As a part of the on-going series of business/science programs, Gabe Damiani, the founder of iVision of Atlanta, GA, spoke to a group of 100 students recently. After receiving his bachelor’s degree in Finance and Accounting from Florida State University, he took an entry level job in his major. As often happens, he then discovered that his degree did not match his passion. Next Gabe took a job at a small non-profit organization. While there, he became a self-taught expert in computer technology and “the cloud.” Following his emerging passion, he opened his own business with offices in his house providing “cloud” services. Soon “the lone nut” was joined by “his first follower” and these two leaders were off to the races. In a short nine years, the business grew from his kitchen table to $40 million of annual revenues. Along the way, Gabe acquired a company full of loyal employees, a growing list of global clients and an MBA from Emory University. His dedication to and compassion for his employees was evident and reaffirming. His concern for the quality of services delivered to his customers was just as clear and just as strong.
Monmouth students had the opportunity to learn many lessons from Gabe and his experiences. The importance of acquiring critical thinking skills in college and following your passions to a rewarding career were obvious. It was also clear that the path to entrepreneurial success includes genuine concern about the welfare of both employees and customers. Gabe summarized his business philosophy and guiding principles in the 24 truths printed below. Gabe was an ideal lead-off speaker with many more interesting speakers to follow.
IVISION – CORPORATE PHILOSOPHY & 24 TRUTHS
1. Attitude is 80% of the ingredients required for success.
2. Clear and direct communication inspires trust, respect, and efficient teamwork.
3. If you say you are going to do something, do it.
4. Celebrate each other and each other’s successes.
5. You can teach people many things, but you cannot teach them to care or to respect.
6. Focus on people’s strengths and it’s amazing how they will perform.
7. Be decisive and not afraid to be wrong; learn from your mistakes.
8. Healthy conflict management requires direct discussion, listening, and openness to other perspectives.
9. Help others be successful and you will be successful.
10. Follow your passion and the money will follow.
11. Create customer confidence immediately and you will be able to guide them to the right decision.
12. Don’t avoid or hide a problem or an issue, especially if you are at fault. Expose it, work through it, and move on.
13. Details matter.
14. Hire amazingly talented people and they will attract the same.
15. Email is the least effective form of communication to solve a problem – pick up the phone.
16. Know your customer at a personal level and learn about their passions outside of work.
17. Focus on the customer experience and everything else will follow.
18. Focus on making it work before you make it look pretty.
19. The best sales person for your product or service is a happy customer that wants to talk to other potential customers.
20. A commitment to excellence and innovation is typically the only thing that separates you from your competition.
21. It is better to focus and do a limited number of things very, very well.
22. Surround yourself with talented people that are committed to the team’s mission, vision and strategy.
23. Great managers think through and solve problems systematically (do not assume people are the problem).
24. Building a culture of trust, candor, and collaboration is the key foundation for a team’s success.