picked up steam, and Reddit had just been created. In these flourishing surroundings, Dan realized a brilliant entrepreneurial idea called Character Planet that he created with his younger brother Matt Anton, which was a social networking site for gamers with gaming news and hosted ventrilo. The brothers had thousands of gamers who wanted to participate, but the concept had not been positioned well enough to make a profit. They needed a ton of funding with a committed CEO. Unfortunately, it just wasn’t a reality because Dan still served in the Army, and he didn’t want to give up his military career.
Eventually, the passion project failed, but it was not wasted energy. The Anton brothers picked up valuable marketing skills for how to push and succeed with a website. That arsenal of skills later got targeted more towards the real businesses like restaurants, doctors, lawyers, hotels and insurance companies. While part of it was luck because of Google’s algorithms, Both Matt and Dan became valuable experts in numerous online disciplines and companies sought them out. At this time, Matt Anton worked with Liberty Travel where he shifted their online marketing dollars to earn them millions of dollars more. Meanwhile, Dan kept his focus on programming software via his background in computer science. They grew this business part time.
Iraq—The Second Time
Dan fought in everything from the small gunfights to full-blown war, and during this time, his men gave him the honorific title Achilles, the hero of Greek mythology in the Trojan War who commanded 50 ships. They gave him this title because of his how willing he put his own neck on the line for his men and stay courageous even with the odds in the enemy’s favor. As it was with Achilles, the lucky dice were rolled in Dan’s favor one fateful morning when a bloody ambush took place. Dan’s vehicle hit multiple IEDs, and his vertebrate sustained a major injury that caused him to make a life changing decision.
Upon returning to the states, Dan either had to retire or perform his duties in an office as a desk general. It was not without reluctance that Dan Anton retired from the military. He attained to the rank of an Infantry Army Ranger Major.
“Your job is not to die for your country, it’s to make the other bastard die for his.”
—General George S. Patton
Salute to His Army Brothers: Seeking a New Life Passion
After retiring from the Army, Dan needed to find a new reason to live, and he wanted to salute his fallen brothers through the finding of a new life passion. A lot of service members will tell you that the values and the principles that you learn from the military drill themselves deep into your psyche. He took what the Army had given him and reinvented himself into a business warrior through the creation of software services and solving difficult problems for businesses.
Like in the military, Dan’s business rose like the proud American eagle, and with sharp eagle eyes, he dive bombed his goals, snatched them up in his talons, and left with victory. Dan Anton continues to support the Wounded Warrior Project. Without the courageous sacrifice of the brave service members of the military, America would not remain a free country. Those who heroically put their life on the line for their country deserve the nation’s support.
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”
About the Author: Samantha Higgins is a freelance copywriter focused on conveying true stories to relevant audiences. When she is not researching or crafting content she can be found spending time playing with her Yorkie (Mindy), binge-watching Netflix, and line dancing.