What’s been your biggest challenge in running your own business?
For me, the biggest challenge was managing people. When I know what I want, I know how to execute on it and I do so quickly. But not everyone feels that way. Some people want to understand everything before they act. They have questions or concerns. They want to take time to process before acting. I needed to grow my sense of empathy and understand what they needed so that I could manage them most effectively. I think that’s part of the journey of being a CEO. You have to learn to operate beyond your own comfort zone and find ways to lead that work for the people you’re leading.
What drives you to keep working hard each day?
Back in high school, if I had four touchdowns and only one fumble, I’d think about that fumble all day long. I’m driven by the desire to keep improving. Nothing is ever perfect, and I’m not going to bask in my accomplishments while there’s more to be done. I want my business to keep growing, and to do that, I can’t stop now.
What advice do you have for others looking to do what you’ve done?
If you’re looking to build a team, you need to start with great leaders who are on the same team with the same core values that you all are ready to live by. That’s what builds your company’s culture. At the end of the day, the hardest part of building technology is keeping people on the bus, because so much will go wrong. It’s hard work. A lot of people will want to give up. So you have to have the right leaders who will say, “This isn’t going to be easy, but we’re all in this together.”
You also need to hire for the right traits. You don’t need another one of you. You need someone with capabilities that you don’t have. Know your strengths, and find strong people to fill in the gaps.