Rick Barry – President, Wingnut

Rick Barry is a Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame member and is widely considered to be one of the greatest National Basketball Association (NBA) players of all time. For over 30 years, he proved to be an accomplished sports broadcaster, having covered a wide range of sports on both radio and television. He is also the two-time world champion in the Grand Champions Division, a one-time world champion in the Legends Division, and a one-time world champion in the Masters Division of the ReMax World Long Driving Championships. Rick is now involved in a myriad of businesses.

1. How do you define success?
Setting a goal and reaching that goal.

2. What is the key to success?
Confidence in your abilities.

3. Did you always know you would be successful?
Didn’t know for sure, but believed I would be.

4. When faced with adversity, what pushes you to keep moving forward?
I look at the adversity as a challenge and commit to overcoming that adversity.

5. What is the greatest lesson you’ve ever learned?
To always give your best effort and to never be afraid to fail.

6. What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
Fly fishing.

7. What makes a great leader?
Someone who leads by example and shows that he cares about the people he leads.

8. What advice would you give to college students about entering the workforce?
Find a business you have a passion for and learn the fundamentals of that business so you can have a great foundation to build on. Then, give your best effort in all that you do and learn from your mistakes. Gain confidence in yourself and your abilities and you will succeed.


This interview is an excerpt from Success: 30 Interviews with Entrepreneurs & Executives by Jason Navallo.

Richard K. Howe – CEO, Inuvo, Inc.

Richard K. “Rich” Howe is a 25-year operating, marketing, and M&A executive who has identified, defined, and implemented numerous breakthrough uses of information with applications in marketing, risk, and fraud, delivered both online and off. He has been a C-level executive and board member in companies ranging in size from startup through billions in annual revenue across three continents.

Rich is currently the chairman of the $55 million annual micro-cap public internet marketing technology innovator, Inuvo, Inc. (INUV), which he grew from $39 million in 2009. Previously, Richard was chief marketing, M&A and business strategy officer at public billion dollar mid-cap marketing services leader Acxiom Corporation (ACXM), where he led the company’s transition into big data consulting and digital marketing services, successfully growing its business units to $300 million in annual revenue.

Prior to Acxiom, Rich was the general manager of the $110 million annual revenue marketing services division of public mid-cap analytics & software powerhouse, Fair Isaac Corporation (FIC), where he led the transition to online services. Before joining Fair Isaac, Rich founded and was the CEO of private Internet search pioneer, ieWild Inc., which he sold to HNC Software, a public company (HNC) innovator of fraud technology and software, where he had worked in both sales and product leadership capacities.

Rich has been involved in more than 10 M&A transactions, totaling many hundreds of millions of dollars. The transactions have involved websites, marketing agencies, consulting firms, digital marketing companies, and numerous other online and offline information technology businesses. Additionally, he has successfully undertaken the turnaround of three under-performing business units and companies.

1. How do you define success?
Success is achieved when shareholders are making money as a result of a company’s ability to introduce a product or service that has added value to their clients’ businesses.

2. What is the key to success?
Creating a work environment that is stimulating, respectful, collaborative, focused and devoid of politics.

3. Did you always know you would be successful?
Success is a combination of controllable factors like “education” and “hard work” and ”perseverance,” and random factors like “timing” and “luck” and “location.” Of all of these, perseverance stands out as a key trait, and it has been my experience that almost every successful individual I have come across has had “determination” in their DNA from the get-go.

4. When faced with adversity, what pushes you to keep moving forward?
The fear of failure.

5. What is the greatest lesson you’ve ever learned?
As a manager, always remain calm in the face of adversity. Tomorrow often brings with it a new solution.

6. What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I ride motorcycles, ski, play golf, and travel with my family.

7. What makes a great leader?
Intelligence combined with great people skills. These two things translate into respect, and people will follow individuals they respect.

8. What advice would you give to college students about entering the workforce?
Learning doesn’t end with college. Make education a lifelong pursuit. Every engagement or project or interaction provides an opportunity to learn. Listen, then talk.


This interview is an excerpt from Success: 30 Interviews with Entrepreneurs & Executives by Jason Navallo.

Peter Harrison – President & CEO, Snagajob

“What could be more inspiring than a company that helps millions of people advance themselves,” Peter Harrison once said. And Peter’s passion for Snagajob’s mission and his plans for the future of America’s largest hourly employment network are nothing short of contagious. But let’s back up.

Peter Harrison is a seasoned software executive with more than 25 years of experience leading and growing tech companies. Before joining Snagajob, he served as CEO of GlobalLogic from 2002 to 2012, building it from 20 employees to more than 6,000. Prior to this, Peter was senior vice president of field operations at Versata, a leader in business automation software. While at Versata, he grew revenues from $1 million to $56 million in just four years culminating in an IPO in 2000 that, at the time, ranked in the top 25 best openings of all time. Prior to Versata, he was a co-founder of Seer Technologies, where as vice president of sales, he helped grow revenues to $120 million in five years, which resulted in the company completing an IPO in 1995.

1. How do you define success?
With care! I find I rarely make goals I don’t set carefully. The best goals always involve the triple bottom line of “profit,” “people,” and “planet,” but don’t forget “self” and “family” count as “people.”

2. What is the key to success?
Persistence!

3. Did you always know you would be successful?
Yes, because I set the bar low at first and kept raising it.

4. When faced with adversity, what pushes you to keep moving forward?
If success is elusive, I focus on turning “time” into my “friend” and doing my best to enjoy the journey.

5. What is the greatest lesson you’ve ever learned?
Be transparent. It’s much easier to keep your story straight.

6. What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
Skiing, paragliding, and kite-boarding.

7. What makes a great leader?
Passion, curiosity, and compassion.

8. What advice would you give to college students about entering the workforce?
Make Snagajob your first stop!


This interview is an excerpt from Success: 30 Interviews with Entrepreneurs & Executives by Jason Navallo.

Peter Brandt – CEO, Factor LLC

Peter Brandt entered the commodity trading business in 1976 with ContiCommodity Services, a division of Continental Grain Company. From his start in the commodity industry, Peter’s goal was to trade proprietary funds; however, he first needed to learn the business. From 1976 through 1979, Peter handled large institutional accounts for Conti, including Campbell Soup Company, Oro Wheat, Godiva Chocolate, Swanson Foods, Homestake Mining, and others.

In 1980, Peter founded Factor Trading Co., Inc. In his capacity as CEO, Peter was primarily engaged in trading proprietary capital. Factor Trading also produced market research and managed the trading activities of several large institutional clients. Among Peter’s institutional trading clients was Commodities Corporation (“CC”) of Princeton, New Jersey, at the time one of the world’s largest trading houses.

In May 1995, Peter retired from full-time involvement in the commodity business to pursue not-for-profit interests. He remained inactive from the commodity trading business until January 2007 when he, once again, began trading proprietary capital.

In 2011, John Wiley and Sons published Peter’s book, Diary of a Professional Commodity Trader. The book became Amazon’s #1 ranked book on trading for 27 weeks. His first book, Trading Commodity Futures with Classical Chart Patterns, was published in 1990, and is considered a classic by many traders. In 2011, Peter was named among the 30 most influential persons in the world of finance by Barry Ritholtz’ website, The Big Picture.

1. How do you define success?
The old saying about beauty being in the eye of the beholder applies to the measurement of success in my business. My business is market speculation. I am a gambler. The most obvious answer would deal with how much money I might make, or worded in a slightly different way, what my rate-of-return will be. I get all kinds of traders who come to me wanting to work for my company, claiming huge rates-of-return. So what! ROR is not a very good measure of trading success. I dismiss out of hand young traders who tout their rate of return. ROR is meaningless.

In my own opinion, the best statistical measure of a trader’s success is the “gain-to-pain” ratio. GtPR is calculated by adding the monthly rates of return and dividing the figure by the absolute value of the sum of the negative monthly rates of return. Thus, success must be measured by comparing upside profitability to downside volatility. A GtPR above 1.0 is good, above 1.5 is excellent, and above 2.0 is world class if it covers many years. The best traders in the world have GtPRs of 2.0 and above.

By the way, the investment industry is consumed by the Sharpe ratio, which in my opinion is worthless because it penalizes upside volatility. A trader wants upside volatility—it is downside volatility that is unwanted. There is yet another measure of success that is important to me. As a discretionary trader, I constantly battle the emotional pulls of the market. Over a period of time, I can grade myself by comparing how I have traded versus how I should have traded. Experienced discretionary traders instinctively know when they are making a questionable trade. There have been years with low net profits during which I have been very proud of my trading activity. There have also been highly profitable years during which I traded like an idiot. So, I am very critical with myself and have developed a number of metrics to grade myself.

2. What is the key to success?
Again, success is relative, so the question is highly loaded. For me, success is simple. I trade long-duration classical chart patterns. In any given year, I can look back and identify in hindsight the best 10 to 20 examples of classical charting. Three questions follow:

1. First, what proportion of these “best dressed” patterns did I trade?

2. Second, how well did I trade them (following my rules on sizing and entering and exiting trades properly)?

3. Third, how many trades did I execute on patterns that in hindsight were inferior from a classical charting perspective?

I know exactly what I want in a trade, and I know how I should trade the setups I get. The key to success is improving my patience and discipline. This is a never-ending process for a discretionary trader.

3. Did you always know you would be successful?
Absolutely not. In fact, I had a Plan B in case I did not make it as a trader. I did not know if I was going to be successful. I only knew what my game plan was. I did not know if my game plan would work though. It takes three to five years for a trader to make enough mistakes to learn how to correctly trade in a manner that fits their personality and capitalization. Most traders do not make it out of this trial period. In a sense, then, it takes three to five years for traders, if they are honest with themselves, to anticipate their chance for eventual success.

4. When faced with adversity, what pushes you to keep moving forward?
Adversity is a way of life for a trader. There are good days and bad days, good weeks and bad weeks, good months and bad months, and yes, even bad years. I have had a few negative years. There are two things that can push a trader forward during adversity. The first is solid risk and money management that can contain a drawdown to under 20% of assets. Traders who go through losing periods of 30% or more of their assets will eventually tap out.

The second is to stick with sound trading principles, even when such principles are not working. Sound principles will eventually have a payoff if combined with solid risk management. Unsound principles are destined for failure. Sound trading practices would include not taking bets that are too large and trading a market in the direction of its trend.

5. What is the greatest lesson you’ve ever learned?
That I have absolutely no idea where any given market will go. I may think I know what a market is going to do, but in the final analysis, markets will do whatever they will do. A related lesson is that I must anticipate that my next trade will be a loss. This should be a trader’s default expectation.

6. What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
Markets, markets, markets, pursuing my Christian faith beliefs, my family, and “geek” TV.

7. What makes a great leader?
Vision and self-confidence. The ability to see the sweat spot in an employee’s ability and exploit it (I mean this in the best way).

8. What advice would you give to college students about entering the workforce?
1) Understand your strengths and weaknesses. Be honest with yourself. You will be very good at certain things and very bad at certain things. Come to an early understanding of what you can do well.

2) If you are not graduating with a specialized professional skill (physician, engineer, etc.), your education is worthless. You have just bought time in your life, which is okay, but if you are a history major, a journalism major, an international business major, a philosophy major, etc., know that your future will be in some profession you cannot even imagine at the present time.

3) Do not go into the world thinking about all you can offer. The world has made it without you and will continue to make it with or without you. Instead, go into the world ready to be a student of the generation that has gone before you. Be a sponge.

4) Know that 10% of what you will learn will be truly beneficial to your future and 90% of what you learn will be worthless. Your job is to develop the discernment to recognize the 10% that will help you.

5) During your life, you will have two or three really great ideas. These great ideas, if pursued correctly, will bring you wealth in a fulfilling way. All other things you do will be just staying busy until the great ideas come.


This interview is an excerpt from Success: 30 Interviews with Entrepreneurs & Executives by Jason Navallo.

Penny Herscher – Chairman, FirstRain

Penny Herscher leads FirstRain as Chairman with a passion for growing companies in new markets. Formerly as CEO, she has transformed FirstRain into the leading provider of solutions that find and transform high-value business web content into actionable intelligence for sales and marketing professionals around the globe.

Before FirstRain, Penny was CEO of Simplex Solutions, an electronic design automation company serving the global semiconductor industry. As CEO, Penny grew Simplex from just a few engineers to a profitable, high-growth software company. She led the company to a very successful IPO in 2001 and then through its sale to Cadence Design Systems in 2002. At Cadence, Penny was general manager of a major division and also chief marketing officer. From 1988 to 1996, Penny was an early employee and senior executive at Synopsys. She began her career in 1982 as an R&D Engineer with Texas Instruments and then Daisy Systems. She holds an M.A. in Mathematics from Cambridge University.

Penny serves on the boards of JDSU and Rambus. She is also active in the nonprofit world and serves on the board of directors for the Anita Borg Institute. She volunteers teaching business classes at Stanford Business School, the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley, and Santa Clara University. She is also a speaker on leadership and career growth at various industry organizations.

1. How do you define success?
Achieving happiness while making a positive difference to the people around you.

2. What is the key to success?
To know what you want to make happen (in work or out of it) and then go after it. Don’t stop for anything or anyone.

3. Did you always know you would be successful?
I knew I had the chance to be successful, but I didn’t know if I could pull it off. I still worry about it every day. I’ll probably worry about it until the day I die.

4. When faced with adversity, what pushes you to keep moving forward?
Fear. Fear of disappointing my father. Fear of what people will think about me if I fail.

5. What is the greatest lesson you’ve ever learned?
To be truly interested in the well-being of other people. Life’s not easy for anyone and a little caring and kindness goes a long way.

6. What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
Wandering around art galleries, gardens, and ancient ruins in Europe.

7. What makes a great leader?
The ability to inspire people to be greater as a group than they can be alone. It’s a combination of ideas, brains, beliefs, and charisma—and good old-fashioned guts.

8. What advice would you give to college students about entering the workforce?
Seek a path that you are totally passionate about. If you love what you do, you’ll be good at it. And if you want a great job, take a good look at tech—it’s the future.


This interview is an excerpt from Success: 30 Interviews with Entrepreneurs & Executives by Jason Navallo.