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Duo Security

123 N Ashley St
Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Dug Song

Dug Song likes an underdog. The CEO & co-founder of Duo Security likes that underdogs have to work for what they get, and more times than not have the personality to make it interesting. He likes that they are building toward something, living more for the journey toward the goal than the goal itself.

That's Michigan today, and in particular the Ann Arbor area. It's a big reason why he is growing his tech startup and raising his young family here. It's why he has stayed here since coming to the University of Michigan 20 years ago.

"I have been here longer than I have ever lived anywhere in my life," Song says. "The thing that really attracts me while I am raising my kids is that I like the fact that Michigan is the underdog. I don't want my kids to grow up in a place that is ostentatious wealth."

Song is a man with options. The serial tech entrepreneur could easily live in Silicon Valley or any other major tech hub in North America and build startups. His latest, downtown Ann Arbor-based Duo Security, is a digital security firm backed by some heavy hitters in California's venture capital world, like Google Ventures and True Ventures.

Song could build that anywhere in the world, but he chose Ann Arbor. Part of the reason why is that underdog mentality of the region. "There is hope for my kids to grow up around normal people, working people," Song says.

Song grew up in Washington, D.C., during the 1980s and early 1990s. Back when the District of Columbia was known for stereotypical urban poverty and violence. But it was also a dynamic place with a vibrant counter culture. Song waxes poetic about how D.C.‘s Adams Morgan neighborhood used to be a collision of numerous cultures where you could wander into a Afghani restaurant and see Kalashnikovs on the walls. Washington, D.C., was working toward becoming something bigger then. Song wants that type of life experience for his kids.

"I like the idea that my kids are going to watch this place grow up with them, and have that opportunity to be part of that," Song says. "Not have everything built and done, and there is nothing left for them to do."

Michigan, and Ann Arbor, is that sort of place for Song and his family now.

"I like that Michigan has all these little sub cultures," Song says. "Even in a big city like Detroit, there are still all these little things going on. I love that."

And Song works toward helping grow that, whether its through helping support the building of Ann Arbor’s first skate park or co-founding A2 New Tech Meetup. He does worry sometimes that Ann Arbor is losing its edge. That people who claim to be progressives aren’t actually doing their part to push forward new and exciting changes and help enrich the culture that has made Ann Arbor famous. But it’s a situation that Song thinks can be worked out.

"They always complain that Ann Arbor is a terrible place and the roads are falling apart. That's bullshit," Song says. “Ann Arbor is an awesome place, but we need to keep it awesome." He adds, "I just hope that Ann Arbor is the type of city that can sustain creative artists."

- Written by Jon Zemke

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