John McAfee – Founder, McAfee Software

John McAfee is best known for founding McAfee Associates in 1987, a global computer security software company which he initially operated out of his house in Santa Clara, California. His company was the first to distribute anti-virus software using the shareware business model. He resigned from his company in 1994, and sold his remaining stake two years after the company went public to go on to other business ventures, including founding Tribal Voice, which developed one of the first instant messaging programs, Pow Wow. He also invested in and joined the board of directors of Zone Labs, makers of firewall software, prior to its acquisition by Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. in 2003. Even after his departure from McAfee Associates (now McAfee, Inc.), the company he originally founded remains one of the world’s largest antivirus companies today.

1. How do you define success?
Making it through life with the fewest number of enemies. Most problems with any business venture come from competition and the arguments it generates. I try to make it through without pissing a lot of people off.

2. What is the key to success?
Doing what you love with a full heart and mind.

3. Did you always know you would be successful?
Absolutely not. I didn’t even think I’d make it to see the age of 30 because of alcohol. Life is full of ups and downs. The person who works hard with a full heart and mind will be successful.

4. When faced with adversity, what pushes you to keep moving forward?
I’m not sure; it’s something from within me. The higher the pressure, the more focused I become. There are two types of people: those who thrive under pressure, and those who don’t.

5. What is the greatest lesson you’ve ever learned?
Love is a very rare thing. It’s very difficult to attain and it’s the easiest to lose.

6. What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I have not had any spare time. I always have 10 times as many projects as I could anticipate. I just recently got cable television. For the most part, I haven’t had any spare time for the past 30 years.

7. What makes a great leader?
Someone who understands that they work for everyone in the organizational structure. Someone who knows to value all of their employees, because they work for them.

8. What advice would you give to college students about entering the workforce?
Make your own path. There’s the 9-5 existence, working for an organization five days out of the week until retirement, which I’ve never valued. Or, you can look around you and ask, “What can I do?” and then do it.


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

John Chow – Founder, JohnChow.com

Blogger, speaker, and entrepreneur John Chow rocketed onto the blogging scene when he showed the income power of blogging by taking his blog from making $0 to over $40,000 per month in just two years—and he did this working only two hours a day.

Today, John Chow dot Com is one of the biggest blogs on the Internet, with over 200,000 active daily readers and followers. John Chow dot Com is ranked #16 on the AdAge Power 150 list and #1 on the list of the top 50 Canadian Internet marketing blogs. He also is the founder and CEO of TTZ Media, Inc.

John is the author of Make Money Online: Roadmap of a Dot Com Mogul, which rocketed to #1 on Amazon.com within the first week of release. He has been featured in such publications as The Vancouver Sun, The Globe and Mail, The New York Times, Entrepreneur Magazine, Ming Pao Magazine, and BC Business Magazine. He has also appeared on numerous radio and television shows, like The Lab with Leo Laporte and Global Morning News.

1. How do you define success?
Someone who makes more money than his wife can spend.

2. What is the key to success?
Passion, belief in what you’re doing, and a super-supportive wife.

3. Did you always know you would be successful?
Yes. I was raised with the attitude that my life is decided by me and no one else.

4. When faced with adversity, what pushes you to keep moving forward?
My family.

5. What is the greatest lesson you’ve ever learned?
If you can make something for a little less than your competition and sell it for a little more, then you’re doing okay.

6. What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
Hanging out with friends, spending time with family, traveling, and brainstorming.

7. What makes a great leader?
You measure leadership not by how greater the leader is, but the quality of the people who follow him. Great leaders have great followers.

8. What advice would you give to college students about entering the workforce?
Don’t let anyone steal your dreams. Hold on to them and guard them. Above all, take action to achieve them.


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

Bobby Genovese – Chairman, BG Capital Management Corporation

Bobby Genovese is known for his lust for life and knack for making money. The Bahamian resident founded his first company, Investor Relations Group (IRG), at the young age of 25, which he sold in 1995. He then formed BG Capital Group Limited and BG Capital Management Corporation, merchant banking and asset consolidator firms headquartered in Barbados, with over $200 million in assets and $150 million in revenue, and with associate and management offices in Fort Lauderdale and Boca Raton, Florida, Bahamas, Los Angeles, California, Toronto, Ontario and Vancouver, B.C.

That’s not all. In 1996, Bobby also built one of North America’s top-ranked polo teams by founding Vancouver International Polo, which has won the Canadian Open and numerous American, Argentinean and Chilean tournaments in the years that followed. Bobby was also the star of his own American television show, Bobby G: Adventure Capitalist, which premiered in 2008.

In 2012, he developed and launched BG Signature Properties, a portfolio of 12 exclusive retreats in the U.S., Canada, Bahamas, Europe, and South America, including its flagship property, BG Equestrian Resort in Ocala, FL.

1. How do you define success?
Doing what you love to do.

2. What is the key to success?
If you love what you’re doing, then you will be successful.

3. Did you always know you would be successful?
I always knew that I wanted to be successful, but what I’ve accomplished was beyond my wildest dreams.

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?
Never give up. Every time I feel like I lost a deal, I always wind up right back into it.

6. What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
Playing with my children.

7. What makes a great leader?
Enthusiasm. People want to be heard and want to be loved. That attitude of acceptance and support inspires them to be the best they can be.

8. What advice would you give to college students about entering the workforce?
Back to questions 1 and 2. Look in the mirror and figure out what you love to do. Play your strengths. Success will come if you love what you’re doing.


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

Jane Wales – CEO, Global Philanthropy Forum

Jane Wales is CEO of the Global Philanthropy Forum and the World Affairs Council, vice president of the Aspen Institute, and host of the nationally-syndicated National Public Radio interview show, It’s Your World.

Previously, Jane served in the Clinton administration as special assistant to the president and senior director of the National Security Council. She simultaneously served as associate director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, where her office was responsible both for advancing sustainable economic development through science and technology cooperation and for developing policies for securing advanced weapons materials in the former Soviet Union. During the Carter Administration, Jane served as deputy assistant secretary of state.

In the philanthropic sector, Jane chaired the international security programs at the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the W. Alton Jones Foundation, and she directed the Project on World Security at the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. From 2007 to 2008, she served as acting CEO of The Elders, chaired by Archbishop Desmond Tutu and founded by Nelson Mandela. In 2008, Jane also chaired the Poverty Alleviation Track for the Clinton Global Initiative.

1. How do you define success?
When opportunity is not only seized but shared, individuals are empowered and their lives are improved. Enabling others to excel is not only a privilege, but also a joy.

2. What is the key to success?
Collaborative leadership. We never really walk alone.

3. Did you always know you would be successful?
My parents taught my brothers and me that not only can you make a difference, you must. It wasn’t until I was in my twenties that I heard a problem described as “too large to think about.” Large problems are the ones that require us all. And, even if our individual contributions are so small as to be imperceptible, they are needed nonetheless.

4. When faced with adversity, what pushes you to keep moving forward?
The very fact that there is adversity and there are needs to be met. A powerful motivator is the sense that the solutions require us all.

5. What is the greatest lesson you’ve ever learned?
There are two. The first lesson is that opportunities arise from unexpected places in unanticipated ways. When we launched the Global Philanthropy Forum in 2001, the word “global” in the title referred solely to the issues that GPF members sought to tackle. Most were American. Many were the beneficiaries of globalization. All wanted to see its benefits more evenly shared, and its dangers addressed throughout the Global South. Fast forward to today, when the GPF’s newest members are path-breaking philanthropists who have emerged in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, as economies are opened and enterprise is privatized. Several of them have helped to form GPF’s newest affiliate, the African Philanthropy Forum, with the bold goal of Africa meeting its own development needs. Like their American counterparts, these philanthropists will not settle for economic growth that is robust; they want it to be broad-based. And they will use their giving, their investing, and their policy access to assure that outcome. Because of change agents like them and those they support, the next great wave of philanthropic innovation will likely stem from emerging economies. And the transfer of knowledge will not only flow from north to south, or west to east, but rather the other way around, creating an unprecedented opportunity for us all to learn.

This opportunity to learn, improve, and enjoy will be seized if we act on a second lesson—taught to me by a Ghanaian woman, whose name I have never known—and it is that, “the ground is never insulted by poor dancing.” So, give it a try whether you believe you will succeed or fail.

6. What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
Lots of laughter. A seven-year-old named Luke. A five-year-old named Aliya—and three rescue dogs named Pogo, Wags, and Blue.

7. What makes a great leader?
In a world characterized by fast-paced change, leadership requires the combination of collaboration and determination, agility and strategy, empathy and audacity—and a listening ear. These are the qualities that allow individuals and groups to adapt and inspire. Today’s philanthropists have the opportunity to support extraordinary innovators who have these leadership qualities. And the philanthropists themselves, while bold in their objectives, are increasingly collaborative as leaders. They form networks to learn from one another. They partner with governments and harness capital markets to their social goals. When faced with complex, difficult problems, they make big bets on local and global leaders who change lives.

8. What advice would you give to college students about entering the workforce?
Welcome change. Take pleasure in the success of others. Excel by helping others to do the same, and enjoy it every step of the way.


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

Gary L. Malin – President, Citi Habitats

Gary L. Malin, president of Citi Habitats, is the principal figure in the day-to-day operations, strategic planning, and overall vision for one of New York City’s largest and most successful real estate brokerage firms. Gary shapes the company’s brand through his hands-on involvement with marketing and public relations initiatives, builds and maintains alliances with key real estate entities and professionals, and directs Citi Habitats’ affiliates.

In addition, Gary built the company’s corporate relocation division, Citi Relocation, from the ground up. He also oversees Citi Habitats’ new development marketing division, Citi Habitats Marketing Group. In all of these functions, his primary objective is to ensure that Citi Habitats remains, as it has throughout its existence, the industry leader in forward-thinking, customer service-centered real estate firms.

1. How do you define success?
While “success” can be defined many ways, I define it as working in an environment where the culture and values match your own. It’s important to enjoy going to work every day. Being regularly challenged in your career is important, too; it helps get the best out of you. People tend to judge success based upon financial growth. While having enough money to live a comfortable life is important, the key is not to make the number on your paycheck the only measure of success.

2. What is the key to success?
Hard work always plays a role in success. It’s also important to act honestly and with integrity—always. The value of your word is very important, and once it’s lost, it’s very hard to get back.

3. Did you always know you would be successful?
I’m my harshest critic, but I’ve always had confidence in myself. If you don’t believe in yourself, no one else will, either.

4. When faced with adversity, what pushes you to keep moving forward?
When I am faced with adversity, I remind myself that it’s not the adversity that defines me, but the resolution of this adversity that matters in the end. In addition, many times something good comes out of a challenge. We need to get shaken up once in a while to help us grow and become better people. I look at change not as an obstacle, but as an opportunity.

5. What is the greatest lesson you’ve ever learned?
The greatest lesson I’ve learned is that change is inevitable. Although you may not understand the rationale behind the change, as soon as you embrace it, the sooner you can excel. You have to anticipate change and prepare how to react. Remember, having great vision is one thing, but delivering on that vision is what matters.

6. What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I spend most of my free time with my family. I have two very active kids! I also like to hit the golf course with my friends. I find it to be a great way to relax and decompress.

7. What makes a great leader?
A great leader is open to suggestions and fosters an atmosphere where every team member’s contributions are valued. On that note, it’s important to take steps to make the work environment a fun one. In addition to simply making the office a more pleasant place to spend time, it instills a sense of loyalty and teamwork among employees. A good leader also has faith in his or her team and gives them the tools to excel, but also allow them to make mistakes—it’s a part of the learning process. He or she also needs to be proactive and always focused on the future. It’s important for a leader to challenge their current business model, and to be on the lookout for new opportunities for growth.

8. What advice would you give to college students about entering the workforce?
My advice would be to choose a profession that you are passionate about. When starting your first job, remember that there is no substitute for hard work. Do what it takes to prove your value to the firm. Don’t pigeonhole yourself, and learn about other people’s roles at the company. You may discover that you’re interested in pursuing a position you never knew existed. Find a mentor, and ask him/her a lot of questions. Be a sponge and absorb all the knowledge you can. Most importantly, don’t be afraid to fail. Learn from your mistake, brush yourself off, and keep moving.


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