Q.1 Kindly give our readers an introduction to your business. Please include what your business is all about, in which city you are located and if you have offices in multiple locations/ cities?
Ans: We provide IT services to small and medium-sized companies. These businesses have the same needs as Fortune 1000 companies but cannot justify the cost of a full time IT department. That’s where we come in. We serve as that one trusted face that helps pull all the pieces together. We cover everything from network and mobile device management to helping clients succeed online.
Q.2 Kindly give us a brief description about yourself (it should include your brief educational or entrepreneurial background and list some of your major achievements)?
Ans: I grew up on the east coast, studied engineering on the west coast and then worked for Sony in Tokyo for 7 years doing when Sony was king of the world. I Sony on 1995 to chase the .com boom and launched a startup in Honolulu. Sold that company and eventually created SuperGeeks in 1998.
Q.3 What inspired you to (start a new business venture) or (to make significant changes in an existing business)? How did the idea for your business come about?
Ans: The inspiration for SuperGeeks was actually quite random. I was picking up a few items in a computer store when I saw someone wanting some tech support. But the tech at the store was treating her so condescendingly. I thought I could do it better than he was. So I did!
Q.4 What three pieces of advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?
Ans: Start where you are at. No need to create the next Facebook. Find a product or service people actually want to buy. Make your first 10 clients so happy they want to tell their friends. Focus on doing meaningful work and charge handsomely for it.
Q.5 What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
Ans: 1. Resilience
You have to be hard to kill, scrappy, and always wanting to do the right thing – even when it’s
Q.6 How many hours do you work a day on average?
Ans: In the early days, I worked day and night. I was single and had no kids, so Friday and Saturday nights were reserved for work. These days I do about 4 hours a day.
Q.7 To what do you most attribute your success?
Ans: The timing was good. Computers were very difficult to use and the market for IT support was fragmented. But what served us best was our commitment to service and quality – not price and convenience. We didn’t try to be everything to everyone. Instead we zoomed in on clients who valued quality and were willing to pay for it.
Q.8 How do you go about marketing your business? What has been your most successful form of marketing?
Ans: We fully lived the brand, so that meant pocket protectors and glasses with the white tape. We gladly volunteered to offer our expertise on TV, radio and in print. This positioned as the experts. And we drove these sexy mini coopers with warning lights. People loved it!
Q.9 Where did your organizations funding/capital come from and how did you go about getting it? How did you obtain investors for your venture?
Ans: I funded the company the old fashioned way: friends, family and American Express. It’s amazing how much you can do when you are broke.
Q.10 What is the best way to achieve long-term success?
Ans: Long term success comes from happy customers, happy employees, and a happy CPA, i.e. cash in the bank. It takes 3 animals in the early stages to reach lift off: someone to sell it, someone to make it, and someone to make all the trains run on time.
Q.11 Where you see yourself and your business in 5 – 10 years?
Ans: As a company, we will continue licensing SuperGeeks nationally. As an individual, I look forward to doing more speaking engagements and authoring a few more books.
Q.12 Excluding yours, what company or business do you admire the most?
Ans: The other type of business I admire kind of just works without a lot of moving parts but throws off a lot of cash, like parking garages or land leasing. At the end of the day, I am more like Tom Sawyer, wanting get others to paint the fence.
Q.13 How important have good employees been to your success?
Ans: HR is one of the most undervalued aspects of business operations. A bad hire is very costly. A great hire can 10x your business.
Q.14 How long do you stick with an idea before giving up?
Ans: The idea stays with me for quite some time. The thing I frequently need to give up is the way I am approaching the idea – not give up on the idea itself.
Q.15 What motivates you?
Ans: I get a lot of satisfaction from making something and then when done crossing my arms in front and saying to myself, “Good or bad, I made this!”
Q.16 What are your ideals?
Ans: There are 3 truths:
1. Everything matters…but not very much.
2. Be good
3. Do good work
Q.17 How do you generate new ideas?
Ans: Travel, books, podcasts, in-person events like SXSW Interactive .
Q.18 How do you define success?
Ans: Having the skills, energy and confidence to pursue your dreams and make the world a better place.
Q.19 How do you build a successful customer base?
Ans: One by one through service, quality, and doing what’s right. If you treat each client as if he or she is your mom, then you will always have clients.
Q.20 What is your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
Ans: I love making something out of nothing. It’s a kind of art. Instead of clay or paint we use people, machines, money and markets.
Q.21 What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
Ans: I enjoying watching my clients’ businesses thrive. I also really enjoy watching my employees blossom into the careers and roles that interest them most.
Q.22 What do you feel is the major difference between entrepreneurs and those who work for someone else?
Ans: The entrepreneur does not need an alarm clock! He or she gets up right away and usually pretty early every morning with a thousand ideas and a thousand things to do.
Q.23 What kind of culture exists in your organization? How did you establish this tone and why did you institute this particular type of culture?
Ans: Anyone can go anywhere. If you want to focus on tech, then become a tech. If you enjoy
accounting, then become a bookkeeper. And if you want to discover new boundaries, then shoot for CTO or CFO. There are no barriers. Loosely defined org charts, promotion based on merit, andminimal bureaucracy help us nurture a fun and informal corporate culture that emphasizes learning, exploration and self development.
Q.24 In one word, characterize your life as an entrepreneur?