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www.insightssuccess.com October 2018


Editor’s Note

Unboxing Entrepreneurship: The Road to Building Empires

S

parkling champagne bottles and elegant bouquets, waving checkered flags and flying confetti, shelved trophies and polished medals, are all a worldly representation of success. The true meaning of achieving something lies within the struggle that we endure, on the path to excellence. The path which teaches us that life isn’t just about reaching a destination where prosperity, a ton load of wealth and speculated happiness await us, but about earning loyalty, respect and an identity. This very path is what creates a distinguishing line between the dreamers and the achievers, between the procrastinators and the go-getters, and between those cursing their luck and those sharpening their tools of trade. It is always our choice in what we make of ourselves. What counts the most is why we make that choice. Irrespective of all the calculated assumptions we make, whether it be about our career interests, important life decisions, or letting go of something, a consequence always lies hidden. Through these consequences or outcomes, we learn the most valuable lessons. This process encompasses a few extrinsic factors such as peer pressure, detrimental influences, and burdening responsibilities which cannot be disregarded. To sum up, our success, sometimes feeble, sometimes grand, is vastly and solely dependent on our efficiency, intellect and attitude. Now that we know how success is conceived, let’s apply the same factors when we take entrepreneurship into consideration. When you envision and strive for excellence, you leave success with no other option, than to follow you. Entrepreneurship is a voyage in itself, towards the horizons of an unforeseen destiny,


sailing the uncertain tides of failures, with the mighty winds spreading the scent of your profound victory. The choice is again yours to make, to be just a sailor or to be the captain of the ship. In an era marked by disruptive innovations and reformative individuals, sculpting an identity for oneself with chisels of creativity, determination and leadership, has been deemed essential. Catering to these necessities has now been included in ’How to be an Entrepreneur, 101.’ As hypothetical as that gets, an entrepreneur has to comprehend the nature of what goes for a business nowadays. Straight from commencing a business to hiring the right talent, from managing products, business proceedings and teams to matching up to the cutthroat market competition, comprise of an entrepreneurs job description. With the agenda of finding and featuring entrepreneurial masterpieces, and considering the complete possession and an avid portrayal of these traits, Insights Success has come up with this extensive list of “The 30 Most Influential Entrepreneurs to Watch, 2018.” These exceptional men and women wearing their powerful personas over their suits have been transforming their respective industries. They’ve ceaselessly treaded through thick and thin to build their empires on the foundations of democratic leadership, being au fait with the market, and immovable grit. One among these ardent entrepreneurs is the face on the cover of this issue, Susan Akbapour. Born to journalist parents, Susan dove into journalism right after finishing her undergrad and a short stint of running businesses that her late parents left behind, from when she was around the age of 19. Susan became the first female journalist at one of the oldest and most famous newspaper in Iran after the revolution. Her first assignment was writing a cooking column. But, her cooking column was just a flash in the pan. Within a few weeks, she hustled her way to become an investigative reporter, overcoming a patriarchal system that had a hard time accepting a woman in such a position. With knowledge of business and her previous experiences, Susan was led to founding Mavatar Technologies, a company that will make her vision a reality. But, what makes her the most distinctive is her way of handling the professional life. This can be evidently noted when she advices, “Don’t worry about so many things you can’t or you might not need to control. Focus on things that matter and that you can finish today.” Delve in to more such inspiring stories and lessons from many such significant entrepreneurs in this issue of our magazine and reap the fruits of motivation. Also, flip through the CXOs by industry experts and articles by our editorial team, and relish the brief taste of various industrial sectors and technologies. Bon appetit!

Abhishaj Sajeev


Contents COVER STORY

Susan Akbarpour: mCart, Make the world Shop-able

10

Entrepreneur of year Damian Crotty: Reforming the Benchmarks of Entrepreneurship

20


Articles Imparting Wisdom

From Editor’s Desk

The Art of Leading

Successful Personality Traits

Journey to Self Discovery

Attributes of a Good Leader

40

64

82

to Learn from Elon Mask

00

Tech-Know Insights

What a Tech CEO can Teach Your Business about Digital

34

00

00

Tech Evolution

How VideoAmp Evolved the Company Culture and Process to Increase the Number of Engineers Employed

Purpose Driven

The Importance of Purpose

74

48 Abhishek Kumar: Reforming the Benchmarks of Entrepreneurship

24

Alicia AsĂ­n:

Beholding Global Revolution

26

Beven Schwaiger:

Reshaping Management System Solutions

30


Charis Liau:

An Ace Entrepreneur in the Financial Services Space

32

Dirk De Meirsman:

Revolutionizing Organizations with IT Automation

38

Eric Simon:

Empowering Marketers Worldwide

44

Erik Bjontegard:

Changing the Course of Contextual Intelligence

46

Gary Fowler:

Transforming Business Sectors with ArtiďŹ cial Intelligence

52

Dr. R Kishore Kumar:

An Entrepreneur-Par-Excellence

54 Lasha Antadze:

A Passionate and Visionary Entrepreneur

56


Mikko Alasaarela:

60

An Innovator and Entrepreneur

Peter Bryant:

62

Providing Exemplary Hosting Services

Rupert Steffner:

Emerging Cognitive AI to the Next Level

70

Steven Canale:

68

Ryan Welsh:

A Visionary Leader

An Ardent and Visionary Entrepreneur

78

72

Thomas Smale:

Unlocking Doors of Opportunities

Tim May:

Changing the Way Critical Infrastructure Companies do Project Management

80


Editor-in-Chief Managing Editor Executive Editor Assistant Editors Contributing Editors Visualiser Art & Design Director Associate Designer Co-designer

Pooja M. Bansal Anish Miller Abhishaj Sajeev Jenny Fernandes Kedar Kulkarni Hitesh Dhamani Bhushan Kadam David King Amol Kamble Tejas Kulkarni Sapana Shinde

Art & Picture Editors Paul Belin Jayant Khanna Senior Sales Manager Passi D. Business Development Manager Peter Collins Marketing Manager John Matthew Business Development Executives Steve, Avdhut, Alan, Nilesh Sales Executives David, Kevin, Mark, Prasad Technical Head Jacob Smile Technical Specialists Amar, Pratiksha Digital Marketing Manager Marry D’Souza Online Marketing Strategists Alina Sege, Shubham, Vishal SME-SMO Executives Prashant Chevale, Uma Dhenge, Gemson, Prasad Research Analyst Patrick James Circulation Managers Robert, Tanaji Database Management Stella Andrew Technology Consultant David Stokes sales@insightssuccess.com

October, 2018 Corporate Ofces: Insights Success Media Tech LLC 555 Metro Place North, Suite 100, Dublin, OH 43017, United States Phone - (614)-602-1754 Email: info@insightssuccess.com For Subscription: www.insightssuccess.com

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30Entrepreneurs The

Most Inuential

to Watch 2018

Susan and her team created a platform to bring retail and media together.


I

t all started with Journalism.

Born to journalist parents, Susan Akbarpour dove into journalism right after finishing her undergrad and a short stint of running businesses that her late parents left behind from when she was 19 to 22. Susan became the first female journalist at one of the oldest and most famous newspaper in Iran after the revolution. Her first assignment was writing a cooking column. But, her cooking column was just a flash in the pan. Within a few weeks, she hustled her way to become an investigative reporter, overcoming a patriarchal system that had a hard time accepting a woman in such a position. After moving up the ranks as an editor and special correspondent, obtaining the first independent journalism license in the country and winning a national award for the best interview of the year, Susan went to the US to find her American dream, practice better journalism and start her own publication. Eventually, she woke up from the dream when she found herself in a void. Her publication was subsisting off press releases and letting advertisements and the entertainment-crazed audience diminishes its editorial standards. It was not only her fledgling publication that was suffering, as audience and journalist disengagement led even the most prominent US media institutions to a hole, which to her was worse than censorship. The power of truly disruptive content was neither appreciated, needed nor sensed. Susan then drifted from the world of journalism to that of technology and business, where disruption holds a higher value. But “Content and Creativity” have always had prominent places in everything she has done, from planning technology conferences, to management consulting, to marketing and PR, to making investment, to sitting in multiple boards and to starting her latest venture, a software company with a flagship product called mCart. mCart converges the media with commerce, making the role of online push advertising—the kiss of death to conventional media advertising strategies—less prevalent. Susan is also a partner at Candou Ventures, a founding member and on the board of directors at IMA International Executive Council and VOMax Corporation, an advisory board member to Trustroot, a member of Stanford Business School Alumni Association and Stanford Women on Boards, a prestige member of Watermark (a nonprofit organization that is a community of executive women), and a contributing writer to Forbes. Throughout her journey as an entrepreneur, journalist, publisher, investor, board member, community advocate and political fundraiser, Susan has received multiple media, community and


business awards, spoken at over 50 conferences, and is frequently featured in mainstream media outlets such as Business Journal, Stanford Magazine, ABC News and Fox Business, among others. From Vision to Reality Working as a journalist, Susan loved being on the cutting edge of the news and serving people important information, although she spent most of her time designing and marketing software in the world of tech these days. With the mCart, she is creating a cutting-edge solution that lets consumers, retailers and producers share information on a unified platform. She asserts, “I may not be creating as much content anymore, but now I’m helping built a platform to help consumers, advertisers and content creators leverage and monetize content in a transparent and frictionless way!” Susan also advises and invests in many other startups that are aligned with her vision for building a more engaged and “cross-pollinated” world.

In addition, the mCart platform is very diverse and has multiple applications for different types of the users and customers. According to Susan, platforms are typically very difficult to explain as they have multiple constituencies with different sets of needs and objectives. Finding the right messages that resonate with everyone doesn’t happen overnight, but a message that is relaying “win-win situation” can be a good start. This is usually a common message for most of the platforms. The mCart message for users and customers is, “Making the world around us shop-able.” mCarts can be placed behind Hollywood movies, TV shows, magazine articles, billboards, social posts and even one’s living room, turning them all into money making machines. The value created by this platform might be saving time and money removing middlemen and back-office excess costs, obtaining accurate data, or creating new revenue models for different constituencies of the mCart ecosystem. In today’s complex world, the job of an innovator is not creating point solutions anymore. The company has to devise a crosspollinated and easy-to-use platform, integrating multiple solutions that can solve complex and interrelated problems. It’s hard and time consuming to relay the message of a platform. One has to be patient, creative and knowledgeable to finance the slow adoption rate and help the entire ecosystem “cross the chasm” in a timely

Incorporate, prototype, build the team, raise fund, find a product market fit. And, be ready

When Susan attended Stanford Graduate Business School for an MS in management, she researched how a connected, contextual, and consumer-centric commerce platform could empower consumers to buy more efficiently, advertisers to track their marketing dollars to sales dollars and media to monetize the content in a more honorable way. This research directly led to the founding of Mavatar Technologies, a company that will make her vision a reality. Susan serves as CEO and Co-founder at Mavatar Technologies. An Omnichannel Commerce Platform Mavatar is a leading player in capturing, tracking and monetizing omnichannel data. The company provides a suite of turnkey solutions: Ÿ Omnichannel marketplace Ÿ Shop-able content publishing Ÿ AI & Blockchain-based affiliate Ÿ Data-driven CRM as-a-service

The all-in-one platform can be operated by content platforms, agencies, malls, CPGs and procurement sites. Mavatar’s innovative and consumer-centric solutions bring unprecedented efficiency to the entire commerce ecosystem and close the gap between online and offline shopping, sales and advertising.

manner. Creation of a Successful Platform Susan strives for the mCart platform to become an industry standard for user-generated advertising and content monetization. This is no easy task, as the modern consumer’s experience is fragmented and has many steps along the path to purchase. It has taken eight years for her company to build and market the mCart platform so that it gives consumers a streamlined shopping experience, gives retailers an intuitive platform for managing their inventory, sales and advertising, and gives content creators a transparent means of tracking their influence to sales dollars. Susan believes that through trial and error, and over 2 million hours of brainwork across her team, Mavatar has successfully created a platform that accurately encapsulates the modern


mCart optimizes the winding path of the consumer experience from discovery to transaction

retail and media landscape. Once the solid pipeline of an effective, transparent and adaptive network is built, fueling it with users’ trust and adoption doesn’t seem that hard. Making the Way Out to Serve the Mission Initially, Mavatar Technologies had trouble getting VC investment, as its vision of a unified retail and media ecosystem didn’t fit with their models. The company also had trouble getting retailers to get on board with its idea to reward micro, macro and mega influencers for the purchases they drove because retailers were worried about whether it’d be too logistically expensive to directly deal with millions of influencers and micropayments. However, these initial setbacks led to the development of mCart’s most innovative features, including the blockchain-based attribution tracking system and the mCart token to facilitate micropayments. mCart tokens also helped the company raise money via an initial coin offering (ICO) private sale, and thus it didn’t need VC funding and could use the token to initially reward the early adopter influencers to create a “Network Effect,” “Cross the Chasm”, and prove the system to retailers. However, Mavatar had to pause its well-received ICO, as the regulatory environment for cryptocurrencies has not yet been established. The US federal agencies have neither fulfilled

their duty to define utility tokens, like that of the mCart, nor created a framework to identify legitimate technologies and companies while protecting ICO investors from shady crypto-hucksters. Susan’s recent mission has been drafting a blueprint to help US regulators create the necessary rules to regulate ICOs before billions of dollars of investment and thousands of valuable intellectual properties leave the borders to conduct ICOs or and release tokens in countries with friendlier regulatory environments. Her campaign started with her presentation at the 36th monetary and trade conference at Drexel University. The university is now in the process of publishing a paper based on her presentation. She is also currently working on creating a coalition with a number of her alma mater’s (Stanford GSB) scholars and alumni, along with those of MIT, Drexel and other universities, to present a model for defining utility tokens to the SEC and other federal agencies. She also has a laser focus in investment in “blockchain infrastructure” ventures via Candou Ventures, an investment firm at which she is a partner. Illuminating Budding Entrepreneurs According to Susan, entrepreneurs need to know how to power through setbacks to pursue their vision. This is

especially true if the vision is particularly disruptive because established interests won’t want to see their industry and legacy technologies antiquated and because investors will be hesitant to invest in a product they don’t understand. Susan believes that the first step of starting a startup is, well, “starting” it. She says, “Over time, it’s natural to build an emotional connection to your startup. It’s like your baby. But, don’t be afraid of chopping off your baby leg if you see cancer spreading and deteriorating the business. Bad apples, politics, bureaucracy, recreating wheels, over-managing and overthinking are the ingredients of failure. Cut them off and cauterize the wound as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a better day without them even if you have to carry a crutch for a while.” Susan adds, “You should also live and work each day as if it’s your first and last day of business. Don’t worry about so many things you can’t or you might not need to control. Focus on things that matter and that you can finish today. Face the bottleneck when you have to. Sometimes the fear of bad news is more of a showstopper than the bad news itself. Tomorrow is already a better day if you don’t waste today worrying about it.”


Integrating multiple point solutions can solve complex and interrelated problems.


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30 The

Most Influential

Entrepreneurs to Watch 2018

Management

Brief

AgileIT agileit.com

John Gilham Founder

AgileIT aims to help business tap the full potential of their software and systems.

CloudFX Corp CloudFX.Com

Damian Crotty Founder & CEO

CloudFX – aims to set the global standard of excellence for delivering on the promise of technology; UNIoTE – is a leading IoT Industrial Platform Solutions and Advisory firm enabling companies’ wishing to prosper within the transformative technological segment termed IoT.

Cloudvirga cloudvirga.com

Bill Dallas Co-founder

Cloudvirga™ is revolutionizing mortgage origination by building intelligence into the digital mortgage.

DataSmart Solutions thinkdatasmart.com

Karleen Hanson Co-founder

DataSmart Solutions’ unique DataSmart Analysis Model provides healthcare data integration, analytics and solutions.

FE International feinternational.com

Thomas Smale Founder

FE International provides M&A advisory services for midmarket SaaS, e-commerce and content-based businesses.

Inbot inbot.io

Mikko Alasaarela Founder & CEO

Inbot Ambassador is an AI-powered platform for building trusted customer relationships.

Integrum Management Systems integrumsystems.com

Beven Schwaiger CEO

Integrum software is a proven and trusted, globally deployed integrated management system for Quality, Health Safety Environment, Risk & Compliance and Business Optimization.

Kids Clinic India Pvt Ltd. cloudninecare.com

Dr. R. Kishore Kumar Founder & Chairman

Kids Clinic India Private Limited operates a chain of maternity hospitals providing specialized healthcare for women and children in multiple cities of India.

Kyndi kyndi.com

Ryan Welsh Founder & CEO

Kyndi is an artificial intelligence company that’s building the first Explainable AI platform for government, financial services, and healthcare.

Libelium libelium.com

Alicia Asin CO-founder & CEO

Libelium is the wireless sensor networks hardware provider that delivers easy to program, modular, open source and low-power devices.

Company Name

TM

TM


30 The

Most Influential

Entrepreneurs to Watch 2018

Company Name

Management

Brief

LiquidPlanner liquidplanner.com

Charles Seybold Founder

LiquidPlanner, Inc. is an online project management software company based in Seattle.

Loylogic loylogic.com

Dominic Hofer Founder

Loylogic is the world’s leading innovator and creator of points experiences, insights, e-commerce and engagement.

Mavatar Technologies mavatar.com

Susan Akbarpour CO-founder & CEO

Mavatar is a Pioneer In Omnichannel Commerce PaaS Solutions, Powered By AI & Blockchain.

Minterest minterest.sg

Charis Liau Co-founder & CEO

Minterest is an online marketplace funding platform founded by a team of former bankers with more than 155 years of combined experience in corporate and structured finance.

NetBrain netbraintech.com

Lingping Gao Founder

NetBrain is the market leader for network automation. Its technology platform provides network engineers with end-toend visibility across their hybrid environments while automating their tasks across IT workflows.

Newsight Imaging nstimg.com

Eli Assoolin Co-founder

Newsight Imaging develops advanced CMOS image sensor chips for the Automotive, Robotics, Barcode Scanners, and AR/VR.

Nubera nubera.eu

Dirk De Meirsman Founder

Nubera is on a mission to enable IT organisations to become innovative, flexible and cost efficient through automation and by delivering any IT service on any platform with a single click.

RimuHosting Ltd Rimuhosting.com

Peter Bryant Founder

RimuHosting works closely with customers to help support their hosting services.

Shelf Network shelf.network

Lasha Antadze Founder

Shelf.Network builds the best price discovery system that ever existed in the e-commerce world and facilitates cross border online trades.

Sitetracker sitetracker.com

Tim May CTO

Sitetracker is a full lifecycle platform that delivers real-time collaboration, powerful automated reports, and accurate forecasting.


30 The

Most Influential

Entrepreneurs to Watch 2018

Management

Brief

SkyBridge Capital skybridgecapital.com

Anthony Scaramucci Founder

SkyBridge Capital is a global alternative investment firm with $9.6 billion in assets under management or advisement. It offers investing solutions that address a wide range of market participants from individual investors to large institutions.

Skydeo skydeo.com

Eric Simon CO-founder & COO

Skydeo is a mobile data platform that provides monetization solutions and analytics for App developers as well as insights and analytics for marketers and financial services companies

Spark Compass sparkcompass.com

Erik Bjontegard Founder

The Spark Compass platform by Total Communicator Solutions, Inc. is a comprehensive communication platform that collects data generated from cloud connected devices and wireless sensors, allowing enterprise users to granularly dissect it and create business rules that will trigger events and smart content delivery.

StackPath stackpath.com

Steven Canale Chief Revenue officer

StackPath operates a secure edge services platform which enables developers in protecting, accelerating, and innovating cloud properties ranging from websites to media delivery and IoT services.

Stellar Information Systems stellarinfo.com

Sunil Chandna Founder

Stellar Data Recovery is a leading information technology company that has revolutionized the concept of data recovery with smart, simple software and services.

Tradeshift tradeshift.com

Christian Lanng Founder

Tradeshift is a cloud based business network and platform for supply chain payments, marketplaces, and apps.

Vaultize Technologies vaultize.com

Anand A. Kekre Founder

Vaultize is a comprehensive enterprise file security platform that secures and protects corporate files wherever they are, wherever they go and however they are used.

Venture-Care venture-care.com

Abhishek Kumar CEO

Venture-Care is the most reliable one-stop online solution company for all business needs.

Wunderai Gmbh wunder.ai

Rupert Steffner CEO

WUNDER.AI is a leading company with trustful AI technology imitating consumer-decision making with cognitive artificial intelligence.

Yva.ai yva.ai

Gary Fowler Co-founder & CEO

Yva.ai offers a platform which helps employees grow and develop with the help of an AI tool that tracks and understands employee behavior based on their emails and other electronic communication data.

Company Name


Damian Crotty Founder & CEO CloudFX

20

October 2018


Entrepreneur of the Year

I

n an interview with Insights Success, the Founder of CloudFX and UNIoTE Companies, Damian Crotty, nominated as the Entrepreneur of the Year, shares his insights behind commendable global ascension as an entrepreneur. This exceptional industry leader has spearheaded his companies’ product offerings to a massive scale with his prolific and innovative management and technological expertise. Below are highlights from the interview conducted between Damian and Insights Success wherein: Give a brief overview of your background as an entrepreneur. I started my entrepreneurial journey in very late 2009 having recognized the significant changes our industry was undertaking as a result of the introduction of virtualization services and subsequent to that, cloud services. Those two interrelated technologies catalyzed a movement best described by one word, “transformation” where organizations globally, began to consider and those forward thinkers particularly, embraced unprecedented initiatives that would see IT change forever. For me personally, I entered the industry just as x86 servers where introduced into the Data Centre, as opposed to using Unix and Mainframe equipment and whilst it was slow goings at the start, I loved being at the forefront of that generational shift with Dell and have now led the next wave of generational technology via my own company in CloudFX, it’s been an incredible journey although, our generational shifts in technology are every 20 years vs. other October 2018

industries which may move faster so the accumulation of knowledge, lessons, experience and wisdom has helped me be a better entrepreneur vs. someone just starting out. How do you diversify your organization’s offerings to appeal to the target audience? CloudFX Group Holdings is actually 2 entrepreneurial journeys vs. just one, truth be told. CloudFX started out as an advisory, consulting, virtualization, operational management professional services transformation firm, a business I was able to build from $0 to $30M in value within 3-4 years. Once Cisco and Intel invested, I made what at the time was perceived as a contentious decision and one without a lot of support from my investors and board, which was, to turn CloudFX into a Digital and Cloud platform company. Those segments at the time where nascent, we had significant staff churn as a result of focusing on a completely unrelated sector of the industry and ended up missing several quarters in a row, needless to say, I was under the spot light. Fast forward to today and it was the best decision we ever made, period. We are now global, some of the largest companies in the world white label our technology, we are the worldwide leader of Enterprise and Data Centre transformation when it comes to being open, agnostic, flexible, customizable and easy to work with, and I believe we can take those lessons into my next entrepreneurial journey via a vehicle called UNIoTE, which was just incorporated in Singapore some

weeks back, exclusively focused on IoT Services and Solutions automation and management and also, Industry 4.0 Solutions. I am really excited about CloudFX’s future and UNIoTE’s future, given it allows us to cover Digital, Cloud and IoT – the 3 layers of the 4th Industrial Revolution, and I remain fervent, that we are doing it better than anyone and if we aren’t, we are working harder than anyone to achieve the number one position in this space globally. Describe some of the vital attributes that every entrepreneur should possess. No two entrepreneurs are the same, therefore, there is no one personality type that naturally gravitates towards this approach to business and specifically, putting it all on the line, taking unprecedented risks and believing that your idea, hard work, comrades and your own energy will win the day. That said, if I had to answer this question at a macro level, the attributes would be – Driven, Focused, Passionate, Intelligent, Resilient and Unwavering. Frankly, it suited my personality well, but I’ve seen introverts do incredible things and extroverts fail miserably, it’s a hard, long and lonely slog, but belief and having a no “quit” button whilst remaining adaptable to the changing internal and external conditions around you, are all key to sustainability. What were the past experiences, achievements or lessons that have shaped your journey? 4 things stand out. My time

21


at Dell was incredible. I worked for great people and was given a lot of responsibility at a very young age. Two, I’ve worked with some great people they have taught me a lot. Three, an incredible family that have always been in my corner, they’ve kept me focused on contributing vs. simply making money. Four, is my personal journey with regards to selfdevelopment. I’ve loved being able to tap into PodCast’s, Meditation, Yoga, Martial Arts and a myriad of other things to keep me centered, focused and always appreciating the moment I am in whilst keeping an eye out for what’s next.

what’s happening, what my business needs to do and who I will take out one by one. I live for this, I am equipped to do this kind of work and I enjoy bringing greater value to partners, customers and the broader industry, that’s the very definition of progress and I want to reflect on my career, not as a career guy, but a person that pushed the envelope, took risks and perhaps not changed, but certainly influenced the game.

How do you strategize your game plans to tackle competition in the market?

Two things; One, going from managing a multi thousand-person organization to being in an organization of one, no-one can discount the impact of that unless you go through it yourself. It’s a wonderful lesson in humility, when one day people are rolling out the red carpet and the next, they won’t answer your phone call.

Markets are always interesting, in that they are stale and ready for disruption or being disrupted or are over capitalized covering up for poor execution and needing to be disrupted. In tech, there is a slight nuance and that’s the fact we move much faster than most, if not all verticals re: innovation. It doesn’t take me long to breakdown a market,

22

What were the primal challenges and roadblocks you faced during the initial phase of your career as an entrepreneur?

The second thing is, at least in my case, I self-funded CloudFX and I am self-funding UNIoTE, that’s how strongly I believe in these transformation vehicles. Arguably, CloudFX will make a lot of money for all investors, but decisions – selfdoubt – money – they all inter-related to create an interesting conundrum in that every bad decision or even misplaced decision hits you hard in every conceivable way, but frankly, I love it, so yes, there are a myriad of

roadblocks that we can change into wins, losses, lessons or negativity. I prefer wins and learning. Where do you see yourself in the near future and what are your future goals? I’ve just stepped down as CEO from CloudFX but remain the strategic advisor for that business, the majority shareholder and on the board. I’ve just started UNIoTE, an adjacent company that I believe I can build with a wonderful (but small) group of people I truly care about, at a multiple of CloudFX’s growth, so between the two of these ventures, I am reasonably time constrained. I try and mentor as many people as possible, I continue to push the envelope on my companies areas of focus in an effort to improve the quality of people’s lives and partner’s success, and I remain truly committed to coaching and mentoring of those people around me looking to pursue similar paths that I have taken in an effort to ensure they avoid my mistakes and capitalize on the insightful decisions I’ve made. What is your advice for budding and emerging entrepreneurs? Uncover an incredible idea. Find an unbelievable mentor. Moderate your expectations. Hire wonderful people. Leave nothing to chance and be prepared to fail, most entrepreneurs do, be someone that doesn’t.

October 2018


30Entrepreneurs The

Most Influential

to Watch 2018

Abhishek Kumar: Reforming the Benchmarks of Entrepreneurship

I

n an interview with Insights Success, the CEO of VentureCare, Abhishek Kumar shares the insights behind his triumphant dominance as an entrepreneur. The zealous and admired leader has driven the ascension of the online business solutions company with his contemporary & innovative entrepreneurial & technological expertise. Below are the highlights of the interview conducted between Abhishek and Insights Success: Give a brief overview of your background as an entrepreneur. I am a serial entrepreneur, strategist, mastermind behind the success of several ventures, marketing pro and on occasions a teacher and a guide. My academic journey has been an unconventional mix of a Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry and CS from The Institute of Company Secretaries of India, New Delhi. I firmly believe in value creation and economic empowerment through growth hacking and venture development. How do you diversify your organization’s offerings to appeal to the target audience? We are the only organization in India to offer services in every discipline related to Business set up and

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development. This makes us the one stop shop for other organizations which may find themselves in any phase. We unify the diverse offerings with careful coordination and offer a streamlined and custom tailored solution to our clients and they are more than happy with the more efficient and cost effective solution away from the hassles of dealing with multiple vendors. Our offerings have been divided into four major disciplines namely Legal, Finance, Strategy and Digital. Apart from that we offer international business desk for organizations looking forward to setting up or growing internationally and startup desk for first timers and newbies. Describe some of the vital attributes that every entrepreneur should possess. I believe that every individual is unique and carves his own path to success. Good observation is the first rung in the ladder. If only you watch closely, you would know what problem the people are facing and to what extent are they willing to go to get the problem solved. This observation, when combined with reasoning and instinct, is a lethal weapon for an Entrepreneur to get started. However, the sharpness of mind should be combined with a strong will and determination as well

because no matter how carefully you begin your journey, you are bound to stumble or fall. So, find strong reasons behind your goals and vision as they would be the only motivation to sail through. An Entrepreneur must learn to think beyond his or her personal goals and should be willing to bend to be able to build an organization on their backbone. Being disciplined and informed in various aspects helps immensely in this breathtaking journey. What were the primal challenges and roadblocks you faced during the initial phase of your career as an entrepreneur? I belong to a middle income group family and never had a strong financial backing. I was always full of new ideas but never had a free hand to try them out. My finances always restricted me from making a big move and my risk taking capacity was greatly reduced due to the stakes involved. I was impatient to get started with my venture but my finances forced me to continue to work in a job till I have a decent amount to invest. I moved with a lot of uncertainty and had to let go off some bigger opportunities to ensure that we continue to get a regular income to be able to sustain. This made me take a longer route which on a positive note, helped me October 2018


learn to be patient, trust the process and learn to enjoy the journey while we are at it. Where do you see yourself in the near future and what are your future goals? We have moved past sustenance and currently find ourselves in the expansion phase. Our next big goal is to have at least 200 employees and 200 clients by 2020. We also aim to generate at least 2000 jobs in the market. On a personal level, I aim to acquire financial independence where I can be free to leverage new ideas. Indian economy is still developing and holds great potential with world’s largest youth population. There is no dearth of good ideas and passion to bring them to life however many businesses fail due to the lack of mentorship and consultancy. We want to help the organizations striving for success and eventually contribute towards the development of the country’s economy. What is your advice for budding and emerging entrepreneurs? Find strong reasons to begin your journey of entrepreneurship because once you set sail, the only way is forward. Be prepared to fail multiple times, learn from it and keep getting better, live one day at a time with eyes set on your vision. Entrepreneurship is emotionally taxing and if you can deal with yourself, you will find a way out of an unfavorable situation. Do not underestimate failures or overestimate success. While you can dispose off your failures, you get to maintain your success. About the Entrepreneur Abhishek Kumar is the CEO of Venture-Care. He exhibits evident proficiency in managing multidisciplinary projects simultaneously which is palpably demonstrated through the success of four topnotch companies namely Venture-Care, VC Taxreturn, SafalStartup and NearbyExpert. His willingness to navigate through difficult challenges in order to bring out the best combination of technology, business and growth has been the most valued quality among his clients.

October 2018

Abhishek Kumar CEO

Venture-Care

Just start don't wait for perfection, perfection will follow you.

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30Entrepreneurs The

Most Influential

to Watch 2018

Beholding Global Revolution n an interview with Insights Success, the CEO and the Co-founder of Libelium, Alicia Asín, shares her insights behind a rewarding voyage as an entrepreneur. This acknowledged industry leader has driven her company’s product offerings to a global scale with her modern and innovative management and operational expertise.

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intelligent parking systems, etc. We have two different business units in our sales team: the smart cities area and the green area, which includes customers from the agricultural and water sector. In an increasingly global world, with so many interactions between different productive sectors, it is important to offer each customer a complete solution as open and compatible as possible.

Below are highlights from the interview conducted between Alicia and Insights Success:

What were the challenges or roadblocks you faced as an entrepreneur? Business and financial management are always the most difficult obstacles to entrepreneurship: too much bureaucracy, too much time for any small milestones and too little short-term results. The European economic crisis came in the first year of our business lifetime. We have always had in mind the profit and loss account as our objective. We don’t build the company on the basis of subsidies or external investors and this has allowed us to be realistic and seek income from the minute one through online sales. Exportations and the constant innovation of our solutions for intelligent cities, precision agriculture and digital health have brought us to where we are today. It is curious that when we started, 12 years ago, we were told not to make hardware because it was a very difficult market, not to make a horizontal platform and specialize better in a single vertical and above all, to have investors and mentors or we could not compete in technology globally. We did just the opposite in everything.

Give a brief overview of your background as an entrepreneur. I founded Libelium in 2006 with my partner, David Gascón, when we were in the last course of Computer Engineering at the University of Zaragoza. From the beginning we saw an opportunity in the development of wireless sensor networks and from there we created a platform that integrates more than 120 sensors and is capable of transmitting information through any communication protocol to any cloud platform on the Internet. Today we have customers in 120 countries and the company employees around 60 people. How do you diversify your organization’s offerings to appeal to the target audience? Libelium’s IoT technology is completely horizontal because it offers solutions for applications as diverse as intelligent management of water supply, improvement of agricultural production, environmental control of air and noise in cities,

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How do you strategize your game plans to tackle competition in the market? Libelium’s technology is very horizontal. This means that our solutions can be used in many sectors: agriculture, smart cities, environment, water management, logistics, and retail. That’s why we don’t have a single competitor that can be compared to us. Other companies focus their expertise on a single solution but the Libelium sensor platform is interoperable, allowing any sensor to be connected to any cloud through any communication protocol. That is the secret of success: to build a large ecosystem that involves all IoT partners. October 2018


The IoT is a revolution like the railroad or the steam engine. Our technology not only helps to improve the quality of life in the cities, but also of people and businesses. How? If we make agricultural crops more productive, we will improve the food production necessary to feed a growing world population. By improving the quality of the air we breathe and the water we drink, we improve people’s health while making cities more sustainable.

No fear to the end. —

Alicia Asín CEO & Co-founder Libelium

Describe some of the vital attributes that every entrepreneur should possess. It is important to listen to everyone but also to have your own judgment in the decisions you make. The entrepreneur has to think about generating value for all the stakeholders: the more people who benefit from the existence of your company, the better and, of course, sacrifice and effort. Guts rarely happen, but they are not the only way to succeed as an entrepreneur. There are business stories created on the basis of many years of effort such as Inditex or Mercadona that I find much more attractive than the Instagram model. What is your advice for budding and emerging entrepreneurs? I would tell them to train for skills such as perseverance, decisiveness, clarity of ideas, in general, which are common features to many brave people who decide to start a business. And also skills such as analytical and communicational ability, temperance in times of adversity & success, curiosity for new market trends, and always & above all, enthusiasm in every task to perform are necessary. The professional race is an endurance race, a long-distance race; it is not a matter of speed. The goal is not to reach the top and succeed at the first but in constant learning and in carving out one’s own path, learning from successes and failures with humility. Where do you see yourself in the near future and what are your future goals? To think about the future we have to realize that we are living through a new industrial revolution that is going to radically change all sectors of the economy and even our behavior. Our technology is helping to monitor volcano activity to alert the nearby population in the event of an eruption, is measuring environmental parameters to prevent and act against climate change, is helping to improve crop productivity and is even bringing health closer to the population without access to health services. We are going to live a revolution because technology is going to improve people’s quality of life. One of my highest goals is that all this “democratization” applied to smart cities will bring greater transparency in all aspects and thus better democracy.

October 2018

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30Entrepreneurs The

Most Influential

to Watch 2018

Beven Schwaiger: Reshaping Management System Solutions

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n an interview with Insights Success, the CEO and the Founder of integrum Management Systems, Beven Schwaiger shares the key insights powering his transformative results as the Chief Executive Officer. Below are highlights from the interview conducted between Beven and Insights Success: How do you diversify your organization’s offerings to appeal to the target audience? We look at key points of differentiation – in our case we have focused on providing highly configurable software that allows clients to configure their own forms, workflows, reports, dashboards without requiring assistance from integrum– giving clients control of their own destiny. We offer all our functions in the one application – not as modules including mobile apps. The system can operate fully offline so is attractive to shipping, offshore industries, remote locations and mobile workforces. The configurable nature of the system means we can also offer a white label platform for partners such

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as consultants, insurance companies and industry associations to take their own branded offering to their market – this is opening up huge market opportunities for integrum. It is important to look at your point of difference or USP – and understand how you can leverage this in the marketplace. Describe some of the vital attributes that every entrepreneur should possess. I believe entrepreneurs need to possess a positive ‘can do’ attitude and not be discouraged by negative views or advice (which you will receive frequently). Combined with determination, vision and hard work, you can achieve anything you put your mind to. Other good attributes for entrepreneurs are the ability to listen to good advice and having patience – remember: ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’. What were the past experiences, achievements or lessons that have shaped your journey? I draw on past successes and experiences – personal, business and sporting achievements in younger life that remind or reinforce my

attitude to success – that hard work and determination can achieve results. Lessons I have learned is to be careful and not to spread yourself too thin, not to take on too many ventures or tasks and surround yourself with good, positive people. How do you strategize your game plans to tackle competition in the market? I use scenario role playing to look at how our plans can be implemented and what impact it will have on our competition and the market generally, looking particularly at their weaknesses and market feedback on our competitors. This is a worthwhile exercise as you often identify otherwise unforeseen consequences and opportunities to further exploit the market. What were the primal challenges and roadblocks you faced during the initial phase of your career as an entrepreneur? Major challenges initially were around lack of capital and cash flow – understanding how money will flow into your business is critical. Looking at ways to generate revenue (not funding) is key to success for October 2018


Reduce Risks, Ensure Compliance. Beven Schwaiger CEO

integrum Management System

most business ventures. Remember: Revenue is the best source of funding! Another challenge (mistake) was taking on more than one project at a time in the early stages. Once I focused on integrum as the only business project then it all fell into place, but this took time and some failures along the way. So be careful not to take on too much or be distracted by outside ventures/projects. Where do you see yourself in the near future and what are your future goals? To keep pushing boundaries of the governance risk and compliance market space – it is a huge market with massive upside potential. I am also looking for integrum to explore emerging technologies such as Blockchain and other exciting areas. About the Leader Beven has been a lawyer specialising in environmental health and safety risk and compliance. He founded the business known as integrum Risk & Compliance Software in 1996. He along with his team has grown the business to over 1 million users in over 200 countries. Under his leadership, integrum is recognised as a global leader in risk and compliance management system software including clienteles from Fortune 500 October 2018

companies and government across all industry sectors. Beven formerly held the position of global sales and marketing for integrum. He graduated from University of Tasmania, Australia About the Company integrum is the leading provider of management systems software for Safety, Health, Environment, Quality, Governance, Risk and Compliance. It is recognized as the most conďŹ gurable system of its type on the market today. It has been providing world class integrated management systems solutions since 1996, across all industry sectors. Its system contains all the functions of a fully integrated management platform in the one application. Traditionally used for QHSE, Governance Risk and Compliance, integrum software is now the comprehensive business optimization solution providing organizations of all sizes with streamlined business processes, accelerated growth and increased proďŹ tability.

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30Entrepreneurs The

Charis Liau:

Most Influential

to Watch 2018

An Ace Entrepreneur in the Financial Services Space

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here are plenty of fishes in the sea” suits best when we talk about the opportunities in the global financial industry. But only a few entrepreneurs have the vision to relish these opportunities and make the best out of them. Charis Liau is one such avid entrepreneur. Charis is the Co-founder and CEO of Minterest Pte. Ltd. She considers herself as an accidental entrepreneur as starting a business, let alone in the finance space, was never on the radar when she started her career. However, her experience during her final days in banking made her realize that in order to truly be effective in assisting businesses that form the backbone of a country’s economy, she had to forge a different path. Charis believes that she has been blessed to have a couple of former banking colleagues who shared in her vision, and together they started Minterest in 2016 with a bold ambition of building a new financial eco-system in Singapore and into the neighboring countries. A Financial Bridge Minterest operates an online marketplace funding platform that connects borrowers with investors. Its mission is to empower investors and businesses and deliver on their financial goals through customized solutions and financial technology. The company aims to create a sustainable community in which investors and businesses mutually benefit by collaborating and leveraging innovations in financial technology. As a leading marketplace funding platform, Minterest utilizes a broad spectrum of innovative technologies and its team’s financial expertise to overcome existing real-world financial shortcomings. Minterest believes in bringing financial inclusion to the unbanked and underserved needs of businesses. As experienced former bankers, Charis and her team utilises its strong financial background in understanding credit, structuring, legal and compliance matters to assist each borrower in their funding journey, turbocharging their business to bring their future to the present.

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Charis Liau Co-founder & CEO Minterest Pte. Ltd

October 2018


Entrepreneurial Attributes 101 Charis believes that to be successful, an entrepreneur must possess different attributes as the requirements of running a successful business are multi-faceted: • One must have the confidence to believe that the business will succeed. • One must have a relentless focus on the things needed to make the business work. • One has to have an open-mind and see every event or situation as a business opportunity. • One must believe that one’s business is better than the competitors. • One must live and breathe the business and must continue to find ways to make the business better in delighting its customers.

As the leader of a transformative business, one has to lead by example, taking a proactive step in engaging customers, stakeholders and employees. Disrupting the Financial Services Industry Charis started this business because of the belief that she can use her banking and financial experience to assist the hard workers of the economy to meet their financial goals. SMEs contribute to 45% of the economy and employ 69% of the working population in Singapore. Minterest is not just about serving the October 2018

financing needs of business but also having a positive and social impact. By assisting small businesses to be successful, Minterest is indirectly helping to provide and create employment for the workforce and by extension, improving each person’s personal economy. Charis takes pride in able to procure financing for entrepreneurs where they can turbocharge their businesses, bringing their future to the present. Being able to make a positive difference to them spurs her on in this business. Leading By Automation Charis believes, “Competition is good as it pushes us to be better in serving our borrowers and investors.” Her team constantly reviews their processes and how they can deliver wellstructured, risk-mitigated investment solutions to their investors. The workflow that processes loan applications is developed in-house this means that 80% of its credit assessment process is automated allowing it to deliver results of loan applications quickly and bring scale to its own business. The organization also has a proprietary credit scoring algorithm, “MintGrade”, developed in-house. The MintGrade collects over 200 data points per loan and assigns a rating to each loan offering, giving investors a quick overview of the underlying risk profile of the loan investment when the investors embark on their decision making process. Minterest is also breaking new grounds by introducing psychographic tests which will add a new dimension to its credit assessment. “The psychographic tests enables us to determine the “willingness” of the borrower and/or the promoters in repaying a debt,” adds Charis. Overcoming Barriers The biggest challenge for Charis was to make Minterest known in the market. And what made it difficult was finding and hiring talent with the right

attitude who shares the vision and mission of the business. However, with persistence and a sheer grit, Charis and her team has overcome such initial challenges. She states, “Running a business is never smooth sailing and there will always be challenges but overcoming them makes the business stronger everyday as we seek to deliver on our mission.” A Strategic Expansion Charis has plans to expand the Minterest business into the neighboring ASEAN countries such as Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam and Philippines in the next couple of years. ASEAN is the world's 3rd largest market after China and India with a population of over 640 million. According to her, with the emergence of the middle class and the massive rise of consumerism and a digitally active population, the internet economy is expected to grow to USD200 billion by 2025, with more than 480 million internet users by 2020. However, 73% (438 million) of the ASEAN population are unbanked. A huge market opportunity exists for platform lenders to serve the needs of the unbanked population and she believes that she plays a key part in this movement to address their needs. Imparting Words of Wisdom Charis shares her wisdom gained through first hand industry experiences with the emerging entrepreneurs. She asserts, “My advice is to have a crystal clear idea of what you want to do and achieve. Find an area of expertise that you are good at, passionate about and focus on it.” “The execution process may change as you tweak your business model but it is the vision and mission that will guide you to where you want to go. Rome was not built in a day, so do plan wisely and seek out resources early. And have the perseverance to keep going even when it is tough,” she adds.

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Tech-Know Insights

About the Author Pam Bateson is an expert coach and mentor in business, training others to Masters level qualiďŹ cations and supervising coaches. She has worked within the healthcare, retail, hotels, construction, media, agencies, education and public sector. She specialises in Coaching, Mentoring, Employee Engagement, Change Management, Learning and Development and Organisational Design. She has worked with all levels in organisations from graduates to the CEO. She has designed change programmes that connect projects, outcomes, training and coaching. The performance outcomes have been outstanding. She is CEO and Co-founder at Thrive Partners.

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October 2018


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am Bateson set up Thrive Partners, an on-demand coaching company, three years ago. In this article, she shares her point of view on how important humans are in a more digital world, what she’s learned as a tech CEO, and what this means when you’re looking to use tech in a way that’s both disruptive and works for customers. October 2018

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In October 2015, I gave up a successful career as a management consultant and coach to set up Thrive Partners. Lots of people thought I was crazy. I was approaching 50, with two children still at home. But for the decade running up to that decision, I’d been thinking about a better way to deliver coaching – supported by digital, to share more widely the coaching tools I’d used to help clients for many years. This was the business I set out to build three years ago. Today, we’re working with 25 clients on five continents – delivering our own brand of ondemand coaching, backed with insights for the whole business. The learning curve has been steep – particularly for someone who, by their own confession, didn’t have a lot of experience in learning technology. So here, I wanted to share some of the things we’ve learned – and what it might mean for your business. Dream big I didn’t really set out to build a business that would be considered disruptive, but my background as a lean engineer and coach did mean that we ripped up the rulebook when it came to the coaching industry. We scrapped the idea that you needed to meet face to face, and that sessions had to last an hour, or even two hours. And we made it a lot easier for people to access a coach to answer the questions they had there and then – increasing access so people could chat to an expert within an hour. Working with my co-founder, we then rebuilt the industry by asking the biggest questions we could imaging. What if we could make coaching available to whole organisations? What if we could get listening as valued as speaking? And what if we could help organisations learn as quickly as individuals? I found these questions irresistible: I wanted to do for coaching what Uber had done for getting a taxi, Netflix had done for home entertainment, and Tinder had done for dating. It’s these

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big dreams that have galvanised our success in the last few years – and which has set us in the right direction for the future. Build for modern users Despite big dreams, we’ve also made our fair share of mistakes! A lot of them mistakes happened when we took our attention away from our end customers. It sounds obvious to see it there on the page. But it can be easy to lose sight of the customers that matter most, especially when, as a tech CEO, sometime we get preoccupied with a shiny piece of new technology. So, what to consider first when it comes to users? The main thing to bear in mind is that they expect experiences that are easy and fast to access – a shift brought about by what we call the ‘Amazon Prime Mindset.’ In this era, clunky user experiences reduce the chances of uptake of services. In short, if your technology can’t match or exceed the quality of digital experience people get in their everyday lives, then you’ll need to go back to the drawing board. Create wins for the many So, if users come first – who else can we harness the power of technology for? Our answer? Everyone else in the system. Early on in the development of our MyThrive platform, we realised that delivering digitally would enable us to do more than just scale and facilitate coaching in global organisations; it would also mean we could spot trends and patterns within communities of users, in organisations or society at large. Just as carefully listening has a powerful and transformative role in one-to-one coaching conversations, carefully listening to and analysing anonymised version of the conversations we host has a powerful and transformative role within whole organisations.

The whole-system insights we produced has helped to make sales processes smoother, improved communications and created more opportunities for people to learn. Keep it human With suicide being the biggest killer of men under 45, loneliness sweeping through developed economies in epidemic proportions and a third of all young people suffering from anxiety, I strongly believe that we have a duty to keep talking to each other as a society. We believe that keeping the art of conversation alive in this digital age is essential; only humans can master creativity, empathy, humour and imagination in a way that’s compelling. Information is everywhere, so we’re using technology differently – to offer real human experiences at scale, at any time of the day, whenever our clients need a conversation, for everything you can’t Google. And what of the future? Curiously, even the structures of artificial intelligence and machine learning look set to mimic human patterns. It’s still early days, but leaders in this space talk of ‘deep learning’ with AI – by layering up different tools that connect in the same way as our brain’s neural networks. And so, the next three years? My recent experiences have led us to ask even bigger questions than we did to begin with – which I suspect will lead to our next irresistible set of adventures! What if we could transform learning management systems into learning ecosystems? What if any community of learners could connect with any community of teachers? And what if a better understanding of outcomes from learning could help both individuals, organisations and society to thrive? I for one believe there are exciting times ahead.

October 2018


30Entrepreneurs The

Most Influential

to Watch 2018

Dirk De Meirsman Revolutionizing Organizations with IT Automation This acknowledged industry leader has driven his company’s product offerings to a global scale with his innovative management expertise. Below are highlights from the interview conducted between Dirk and Insights Success:

Dirk De Meirsman Founder Nubera

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Give a brief overview of your background as an entrepreneur. Born to virtualization in 2004, I’ve helped to build the business for VMware in the Benelux. My constant drive to question the status quo and make things better through IT, led me to move on and found Nubera. The vision was - and still is - Any IT service, any platform, Single Click. How do you diversify your organization’s offerings to appeal to the target audience? We at Nubera, enable IT organizations to be more innovative, flexible and cost efficient through automation. Our focus is to solve our customers’ greatest inhibitor of successfully supporting the digital transformation at the infrastructure operations level and we prefer to co-create a new architecture with them.

aking into consideration, the drive to ceaselessly transform the ever-evolving IT ecosystem, formulation of strategies, possession of reformative and compassionate entrepreneurship qualities and a profound knack for innovation, Dirk De Meirsman has been recognized as one of the most influential entrepreneurs. Dirk is the founder of Nubera, a people focused IT and automation solutions company, which believes that IT organizations are missing out on business opportunities by spending too much time on manual and repetitive jobs.

We look at IT Automation holistically and help our customers from a traditional way of working to an automated way of working. Our biggest appeal to any IT organization is our Automation craftsmanship. The latest addition to our solution portfolio is Automated Managed Services and it’s an alternative to often cumbersome classic managed services or downright outsourcing.

In an interview with Insights Success, Dirk shares his insights behind a rewarding voyage as an entrepreneur.

We believe any organizations’ architecture should allow rightsourcing services instead of outsourcing your flexibility.

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October 2018


Partner with your customer to make them look good!

Describe some of the vital attributes that every entrepreneur should possess. Build a team that can fulfill the mission of your company without you. You’re not good at everything, empower others and hold them accountable. Your job is to support and serve your people to perform at their best. Deal with critical decisions head-on and stick to facts not opinions. Listen always, talk sometimes and when you do, be authentic. People will jump ship, that doesn’t mean you should change where your ship is headed, but it might indicate that you should better communicate where your ship is headed.

funding it all is downright difficult and exhausting. The trick is to start looking at your company from the outside and things become less cloudy. Seek for advice, but understand that no adviser, coach or consultant is going to do it for you. They can only help you with knowledge and perspective.

How do you strategize your game plans to tackle competition in the market? The key is focus! We don’t necessarily look at competition; we look to identify the needs of our niche. Picking and identifying the right solution portfolio for the right audience. Although we appeal to all industries across all geographies, we have a sweet spot with those organizations that have already - or are about to implement - a DevOps culture and look to automate and get to Infrastructure as Code.

What is your advice for budding and emerging entrepreneurs? Get up one more time than you fall, because building a business is a marathon not a sprint.

Where do you see yourself in the near future and what are your future goals? Basically everything in the world is a system and in the near term I’m focused to design the systems to scale the Nubera business.

Through this interview, we hope to have achieved a precise, upfront and an unambiguous delivery of Dirk’s as well as Nubera’s objectives, accomplishments, vision and an unfaltering advocacy of innovation. We also hope, through this interview, to have inspired the future generation of aspiring entrepreneurs and business leaders.

What were the primal challenges and roadblocks you faced during the initial phase of your career as an entrepreneur? Everybody is willing to advice you on the risks of everything, but you have to see the reward. At first you realize you know a lot about only a little spectrum of doing business. Juggling priorities between fine-tuning your vision, solution, finding people to walk with you and October 2018

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Imparting Wisdom

Successful Personality Traits

to Learn from

Elon Musk egends never need an introduction. They tend to be victorious despite of their uneventful histories. They stick to captivating traits such as Discipline, determination and self-belief which help them accomplish wonders in the long run. One such example of an extraordinary person is Elon Musk, a South African Business Magnate, Investor and an engineer.

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Strong Risk Tolerance Founding a start-up involves a great deal of uncertainty and risk. A study found that after 10 years of being in business, 96 percent of the start-ups fail. Going by the statistics, Musk must have faced the same odds against him, when he had decided to leave an otherwise comfortable life to start a risky and uncertain business venture.

Musk is the founder, CEO, and chief architect of SpaceX; co-founder, CEO, and product designer of Tesla Inc.; and co-founder and CEO of Neuralink. As of February 2018, he is the 53rd-richest person in the world and has a net worth of $20.8 billion, which is far more than the net GDP of Greece taken into consideration.

For instance, Musk left his PhD program at Stanford University to find a company called Zip2 with his brother in the year 1995. Later, the company was sold to Compaq computers, profiting Musk a bit over $20 million. Following this, Musk once again took a great risk by investing millions of dollars to found a company called X.com, one of the world’s first online banks.

While each entrepreneur possesses a unique set of traits that makes him/her successful, this Tech founder has a few traits much different from any other ordinary CEO, which has allowed him to build some of the world’s most respected and innovative organizations. Musk once quoted, “When something is important enough, you do it even if the odds are not in your favor.”

‘Always Be Learning’ Attitude An astounding and less-known fact about Elon Musk is that he is self-taught in programming and in many advanced level subjects. He read and understood a variety of books, which helped him gain endless and persistent knowledge and understand diverse concepts.

Let’s have a look on these personality attributes and characteristics that make him a contender for the most innovative intellectual entrepreneur of the century alive.

The best piece of advice on learning and implementation is to constantly think about how things could be done in a better manner and question self to seek the answers.

Hard-work and Characteristic Work Ethics Elon Musk is a hard-working innovator, working for about 100 hours a week, and has been productive since many years. He may even be considered as the hardest working employee of the company, setting standards for his colleagues to follow and implement. Since the field of work lies inside his radius of interests, he enjoys it to every moment and bit when it comes to learning and execution.

Feedback Loop It is of prime importance to recognize the present symbol or otherwise ‘status quo’ in the market as an organization and re-position accordingly. Musk solicits constant feedback of the companies and executes ‘self-analysis.’ He induces efforts and divergent strategies to improve customer feedbacks and strives towards perfectionism.

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October 2018


For example, he seeks out his critics and tries to converse with them. This habit of self-reflection at regular and considerable periods is pivotal for any entrepreneur or organization to succeed in the long run. Tendency for Vertical Integration Vertical integration is a strategy where an organization or a firm acquires business operations within the same product vertical. Both Tesla and SpaceX embrace this concept. For example, Tesla not only produces electric cars; they also generate public awareness about their cars via Tesla showrooms across various countries. And SpaceX does not only have the primary goal of rocket propulsions; they develop their own rocket architecture as well. Faith in Self and the Founding Team Musk undoubtedly possesses a profound belief in his own capabilities

October 2018

as well as the potential-seeking factor of its founding team. He does not hesitate to gamble on large scale unless he is genuinely aware of the expected end-results. It is equally essential to maintain clarity of doubt in any large scale organization. Under his supervision, Musk encourages in creating a positive and comprehensive environment across his firms. Preferring to Stand Out From the Crowd Musk elects to bring up innovation at every level of his understanding. He tends to impart theoretical knowledge at the base level, applying changes and executing the same on the practical level. He relies more on transitional aspects such as research and development, thereby increasing the probability of ground-breaking inventions.

Tesla Motors, a far headed firm headed by Elon Musk, is anti-ordinary. Its compelling marketplace has become a one-stop destination for potential buyers where they can interact about product specifications. They also have video testimonials that far outperform in the sales-dominated industry. There is no ambiguity that Musk, by far, has been a pillar of inspiration for budding entrepreneurs and investors because of his prolific and optimistic approach towards life All these traits possessed by Musk, in some manner or the other, coincide with most of your habits. The only thing that stands as a potential barrier between these two is identifying your strengths and working on them on a continual basis. Go on, apply these traits into your daily life, and you may become the next big CEO the world is in need of today!

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30Entrepreneurs The

Most Influential

to Watch 2018

Eric Simon Empowering Marketers Worldwide

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n Entrepreneur is someone that has the ability to find and act upon opportunities and transform inventions or technology into disruptive products. The individual is able to organize capital, talent and other resources that turn an invention into a commercially viable innovation. One such exemplary entrepreneur is Eric Simon, who is the Co-founder & Chief Operating Officer of Skydeo, a mobile data platform based in New York City. Simon worked at several prominent startups in New York City before starting Skydeo. These companies include Yieldmo,where he served as EVP of Operations and General Manager. Simon also led media and business operations for [x+1].. Entrepreneurial Spirit since Childhood Eric grew up outside Columbus, Ohio. His first entrepreneurial endeavor involved a plum tree. When he was about 8 years old he picked the plums and brought them to the garage and washed and polished them. Then he put them in paper bags and into his wagon and went around the neighborhood selling them door to door for $2.00/bag. This was his first experience adding value and providing

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October 2018


Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. — Eric Simon Co-founder & Chief Operating Ofcer Skydeo

a service, while at the same time putting a little change in his pocket. Since then it’s been quite a journey across many sectors and industries including retail, web, marketing, gaming and internet and mobile technologies. A Reservoir of Ideas According to Eric it is essential to resource ideas appropriately by getting the right people on board for the journey. If not, those ideas will remain on a piece of paper, or it may take a very long time to move forward.. Eric has always been interested in choosing the right idea and trying to implement it with the right people. Wealth of Experience Eric had been a part of many startups where he was an individual contributor. This was an essential path for him. Because being part of a winning team showed him not only how important it was to have a solid business strategy, but that no one person could drive the success of the business, and that includes the CEO. So building the right team, which equates to hiring and keeping the right people on board, is probably the biggest and most important lesson he learned. Essential Traits for Entrepreneurs According to Eric entrepreneurs must have a lot of different attributes in order to be successful, but especially the ability to be scrappy and flexible. There are so many hurdles and obstacles to getting a business off the ground and one needs to call upon many different skills in order to break through. Eric equally values the quality of resilience.

He advises not to be fooled or trapped by intermediaries and competitors. And not to get too comfortable with any one partner or have too much business concentration risk with a single account. Many companies that currently rely on Facebook as their core strategy for distribution are perfect cautionary tales. Understanding Customer Needs Skydeo is on the leading edge of mobile-first data companies. Depending on the Brand that one is working with, there are many ways a client can benefit from Skydeo’s mobile data offering. Understanding those use cases is an integral aspect to building products and services for its customers. For example, consumer banks have entirely different needs than Travel and Entertainment companies. According to him they can all benefit from more data but properly packaging data is essential to their ability to understanding its value. Looking To The Future Right now, Eric is laser focused on building his business. He has an aspiration to one day move into more of an advisory role with other companies and entrepreneurs so he can transfer the knowledge he accumulated along the way of his own path.

Ahead of the Competition With technology, finding a balance between working with one’s competition and identifying them, has been a critical lesson for Eric. October 2018

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30Entrepreneurs The

Most Influential

to Watch 2018

Erik Bjontegard: Changing the Course of Contextual Intelligence

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n an interview with Insights Success, Erik Bjontegard, Founder of Total Communicator Solutions, Inc., and Inventor of the Spark Compass platform, shares insights on various attributes to become a successful leader. He also shares his experiences on his journey as an entrepreneur and the challenges and lessons that came out of it. Also, he broadly discusses the company’s core competencies and its establishment in the market. Below are the highlights of the interview conducted between Erik and Insights Success: Give a brief overview of your background as an entrepreneur. As a former rocket scientist that arrived in USA with a dream and 2 suitcases, I have always been looking for new frontiers and challenges – my motto is “never a dull moment”. Inventing within corporations like NASA and Qualcomm is naturally hugely exciting, but things take time and the size of those companies and their infrastructures make it hard and slow to get things done. That is what drives me – the desire to get things done. I had to leave these large corporations where an entrepreneurial mindset like mine may not always work, to start my own company where it is all about that; getting things done. How do you diversify your organization’s offerings to appeal to the target audience? We always ask ‘what’s in it for me’ and ‘why would I want this’ from the end user’s perspective –– and “is this the right thing to do” from a company perspective. The latter is an important guiding principle in all we do – ‘is it the right thing to do?’ Describe some of the vital attributes that every entrepreneur should possess. True grit, the stubbornness to never give up, and being able to listen and adjust as needed. Also, being able to look in

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the mirror and listen to advice, while being able to laugh and have a positive attitude. What were the past experiences, achievements or lessons that have shaped your journey? Being able to test and try, fail, then fix and stand up again. Never give up. Have courage and be calm when all those around you are freaking out and the storm is brewing – stay calm, be a leader and be calm – thereby showing courage. I have been stuck in a submersible on the bottom of the North Sea and then all that mattered was finding a fix to the problem. Later transforming my vision and idea into a company, creating a patent family around the invention and built solutions based on it was easier – that’s not a matter of survival! Now, I am enjoying next phase building global companies around my inventions. Bottom line is; keep the vision, test, fail and fix until it is realized – and stay calm even if you are stuck! How do you strategize your game plans to tackle competition in the market? Don’t worry about copycats – copying is the best flatter you can have. Be a leader! Others are bound to follow. Know that when you are first, others may catch up and try to suppress you – which they will try to do until they are done and cannot invent more – so – never stop growing, never stop expanding and inventing – you will soon bypass the copycats that are stuck not able to invent more. Keep testing, trying, failing and fixing until you get it done! What were the primal challenges and roadblocks you faced during the initial phase of your career as an entrepreneur? While a lack of capital was a challenge, it forced us to be innovative. It is also hard to being too early. No-one understood what “contextually intelligence”, IoT and AR were 7 years ago when I started. Certainly, no one had even begun thinking that there could be a centralized “brain” that could control it all and connect the physical with the digital. October 2018


Deliver the right message to the right person, at the right time and place, intelligently.

Erik Bjontegard

Back then this was nearly “crazy talk”. Now, we know there are going to be many more connected devices than humans on the globe. Imagine when they are all connected and doing something good for us. I am not talking Artificial Intelligence – that is made to replace us, I am talking about “Augmented Intelligence” which is meant to make us – humans - better. Now we are building this – the Spark Compass platform is exactly that, the brains to connect the physical with the digital providing Augmented Intelligence to communications. I am mentioning this to show we continue to push the boundaries, innovate and expand the goals, even though it may sound as pure fantasy now – we are making it become the baseline for the future. Where do you see yourself in the near future and what are your future goals? I will always do what excites me and drive hard, find new ways, never doing what is easy just because it is easy! Rather, I have a sole purpose – a burning desire - to create a legacy that wherever I am and whatever I do, it’s better when I leave than when I arrived. Simply stated, I want to make the world a better place with my inventions. SO – lofty goals, but achievable by doing one step at a time while keeping the sight on the end goal making sure every step leads towards it; using technology for the betterment of us all. What is your advice for budding and emerging entrepreneurs?

Founder Total Communicator Solutions And have fun! Create excitement! Even when it is scary – have courage and overcome the fear. Go for it. Get it done! Find a dream, follow it and make it come TRUE. About the Company Founded in 2012, Total Communicator Solutions, Inc. is based in San Diego and have offices and team members in New York, Los Angeles, London and Manchester, Spain, New Zealand, Singapore and Norway. The company has developed the Spark Compass, a fully integrated, contextually intelligent mobile communications platform for platforms. The solution leverages real-data analytics with real-time actions and events based on the collected data, combined with location, user, and activity knowledge, to deliver curated experiences on mobile devices based on the data collected and AI algorithms. The company’s patented, contextually intelligent communications platform, Spark Compass, integrates proximity beacons, NFC, augmented reality, blockchain data storage, advanced payments and other IoT sensors. With several installations, Spark Compass is used by enterprises such as airports, hospitals, university facilities, sport venues, and convention centers. Total Communicator Solutions is headquartered in San Diego, CA, with locations in USA, Spain, Mexico, UK, Norway, and New Zealand.

Go for it. Try it. Get it done, if it fails – which it certainly will at some stage – find out what went wrong and quickly fix it – and do it again, again and again until you succeed. October 2018

47


Tech Evolution

Dave Gullo

Co-Founder & CTO VideoAmp

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October 2018


How VideoAmp Evolved the Company Culture and Process to Increase the Number of Engineers Employed

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ideoAmp turns 4 years old this month. So many memories, and so much growth. Let’s reflect on some of the worst decisions and associated learnings that have been fundamental to our growth. Why the worst you say? Because when you accelerate your learning rate in a fail-fast environment, it then allows you to make fast decisions vs. the analysis paralysis predicament. Ref lection One of my favorite wildcard interview questions for managers is: “Describe the failure you’re most proud of.” This sometimes catches people off guard, so I’ll share mine first to get the conversation going. Inevitably it comes down to choosing because there are so many.

Ÿ

“Promoting out of hand” is another variation of this where you don’t put someone through the normal due diligence because they already present. In our case, individual contributor (IC) engineers don’t go through the rigorous reference checks that new managers do.

Ÿ

“Hiring under duress”, or lowering your bar simply to meet headcount goals. I strongly advise to hire fewer “full-full stack” senior engineers vs. a bunch of junior or mid-level career developers who require more time, nurturing and precious attention units from your senior staff.

Process You can’t talk about growth and success without talking about these failures. Unless you’re some kind of hybrid AIrobot-space-alien who’s absolutely perfect, there’s going to be mistakes. What’s important is that as a leader you own your mistakes and be transparent about them.

This is a moving target, and one which has definitely been an ongoing series of blogs. In the early stage, we “over prescribed scrum.” Something that a very early stage company can do, along with too much agile processes too soon.

Hiring Finding the right people is the single most important aspect of growing a startup. The biggest mistakes in hiring have been: Ÿ

“Hiring out of hand”, or short cutting the normal processes because the candidate is well known by other engineers in the group. October 2018

For example, prototypes and proof of concepts should not have a rigorous definition of done, with endless unit, functional, and end-to-end tests because the product’s requirements will probably zig-zag wildly. Conversely, having too little process when you are supporting enterprise customers can also be a problem. I spent my prior days as an IC and

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contractor retrofitting and scaling CI/CD pipelines and training engineers how to write better tests. The challenge is right-sizing this all along the way, and the trigger points on when to change may not be obvious. I say this because we grew headcount by 22 engineers from Oct 2017 to Feb 2018, and in the process we did not modify our simplified Kanban approach to a prescribed Scrum process quickly enough. Growing pains emerged, to say the least. Now we’re in a spot where we can withstand a magnitude scale of growth with roughly the same squad and tribe-level process.

When doing initial contact with a candidate, I often ask “why are you in market?” I have seen countless folks who are looking because their current management does not have their growth and career pathing in mind. In extreme cases, they can do a day’s work in four hours, feel like they are under-challenged, and have not learned anything in years. They work in an environment like the movie Office Space. Taking an opposite approach is to engage in the growth and pathing of every individual. We do this by: Ÿ

aligning the growth of the individual with the company’s growth.

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having management check in frequently on the success of this, and

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setting up formal quarterly check-ins on measuring these goals. Google adopted this early on from John Doerr in the form of OKRs, and there are great platforms out there which can formally measure and track these objectives.

Management Riffing off rapid growth of Brains in engineering, we didn’t scale management fast enough. Almost all startup engineering orgs start very flat, with all ICs and no management. You have “tech leads” who may split their time doing light managerial functions, but they all write code and dive into the operations. The biggest fail here in scaling the ICs was not scaling the org and management structure to follow. At ~44 engineers and data scientists, we have a duty to deliver on our mission to provide an environment where they have the opportunity to do the best work of their lives and be worth more in the marketplace. Without this vital management structure, there is a vacuum. Do not bolt this on later, build it as you go. We took inspiration from Spotify’s model of engineering organizational scaling. Growth & Career Pathing We’ve talked about all of these fails, how about something that has worked well for us?

Career pathing is a longer-term concern. I ask candidates from the start “so what’s the next job after VideoAmp?” This often catches them off guard, then after careful thought most reply with a role 1-2 levels beyond where they’re at now. It’s our goal to help steer them in whatever path they currently see. Many earlier-career engineers think management is their ultimate path, but I have found that many will stay on a tract of engineering excellence. Whether it’s a Principal Engineer or a VP of Engineering, the goal is to orient the new challenges in a manner which grows them in that direction, even if we can’t fully realize their ultimate pathing goal while at the company. By paying careful attention to these details, we have found our annual retention rate in the high 90%.

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October 2018


30Entrepreneurs The

Most Influential

to Watch 2018

Gary Fowler: Transforming Business Sectors with Artificial Intelligence

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ntrepreneurship is more often a responsibility rather than just a career path as it is the sole force which drives the businesses further. Initiating a venture might be a difficult task, but the stakes of governing a business are quite higher than they seem. It requires a receptive approach and a polished skill set to boost a fresh venture towards success. Retaining the essence of leadership, Gary Fowler, the Co-founder and CEO at Yva.ai and a serial technology entrepreneur has proved to be an impeccable entrepreneur to get a company up and running quickly the Silicon Valley Way. An entrepreneurial career is inconsiderably free of any restrictions imposed on an individual. It mainly relies on the impeccable ideologies which have the potential to make a difference in the traditional way of businesses. Gary, possessing similar attributes, has contributed in diversifying the business perspective of Artificial Intelligence globally. He started off fresh at the age of 22 and soon became one of the emerging entrepreneurs and technology speakers around the globe.

Gary Fowler Co-founder & CEO Yva.ai

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While working in Russia and Eastern Europe , he discovered their untapped talent in areas like AI, Physics and Mathematics. With the implementation of his polished operations, marketing and business development skills tied in with the technical capabilities of companies in Eastern Europe in AI, he co-founded Yva.ai and took October 2018


the company on a global ascension. Additionally, he also serves as a co-founder of DY Investments and an advisor of OSA, following to being a board advisor to companies primarily in the AI and BlockChain SPACE. Distinctive Competence Gary believes in targeting the left out voids which are needed to be filled. He focuses on offering the services and products as per the requirement of the market. “I now look at how each and every company can become a billion dollar company. Look at the market. Look at the holes in the market and then look at the strengths of each competitor and their weaknesses,” Gary asserts.

Believe in your dreams! Believe in yourself. Don’t be afraid of taking a risk.

“I also understand that part of it is to beat them technically, but another part is also about out-marketing them. I then look at how I can add the right AI: VAE, unsupervised AI and ladder networks. I also look at the scalability. It is good to speak to potential customers and get their opinions,” he adds. In addition, Gary believes that pivoting according to the customers’ requirements helps an organization to tackle the competition more abruptly. Also, Gary and his team has diversified their offerings by investing efforts on customer developments and by comprehending what a customer requires and what are their expectations from the organization. Envisioning Success Prior to leading Yva.ai, Gary has contributed in various entrepreneurial projects and has achieved many milestones during his journey. Success arrived to him at an early age, and tireless efforts paid off. “But most of it was due to luck not because of me. I was at the right place, at the right time with the right product,” says Gary. ‘Luck’ enlightened him with an idea of success which aided him to comprehend which path to follow. But, Gary was aware of the fact that residing totally on luck is not the key to achieve success and thus he worked hard for building his other ventures into big corporations. October 2018

Meanwhile, filling up the dots of his previous ventures helped him in learning better virtues for future. The skill of project management which he learned from his first business played a crucial role in running other companies more efficiently. Gary also expresses his experiences as, “With YVA we pivoted 3 times until we got to AI employee engagement and people analytics.” Beholding the Future Gary has a firm faith in artificial intelligence and its possible aspects that can dominate the global market. He is an ardent supporter of technological disruption and believes in implementation of potential technologies for the greater good of the company. Since the inception of his entrepreneurial career, he was often unequipped with any co-founders so he usually relied on his own opinions. Being an operational and marketing-cum-business oriented personality, Gary always faced an absence of a technical support from any entity. Yet, he incredibly directed the company and took it to its real-time stature. In addition, he also plans to appoint an internationally renowned candidate as a CEO to lead Yva.ai, in an attempt to move on to his other investments. Bequeathing the Keys to Excellence To be a successful entrepreneur it requires having optimism, courage to pursue the passion, an ability to visualize opportunities differently. Gary firmly believes that every entrepreneur should possess such attributes to be triumphant. According to Gary’s TEDx talks, a fresh entrepreneur should always appreciate the teaching from past mistakes and improve oneself for further future. In order to exalt a venture, a founder must more often funnel its attention on developing strong customer relation and work accordingly. Often these founders must develop a curiosity to comprehend the opportunities and clutch them when needed.

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30Entrepreneurs The

Most Influential

to Watch 2018

Dr. R. Kishore Kumar: An Entrepreneur-Par-Excellence

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otherhood is celebrated in India with the highest respect and is one of the most beautiful moments in life. However, India is still challenged on the maternal and infant mortality fronts. Healthcare schemes of the Govt. are not sufficient and these efforts need to be supported through high-end specialist services towards mother and child care. One such specialist who has taken up the task to his heart and soul is Dr. R. Kishore Kumar, creating a ‘new life’ experience through his innovative healthcare startup and hospital chain, Cloudnine. Sculpting Success Dr. Kumar is the Founder and Chairman of Cloudnine. He was awarded a gold medal by Mysore University upon graduating as a pediatrician in 1989. He aspired then of pursuing a sub-specialization in neonatology moved to the UK soon after for further training. Over the next few years, he worked across the UK and Australia. He became instrumental in establishing Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICU) and training, sensitizing doctors and nurses to highrisk environments. While the academic and entrepreneurial appetite was somewhat satiated through these endeavors, he craved for a particular deeper relevance and meaning. Inspired to Serve the Homeland In 2006, Dr. Kumar had reached the pinnacle of his career in the western world and worked at the best teaching hospitals. He had been a faculty member at prestigious universities, and also had created and developed NICUs at notable hospitals. During that time, he was encouraged by Mr. Bill Clinton indicating that the future belonged to India as a nation with higher number of middle-class people than the entire population of USA. He was inspired by a vision to replicate all that he has learned and more in his homeland India. That was the impetus that led him to establish Cloudnine.

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Return to India with a Dream Dr. Kumar returned to India, awakened by a dream to uplift the Indian maternity and neonatal healthcare scenario, which had remained stagnant and recessive for decades. For a well-established person like him in global neonatology circles, it was a risky, audacious gamble. Almost everybody gave suggestions to rethink the idea or to divert to multispecialty. But he remained steady and secured angel funding from friends and relatives. He also added to his team some of Bangalore’s finest clinicians who were eager to experience the edge of singular maternity and neonatal facility. The Birth of the Cloundnine In 2007, with unwavering self-belief, Dr. Kumar breathed life into Cloudnine with three other co-founders and a small team to back him up. Over the years, he successfully instituted all that he had envisioned and managed to mark a national footprint. The company has achieved 0% maternal mortality and 99.34% survival rates for babies – one of the best figures in the world – at a fraction of the cost of the western world. Expanding the Horizons of Medical Care Driven by Dr. Kumar’s leadership, Cloudnine has grown by leaps and bounds both horizontally and vertically since its inception. It started out as a mother and baby hospital with a clinical team of just two neonatologists. By adding fertility to its existing product portfolio, the company achieved a backward integration that paved the way for a full-spectrum umbrella of services, including pediatrics, maternal intensive care and most recently, cosmetology. Even more than ten years later, a whole plethora of brands are emerging in the woman and child care space, imitating the model given by the team and attempting to pitch identical offerings.

October 2018


“Together Everyone Achieves More! (TEAM)

Dr. R Kishore Kumar Founder & Chairman

Kids Clinic India Pvt. Ltd. (Representing Cloundnine)

The team at Cloudnine is never oblivious to competition, but its strategy has always been to stay ahead of the curve. It is a trailblazer in the field of mother and child care. The team keeps its innovation engine running to constantly reimagine products and services in tune with global transformation. Primal Challenges and Roadblocks To begin with, there were challenges in every area of operations for Dr. Kumar. Mobilizing a launch team, finetuning the architectural layout and seeking the requisite government license, building a high-quality circle of physicians, and training the nursing staff was among some of the main hurdles. But there was another unique roadblock that he faced, affecting a perceptual shift among customers. He was determined to change that perception through the credo pregnancy is wellness, not an illness, with a quiver of celebrations, which have gone on to become synonymous with the Cloudnine brand. After moving overseas, Dr. Kumar was astonished to see the maternal and neonatal care disparity between India and the western world. He seldom witnessed any deaths during his service years abroad in contrast to the multiple daily deaths he could experience during his training in India. October 2018

Advice to Emerging Entrepreneurs Dr. Kumar elucidates that the attributes of an entrepreneur are passion, team spirit, leadership, a healthy risk appetite and lack of a Thank God It’s Friday attitude can go a long way in successful entrepreneurship. In his advice to emerging entrepreneurs, Dr. Kumar says, “Follow your heart, take risks, work hard, count on your team and prepare for ups and downs in life and in business. Most importantly, believe in yourself, and make sure every decision you take is as relevant today, as it will be ten years from now.” Future Goals for Motherhood Now that he and his team have presented a reimagined prototype of the woman and child care across several cities, he aspires to extend the model to the public sector. In near future, he has set a goal to augment government to raise standards in maternal and neonatal care and lowering maternal and neonatal mortality rates in the country. Bringing back the glory of motherhood and sustenance of life for Indian families is the ultimate objective.

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30Entrepreneurs The

Most Influential

to Watch 2018

Lasha Antadze A Passionate and Visionary Entrepreneur

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ntrepreneurs are visionaries, they dream and think of changing the world, and they share one important attribute of constantly working and pushing their limits. One such highly driven entrepreneur is Lasha Antadze. Passion for Emerging Technologies Lasha Antadze is the Founder at Shelf.Network. Lasha is an Entrepreneur and Founder of Distributed auctioning network: “market making protocol” connecting online marketplaces P2P and allowing sellers (manufacturers) to run the same trade synchronously across all platforms, increasing their market range around the globe. He is Passionate about the crypto economics, e-commerce and distributed (Blockchain) governance models. It was in late 2015 that Lasha and a part of the reformers team, decided to experiment with the latest technology of Blockchain, and build the first distributed governance model for the state. Auction 3.0 was called the first trade protocol that served as the most transparent and effective price discovery system for state property privatization and was a game changer from the perspective that state agencies were outsourcing the privatization process, by enabling private marketplaces from any part of the world to share the inventory re-marketing and conduct synchronized auctioning for privatized assets. It was in mid-2017 the Shelf.Network was formed. Shelf.Network Inc. is a US company currently operating in used car trade. The Company after its formation quickly gained momentum and in a year’s time, became one of the best real world use cases of the Blockchain Technology and managed to win several awards consecutively both in Automotive and Blockchain industry.

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Awards won by Shelf.Network: • Winner of Frontier Innovation Awards as the Best Real World application of Blockchain Technology • Winner of Blockshow Europe(2018) • Y-combinator - startup school • Techstars 2018 - Graduate • Winner of Automechanika Innovation Award (Largest automotive fair) Creating an Ecosystem of Business Shelf.Network is a distributed network of independent online marketplaces, where sellers can run the same asset trade plus auctions synchronously across multiple platforms. Shelf.Network builds the best price discovery system that ever existed in the e-commerce world and facilitates cross border online trades. Shelf serves as a technology platform, creating an ecosystem of business that is involved in trade process and enables network participant to cooperate and streamline entire experience from inventory discovery to its delivery at any part of the world for the final buyer. Unique Offerings Lasha’s idea to focus on a specific industry, while everyone is still building blockchain solutions for galactic scales, proves to be right. Another offering that is not common within the industry’s startups is that company dropped the word: “Blockchain” from its value proposition, and found a market fit based on a real automotive trade’s problems. The technology that enhances the network effect of trades, and basically drives every startup’s fundraising or offering, Lasha shifted it as the third priority thing, as an effective enabler that solves the problems.

October 2018


According to Lasha, an Entrepreneur should be able to perceive an external world and should be curious and open minded. He is of the opinion that an entrepreneur should steer and adjust in a free market and a constantly changing world. He says an entrepreneur should be able to cope and enjoy the constant ride of ups and downs. Lasha says challenging oneself to accept things that a university degree is not in line with, is very important. According to him understanding the basic blocks needed to get there and prioritizing is crucial in transforming oneself. He says that ability to focus and stay open for learning, keeps one in a constantly improving stage. The valuable lesson he learned is prioritizing and focusing on one task is very important.

Passionate about every single detail.

Embracing the Change

Thriving in a Competitive Market Lasha says that one needs to work on different segments, with different offerings without losing one’s unified product identity to compete in the market. Lasha has a clear vision that Shelf as a network (platform) is competing with current practice of used car trades especially on a cross border level. The strategy Lasha uses to thrive in a competitive market is first to empower those who are in a closed circle on an individual level so that they can dominate their local market and then use this as a platform to extend services globally. Lasha says Shelf’s strategy is to be equipped with all the resources to compete in the market. Lasha also emphasizes on customer satisfaction. Envisioning the Future Lasha is fascinated with the industry he is in, and upcoming days for new governance models, that will emerge out of Blockchain Technology. He is pretty sure that today’s initiatives and experiments are the predecessors of a true global collaboration and he sees himself with his great team and co-founders supporting and contributing to that future. He never sets specific goals for long term, as at this stage of industry everything is dynamic and constantly changing, so he prefers to have a broad but formed image of where Shelf wants to be in the future, but he also leaves a space to remain flexible in achieving that horizon.

Lasha Antadze Founder Shelf.Network

Lasha advises young entrepreneurs to stay open for changing one’s mind and understand what triggered those changes over the course of action.

October 2018

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30Entrepreneurs The

Most Influential

to Watch 2018

Mikko Alasaarela: An Innovator and Entrepreneur

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ikko Alasaarela is a Finnish-born innovator, technology evangelist and entrepreneur. He grew up as the eldest of 10 children in a highly academic family. His father is a Doctor of Science in Engineering, who served as a professor of biomedical engineering, but also founded multiple startups. His mother has a PhD in Medicine, and served as a MD and educator on Rheumatology at a University Hospital. After receiving a Master’s Degree from Turku School of Economics, from where he graduated as the first of his class in 2 years and 4 months, he worked at Nokia for two years, after which he founded his first startup. 18 years later, Mikko has founded seven startups, invested in a few, and profitably sold three to date. The startups have been in highly diverse areas of technology, including enterprise software, mobile games, online lead generation, nanophysics, artificial intelligence and blockchain. To learn as diverse set of skills as possible, he has not only founded his startups in different industries, but he has also taken many different roles as an entrepreneur. Mikko has been nominated as the Top IT innovator in Finland, awarded multiple nanotech patents, and won as diverse awards as the prestigious Red Dot Design Award and the Global Blockchain Competition. Beside his roles at work, Mikko has studied emotional intelligence throughout his adulthood. He has become a public writer and speaker on emotionally intelligent AIs. He is also currently lobbying for a better blockchain regulation in his native Finland. The key attributes of an entrepreneur Mikko describes the attributes that every entrepreneur should possess in three words, Humility, Honesty and Perseverance. He defines them as follows.

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Humility is vital, as big egos often drive entrepreneurs to do more evil than good. Egotistical entrepreneurs often have a cutthroat competition inside their organizations, making the workplace stressful. It is much easier to trust a humble person than an egotistical one. Honesty is vital, because lying entrepreneurs will build a culture of lies in their organizations. These lies have a tendency of eventually catching up with their tellers, taking down the whole company with them. Perseverance is vital, because most companies will have to go through a lot of trouble before they succeed. Often times the success is based almost solely on the fact that the entrepreneurs didn’t give up when the hard times hit. Benevolent Artificial Intelligences Like many leading AI advocates, Mikko believes AI to be the final invention of the humanity that will significantly surpass the intelligence of people to take the control of the evolution of intelligence in the universe. This also means AI taking over all human jobs over time. This is why he thinks it is critically important to invest in benevolent AIs that will provide people the basic services like universal basic income, healthcare and education. He says, “The same AIs that will take over our jobs can also serve our basic needs. We need to focus on developing AIs that can help us.” Unfortunately, according to Mikko, the investments in AI are currently focused on causes that are not that benevolent. Militaries are building autonomous killing machines, and digital consumer businesses invest heavily on addiction algorithms to monetize the time and attention of people with ads. In addition to the addiction algorithms, businesses have invested massively on marketing automation. This has created a vicious cycle of one-uppance, where bots are competing against each other in an ever-escalating war. There are social media drip bots, email drip and response bots, customer service chatbots, ad-clicking bots, page view-boosting bots, profile visitor bots, bots that comment and like posts, bots that send friend invites, bots that give 5star reviews, and much more. October 2018


In this ever-escalating war of bots, the human connection has been lost. This is why Mikko founded, Inbot - to build an artificial intelligence that helps discover people, who can introduce trustworthy and benevolent AI and data-driven businesses to their target customers. Overcoming Adversities For an entrepreneur focused on building ground-breaking solutions in the cutting edge of science and technology, the risks are always high. There are so many ways at which one’s hypotheses can be wrong and a lot of difficult obstacles to overcome to realize the vision.

Trust and care are the cornerstones of a happy workplace, happy customers and a happy community. — Mikko Alasaarela Founder & CEO Inbot

During his years as an entrepreneur, Mikko has faced a lot of challenges, including failing to develop a technology in the first try, failing to implement a working business model several times in a row, trusting people too quickly, trusting the development deadlines too much, overpromising customers, and many others. With persistence, he powered through these challenges. Some of Mikko’s companies were sold; others were transferred to new managers, a couple others were shut down without bankruptcy due to moving on to other things. At times, Mikko blames himself for always taking a bigger bite that he can chew. At other times, he remembers the hard problems are the ones that keep him moving. Envisioning the Endeavors of Tomorrow Mikko says Inbot’s competitive edge is based on a large proprietary dataset powered by AI, a strong company culture of trust and care, and on their ability to constantly innovate. Inbot’s community-driven business model returns all the value created by the community back to its members and token holders. This is a new, modern form of benevolent capitalism, where everyone has a chance. This unique aspect of Inbot’s business model is also the hardest to replicate by traditional social networks, which base their business on using the community to pay their shareholders. Inbot’s long term goal is to provide human opportunity in the age of artificial intelligence. “Find a purpose, which is bigger than yourself, and more benevolent than simply making money. This purpose will carry you through the hard times. Without such a purpose, you will start looking at other opportunities as soon as the first major problem surfaces,” is how Mikko advices to the aspiring entrepreneurs and leaders.

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30Entrepreneurs The

Most Influential

to Watch 2018

Peter Bryant: Providing Exemplary Hosting Services

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he foundations of any business are largely shouldered by the grit and intellect of an efficient entrepreneur. Being au fait with the contemporary trends in technology, devising all-encompassing business strategies, maintaining a prolific approach, and possessing the quality of collective delegation, aid in precise sculpting of an ideal entrepreneur. Epitomizing these traits is Peter Bryant, the Founder of RimuHosting Ltd. Peter grew up on his parent’s dairy farm. Working on the farm instilled a strong work ethic within him. Although his parents worked 7 days a week, they had independence and a lifestyle that his friends’ 9-5 working parents did not have. Later on in life he aspired to having that same independence and self-determination by running his own business. Peter strives to make sure that RimuHosting always has the best and brightest staff along with great servers sitting in reliable data centers. He is a regular squash, tennis and netball player and a fitness enthusiast as well. He is ceaselessly striving on achieving his goal of exploring all of New Zealand’s Great Walks. He has far too much camera gear, and tries to take a good photo every now and then. Peter also exhibits his evident passion for photography. A Comprehensive Organization Headquartered in Cambridge, New Zealand, RimuHosting, while working closely with customers to help support

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their hosting services, aim to relish a good insight into the problems they are hitting. For instance, a common need was for customers to want to host their own emails on their servers with the organization. After helping many customers setup email on their servers, RimuHosting decided to setup and operate the 25mail.st fully managed email hosting service. “We identified best-of-breed open source email hosting components and put together a well-documented and maintained service, with features like spam management, easy user administration, and flexible email delivery,” states Peter. Redefining Entrepreneurship Peter emphasizes on the fact that the first item on any entrepreneurial attribute list should be a spare six months. “Leading up to the public launch of RimuHosting, I spent many late nights and weekends while I validated the technology, created website content, and started setting up the hosting infrastructure,” states Peter. Peter had a technical background, but through running his own business he soon developed and honed a broader skill set. His communication improved while editing website content and writing pre-sales emails. His accounting knowledge improved as service pricing had to be matched to costs, and company growth had to be constrained by how much the bank was willing to extend in personal loans. Over time, Peter and his team started adding more staff and he learnt more about what it takes to build and

manage a skilled team of customer service experts to provide follow-thesun support for the organization’s customers located around the world. These experiences transformed Peter into a prolific and profound entrepreneur. Leading by example, Peter sets the benchmark of entrepreneurship for every aspiring business leader. Personifying Perseverance Peter thinks that most business ideas are created out of a personal interest or need. The same was true for Peter as well. When Peter initially discussed his business plan with friends and colleagues he received a mixed feedback. Some were supportive while others felt that in 2002 the hosting market had matured and it was too late for new entrants. It turned out that there was a lot of scope for Peter’s business idea. Yet, Peter advises anyone thinking of setting up their own business to seek feedback, and take it on board but also to trust their own research and ideas. Peter had spent many years in the 1990s as a software developer working on projects for large corporates. The

October 2018


At RimuHosting we work to take the hassle out of your hosting.

Internet was in its early years and he wanted to experiment with a few personal web projects. He realized that the inexpensive ‘shared hosting’ plans would not support the technologies he wanted to play with and fully dedicated servers cost more than what a personal project warranted. So he used his software development experience and his growing experience with Linux and the web to setup a virtual machine-based hosting service. “This let our users get all the flexibility and lack of restrictions that a dedicated server provided, but at the lower shared hosting price. Our service quickly became popular with developers and ‘techies’,” Peter asserts. Formulating Strategies of Success Peter advises that it is important to be aware of what one’s competitors are doing and as more competitors enter the market one needs to be conscious of pricing. He also emphasizes on the importance in ‘just being you’. Setting goals and culture is a vital part of Peter’s business strategies, and he advises to follow the same. For RimuHosting one thing Peter and his team really focus on is doing whatever they can to help take the hassle out of their customers’ hosting. “We try to go above and beyond trying to troubleshoot problems, being pro-active about maintenance work, and we continually work under the covers to improve performance and reliability,” Peter expresses. He sees this effort being rewarded by customer loyalty, with many of his customers having hosting with his organization for a decade or more. Peter loves the process of turning ideas into software, and at RimuHosting he uses that passion to develop software and October 2018

Peter Bryant Founder RimuHosting Ltd

services that help open up the Internet for others. RimuHosting’s goal is to make it easier for anyone to get on the Internet whether it is to improve their business or projects or simply to expand their knowledge. Advising Emerging Entrepreneurs Peter once spent nearly two years in a team of software developers creating a support tool. They used the application internally and kept polishing and perfecting it. When they finally launched it, they struggled to find paying customers. Peter says that the team had spent too much time working on it. They would have been better off getting it in front of real users a lot earlier. That feedback would have seen them better identify the needs of customers and would likely have radically re-shaped what they built. Peter would recommend the emerging entrepreneurs do their due diligence before launching a new business. “But before getting bogged down in the detail, get a minimal viable product out in front of potential customers. Even if that just means a page describing the product and a ‘sign me up for updates’ form,” he adds.

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From Editor's Desk

The Journey

to Self-Discovery E

ntrepreneurs set up their new ventures with a new and unique vision, goal, and its future. These entrepreneurs face many challenges over the course of their journey. However, ďŹ nancial challenge is the most painful ones they have to face. Making a list of all the ďŹ nancial challenges can aid a business and a new starting player in attaining sustainability and economic stability. The Small Business Association estimates that around forty-four percent of startups and small business survive at least for four years only. Others cite that poor capital management, overspending, and the lack of reserve funds are some of the common reasons behind a business closure. All these three terms come under the ďŹ nances of a company.

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One way to address the financial problems is to use the 4R formula i.e. Review, Revamp, Research, and Rewrite the company’s business plans. By using this formula, they can take action against the things that are not working out. Working Capital Issue Startups have to wait for their big clients to pay up so that they can manage their expenses. Entrepreneurs must save at least the expenses of six months as its working capital, which can help them in engaging new customers and create a productive business pipeline. Players can also avoid inadequate working capital by cutting-costs up to twenty percent and set the cut out as the working capital. For the startups that are yet to make profits, should make sure that they are adequately financed before taking any harsh decision, which can affect their survival in the industry. Non-consistent Cash Flow Issue Most of the project-based business relies on their cash flow, which further relies on the flow of the project and the services rendered. It is therefore important for the company to have a good business team ready to connect new and reliable clients and projects. For the company that does not rely on the cash flow, must construct a flow of consistent cash flow at the proper time. If the client is unavailable to pay on-time, the businesses should think newer methods of client engagement. They should be patient and make decisions that would help them while dealing with the clients in the future. Another way of improving the cash flow is to get a down payment for the product and the services provided. This down payment will aid the companies in covering the expenses associated with the project sales and profit margins. Firms can also set a day in the week to go through the accounts, payables, and checks. Bookkeeping Issue Corporations can hire organized bookkeepers, which can save a lot of time. If they cannot find one, they can give this responsibility to one of its team member. The firm can improve by distinguishing the discretion and non-discretion spending. These include rent, office overhead, inventory purchases, and wages. The companies can even save further by polishing their overall marketing plans. Identifying and creating a larger clientele that can develop marketing strategies can help in promoting the service and products. Firms must set goals and expectations for marketing initiatives and develop the tools to improve the revenue outcomes. Wrong Predictions and Revenue Issue Businesses on a day-to-day basis have to predict the company’s revenues. This is even truer for the businesses that are dynamic in nature. Most of the predictions can be measured on a month-to-month basis. Although a lot of factors that are dependent upon the revenue prediction, but mostly it rely on the relevancy of the business. By foreseeing accurately, the firms can generate good revenue that is crucial for the cash flow statements. By paying attention to the seasoned fluctuations and affected timelines, they can predict the revenues accurately. Hiring Issue Hiring a good staff is not an easy task. A decision like over-hiring can create additional costs for the company in contracts and long-term employee liabilities. The employer is responsible for its employees and they have to provide them with the employee benefits that increase the costs. The key solution lies in hiring the term-based employees, freelancers, and independent contractors as they will provide services only for the time worked and employer do not have to add payroll costs in paying them. These independent contractors are paid only for their time spent on the work. Depending upon the job, firms can easily find out that whether these are perfect for the job or not. In return, these can absorb the work-related wages and can add the benefit of costs. In eliminating the conundrums, the mind-power and descision-making of the entrepreneurs is important. They can seek loans and grants which are specifically tailored towards boosting the company's finances. Even some of the vendors allow the company to offer their assistance and can refine the business debts. The players should not haste in making a decision. They should be thoughtful and intellectual for deciding the expenses. It is important for them to think strategically. They should be aware of their decisions and should seek guidance in decision-making and in expenses.

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October 2018


30Entrepreneurs The

Most Influential

to Watch 2018

Rupert Steffner: Emerging Cognitive AI to the Next Level

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n today’s competitive world entrepreneurs are leveraging their expertise with Artificial Intelligence (AI) where cognitive automation extends and improves the range of actions that offers advantages for industries including cost savings and customer satisfaction. Rupert Steffner is the CEO at WUNDER and an enthusiast about Cognitive AI. He strongly believes in “Building mind machines that think and act like a human.” Rupert carries 20 years of work experience in application engineering, data science, business intelligence and real-time stream processing. Apart from his adequate knowledge in machine learning, he gathers inspiration from bright minds like Minsky and Kurzweil and the great advances in neurobiology. He strongly believes that AI is about two things, trust, and learning. Building white-box AI will lead to transparency and accountability in automated, intelligent decision-making that generates trust among the users. Over the years, Rupert has developed two essential steps to make new things happen in the field of AI. He shares his first step as acknowledging a grass-root sensor and become a part of worldwide communities to get known where cutting-edge technology is going to be built. The second step was to make far better and more creative use of technologies. So, he made cognitive AI with an engineering approach to demystify AI technology and bring it into real-world applications.

Meanwhile, Rupert also states that “There is a fastgrowing demand for explainable AI and the engineering approach that turned out to be a great choice. But making strategic decisions against conventional wisdom requires a considerable amount of perseverance and conviction. And perhaps it is those characteristics that make an entrepreneur.” Offering New Era of Cognitive AI WUNDER is offering its brand new technology that introduces completely new business cases. It has developed cognitive AI technology that imitates consumer decision-making with more conscious and faster in speed than a human brain. Rupert also mentions that WUNDER helps other brands to provide their online customers with new AI-fueled shopping experiences including Product Discovery, Matching Stories, Social Match, and Shopping Party that allows several shoppers to make a joint decision. At present, WUNDER is living on the edge of a new transformative society. Its skilled team builds a new generation of trustful AI technology maximizing the impact of data. It is also empowering its customers to make good decisions and helping other companies to unleash its greatest potential. Approaching Voyage through Learning’s Rupert has shared his journey with unified learning stages where he mentions, “A curiosity is the lifeblood of everything new, and visions to shape the future. Perseverance is the survival technique when you are the only one left who believes in your mission.”

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October 2018


‘‘ ‘‘

Helping brands to provide their online customers with new AI-fueled shopping experiences.

“We also learned that Roger’s adoption cycle with few innovators and early adopters is true, and not the marketing buzz of all the companies that claim they are innovative. So we had to achieve to find these forwardthinking companies and to get them on board as our first customers," adds Rupert.

‘‘ ‘‘

He has also learned many examples, where he found easy and highly tempting ways of adapting the product to the current market demands. He believes that the hardest way is to keep the product aligned with future market needs and to find the right customers. Rupert has also accepted the market trends followed by new things, and there are only few companies that fully understand the disruptive force of AI technologies.

scratched the surface so far. AI is in the childhood maturity stage and my personal goal is to help raise artificial intelligence to an adolescent maturity stage.” This will be a long way with building blocks like better reasoning, causality, biologically inspired learning methods and so on. Rupert’s ultimate goal is to integrate cognitive psychology and neuroscience to make cognitive systems more empathic and relevant. Being an entrepreneur he also shares his views on emerging entrepreneurs where he mentions, “There is a justified criticism that founders produce innovations that are too small and incremental. Think big. Dream. Explore. Discover. And then build something massive.”

Building a Moat of Cognitive AI Solutions There are many prerequisites to engineer in AI before it can bring the application into the real world. It also consists of better data with special data preparation routines along with new AI runtimes operating in milliseconds, and new user experience (UX). Rupert has already initiated the sustainable competitive advantage by engineering explainable and manageable AI technologies. This all process pays in trust, accountability, hybrid learning, decision uncertainty management etc. At last, he has a clever market strategy that takes the first mover advantage to quickly land across various industries. Approaching Future Goals Rupert has a vision towards company’s goal and advancement of AI in the growing market where he states that, “With cognitive AI we have only October 2018

Rupert Steffner CEO

WUNDER.AI

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30Entrepreneurs The

Most Influential

to Watch 2018

Ryan Welsh: A Visionary Leader

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n an interview with Insights Success, Ryan Welsh, the Founder and CEO of Kyndi™, shares his experience and gives resourceful insights. In addition to this he has also emphasized on Kyndi™, its products, and motto of the organization along with the future goals in revolutionizing the industry. Below are the highlights of the interview conducted between Ryan and Insights Success: Give a brief overview of your background as an entrepreneur. I got into entrepreneurship in 2012 in business school at the University of Notre Dame. I was going to business school to become a trader in financial services and a good friend of mine was there to become an entrepreneur. He started a few companies during business school, and that’s when I caught the bug. After graduating I worked with an angel investor in the D.C. area, helping him source deals, make investments, and also working on bringing some advanced technologies out of National Laboratories into the Department of Defense and the Intelligence Community. So, for the two or three years prior to founding Kyndi™ in 2014 I was working in and around entrepreneurship.

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How do you diversify your organization’s offerings to appeal to the target audience? For us it’s not about diversifying the product. We have a very general technology similar to a relational database in that everyone is going to use it, so it’s really about who’s going to be the first one to use it. Being super targeted in our go-to-market is key. We target the healthcare sector, specifically the pharmaceutical industry, and the Federal government sector, specifically the military and defense industry. Describe some of the vital attributes that every entrepreneur should possess. Grit, humility, and a willingness to learn. If you don’t have those you’re dead in the water. What were the past experiences, achievements or lessons that have shaped your journey? I was always fascinated by new things, and entrepreneurship allows me to continually be excited by new opportunities because of the varying stages of the company. I started trading stocks at a really young age and enjoyed making investment decisions or allocating capital for some return, and it always felt like that was being entrepreneurial in some way. I guess

what inherently gets me excited is that it’s always new, always fresh, and there is always another new problem you are trying to address. It’s constantly changing. How do you strategize your game plans to tackle competition in the market? I’m a voracious reader, so I consume all types of information from all over the place. I would say the harder thing is not the strategy, but for me it’s the operationalizing of that strategy. I consume tons of information, everything from macroeconomic financial news to specific industry insights and competitor white papers. You name it, I consume it and come up with some understanding of what the marketplace is like, then try to navigate that marketplace by coming up with an effective operational plan. I think it really comes down to developing hypotheses about what the likely future will be like, and as the future unfolds you are essentially testing those hypotheses until one becomes the path that is going to unfold. Then you have that plan and are ready to execute on it. What were the primal challenges and roadblocks you have faced during the initial phase of your career as an entrepreneur? October 2018


There’s so much you don’t know, and that is the biggest roadblock. I got out of school with an MBA from a top 20 business school and thought I knew how to run a business. Then you start running a business and get punched in the face, and you realize that you know nothing about running a business. The biggest thing is quickly acquiring the knowledge that you don’t have and turning it into expert knowledge and executing against that. Where do you see yourself in the near future and what are your future goals? The future goal would be to turn Kyndi™ into a billion-dollar business and ultimately turn it into a trillion-dollar market cap business. I think with a company like Kyndi™ I have an opportunity to build a sustainable, long lasting business. The upside is so much greater than a lot of potential businesses. You could start a business and sell it for fifty, a hundred, two hundred and fifty million dollars and that’s a phenomenal outcome and you’ve built a great business, but it’s not one that sustains in the long term. Whereas here, I think there is an opportunity to become a great technology company. If I do it right, I’ll be running the company until I retire.

Ryan Welsh Founder & CEO Kyndi™

Big time players make big time plays in big time games.

Everyone is willing to give advice, and some people provide better advice, some people provide terrible advice, and they are all just data points. Ultimately, you’re the one that makes the decision and you’re the one that knows the most about your company. You have to absorb all of the information and feedback that you get and understand that any decision that you make you should be willing to sign your name to. Listen to everything and understand that they’re all just data points that could be weighted differently depending on who they are coming from and, specifically, that person’s history of success on the task you’re inquiring about. But understand that ultimately the decision is yours and everything that goes right is because of you and everything that goes wrong is because of you.

What is your advice for budding and emerging entrepreneurs? Own your decisions and your own future. October 2018

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30Entrepreneurs The

Most Influential

to Watch 2018

Steven Canale: An Ardent and Visionary Entrepreneur

B

eing a successful entrepreneur means more than just conceiving new ventures. It is about having the requisite confidence and conviction behind one’s ideas. It is about taking calculated risks to develop and implement those ideas. It means having the right attitude towards a business and the determination and grit to achieve success. A successful entrepreneur has a strong inner drive that helps him or her to succeed. One such self-motivated entrepreneur is Steven Canale, the Chief Revenue Officer at StackPath. Steven understands the contemporary and leading-edge technology and knows how to leverage that in a sale. He has the ability to quickly learn new information in a rapidly changing environment. He is a natural leader who commits to high standards and motivates teams towards achieving a common goal. Taking Calculated Risks Being an entrepreneur comes with a ton of challenges and roadblocks, and Steve’s journey was no different. Steven left his role of the director of sales at The Planet to help start SoftLayer – a major leader in ushering in the era of the cloud that both companies and consumers rely on to run digital systems today. As the vice president of sales at SoftLayer, Steven helped build it into a $400 million business with more than 700 employees and 20,000 customers around the world. When SoftLayer was sold to IBM in 2013, Steven became IBM’s vice president of sales, until he left to start StackPath in 2015.

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While financing StackPath was easier than it had been for SoftLayer, abandoning his career both times was always a tough choice. As director of sales at The Planet, he led a sales team to 18 consecutive months of record sales, growing sales from $10 million to more than $45 million. He had done good work and was valued. Likewise, IBM was a solid company and he had a solid future with them as VP of sales for cloud. Both times he risked making the safe choice and took a gamble, and both times it paid off. Secure Edge Services Through StackPath StackPath provides services to everyone – from a lone developer coding from home, to Fortune 100 companies. Any person or company aiming to accelerate and/or create cloud properties, ranging from websites to media delivery and IoT services, can use StackPath. But, as Steven knows first-hand, launching a successful startup requires more than hard work and a big idea. Entrepreneurs need support, which is why StackPath created Propel – a program that provides free services as well as insight and expertise. Everything from making strategic introductions to talent, investors, and peers, to brainstorming business practices, to reviewing pitch decks, StackPath’s Propel was created to help new companies with what they need to grow and thrive. StackPath provides global, high performance content delivery + top notch security, an integrated web application firewall and DDoS mitigation, while keeping things simple, transparent and affordable. StackPath is developer-friendly with 24/7/365 support and a fully-documented API.

October 2018


“You’ll never make it in business if money is your primary driver, so to be successful love what you do and put the customer first.” Canale — Steven Chief Revenue Officer StackPath

Making the Internet Safe While there are several companies doing parts of what StackPath does, there is not one apples-toapples comparison – no other company provides a platform of secure edge services that enables developers to protect, accelerate, and innovate cloud properties ranging from websites to media delivery and IoT services. StackPath targets publishers, game developers, ad networks, software distributors and other companies that require solid security and a global network for delivering small and large files. When creating StackPath, Steven knew that it was important to be “frenemies” with so-called competitors to provide services and work together to help make the internet safe. As one of the founders of StackPath, Steven is focused on rolling out multiple launches, updates, and upgrades in the near future, with a longer-term goal of transforming internet security and the cloud’s edge. Steven and StackPath won’t stop creating, innovating and growing until the Internet is safe. Defining Entrepreneurial Aspects Steven asserts that every entrepreneur should have the passion and complete belief that their business will be successful and should be willing to put in the hours and sweat required to get there. He says, “An idea without a business plan is just a hobby.” He emphasizes that every entrepreneur should have a plan, a process, and surround themselves with smart people who will tell you the truth, even if that isn’t what you wants to hear.

companies, Steven has learned that it is hard to predict what is going to come next or what course life will take, but he suggests staying open. He has also learned to trust one’s gut, and one’s friends, when it comes to new opportunities. Steven advises young entrepreneurs to love what you do and suggests having a customer-first approach. He says if one does what one loves and puts customer first then success will take care of itself.

With 20+ years working with customers, two startups, and experience working for one of the world’s biggest October 2018

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Purpose Driven

The Importance of

Purpose n addition to running Kenja as CEO, I have the fortune of teaching MBA students part time on Leadership, Marketing, and Strategy. For my classes and as a CEO, I think the most important place to start is with the “Why” - what is your Purpose as an Leader and as a Company.

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that Purpose is something that can be discovered in a day - often it will take time to think about this and reflect on it. The point of the exercise is simply to begin the very important self-dialogue to get to your Life Purpose. It does not matter how fast you go if you have not figured out what direction you want to run first.

Purpose as a Leader As a leader, the first place to start is with yourself. If you cannot lead yourself then how can you lead others? The first thing to know about a leader is their Passion and the Values that led them to put importance on those passions. With an understanding of Passion, people can develop their Life’s Purpose. Purpose is your North Star, it is your unwavering unchanging goal which your daily actions will lead you to. Upon setting your own Purpose, you will need a Plan to take concrete steps towards the Purpose, Partners to benefit and to help you achieve your Purpose, and finally Persistence to help you with the very difficult task of staying focused on your Purpose.

In Kenja, every person in our company knows that although I had C level experience in companies like Vodafone, Verizon Wireless, and Fidelity Investments, I have always had a dream to found a different kind of company - one that valued Innovation and Ideas over Politics and the primary focus on Quarterly Profits. My passion is for solving problems in innovative ways and for implementing very difficult projects.

Passion, Purpose, Plan, Partners, and Persistence are the “5Ps of Life” - a workshop that I do with students to help them figure out their Life’s Purpose. 95% of people do not have a concrete Purpose in life - they let events and daily to-dos determine their activities. I do not think

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I was fortunate that I started with good co-founders, people that shared my vision and could contribute complementary skills. The plan is usually a natural outcome of a strong purpose and Persistence is usually achieved by knowing what works for you on a daily basis. For me Persistence is reinforced by refusing to consider a return to large company executive jobs and by daily use of the “Pomodoro” technique. (using 30 minutes interval of focused effort followed by a short break)

October 2018


Ted Katagi CEO Kenja

Purpose as a Company Just as with Individual Leaders, a company will need to develop its own clear Purpose. A Clear Purpose gives motivation to people, clarity to strategy, and a clear branding for Marketing. If we are honest with most companies, the Purpose easily devolves into meeting the Monthly or Yearly Targets. The Purpose is not merely the result of your actions - the Purpose describes WHY you are pursuing your goals. The Clear Purpose is lived by company members so it becomes a reflection of why people join and stay with your company. Company Strategy is strongly guided by Purpose. Things that lead you off the Strategic Path are rejected and you can find further value and differentiation in the area of your chosen competition. Small changes in your Purpose drives big results in the marketplace. Although Facebook and MySpace are both Social Networks, Facebook’s focus on connecting your friends resulted in many small innovations that MySpace with their focus on creating cool personal spaces did not.

felt by your customers. It is far more enduring than any single campaign message or even a business plan for a year. Kenja’s purpose is to Revolutionize the way that mid to large companies collaborate to get work done through software. In the beginning it was difficult since larger companies tend to buy from other larger companies but we have now achieved something not easily copied. After 7 years in Business, we now have larger organizations like Mitsui and Company, Randstad, and JICA (the Japanese Peace Corp) and many mid sized companies using us. If we had started with consumers and small companies only, then the functionality, security, and ease to use (for older employees as well) would be far different. Starting with Purpose is not always the easy or obvious choice. There are many obstacles in the way and it is too easy just to focus on Profit or KPIs of the company. However, a focus on Purpose will automatically keep Employee Engagement, Strategy, and your Branding on track.

If you are clear on your Purpose, then the Brand is not a just a slogan on a TV Commercial. It is lived by employees, reflected in your products and services, and October 2018

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30Entrepreneurs The

Most Influential

to Watch 2018

Thomas Smale: Unlocking Doors of Opportunities

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n an interview with Insights Success, the Founder of FE International, Thomas Smale shares the key insights over his organization’s delivery of reformative M&A services with an emphasis on mid-market SaaS, e-commerce and content businesses, as well as his efficiency and a state of being au fait with all-encompassing advisory and exit planning processes and services. Considering these significant and inspirational traits, Insights Success recognizes Thomas as one of the most influential entrepreneurs of 2018. Below are highlights from the interview between Thomas and Insights Success: Give a brief overview of your background as an entrepreneur. I am the Founder of FE International and serial online business entrepreneur. In my early 20s, I began building and selling small online companies. My experience building and growing digital businesses led me to advising fellow entrepreneurs in the space. This turned into a full-time career when I founded FE International in 2010, from which point we have grown the business with zero funds from ground up and consistently doubled annual revenue, as well as the average deal size. I specialize in advising in the mergers and acquisitions of SaaS, e-commerce, affiliate and content businesses, and at this point have consulted hundreds of internet entrepreneurs on exit strategy, growth and business development. How do you diversify your organization’s offerings to appeal to the target audience? As expert M&A advisors, my team and I tailor the exit planning advice offered to digital entrepreneurs to suit the unique needs of the business’ and the entrepreneurs’ goals in question. Similarly, when connecting investors with an acquisition opportunity, FE’s extensive vetting process for

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buyers ensures that the investor’s needs are closely examined and they are matched with an asset that fits their strategic needs. Describe some of the vital attributes that every entrepreneur should possess. Resilience will take you far as an entrepreneur, as well as patience with the ups and downs of the journey. Building a successful business over a decade involves countless growing pains (even and in fact especially if you are experiencing steady growth), which means that it is imperative not to get frustrated and give up when you meet the inevitable obstacles that come your way. What were the past experiences, achievements or lessons that have shaped your journey? There have been many, but just a few of the highlights would be winning the International Business Broker’s Association Deal Maker of the Year Award two years running and making the Inc5000 Europe list in 2018. Those were some of the biggest milestones, among many others, shaping my journey as an entrepreneur. How do you strategize your game plans to tackle competition in the market? As the leading M&A advisory firm for online businesses and thought-leaders in the space, FE International has had the unique opportunity to define a new category in which to operate, so we do not allocate much resource to concerning ourselves with other companies. The key to our success has been to focus on continuously offering the best service in the market. What were the primal challenges and roadblocks you faced during the initial phase of your career as an entrepreneur? The biggest challenge initially is nearly always getting the October 2018


We tailor our expertise to suit our clients’ unique business goals.

Thomas Smale Founder FE International word out about the value you have to offer. Once you determine the best marketing channel for spreading awareness and generating repeat business, the pain points transition to a more operational and development-oriented nature.

provides advisory services for mid-market SaaS, ecommerce and content businesses. It has become the preeminent advisor and valuation thought-leader in the industry, completing hundreds of millions in sales across over 650 deals since 2010.

Where do you see yourself in the near future and what are your future goals? To continue growing FE International 150% YoY as well as expand our flagship NYC, and London, offices.

The team at FE International is comprised of professionals from investment banking, strategy consulting as well as online entrepreneurs, who have an extensive transaction execution expertise. The organization’s advisors complement this formal experience with unique and innovative approaches to deal with marketing and structuring.

What is your advice for budding and emerging entrepreneurs? Don’t give up when it gets tough. If the market is responding to your product or service but you are feeling overwhelmed and thus tempted to call it quits, first reach out to friends (or strangers) in the industry through conferences, social groups and forums. One of the best ways to connect with people who will understand your unique challenges is to attend industry conferences; you will gain something valuable 99% of the time.

FE International offers comprehensive exit planning services as well as direct access to an established network of pre-qualified international investors to drive demand to clients’ businesses and maximize value for the company. For a no-obligation, free business valuation, visit: https://feinternational.com/sell-your-website/.

About the Organization FE International, founded in 2010, is headquartered in New York, with offices also in Boston, Chicago, Edmond, London, Hong Kong and Singapore. The organization October 2018

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30Entrepreneurs The

Most Influential

to Watch 2018

Tim May I

n an interview with Insights Success, Sitetracker Chief Technology Officer, Tim May, shared insights gleaned from his journey to triumphant success as an entrepreneur. As a fervent supporter of innovative entrepreneurial methods and technological advancement, he continually looks for ways to improve the platform. Tim May’s goal is to standardize and optimize the way critical infrastructure is deployed around the world. As the global standard for managing high-volume projects, Sitetracker offers a platform that enables growth-focused innovators to optimize the entire asset lifecycle. From the field to the C-suite, Sitetracker allows stakeholders to perfect various segments such as planning, deployment, maintenance, and growth. Market leaders in the telecommunications, utility, smart cities, and alternative energy industries — such as Verizon, Nokia, Fortis, Alphabet, and Panasonic — rely on Sitetracker to manage millions of sites and projects representing over $12 billion of portfolio holdings globally. Read the whole interview: How do you define leadership? For me, the key is empowering smart people and leading by example. You spend time recruiting the best folks you can find because they know what needs to be done and they are good at it. Empowering them to make decisions and lead their areas is critical — and when needed, dives in and spend time in the trenches with them. What were the challenges and roadblocks you faced in the initial phase of your entrepreneurial career? Having the courage to go for it, I was working full-time; I have a family, a mortgage. No matter how passionate you are, it’s hard to make that call because failure is a very real option and the statistically likely outcome. There are so many people that would be successful if they took the shots — you just have to go for it. Bet on yourself, and if it doesn’t work out, you’re going to be okay. That was the biggest thing for me: mustering the courage to go for it.

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Changing the Way Critical Infrastructure Companies do Project Management

You took a different route than a lot of people who launch startups, who test the waters first by holding onto their current job. You just took the shot, as you put it. What made you do that rather than taking it more slowly? I knew that it was going to take a lot of focus and work for Sitetracker to be successful. It was going to require 80 hours a week, minimum. I had to make the clean break: put everything I had into it. That’s what it took, to do it. How do you diversify Sitetracker product offerings to appeal to a diverse audience? We focus on the problems that we see in the industries we serve. Listening is important. Two ears: one mouth. When we are building new Sitetracker functionality, we focus on coming up with the simplest design that also meets the customer’s needs. My favorite quote from Albert Einstein is, “Keep things as simple as possible but not simpler.” Don’t over-engineer, over-complicate, or over-think it. How do you tackle product competition in the market? I try not to dwell on what other companies are doing. By focusing on our strengths and listening to our customers, we will inevitably overpower our competitors. Every time you choose to focus on feature parity, you’re choosing not to work on something that you believe will provide value to your customers. It’s a bad idea to prioritize something to match a competitor feature list instead of adding something you believe the customer really needs. Our roadmap is entirely customer focused — we base it on what customers and the industries we serve tell us. What past experiences have shaped your current outlook on leadership? All life experiences culminate and contribute to your perspective. You end up realizing that you didn’t really come up with this master plan, but somehow, looking back, it all makes sense and comes together to create the person you are today. Early in my career, I spent a lot of time on endeavors like developer evangelism, programming, and building new software. Based on early successes, I was moved into managing multiple projects, programs, and portfolios. I became much more interested and engaged when I realized October 2018


Focus on the things you can control, and don't dwell on the things you can't.

Tim May Chief Technology Ofcer Sitetracker, Inc. that project management is leadership. I realized that you have to be able to get your team to rally behind shared goals. That challenge is what motivates me every day. My experience doing this work informed how we built Sitetracker — it’s based on real-world experience in managing projects and programs and working with applications that never met all of my needs. There’s nothing I did in my career, both personally or professionally, that does not connect to the way I see the world. I think if you just constantly course correct by fighting for the right things every single day; you’ll end up where you’re supposed to go. And then, in the end, if you’ve stayed focused, you will achieve your goals. Where do you see yourself in the near future and what are your long-term goals? My near-term goals are focused on making Sitetracker the absolute best company it can be. That’s the goal for the foreseeable future. What’s your advice for emerging entrepreneurs? It comes down to grit; lots and lots of grit. It’s all about hard work, execution and surrounding yourself with the best people you can find — that means people who share your dedication and have the ability to prioritize and focus on shared goals.

through focus and hard work. You have to relentlessly prioritize what needs to be done on a daily basis, stick with it, and never give up. It’s easy to say, but very hard to do. On the path to a successful venture, you will find adversity. Fight through it and don’t let the small things get in the way. Always stay focused on the long-term goal. What we say here at Sitetracker is: “Fight for inches every single day.” You aren’t going to reach from where you are to the end zone in one pass — it’s done inch by inch by inch. Is there anything else you want to share about your experience as an entrepreneur? I am grateful for the amazing people I’ve had the chance to work with while building Sitetracker and for the unbelievable support from my family. When I was contemplating leaving my job, it was my wife who gave me the push. She told me, “You have to do this; we’ll be fine. I’m not worried because you’re going to be successful.” She believed in me. You have to treat the people on your team the same way. When you believe in them, they will do incredible things. For more information, visit www.sitetracker.com

There are lots of people with great ideas, but what separates successful people is the ability to bring an idea to life October 2018

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The Art of Leading

Attributes of a

Good L

eadership is about using the power of a position to empower a group of people in order to attain a common goal. A leader’s task is to implement the plans that usually look good on paper, through a delegated team, in a specific time with an ongoing motion. She/he may use the traditional method or may think out of the box. It depends on the leader as how to do it; the ultimate motive is to get the job done. Although, each and every individual has a different approach on leadership, some might say it is about setting examples, some might say it is about sharing the authority; what matters is, taking the right decision when it is most needed. Leadership varies from one organization to another. An organization is a dynamic body and

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creates new probabilities every now and then. And with new probabilities, come new challenges. Although, it is impossible to overcome every challenge, the business environment has adopted certain leadership styles for the efficiency of business: The Participative Leader Participative Leadership is the process of sharing authority with the work force in order to get optimum efficiency. The team, after getting access to certain powers, works responsibly to accomplish the goals set by its leader. The shared leadership also helps in case of any requirement of change, as the employees adapt quickly in such environment. Incidentally, this style of leadership fits best in a scenario when there is a limitation of time.

The Transformational Leader A transformational leader inspires the team through effective communication and an intellectual environment. However, these individuals require more detail oriented managers to successfully implement their strategies. Transformational Leadership is considered among the most effective employees of the organization. One of the examples of this type of leadership is when a leader is assigned on a higher level for effective environment. The Transactional leader The transactional leadership, as the name suggests, enables the leader to incentivize the team corresponding to their performance. The team gets rewarded when it attains the goals and the Leader has the power to review the results and act

October 2018


accordingly when the team fails to do the same. The goals and the strategy to attain them are decided by the leader and the team itself. The Situational leader Situational leadership is a theory that the best leader will adapt to the required leadership style according to need of the hour. A Situational leader may adopt democratic style while discussion business with senior executive, but may switch to transactional at the time of team review. However every individual has a natural style of leadership and it may be difficult to switch roles at a certain point of time. Qualities of a good leader There is an old proverb that says, “Give a Man a Fish, and You Feed Him for a Day. Teach a Man to Fish, and You Feed Him for a Lifetime.” So is the case with leadership. One of the basic qualities of a Leader is to pass on the leadership skills.

Integrity C.S. Lewis said, “Integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is watching.” Be it giving credit to one of the team members or be it admitting a mistake, a leader wears integrity as a badge of honor. They do what is right, no matter what. Ÿ

Empowerment As mentioned earlier, Leadership is about using the power of one’s position to empower a group of people in order to attain a common goal. A good leader shares his authority with the team in order to get the job done. By doing this, he shows confidence in the team and obliged by the gesture, the team works with full enthusiasm to accomplish the goal. Ÿ

Decision making There is risk in decision to making. Great leaders take great decisions when the stake is high and it is the success of those decisions that make them great. To add up, a good leader takes right decision at the right time. In conclusion, a good leader can be defined by the dynamics of his style in leadership, the values that he brings to the organization, the methods he uses to make the best of the resources, and the kind of decision he makes in the given situations. At the end it is about the attitude of an individual to bring the change for good. Ÿ

Following are some of the qualities of a good leader: Communication Skills Communication is the basic requirement for efficiency in a business. As the level of hierarchy elevates, the requirement of communication grows. Especially, when it comes to leadership, there is no scope for lack of communication. A Leader who fails to develop this skill is looked up as incompetent, because it is his job to send the message loud and clear. Although, it is also important to listen as it is an integral part of communication. Ÿ

October 2018

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Profile for Insights Success Media

The 30 Most Influential Entrepreneurs to Watch 2018  

Insights Success has come up with this extensive list of “The 30 Most Influential Entrepreneurs to Watch, 2018.” These exceptional men and w...

The 30 Most Influential Entrepreneurs to Watch 2018  

Insights Success has come up with this extensive list of “The 30 Most Influential Entrepreneurs to Watch, 2018.” These exceptional men and w...

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