Why did you decide to create your own business?
The main reason why I decided to create my own business was an overriding compulsion to be in charge of my own destiny. I worked in the corporate world for a while and I just didn’t quite fit in. I didn’t really agree with the way most of my managers ran things. A special feeling of powerlessness and frustration came over me every time I found the perfect solution to a problem but was not allowed to implement it because someone in the hierarchy or some committee needed to sign off on it and would not approve. There came a point where I just knew I needed to get out and go my own way. So, as soon as I gathered together enough funding to found my own company, that’s what I did.
What do you love most about the industry you are in?
I love that the future is now. Crypto and artificial intelligence were the stuff of science fiction only a few decades ago, but now they’re driving innovation in any number of sectors. Crypto is altering economics as we know it, while AI is being applied to everything from health care to finance to transportation. It’s exciting to me. It feels like I’m playing a small role in the forward progression of the human race.
What keeps you motivated?
Expanding my company keeps me motivated. I don’t want us to be a big fish in a small pond, I want us to be a big fish in the biggest pond. I want my company to be viewed as the best crypto and artificial intelligence consulting firm in New York City. That ambition provides me with ample motivation.
How do you motivate others?
If an employee in my firm does a good job on a project or with a client, I reward them with any or all of the following three things: praise, a bonus, or a promotion. It is understood by everyone I employ that I reward success well. On the other side of things, I also think it’s important not to be too cutthroat with employees who are underperforming. Sometimes there are outside factors at play—you never know. But until poor performance becomes consistent, I generally pat them on the back and tell them to “get right back on the horse.” So, I motivate others by rewarding success very well and hoping that those that are less successful see that and try to improve.
How has your company grown from its early days to now?
I would say my company has grown commensurate with the technology’s acceptance in various industries. When I started the consulting firm, crypto and AI were definitely on the fringes of the corporate world. Back then, the technology was new and untested. Now, some years later, crypto and AI have become much more accepted and are, I would say, bordering on mainstream—at least with the larger companies. So, as that was happening, I watched the demand for my consulting services rise right alongside. We’re doing very well, at this point. Business is so good that recently I had to take on more employees just to deal with our new clients.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
Well, especially when I was a kid, I used to derive a lot of inspiration from science fiction. Movies, books, comics, TV shows—I ate it up. There was something that really spoke to me about envisioning a future where technology improved the life of the human race and enabled our exploration of space. It awakened my imagination. Although it’s not a huge part of my life anymore, I will say this: science fiction probably had a lasting and positive impact on my life in that it set me down my professional path. One of the reasons that I studied computers and computer programming in high school and college was because I loved Star Trek, Star Wars, Jules Verne, and H.G. Wells. So, in many ways science fiction was the impetus for gaining the skill set that ultimately led me to where I am today. And I know for a fact that I’m not the only successful tech entrepreneur who says that.
What traits do you possess that make a successful leader?
I’m extremely organized, I’m very careful with my words, and I see the best in people.
What suggestions do you have for someone starting in your industry?
This might sound pretty obvious, but really, really, really know your stuff. Yes, because it will enable you to do a better job, but also because there are a lot of posers, wannabes, and charlatans hanging around the crypto industry especially—although there are some in artificial intelligence, as well. Anyhow, because of this, many companies and professionals view those who purport to be an expert in either of those fields with some skepticism. Having command of a wide breadth of knowledge is crucial in winning over their trust and their business.
What is one piece of advice that you have never forgotten?
Do or do not do; there is no try.
What’s one piece of advice you would give to others?
If you think you have what it takes, try to start your own company. It is one hundred percent preferable to working in a corporate atmosphere. Being your own boss is a liberation like none other, even though it carries with it the responsibility for any success or failure. It’s a lot of pressure, but if you succeed, the payoff is absolutely spectacular. And you control your own destiny.
What is the biggest life lesson you have learned?
That responsibility and freedom can go hand-in-hand. In fact, they may be intrinsically intertwined. Owning my own consulting firm taught me that.
Where do you see you and your company in 5 years?
If all goes according to plan, my company will be five times bigger and I will have a larger office.