Title: Entrepreneur

Success with Itzhak Fisher

Success with Itzhak Fisher

Tweetables

Buzzmetrics was sold to @Nielsen in 2007 for $124 million #Insights [Click to Tweet]

From 0 to 4,000 employees, @Itzhakfisher built his first #startup in the #US [Click to Tweet]

Since selling his shares in 2000, Itzhak Fisher became an angel investor, investing in over 100 companies #Insights [Click to Tweet]

Dave Carvajal: Very excited to speak with you this morning Itzhak, it’s great to have you, thanks for joining us.

Itzhak Fisher: Thank you for having me.

Dave Carvajal: Help us understand, what have been some of the noble accomplishments in your illustrious career? How have you helped move the needle? What are some of the ways you’ve created enormous enterprise value?

Itzhak Fisher: So, I came to the US in 1994 and I started my first startup, it was RSL Communications. I formed a partnership with Ronald Lauder. It was the good old telecom days where telecom was as hot as the internet now. And we started a company end of 94’ and in 97’ we took the company public on a billion-dollar valuation.

Itzhak Fisher: I started from being a one-man show, putting a business plan together, hiring my first employees into building it into a company that had 4,000 employees, in 22 markets around the world with over $1.2 billion dollar revenues and at one time even profitable and that was my first big play and I tell everybody that meets me today I actually had a unicorn. So, then we didn’t call it a Unicorn but that was my first achievement. While I was at RSL I did two deals that were notable.

Itzhak Fisher: One is I acquired a company called Deltathree for $10 million dollars which was a voiceover IP company. Early mover there were like two companies in the space, IDT & Deltathree. We took that company public also at $360 million-dollar evaluation all the way to a billion so I double Unicorn at that time. And another company we did in the telecom days, im talking much much earlier in my career we bought international directory assistant company in Germany.

Itzhak Fisher: We bought 25{f7a32599756963b989bde631f1a44401cc789db6f847c3735c9e8f651be632a4} stake for like $25 million-dollars, we sold it like 3 or 4 years later for $400 million dollars. Those are early investments that were highly profitable for me. In 2000 I sold all my shares and became an angel investor. So throughout my angel investing days I’ve invested in over 100 companies.

Itzhak Fisher: My lifetime IR is over 67{f7a32599756963b989bde631f1a44401cc789db6f847c3735c9e8f651be632a4}. The most notable deal, not money wise, but the most notable deal that had the most effect on my career is a company called Buzz matrix. I invested in Buzz matrix when they didn’t have a product yet. I became one of the founders. The company became the leading company in social media analytics.

Itzhak Fisher: We sold the company for $124 million dollars to Nielsen in 2007 and as part of the sale I joined Nielsen 75{f7a32599756963b989bde631f1a44401cc789db6f847c3735c9e8f651be632a4} of my time and I became one of the top 5 and I became, I learned a lot about data, analytics, media consumer which is the main areas that I am doing now,

Itzhak Fisher: I find those areas fascinating. And they give you insight about how to manage your business in a more effective way and be at the tip of innovation when it comes to different type of businesses.

Challenges with Itzhak Fisher

Challenges with Itzhak Fisher

Tweetables

Generational gap isn’t always the issue in the workplace, it’s the individual’s drive to succeed #Insights [Click to Tweet]

Always invest in areas you know about or it could “eat up” your investments #Insights [Click to Tweet]

“I don’t look at gender & I don’t look at age. I look at what someone brings to the table” [email protected] #Insights [Click to Tweet]

Dave Carvajal: Itzhak, wisdom often comes from some of the greatest failures. What have been some setbacks or some real opportunities you’ve had for learning and growth?

Itzhak Fisher: So, I tell everybody about my first failure. I went to school in the US and I came back to Israel after working in the US at mobile oil., IMB, and went to this start up doing databases and electronic mail and I was a little bit bored. And it’s very dangerous when you are bored. So I decided to make an investment.

Itzhak Fisher: So I invested in a horse ranch. I put 100,000 dollars, which then was a lot of money for me, into a horse ranch in Israel, looked at the business plan like you look at a business plan. We had the best-looking ranch in Israel, we had 12 horses. We did lessons on riding and different programs and on paper the business plan looked great. But I invested in an area I know nothing about. I found out that horses actually eat a lot and you have to buy a lot of food to feed those horses and there’s no bearing on the business plan, we didn’t have the right projection of what horses will eat.

Itzhak Fisher: Then I found out that in the stores, wherever the horses are you actually have to change the store every two days. Which store is expensive in Israel. So, I lost all my money in like less than a year. And then on whenever I looked at an investment I tell myself in my head, “You only invest in things that you understand. And don’t let it be the horse and the ranch investment you had done”. So that was my lesson in making investments in areas you know nothing about expecting it to work out.

Dave Carvajal: What do you think are some of the challenges of having such a diverse work force today? Right, we’re dealing with people who are the millennials, gen-x, gen-y, and we also have people who are significantly older and have more wisdom but what do you think are some of the challenges in having such a diverse work force today?

Itzhak Fisher: When I was at Neilson I think I was the only guy that had the 4 day req report and 3 of them were women. I don’t look at gender and I don’t look at age I look at what somebody brings to the table and I find that the older people are, in some cases, the more drive they have to succeed and the more experience they bring to the table.

Itzhak Fisher: So, I take every case, case by case basically. I value people based on their experience, drive & stamina. Stamina is also very important, sometimes you have a very young guy who is very tired and sometimes you have an old guy who is very fresh and excited about the new challenge that comes his way. That’s one of the other things that I think are very important.

Learnings 2 with Itzhak Fisher

Learnings 2 with Itzhak Fisher

Tweetables

Dave Carvajal: What motivates you? What has been your driving force? Your noble cause?

Itzhak Fisher: Well, first of all, you have to remember where my wife and I came from. So, my wife and I are 2nd generation Holocaust survivors. My wife’s parents had it much worse than my parents, they were survivors of death camps, Auschwitz. My parents are survivors of the war; my father in Hungary, my mother in Lithuania. From both sides, what they went through their lives is just unbearable and unbelievable.

Itzhak Fisher: For them the most important thing was kids to succeed and live good life and continue the tradition of what their families had. We both lost most of our families on both sides so we didn’t have a lot of relatives to begin with.

Itzhak Fisher: So, for me my kids and the next generation, showing that our family survived in spite of everything they went through is something that is very very important and this is something that is very very important to me and hopefully my kids will continue with that tradition, give it to their kids and so on. That is the first thing that comes to mind about next generation and things that are important to me.

Dave Carvajal: What motivates you? What drives you? What are the things in your life that really are your driving force, your noble cause maybe your noble purpose?

Itzhak Fisher: So, education is very important to me and helping kids get their first jobs. So, for a kid that just graduates from college I feel it’s impossible for them to get a job. Unless you are the top 10{f7a32599756963b989bde631f1a44401cc789db6f847c3735c9e8f651be632a4} of a top school you get a job immediately, if you are not, and most kids are not, it’s very very hard for kids to get a job.

Itzhak Fisher: My wife is making fun of me right and left, but I have helped a lot of kids getting their first job. I will never forget the guy that helped me get my first job. Back of my mind that is something that is important. I also pay for some kids for their educations which is you know, people who can’t afford it. Why not? It is a very important cause. I am also friends with the heads of the Ariel University in Israel, in the US. It is a University that sits before what they call occupied territories.

Itzhak Fisher: But it has 15,000 students, 1500 Palestinians. I believe that you have to do your own efforts for co-existence in Israel and this school is a good example for that and we raised over 15 million dollars for them for this year which is up from 300,000 3 years ago so there is a lot of things I do that are not business related but for me they are very very important.

Leadership 2 with Alex Douzet

Leadership 2 with Alex Douzet

Tweetables

Building trust with your employees is best achieved by finding common ground #Insights @adouzet [Click to Tweet]

Once you build a foundation of trust with your employees you can really create leadership inspiration #Insights [Click to Tweet]

NYC is a melting pot of cultures, nations, and races, but trust brings us all together @adouzet #Insights [Click to Tweet]

Alex Douzet: New York City is an international city, everybody in the world wants to be here and work here. And so as a result, we get people from different background, nation, culture, religion I mean just like me for example, I was born in France and raised in France, I wanted to come here, I wanted to work here and I was fortunate in my past jobs to work with people like, they came from China, they came out India, they came out Germany you know came out of Latin America.

Alex Douzet: As a result, after being able to work across the spectrum of nation and culture and I think the key recipe there is for people they have to trust you, they have to believe in you, they have to follow you. And you have to find something in common with people first before you can connect. And it can be as simple as well you know we went to the same college or we are following and we’re fan of the same football team or the same baseball team. Or we read the same book or whatever it is.

Alex Douzet: I think as a leader you have to take the time to get to know the people that going to be working with you. And just find what is that common ground, what do I have in common with that person. And it could be as little as we both love ice cream, we went to grad school together.  It does not matter what it is but to find the common grounds you can connect. Then when there is a connection, you start building foundation for trust, then trust you can really create leadership inspiration.

Leadership with Itzhak Fisher

Leadership with Itzhak Fisher

Tweetables

Dave Carvajal: On leadership, what do you value as the most important qualities of leadership and what do you look for in executive hires or in making venture capital investment decisions with portfolio companies?

Itzhak Fisher: So, for me, first of all working with people, when I hire people I like to surround myself with people who are much smarter than me. I don’t like mediocre management teams where the CEO is the smartest guy in the room and people follow the CEO.

Itzhak Fisher: I like to have multiple opinions in one room where the CFO is the best and knows financial, and the CTO knows better than anyone else what he needs to know to develop the systems the company needs to have. So, surrounding yourself with smart people is number 1 for me.

Itzhak Fisher: Number 2 for me is surround yourself with people who are strong and voice their opinions. I’ve now worked for corporate America a couple times in my life and I’ve ran into many situations where the CEO tells “I think like that” and everyone says “agreed” and then he says “I’ve changed my mind” and everybody agrees the change of mind of the CEO.

Itzhak Fisher: I like to have people who are smart, honest, not afraid to voice their opinions. There is chemistry between the people who work well together, they integrate as a team and are dedicated in their drive to succeed. So, those are the qualities that are important to me.

Dave Carvajal: When you think about technology, today and in the future, what are you most excited about?

Itzhak Fisher: So, I’m personally invested today 35 companies. I am managing a fund that focuses on the latest stage that has 8 investments. I find on the latest stage I mainly focus on data, big data, analytics, consumer media. And I am very excited to see new technologies that are game changers.

Itzhak Fisher: So, if you look at the company we invested by the name of Bringg. Bringg uberizes the world and they did a pilot with Coca-Cola in Vietnam and if you own a kiosk and you sell Coca-Cola cans and ran out of inventory you can go on your phone or your computer and see all the Coca-Cola vans that are delivering cans in your area that have excess capacity and you click on the truck and see how the truck is coming to you and we increased sales with this technology for Coca-Cola significantly in Vietnam.

Itzhak Fisher: I am excited about taking a company that started with Uber and cars and putting in different areas in order to help companies increase their sales. So that is number 1, on my personal investing I swear to myself that I won’t invest anymore but every time I find someone that I like so I’ll give you the latest. So, I do mentorship and am involved in a few universities.

Itzhak Fisher: There’s a school of innovation actually at Tufts and I met one of the graduates who is actually an old graduate who is 35 years old, he has a master’s in engineering, and he developed a box that you can build into a big box and if you are a bakery, at the end of the day there are a lot of shelves of breads and cakes, what do you do today?

Itzhak Fisher: You give it to charity or your throw it out and he developed this box that if you put your baked good into this box, they remain fresh for seven days. So, I am actually doing a pilot, we are going to build a big one and give it to a bakery for like 3 months to test. Here is an investment that I would never, I would call it the horse investment, I would never do it in other days, but it isn’t a big investment and this could be a game changer, it could be big so I’m doing that.

Learnings 1 with Itzhak Fisher

Learnings 1 with Itzhak Fisher

Tweetables

Dave Carvajal: Itzhak what role has mentorship played in your life? Who have been some of the mentors for you?

Itzhak Fisher: So, I was lucky to work with people who had influenced my life in many many ways. For example, when I moved back to Israel in 1994 and I was fairly young, I called a guy that had just came from the UN back to Israel. He started his own political campaign to become a member of parliament. And he scheduled a meeting, and we finished the meeting and he says to me, “You’re going to be my treasurer.”

Itzhak Fisher: So, I was lucky enough to become the treasurer of Benjamin Netanyahu. Working with Benjamin Netanyahu for around 7 or 8 years taught me a lot how to read people. One of the qualities people tell me that I have is it doesn’t matter who I sit across the table with, I sit at eye level.

Itzhak Fisher: Being young and meeting a lot of very important people in my life and meeting them eye level and having eye level conversation, influenced me in a business world. I am who I am, and I meet people and have eye level discussions. It’s one of those things that work for you very very well in certain business situations.

Itzhak Fisher: So, Benjamin Netanyahu had a good influence on me in that part of my life. Recently when I joined Nielsen I started working with Dave Calhoun who was one of the top people at GE, joined Nielsen as a CEO. I never had worked in a corporate environment. He was very very smart in keeping me engaged in the jobs I was doing at Nielsen.

Itzhak Fisher: He actually is the guy that was at my last job at Neilsen was head of M&A and business development. I found out I am really good at it, so I did not know that I am as good as I was.

Itzhak Fisher: Working with someone I used to say to him on many occasions, he likes to give his executives a lot of rope in order to work and make decisions and freedom to make whatever decisions yet in hope you won’t hang yourself on the rope but use the rope smartly. Working in a large corporate environment was the freedom I had to operate and thrive to do a very good job and I thank him for that.

Leadership 1 with Alex Douzet

Leadership 1 with Alex Douzet

Tweetables

Successfully running a company is all about great decision making, judgment, and #Leadership #Insights [Click to Tweet]

Don’t be afraid to shift gears along your way to success. #Winning isn’t always a linear path #Insights [Click to Tweet]

It’s ok to fail, but learn from your failures so that you don’t make the same mistake twice #Insights [Click to Tweet]

Alex Douzet: I think to be great at the CEO Job, it’s not an easy job and what I’ve learned when I became CEO, there’s no real job that pipes you to be CEO. There’s really no other job like it that’s really prepare you to be. There’s one other job, you learn on the job and as a result, you’re going to make a lot of mistakes the first time around. And I think I wish more people probably try a couple of time. What I’m really excited about is, is this going to be my second venture as I mentioned I’m going to be a CEO again of this company?

Alex Douzet: And so I’m excited to be able to build upon the things I’ve learned, I can look back now where I step back and say, “Yeah, that I did not do as well as I should have all.” That decision I could have done a better job in making the decision because it’s all about great decision making, great judgement and leadership. And you just don’t learn that overnight, it takes a lot of trials and error. And you do have to make mistake, hopefully the mistake you make aren’t so bad that it’s really like devastating for the company.

Alex Douzet: But you do all — you all going to make mistake and also, what I want to want people is like you should make mistake. You know mistake and failures are a past to learning where you have to be cautious and discipline about this is not to make the same mistake over and over. You know it’s okay to fail once in a certain way because you have got a lot of learning. And then next time is at if that opportunity came itself I won’t make the same mistake. And you’ve learned from that, you grow from that, you’ve built from that but you don’t want the same mistake over and over, that’s where you become very efficient as a leader.

Alex Douzet: But the first time it can be daunting it to you looking at that mountain and say I want to climb that mountain but it’s going to be hard. I think that part of it you have to be focused on the tasks at hand, you have to be focused on the mission and the goal. You almost have to make yourself the servant of that mission and the vision and goal and say this is bigger than me and I’m here to serve this mission. I’m not here just to serve myself, I’m here to serve the mission.

Alex Douzet: I think it’s a quick little piece I would look for in a — sometime in leaders. How much the trust they believe in the mission and they’re here to serve the mission. And then it’s just focus you don’t just set your eyes in the prize and you don’t let go and you’d figure out in case it’s not working why do I need to tweak and change to get there. The past to zero to whatever a 100 million or 200 million it’s not linear right?

Alex Douzet: And the first route then you thought it’s going to be the route to get you there, turn that half point you had to shift gear and go on the different direction. But that’s okay as long as you keep that mindset and that open mind would say, “I need a date it does not matter — it’s not about the route I’m taking it’s about getting into the goal.”

Learnings 2 with Alex Douzet

Learnings 2 with Alex Douzet

Tweetables

BMG Direct spent $1M to acquire 10,000 active music buyers #Insights [Click to Tweet]

We’ve come a long way in online marketing since 2001 #Insights [Click to Tweet]

BMG to Hotjobs.com to @TheLadders @adouzet brings skills from direct marketing background #Insights [Click to Tweet]

Alex Douzet: When I moved here in 1996, my first real job I worked with an early stage that was catalog. Setting high end European tabletop items talking catalog direct to consumer. And so I was really born from the professional standpoint on direct mail. I learned the in and out of direct mail in that job. And when I was in that job I went to NYU and get a masters in direct marketing.

Alex Douzet: And so through my experiences in NYU I really got to learn how to do direct mail marketing properly. And then I was recruited by a few classmate of mine to go and work for BMG direct. BMG was a phenomenal platform for me to grow and acquire the right skillsets. It was a billion dollar company selling music. So we’re at access to everybody in US, we knew everyone. Everybody tried to the club us some point. Who would spend about a 100 million every year on acquiring 10 thousand minimum? I’m sorry — yeah we spend a 100 million marketing to acquire 10 thousand active music buyers.

Alex Douzet: Get them to spend a 100 to 120 dollars on music every year, would you know it would it billion dollar revenue? And so I got to work there and get to one every acquisition and retention channel, so really got a good insights from what works, what does not work. And the tools and technique that I’ve learned there is what I grabbed and apply to online when I switch over to Hot Jobs.

Alex Douzet: Because back in 2000 – 2001, the web is still pretty basic in terms of like ecosystem and infrastructure. Today, you have great tools like Facebook, social media, SEM, retargeting you can do very complicated and very specific on the top of targeting online which didn’t really exist back in 2000-2001. But applying the principle and the mythologies is what it got us to be successful.

Learnings 1 with Alex Douzet

Learnings 1 with Alex Douzet

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Video Highlights

Tweetables

How #theLadders was built from 0 to 82 million @adouzet #DavePartners #Insights [Click To Tweet]

How to #hackgrow your #socialmedia and #revenue @adouzet #DavePartners #Insights [Click To Tweet]

Before the #incubators what #CEOs did @adouzet #DavePartners #Insights [Click To Tweet]

Alex Douzet: I was born and raised in France as you can tell from my accent, I’ve been in New York for the past 20 years. I worked at a few very successful tech companies in New York. The first one was Hot Jobs back in 2000 – 2001, the company was sold to Yahoo in 2001. Then I went on to cofound company called The Ladders, build the company from 0 to 82 million in revenue. I left out a year ago took some time off and now I’m working on my next company.

Alex Douzet: As I mentioned I worked at Hot Jobs between 2000 and 2002 so that’s where I really got to learn the online recruiting industry and this is where we got the inside for a company like The Ladders. So went on 2003, came up with the ID built an MVP basic product just the proof of concept, then went on and talk to friends and family to raise money and then we raised a series A in 2004.

Alex Douzet: What’s interesting is back then the New York City tech ecosystem was very different than what it is today. I think today you have lots of potential money you have company like TechStars with incubation projects. There was none of that back then when I was starting The Ladders. We actually had to go to either Boston or Silicon Valley to talk to a handful of early stage funds to be able to raise capital.

Alex Douzet: So that was the beginning, then from kind of growing the idea to growing the company at the top did 82 million revenue. And in a very — as I mention, in a very capital efficient way because we only raised a total of like 8 – 9 million in equity funding, that was it, a couple of rounds, that’s it.

Alex Douzet: You really have to be focused on execution and in watching the numbers and it’s really about what people today called “growth hacking” looking at where are the different real way you can find the right customers who understand the value of property product. Trials and errors a lot of A/B testing, modified testing or the social media, online marketing. And then just blow the brand from it would it be a product, put a great experience, try to foster word of mouth and viral and just go from there.

Alex Douzet; Serial Entrepreneur & CEO

Alex Douzet; Serial Entrepreneur & CEO

Video Highlights

00:30 -- My Leadership Background

01:13 -- Building The Ladders

02:46 -- Direct Marketing

06:11 -- There's No Other Job Like Being A CEO

07:38 -- Working Across Nation & Culture

10:07 -- Learning From Your Team

Tweetables

How to #growth #hack your #socialmedia and #revenue @adouzet #DavePartners #Insights [Click To Tweet]

Before the #incubators what #CEOs did @adouzet #DavePartners #Insights [Click To Tweet]

The #Keys to a capital #efficient #business #Insights [Click To Tweet]

#Scaling and #growth #hacking your #startup #revenues [Click To Tweet]

The #importance of #mentorship at every level of your #career #leadership #Insight [Click To Tweet]

Alex Douzet: I was born and raised in France as you can tell from my accent, I’ve been in New York for the past 20 years. I worked at a few very successful tech companies in New York. The first one was Hot Jobs back in 2000 – 2001, the company was sold to Yahoo in 2001. Then I went on to cofound company called The Ladders, build the company from 0 to 82 million in revenue. I left out a year ago took some time off and now I’m working on my next company.

Alex Douzet: As I mentioned I worked at Hot Jobs between 2000 and 2002 so that’s where I really got to learn the online recruiting industry and this is where we got the inside for a company like The Ladders. So went on 2003, came up with the ID built an MVP basic product just the proof of concept, then went on and talk to friends and family to raise money and then we raised a series A in 2004.

Alex Douzet: What’s interesting is back then the New York City tech ecosystem was very different than what it is today. I think today you have lots of potential money, you have company like TechStars with incubation projects. There was none of that back then when I was starting The Ladders. We actually had to go to either Boston or Silicon Valley to talk to a handful of early stage funds to be able to raise capital.

Alex Douzet: So that was the beginning, then from kind of growing to idea to growing the company at the top did 82 million revenue. And in a very — as I mention, in a very capital efficient way because we only raised a total of like 8 – 9 million in equity funding, that was it, a couple of rounds, that’s it.

Alex Douzet: You really have to be focused on execution and in watching the numbers and it’s really about what people today called “growth hacking” looking at where are the different real way you can find the right customers who understand the value of property product. Trials and errors a lot of A/B testing, modified testing or the social media, online marketing. And then just blow the brand from it would it be a product, put a great experience, try to foster word of mouth and viral and just go from there.

Alex Douzet: When I moved here in 1996, my first real job I worked with an early stage that was catalog. Setting high end European tabletop items talking catalog direct to consumer. And so I was really born from the professional standpoint on direct mail. I learned the in and out of direct mail in that job. And when I was in that job I went to NYU and get a masters in direct marketing.

Alex Douzet: And so through my experiences in NYU I really got to learn how to do direct mail marketing properly. And then I was recruited by a few classmate of mine to go and work for BMG direct. BMG was a phenomenal platform for me to grow and acquire the right skillsets. It was a billion dollar company selling music. So we’re at access to everybody in US, we knew everyone. Everybody tried to the club us some point. Who would spend about a 100 million every year on acquiring 10 thousand minimum? I’m sorry — yeah we spend a 100 million marketing to acquire 10 thousand active music buyers.

Alex Douzet: Get them to spend a 100 to 120 dollars on music every year, would you know it would it billion dollar revenue? And so I got to work there and get to one every acquisition and retention channel, so really got a good insights from what works, what does not work. And the tools and technique that I’ve learned there is what I grabbed and apply to online when I switch over to Hot Jobs.

Alex Douzet: Because back in 2000 – 2001, the web is still pretty basic in terms of like ecosystem and infrastructure. Today, you have great tools like Facebook, social media, SEM, retargeting you can do very complicated and very specific on the top of targeting online which didn’t really exist back in 2000-2001. But applying the principle and the mythologies is what it got us to be successful.

Alex Douzet: If you’re looking at the business like you’re direct to consumer of business or if you are going to be a SaaS business but a SaaS customers is a mid -sized to early stage company. Its not as applicable if you’re like looking at big enterprise place where you have to go get clients which trying to get contract like 10,000 you know 10 million dollars a year is not as extensive. But you think it’s going to be a marketplace direct to consumer business, the role of the growth that you can pull under the term of the Chief Marketing Officer is extremely essential.

Alex Douzet: And unfortunately every company is going to be looking for that unicorn that can say, “I can do it all.” I can do the quantitative very, very well. So that sort of very analytical approach and discipline towards growth. I can do the brand and understand, build a great brand, create the emotion, figure what the pillars are behind the wall of a brand of voice. And then I can do the public relation and figure out how do we build the story in the media so that it much more powerful than just really you buying pay advertising.

Alex Douzet: And kind of looking all aspects of that is hard because very few executive up there are trained and have the skillset to do all of it very well. And so a lot of companies in our world are looking for an advise and help always tell me you know, “I need this kind of Chief Marketing Officer where do I find it?” Unfortunately you’re like the other one, you’re chasing that unicorn that exist but it’s hard to find.

Alex Douzet: I think to be great at the CEO Job, it’s not an easy job and what I’ve learned when I became CEO, there’s no real job that prepares you to be CEO. There’s really no other job like it that’s really prepare you to be. There’s one other job, you learn on the job and as a result, you’re going to make a lot of mistakes the first time around. And I think I wish more people probably try a couple of time. What I’m really excited about is, is this going to be my second venture as I mentioned I’m going to be a CEO again of this company?

Alex Douzet: And so I’m excited to be able to build upon the things I’ve learned, I can look back now where I step back and say, “Yeah, that I did not do as well as I should have all.” That decision I could have done a better job in making the decision because it’s all about great decision making, great judgement and leadership. And you just don’t learn that overnight, it takes a lot of trials and error. And you do have to make mistake, hopefully the mistake you make aren’t so bad that it’s really like devastating for the company.

Alex Douzet: But you do all — you all going to make mistake and also, what I want to want people is like you should make mistake. You know mistake and failures are a past to learning where you have to be cautious and discipline about this is not to make the same mistake over and over. You know it’s okay to fail once in a certain way because you have got a lot of learning. And then next time is at if that opportunity came itself I won’t make the same mistake. And you’ve learned from that, you grow from that, you’ve built from that but you don’t want the same mistake over and over, that’s where you become very efficient as a leader.

Alex Douzet: New York City is an international city, everybody in the world wants to be here and work here. And so as a result, we get people from different background, nation, culture, religion I mean just like me for example, I was born in France and raised in France, I wanted to come here, I wanted to work here and I was fortunate in my past jobs to work with people like, they came from China, they came out India, they came out Germany you know came out of Latin America.

Alex Douzet: As a result, after being able to work across the spectrum of nation and culture and I think the key recipe there is for people they have to trust you, they have to believe in you, they have to follow you. And you have to find something in common with people first before you can connect. And it can be as simple as well you know we went to the same college or we are following and we’re fan of the same football team or the same baseball team. Or we read the same book or whatever it is.

Alex Douzet: I think as a leader you have to take the time to get to know the people that going to be working with you. And just find what is that common ground, what do I have in common with that person. And it could be as little as we both love ice cream, we went to grad school together.  It does not matter what it is but to find the common grounds you can connect. Then when there is a connection, you start building foundation for trust, then trust you can really create leadership inspiration.

Alex Douzet: But the first time it can be daunting it to you looking at that mountain and say I want to climb that mountain but it’s going to be hard. I think that part of it you have to be focused on the tasks at hand, you have to be focused on the mission and the goal. You almost have to make yourself the servant of that mission and the vision and goal and say this is bigger than me and I’m here to serve this mission. I’m not here just to serve myself, I’m here to serve the mission.

Alex Douzet: I think it’s a quick little piece I would look for in a — sometime in leaders. How much the trust they believe in the mission and they’re here to serve the mission. And then it’s just focus you don’t just set your eyes in the prize and you don’t let go and you’d figure out in case it’s not working why do I need to tweak and change to get there. The past to zero to whatever a 100 million or 200 million it’s not linear right?

Alex Douzet: And the first route then you thought it’s going to be the route to get you there, turn that half point you had to shift gear and go on the different direction. But that’s okay as long as you keep that mindset and that open mind would say, “I need a date it does not matter — it’s not about the route I’m taking it’s about getting into the goal.”

Alex Douzet: I am a little bit maybe a typical when it comes to mentorship and I truly believe in mentorship I have a slightly different approach to it I can’t really point to you and say this one person was a great mentor to me, I look for mentors in every opportunity and I’m really disciple of learning and just believing that the next time around I can do better. I can achieve a greater success, I’m always looking for learning.

Alex Douzet: And so learning come in multiple forms, it could be reading a book, to researching something, talking to somebody, talking to people above me that work above me, people who  are on my board or an advisor that I’ve had. But actually the most surprisingly, I have learned so much with the years from people that works for me. Why? When I was building teams I was looking at how do I compliment myself, this is who I am, this is what I’m good at, this is what I’m not so great at. What skillsets do I need to bring to compliment me to achieve this mission?

Alex Douzet: And then from those people I always try to learn from them and see what they could teach me. They want to look at my teams, the ones are the best, all the teams they are phenomenal people they are much better than me in anything that we were trying to achieve and I could learn from them and they could learn from me hopefully. And it was this not only we all doing something great together but we’re growing together because we both learning from each other.

Alex Douzet: I can maybe teach them about leadership and mentoring and coaching. They teach me something about it could be finance, it could be product, and it could be engineering. It does not matter what the topic is, but I think that to me that’s what mentoring is all about. There’s no just this one person “Oh I’m looking up to this great CEO entrepreneur that have been very successful, hopefully if you can find one like this it’s fantastic. But anybody has a chance to contribute and teach you something.