Maveriq Profile: Stephan Goss, ZeetoGroup LLC
We continue our series of interviews highlighting some of the most successful entrepreneurs in the San Diego area, and are pleased to bring you the insights of Stephan Goss. He is the founder and CEO of Zeeto, an INC. 5000 technology firm that specializes in developing solutions for the monetization of online traffic. They pioneer integrated technology products, and provide their clients with effective new revenue streams.
Stephan is not your typical success story. He’s never even had a “real” job. You see Zeeto is the first company he’s worked at. He’s learned some very interesting lessons along his journey, and shows no signs of slowing in progress. Last week he sat down with Maveriqs Academy’s Carlo Desierto. Here’s how their discussion went.
When was it that you decided to become an entrepreneur?
I don’t think I decided to become an entrepreneur per se. When I was in college I wasn’t allowed to work, because I was foreign. I needed some way of making money and I started building websites, as well as buying traffic online. It just kind of went from there.
So what did you do before you became your own boss here at Zeeto?
Well I’ve never had a “real” job. I was studying business in college, and since I wasn’t allowed to work because of my citizenship status, I got creative. I started trying to figure out how to make money online. I started building websites which I never made any great money from. I also bought traffic for my websites, but that also didn’t work. I did, however become skilled at the practice of buying traffic. So I started buying traffic for other people’s websites. That ended up doing pretty well, and that’s what we’ve started the business (Zeeto) on. Recently, we’ve been pivoting more toward the tech side.
How do you select the talent here at Zeeto?
I don’t think we have a standard recipe. It depends on the position. We have junior positions where we look for really motivated and smart people. With our senior level positions, background matters a lot. Experience and leadership are also key factors. It does kind of depend on the position.
I think one of the important things before you do a hire is really going through what it is that you’re looking for, writing down a job spec, and figuring out the details like; “Do you care about the leadership ability?” or “What are ten things that matter for this position?” We keep searching until we find the person that checks all the boxes versus just two thirds of them. So we’re very picky on the hiring side. We want to hire people that we like, so we don’t compromise and hire people that we wouldn’t enjoy working with just because they’re producers. We definitely focus heavily on the culture, making sure that the people we have are excellent and really excited to work here.
You mentioned culture, what is the Zeeto culture?
If you look at our website or a lot of the stuff that’s been written about us, the most obvious element is the perks. I think what makes the culture is the people that work here. For us, the most slippery slope is keeping people around that are not top performers. What ends up happening is, you may have one person on a team; they’re not excited; they’re just here because they want to make a paycheck, right? As soon as that happens, it begins to trickle down to everyone else on the team. So we want to make sure that everyone’s excited, and that everyone’s a top performer.
People like working with other really smart people. So enabling an environment where you get to build really cool stuff with other really smart people that are really engaged drives the culture to be a fun place to work. There are no cliques. Everyone really likes working together. It’s not like in school where you may have one person doing all the work while three people sit around doing nothing. Avoiding such and making sure that it doesn’t happen allows us to build a much more active culture. Then on top of that, we have all the aforementioned perks because we just want to make our employees lives easier. Everybody does work really hard so the perks get added on top to make them have even more fun working here.
We want to make sure that everyone's excited, and that everyone's a top performer."
Wonderful. Right now what is it that you are guiding your passion and energy toward?
I work a lot. I really enjoy the work that we’re doing. Especially because we have so many awesome people. I learn a ton from everybody. Whenever we hire a new position it’s awesome to see how that person can come in and transform things within a few months. We just hired a new CTO, and he’s been able to add so much process and things that I didn’t really know how they worked before. I like learning the new aspects within the business. By adding new smart people, and learning from them, it becomes very exciting. I enjoy being on that side of things. Growing the company and getting better at what we do is the focus for me.
You said you really enjoy the work you’re doing. Could you describe your work ethic?
Again, I work a lot. I usually get to work at 8am and I leave at 6pm. I sleep from 9pm to 6am, so I sleep nine hours every night. That’s one of the weird things about me. I’ve learned that getting a good night sleep makes all the difference. I don’t understand how people do that on five hours.
I play polo as a hobby (the horse kind), which is really exciting, but I find myself half the time being out there like, “Huh… I’d really rather be at work.” It’s great to have a personal life, but being able to focus on work and enjoy what you do makes it fun to show up. It’s never a drag to show up on Saturday. It’s more like, “Sweet! I get a whole day without being interrupted and I can work on this.” Most of what I do is really fun and I get to work with really fun people, so the combination of that makes it really easy to have a good work ethic.
I think that it would be really hard when times are tough to stick it out if you’re not actually enjoying what you doing. It would be so much harder to make it through. Trying to force someone’s work ethic if they’re working with something boring that they don’t enjoy, is not actual work ethic. That’s just having something interesting to do
It goes back to our culture. You have people that are passionate about Zeeto and what they do here. That makes the culture stronger! They look at it not as work, but as a goal to accomplish.
Thanks for sharing. Who is a person that you consider a role model or someone that has been a mentor to you? How did this person impact your life?
I like Elon Musk just in general. I think on a more direct mentor side, I’m in YPO (The Young President’s Organization) where there are a lot of people that I enjoy having around. Having a pretty strong network of entrepreneurs who have been through it is incredibly helpful. A lot of times the hard part of being an entrepreneur is that you’re always trying to grow the company. So when there’s a new role that you’ve never had you don’t know what your expectations should be.
That’s one of the challenges of hiring as a small company. You’re hiring a new role and you’re like, “Well I’ve never had that role,” “I have no idea how a person who’s good at this would look.” Having that strong network you can call and say, “Hey! I have this problem, what do I do?” “What have you done in the past?” “What has worked well for you and what hasn’t?” I think that’s super important, and having a broad network especially. I can call finance people. I can call lawyers. I can call whatever, kind of around the board and they can give me advice on any topic. I think that helps a lot.That makes a huge difference, and it mitigates the risk of you making a bad decision. So reducing that risk by having really smart people around you is hugely helpful.
Gotcha. Can you tell me about an esteemed achievement of yours?
I don’t know if there’s a specific one. At Zeeto it’s always been to keep performing. It’s not just that one big thing. I don’t think that’s how you end up building a company. It’s really just a continuous, month-over-month, making progress, not letting yourself slip, keeping attention, and keep producing results every month versus just having one huge achievement. So I think just a collection of all the things we’ve done right, and all the things we’ve done wrong and survived is the biggest achievement.
Being able to string these things together and making something bigger out of it is the hardest part. The other hardest part is seeing the vision and working toward the vision, but being able to adapt when the vision changes..
You’ve mentioned performing results and achievement a few times. What does that mean for you? What is the target that Zeeto is aiming for?
Each individual team has their own KPIs, right? We’re very metrics driven. We have daily reporting on pretty much everything. We know what progress have we made today, versus quarterly goals, versus annual goals. Everyone works together to achieve them. Then obviously it’s revenue and profitability as a couple particular goals. Besides that, improving our product, improving our sales funnels, improving our processes. There’s a lot of things that go into it. Just saying “I want to sell $20 million worth of inventory next year doesn’t make that happen.” You need to figure out the goal, and to achieve the goal you may need to do these fifteen things and then you execute against those things. Executing against the revenue goal is hard and doesn’t really lead you anywhere.
There are usually a bunch of things that really move the needle. Figuring out those things and executing against them will drive revenue up versus just saying “We want to sell more.” That’s not very actionable. It’s like, “How?” Sure I’d like to make $100 million next year, but you have to have a plan, a bunch of tactics that combine into a strategy, and then a strategy that leads to those revenue goals. That’s the key! Executing against shorter, month-long goals, month-long strategies, processes, and deliverables. That’s a huge part of successfully running the business.
Where do your great ideas come from?
Oh, all when I’m in the shower.
What’s the best advice you have ever received?
Oh man, I’ve gotten so much good advice. Half the time too, it’s all the advice that you don’t take. It kind of goes both ways. I don’t think I’ve ever had a single greatest piece, I think it’s more of a collection. That is why I try to have a broad network. I’ll usually ask the same question to three or four different people, and I get different advice from each of them. Taking all the pieces and all the third-party input and combining it into something actionable. It’s really hard to get concise advice on complex problems. Usually there’s no obvious answer. If there were, I would have come up with it a long time ago.
Going to different people and describing the problem in potentially different ways, you end up getting different answers, and then you combine into one much larger answer that may or may not work. Then you try it and you fail, so you try it again in a different way. Again, most things aren’t that obvious. If they were, most people would be doing it, and it wouldn’t be great advice. That’s why YPO is so powerful. There’s not just a book with really great advice in it. You have a lot of people that you can ask a lot of questions to, and end up with a lot of different answers. Whenever you do get the different answers, you combine them all together and end up with at least a decent decision, but hopefully a great one.
Sticking with the theme of advice, what advice can you give to people who want to be a successful entrepreneur, a Maveriq just like you?
I think what I see most is that people way over think the idea that they are starting on. I feel like most of the time the idea that you start with is not actually the idea you end up with. A lot of people over think the idea and then get discouraged. I think you should just get started on whatever it is. You can keep developing the idea over the next 12 months that you’re working on the initial iteration if you keep getting feedback and keep improving it. If you don’t start on it, you’ll definitely never actually get anywhere. So getting started on it part-time or on the weekends, whatever it is. It’s really just a matter of actually starting to build something, and I’m not talking about a business plan. Don’t write a business plan! Just start actually building something. That’s where I see people getting stuck. They have this idea and they’re like, “Oh sweet!” Then they spend the next three months coming up with this amazing business plan, but it’s like, “You probably don’t have enough information to write a good business plan anyway.” So just get started and see what your customers say. If they’re interested in buying then you have a business. If not, then you need to fix something.
Doing too much analysis up front seems to me like a lot of the issue. When people come ask me for advice I’m always happy to give it, but then what happens 90% of the time is that no one actually ends up doing anything anyway. It’s not so much that people get started up and they fail, it’s that they fail at getting started. They ask a bunch of people if they have a good idea, nobody really know until you go try it. Then whenever it works or doesn’t work, you change it. Getting started is the big key.
It's not so much that people get started up and they fail, it's that they fail at getting started."
Ya, but the execution is the hard part anyway. Most of the time you don’t want to come up with a new good idea. You want to look at something that somebody else is doing that you like, then you do it slightly better, and execute better. That’s how you end up with a big business that’s really successful. Maybe not a Google size business because you’re a brand new idea for that, but that’s probably not what you want to be shooting for at the beginning. Even if you are shooting for that, it’s still a matter of getting started.
We want to sincerely thank Stephan Goss for providing us with a unique look inside his entrepreneurial journey. We look forward to following Zeeto and its continued success. If you are seeking a technology partner to help in growing new revenue streams through traffic monetization check out Zeeto today!
The Con Is Upon Us!
It’s that time of year again! Thousands upon thousands of heroes, villains, creatures, and more importantly costumers have descended upon downtown San Diego. They’re here to take in the sights and sounds of the city’s biggest annual economic event, San Diego Comic Con or SDCC for the veterans out there. Comic Con is without a doubt San Diego’s most attended event every year. It draws well over 100,000 visitors to the city, while also boosting the local economy with millions of tourism dollars. It’s a four-day convention that many companies prepare all year for. Thousands of people dressed as their favorite characters, and ready to spend hundreds of dollars on the latest greatest piece of collectible swag are walking the streets of the Gaslamp Quarter. It’s a time to be celebrated, but also to be leveraged. Businesses with either a brick & mortar location, online presence, or both can take advantage of this incredible event in some uniquely inventive ways. Here are a couple that we think stand out the most and that you can learn from whenever a big event affects your area of business.
This one may seem obvious, but that’s why it deserves a mention. Hundreds of companies have found inventive ways to represent their brand in front of Comic Con's legions of attendees. We’d like to highlight some of the more unique examples. Among these are trolley wraps. Marvel Television Studios and The Conan O'brien Show have shown that they can get their brand seen by tons of people every day by taking over one of the city’s most widely used public transportation options.
Another effective sponsorship tactic is buying into industry events or parties. This is a great way to have your logo plastered over all kinds of collateral, and also get samples of your product out to a large audience. Not only that, but there are tons of these events going on that offer varying levels of sponsorship. We suggest contacting the venue early and arranging the terms of your participation. Another option, if you have the space, would be to offer up your own venue and hold your own event (In which case you’ll want to be cautious of the insurance, liability, and attendance regulations). This can provide a great chance to get in front of a crowd who may not know about your business. Be sure to have a battle plan in place to make the most of the opportunity. If you need help creating one contact us!
One of the biggest reasons that people attend comic con is to collect rare swag. They pour into the city with back packs and swag bags ready to be stuffed with posters, pins, figurines and more. Their motivation may be to resell these items on Ebay the next week or to add them to their ever-growing collection. Either way, collectibles are highly coveted at the con. For this reason businesses of all shapes and sizes turn to their creative teams to produce some sort of meaningful trinket that they can get into people's hands. We suggest this tactic as a tangible way of spreading your brand message. If you have the budget, invest in the production of something like a bobble-head or figurine. Of course those can be more expensive, but they are also items that tend to have more lasting power. If you're more strapped for cash on the marketing side of things, t-shirts, posters and postcards are still very popular among the Comic Con crowd. Our friends at Industry Threadworks can help with the t-shirt production. All of these items can go a long way in producing a solid return on investment when distributed effectively. Be sure to include your logo, brand message and address, or website to drive traffic back to your space. Bonus points if you can secure a popular IP and utilize it for your collectible.
Yes, simple networking, but on a more grandiose scale. During comic con there are dozens if not hundreds of industry, sponsored, public, and invite-only events where you can get in some serious power networking. You may think that the people attending these events may not be your company's target audience, and to that I say, So What! What happens when you as a business runner get a picture with some highly recognizable celebrity while sporting your brand? I'll tell you what... Free Pub! That’s immediate recognition. In addition, ability to interact with the massive audience that Comic Con brings is something that you would have to invest thousands of dollars in into otherwise accomplish. At Comic Con you have this option for free. Simply take some time out during the week, target the events where you feel you’ll get the most traction, and head on over! To get the most out of this tactic we suggest bringing a ton of business cards, loading up on product samples (based on your business), wearing company branded clothing (depending on the event), and having your camera phone ready for action. Be strategic, and make sure you are not misrepresenting your company. If executed properly you may be able to gain brand ambassadors in places you never imagined.
Those are just a couple of the tactics that we believe are effective in taking advantage of the Comic Con buzz in order to generate benefit for your business. Can you think of any more? What are some interesting methods that you have seen businesses use to benefit from a huge local event? We’re all ears!
Maveriq Profile: Blaise Barralet, Analytics Ventures
We recently had the pleasure of sitting down with one of San Diego's most accomplished entrepreneurs. Blaise Barralet is a Founder and Managing Partner at Analytics Ventures. Analytics Ventures is a venture capital firm that creates and invests in technology companies in the San Diego area. They offer expertise in capital, growth, marketing, sales, finance, and a plethora of other business practices. They also have a deep team of entrepreneurship experts with decades of experience in the field. Blaise invited us to his beautiful home in Rancho Santa Fe to talk about his journey and some of the best advice he has for CEOs, startups, and aspiring entrepreneurs. Here's what he had to say.
How did your entrepreneurial journey begin?
It began when I was 12 years old. I have a technical background and started with electronics. I started my first company when I was 20 years old. I've always loved to build stuff, find people that see value in the stuff that I build, and to grow companies. So I've built quite a few companies. The total, I don't even count anymore but it's way over ten companies throughout my life. You learn a lot of stuff. Every new company brings some new challenges. So with my experience I try to build a better company each time. I guess it's kinda working out that way.
Gotcha, and what was the motivating factor for you to become an investor?
When you become an investor it's because you have money. You have money because you have done really well with your business or businesses. Living here in Rancho Santa Fe, I see a lot of people who have money, and you know, all they do after they have this money is play golf or become fat or join some country club… or whatever. They may be on every board of every non-profit and write checks for some cancer research fund… something like that. But to me, the most important factor is giving back and giving back is more than just writing a check. I think giving back is giving something out of you that's going to help others avoid the mistakes you have made. For me particularly that means helping other entrepreneurs. I invest but it's more than just investing. It's helping them deviate away from the same mistakes I made. Trying to teach them something that is a real life experience that I went through. This is what drove me to become an investor.
Thank you for that insight. One thing many first time entrepreneurs struggle with is raising money. What would you suggest they do to overcome that obstacle?
I see lots of investors. Here in this country, the United States of America, I've seen that 99% of CEOs spend the first year or two of their startup raising money. This is wrong! CEOs are meant to run companies, not to raise money! I think the most important part of it is that sales cure all issues. I'm a big fan of making money. When you make money you indirectly raise money, because when investors see that you’re making money they'll want to invest in your company.
A lot of young CEOs have no expertise about either raising or making money, but making money is a lot easier. They may be talking to potential clients and they have, let's say, a product that really brings value to a company. I think they can sell it at any price, even with a huge discount. If they come up with a well thought out sales agreement with a place to sign at the bottom, as an investor this will really incentivise me to write a check. My advice to them is to try to make money before raising it. If you cannot see the value in what you’re doing now, you’re not going to see it in three years. It just doesn't happen that way.
Fair enough. What is your best advice to entrepreneurs for when they pitch their projects to you?
Interesting question. Most entrepreneurs have an issue. It's that they don't give you a feel that they know where they’re going. I think it's very important for people to know their destination. If you do not know where you’re going then you’re not going to get there. There are two advices that I give all the time. The first one is Focus, Focus, Focus. The second one is Low Hanging Fruit. So let me explain:
First is Focus, Focus, Focus. I see so many entrepreneurs that have a "magic" product and they have a bold intent to sell it to the world. It just doesn't work that way! I want to see entrepreneurs focus on one tiny little segment and be the best at it, before they even decide to spread out elsewhere. Once you are the best at something, you will learn a lot of things which will lead you to become the best at something else. If you try to go after the whole world, you may not have the money and infrastructure to do it. Even the big guys that have a lot of money struggle with it.
The second one is Low Hanging Fruit. I see a lot of startups trying to sell products with a very long sales cycle. They may have met somebody who works for a large company and has nothing else to do than waste their time learning about their technology to later develop it in house. However, these sales cycles that are a year or two years reflect a focus on the wrong customer, which is what we call an "elephant" type of customer. So my advice, go where the money is easier to get! Approach smaller customers who are more reactive, which is what we call a “deer” type of customer. There are lots of ways to get money easily, but they are not necessarily what people go after first.
So Focus and Low Hanging Fruit.
Approach smaller customers who are more reactive, which is what we call a "deer" type of customer.
Can you share your thinking on how you identify a company as a great investment opportunity?
Sure. When you invest in companies you want to invest in something new, and at Analytics Ventures what we’re doing is actually creating companies. This is even better than identifying companies. Let me explain the difference to you:
I've seen many owners and entrepreneurs. Somebody has an idea right now. They come meet with you in a week and they want to raise $2 million at a market cap of $10 million. I'm like, "Really? You didn't exist a week ago and now you're worth $10 million? What have you done?" At Analytics Ventures, we don't like that! It doesn't make sense from an investor’s standpoint. So what we'd rather do is create opportunities ourselves. And let me tell you something, there are lots of opportunities here in San Diego. There are so many scientists or employees who work in large companies, but they are not entrepreneurs necessarily. They may be raising a grant if they're a scientist or they want to keep their job, but they have ideas that are fantastic. Nobody is looking for these individuals. So we try to find these people and these people are now finding us. This is good! So I guess Analytics Ventures is doing something good.
So from there we'll approach these people with a business agreement that we’re going to start a company. It's better than identifying companies, it's identifying the opportunities.
That leads to an interesting topic. What are the key ingredients in successfully building these companies once they are under your watch?
When I invest my own money, 85% of my decision is based on who is running the show. You come across a startup that says they are going to sell water. Then three years later, you see that they’re successful and selling everything but water; ice cubes, glasses, straws, you name it. This is what I call pivoting. Successful startups must have the ability to pivot to respond exactly to what their customers want and It takes a fantastic CEO to turn a great idea into a serious and scalable business. So to me, 85% of my decision is based on how good and experienced the CEO is.
The second element that I care about, way above the product, is the money. I think you can have a crappy product and lots of money and you will succeed a lot faster than the other way around. I think a great product and no money is not going to get you anywhere. It's all about sales, sales cure all, and money helps selling for any type of product. Good products may not necessarily sell. I know lots of companies that have had fantastic products, but have not gone anywhere because they don't have the proper funding to market their goods.
I want to throw a bit of a curveball question at you because I like something you mentioned. I'm a strong believer in having a C+ project with an A+ team rather than having an A+ project with a C+ team. How do you find and identify that perfect team?
Well at Analytics Ventures we do that for a living. We set out to build companies and we're locally focused here in San Diego. So we know everyone in town and have an excellent network where people are constantly introduced to us at every level. We have great vendors, great IP attorneys, great corporate attorneys, great banks… the list goes on! We can really help entrepreneurs in getting a lot of things done. It's the same with individual people. People are willing to give us assistance because they know we might have a company in the making and they can get involved at the right time which is the very beginning. So we're really trying to spread the word around San Diego that we have limited partners who are ready to help.
Another thing to keep in mind, startups don't need to always hire great talents full-time. Their costs are always a factor. In my observation, there are two types of talents that I have seen in startups. Here in San Diego, for instance, you may have someone who loves to surf. That person will go surfing in the morning and then take on a $10/hr task at a startup the rest of the day. We need these people in startups, but you can't expect growth with just them. You need to attract the second type which is the elite talent. These are people that have the expertise and the connections to make an impact. These people also represent safety to the investors. When investors invest they want to make sure the money is going to be spent wisely. So we understand that it needs to be done with both types of people and they don't exclusively have to be full-time.
There are lots of talented people in San Diego that have great jobs, but could really enjoy being part of a startup on a weekend or an hourly basis. I encourage startups to find these people. I have a saying.. I say "Get them pregnant.” When you get these people interested in what you’re doing, they're going to continue to give more. Who knows, maybe they'll end up working full-time for you.
Excellent, so entrepreneurs should keep an eye out for talent at all contribution levels. What about unknowns? What are some of the things you wish aspiring entrepreneurs who come to you knew?
That's a good question. Most people don't succeed because they don't know where they’re going. They don't know what they want. I have a little test for when I find an entrepreneur. I tell them, "Let’s say you're in the desert and you find a magic lamp. You rub the lamp and a magic genie comes out and grants you three wishes to make your company successful. What will they be?" You will find that most entrepreneurs can’t even answer that question. They don't know clearly what they want. Or they know something they want but they can't quantify it. They may say, "Oh, I need lots of sales!" Ok, lots of sales is fine, but if you're not being detailed enough about what you want then you're not going to get it.
It's also important to know that those three wishes will change during the life of the company. As the life of the company happens, the things you need are changing constantly. Sometimes every week. So I think it's very important to reassess those needs all the time. You need to know exactly and clearly what you want because there is no genie. At the end of the day, the CEO is the genie! If they do know the three things they really want, I'll ask them how much time a week do they spend in acquiring them. The answers are surprising. Sometimes the CEO will say "I don't know... a day, maybe a week." Just my piece of advice, they should spend 85% of their time going after the three things.
Much of the same applies to employees. I try to get the employees that work in my companies to do one thing a day, but to do it from A to Z. That's very important! If you have ten employees, that's ten things getting done everyday. Then you see how many things you have accomplished in a year and it is phenomenal.
Another problem beginner CEOs have is that they don't know how to choose. As a CEO or entrepreneur, you have to make decisions non-stop. I always think that the best decision is the right one. The second best decision is the wrong one. But the worst decision of all is not to make a decision. I see so many people who are scared to make a decision and their business is not growing because they just don't know what to choose. If you make the wrong decision, rest assure the business will recognize it because it’s a living beast. You can then always go back to making the right decision.
I try to get the employees who work in my companies to do one thing a day, but to do it from A to Z.
Now that we've heard some insight and advice for the entrepreneurs out there, why don't we hear a little more about what's on the horizon for you. What are some of the projects that you are working on for Analytics Ventures?
Well I can't say everything, but I will say that San Diego is a fantastic ground right now. Last year it was voted by Forbes as the #1 City to Start a Business. I had the chance to live for a couple years in Silicon Valley, and while I think Silicon Valley is great, it is very different here in San Diego. We have fantastic schools, we have great existing companies, we have talent that's loyal. People who live here want to stay here. So one of the things we're doing is looking constantly to talk to universities and large companies to explain to them that the only thing that makes a business really work from the start is to find a solution to an existing problem. We have connections in different areas; software companies, app companies, bioinformatics, biotech, meds. The companies we're starting right now are doing those things. We find these talents and most of them probably would not start a company without us.
So now we have companies that specialize in curing cancer. We have another one called CureMetrix that goes after mammograms to detect breast cancer before any human can do it. We have another one called CureMatch that is personalized medicine for people who have cancer. On the technology side, we have a company called ApMetrix that specializes in virtual reality and augmented reality analytics. This technology is going to change the world! We have a few more companies in the works as well, but we don't need to go anywhere to build them up. We stay in San Diego and that's what we focus on 100%.
Can you clearly explain to us what your "Why" is? What is it that makes you so passionate about what you do?
We all know we're going to die at some point. In my opinion, when you stop doing things is when you start to die. I want to stay alive! I think that when you keep doing things it keeps you sharp, alert, and young. You can help other people to enjoy what they do as well. As an older person who has experience and knows ways to build a positive experience, teaching the younger generation keeps you young, energetic, and creative. I see so many people retire and they die within years of retirement. Retiring from working is like quitting smoking cold turkey. That hurts… it's pretty tough! So I think the best thing to do in the case of being an entrepreneur is to continue doing it. Here in San Diego, I'm glad I'm surrounded with a bunch of friends who are also entrepreneurs and want to help Analytics Ventures go to the next level by bringing their expertise into the mix.
So one last question that we think our audience will be really interested in hearing your answer to. How do you decide between shutting down, continuing to fund, or selling a start up?
Decision Making, like I mentioned earlier, is key. The way I make choices if I have to choose one thing out of ten, I feel that it's easier to say “No” to nine things than to say “Yes” to one. So each different stage of a company, whether it's got to be shut down or be further funded, is usually based on numbers and things you can measure. The difference between an entrepreneur and an investor is that the entrepreneur has what I call the "Love Syndrome”. They are in love with their company and can become blind to the reality of their business. Investors’ love comes when they see a potential exit and they are not blind to facts and numbers. At the end everybody wins.
So because we are not falling in love with the company and what it does, it's a lot easier for us to make the right decision and say "No, we're not going fund anymore or we're going to continue to invest because we see the potential.” That's the difference between a CEO and an investor. Their goals are not the same. The CEO wants to grow the company while the investors want a return on their investment.
We want to thank Blaise for being our first Maveriq Profile. By learning from experts like him, we can all become a better version of ourselves. If you are looking to expand your business acumen or grow your technology startup, we strongly encourage you to visit the Analytics Ventures website and learn more about what they can do for you!