John Hall – Co-Founder & CEO, Influence & Co.

John Hall is the co-founder and CEO of Influence & Co., a company focused on helping brands and individuals extract and leverage their expertise to create, publish, and distribute content to gain influence, visibility, and credibility with their key audiences. In less than three years, John has grown Influence & Co. into one of the largest providers of high-quality expert content to the world’s top publications, ranking No. 72 on Forbes’ “Most Promising Companies in America” list and named Empact’s “Best Marketing and Advertising Company of 2014” at the United Nations.

John has a weekly column for Forbes and Inc. and has contributed to more than 50 publications, including Business Insider, The Washington Post, and Harvard Business Review. He is the author of the best-selling book, Top of Mind: Use Content to Unleash Your Influence and Engage Those Who Matter To You.

Tell me about your background.
From a very early age, I started showing signs of entrepreneurialism. In third grade, I sold my lunch for money, then I moved on to being a door-to-door popcorn salesman when I was a teenager. When college rolled around, I found a way to make money throwing parties and charging entry. When I graduated, I got into real estate, particularly student housing, and then we started Influence & Co. It was about five years ago and there was a lack of trust in different industries, which we knew would create a need for a company to help key leadership get past trust barriers and create high-quality content. In just three years, we’ve become one of the largest providers of high-quality content and I just published my first book, Top of Mind. But, above all, I am a father and husband, which are roles I value the most.

How did the concept for Influence & Co. come about?
Kelsey, Brent, and I all saw opportunity in helping key employees at companies create and distribute content to influence their audience. We wanted to come at it from a thought leadership side of things so there would be more of a focus on education instead of promotion and selling. The idea of thought leadership was really just forming, so we saw a need to fill.

What were some of the challenges you initially faced?
In the beginning, we hadn’t yet built our own brand, so there were credibility and trust barriers, which was funny because those were the types of barriers we were trying to help our clients with. But, as we practiced what we preached, it became easier to attract the right clients and talent, improving our credibility and trustability, proving that our service works ?.

Did you have a lot of competition?
No, and honestly, we still really don’t have exact, direct competition. There’s certainly other companies out there that do things similar to us, but they don’t fit exactly what we do. It’s very hard to build the publication relationships that we have built, the proprietary technology we’ve built that compliments our services, and train a staff on this industry to become at the level of expertise desired.

What was your marketing strategy?
Content is at the hub of our marketing strategy. We believe that content is vital to any marketing strategy and we’ve created our entire marketing strategy around it. We strive to create valuable, engaging content because when doing so, people will naturally be attracted to you and your brand. Even if you do outbound sales like conferences, etc., content is key to nurturing those leads and providing them with the type of education they need to really understand what your company does and why it can help them.

How fast is the business growing today?
Pretty fast ?. Last year, we grew almost 50% to our bottom line, along with some massive growth in terms of new employees.

How do you organize your day?
I plan each day out the night before, then memorize it so it’s top of mind the next morning and I stay on track with everything.

What has been your primary source for new clients?
Conferences, partnerships, and our own content marketing efforts.

What are some of your daily habits that have contributed to your success?
This sounds a bit vague but I’ve made it a daily habit to make sure I’m interacting with people who have contagious worth ethics. I believe that you are the average of the five people you spend most of your time with, so it’s important that I’m deliberate about who is around me most and that I value their work ethic and style.

What are some quotes that you live by?
“You control your own success and happiness.”

What are some of your favorite books?
Top of Mind, because I wrote it, but also because I believe it’s a wonderful book ?. I also like Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success by Adam Grant and Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown.

How do you define success?
It depends on each individual person, but I answered it below.

What is the key to success?
Establishing your own expectation of success and happiness, then working hard every single day to get closer and closer to that expectation.

Did you always know you would be successful?
Yes. As I mentioned, I think we control our own definition of success and my vision was to create value for people and surround myself with good people. That has happened and the money has followed, so I deem that as successful.

When faced with adversity, what pushes you to keep moving forward?
Whenever I’m going through something tough, I tell myself that there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel, and there usually is.

What is the greatest lesson you’ve ever learned?
The greatest lesson I’ve learned is to always, always help others around you. And, to invest in yourself.

What makes a great leader?
For me, a great leader is someone who leads by example, creates opportunities for his or her company, and empowers other companies to grow within those opportunities.

Tell me about one of the toughest days you’ve had as an entrepreneur.
The toughest day as an entrepreneur was probably when we first started Influence & Co. We were three months in and I thought we were going to fail. We weren’t seeing the kind of results we wanted and were experiencing a lot of roadblocks. I finally just broke down and cried to my wife, telling her my fear that we were failing.

How did you overcome the challenges at hand?
It always helps to have a good support structure. I’ve been fortunate enough to always have that, especially with my wonderful co-founder, Kelsey. I’ve also always tried to have confidence in myself and my company, and that despite the hardships, we would prevail. A positive outlook does wonders.

What is your vision for the future of Influence & Co?
My vision has always been that we be THE COMPANY that helps people and brands influence specific audiences through creating and distributing content that highlights their expertise and insights.

What advice would you give to young entrepreneurs?
I’d tell them that there are going to be a lot of moments of uncertainty and where they think they’re going to fail. You have to keep at it and make sure you are taking on this challenge with people you really trust and value. Don’t give up because the reward is totally worth it.

Curt Hensley – Chairman, IMPACT Recruiting Group

Curt Hensley founded IMPACT Payments Recruiting in 2000 and now serves as the Chairman of IMPACT Recruiting Group. Curt’s background includes leading the expansion efforts of Natural Data, a technical recruitment firm. While there, Curt began relationships with TSYS Acquiring Solutions, American Express, Hypercom and several other transaction processing leaders. TSYS Acquiring Solutions later rewarded IMPACT with a multi-year agreement to administer their entire recruitment effort.

Curt is a graduate of Indiana University and attended Indiana University Medical School in Indianapolis. He and his wife moved to Arizona in 1997 and currently reside in San Diego with their three children.

Tell me about your background.
I’m from Indiana. I went to medical school, like my dad and uncles, but I didn’t care for it. So I moved to Phoenix, Arizona for my wife’s career as an interior designer and ended up working for an IT recruiting company called Natural Data. I was motivated to succeed by a drive to prove myself and also to prove that quitting medical school was the right move.

What did your parents do?
My dad was a doctor and my mom was a teacher who ultimately quit to raise me and my two siblings.

Tell me about your early career.
I moved to Phoenix, Arizona after quitting medical school and getting married in 1997. When I started at Natural Data, I was promoted from recruiter to account manager within five months and was running our Portland, Phoenix, and Los Angeles operations less than a year later, at the age of twenty-five. I ultimately left to start my own company, IMPACT Technology Recruiting, in 2000.

How did the concept for IMPACT come about?
In August 2000, my first client for my company (now IMPACT Payments Recruiting) was the second-largest credit card processing company in the United States, called Vital Processing (now TSYS Acquiring). I landed a contract to handle all of their recruiting for one year, so my income was secure right from the start. I conducted their COO search and noticed that all of the top industry executives attended one trade show each year in Las Vegas called the Electronic Transaction Association. Having full access to around 900 senior executives in a fast-growing industry seemed to be a great place to leverage my recruiting background. The credit card industry was underserved from a recruiting perspective at the time, so we had several clients in no time.

How many businesses do you own?
Since 2000, I’ve started four companies. IMPACT Recruiting Group is the parent company of IMPACT Payments Recruiting, IMPACT Technology Recruiting, and IMPACT Advisors.

“IMPACT Payments Recruiting is proud to have placed more than 3,000 of the payments industry’s very best bankcard professionals with processors, ISO’s, financial institutions, payment gateways, POS manufacturers, Gift Card, Loyalty, Prepaid, ATM, Issuers and other payments organizations.

IMPACT Technology Recruiting has built a team of information technology recruiters that is unmatched in ability to find talented technology professionals with backgrounds ranging from network engineering to application development. We hire technology professionals on a contract, contract-to-hire, permanent, and project basis.

IMPACT Advisors offers consulting and analysis on M&A transactions and valuations for businesses to recapitalize and obtain loans. We provide our clients with a greater understanding of their business, customers, costs and margins by developing metrics and analytics to improve the profitability of the organizations and portfolios.”

How was the first year in business?
Great! Vital Processing needed fifty-two jobs filled immediately, so there was a lot of work to do.

Did you initially have to raise capital to fund the business?
No.

What were some of the challenges you initially faced?
Filling fifty-two jobs is a 200-hour a week job, so that was a challenge at first.

How did you fill those fifty-two jobs?
I worked very hard, quickly, and efficiently. I spent the first four days interviewing each hiring manager for the positions. I advised them they would no longer receive a funnel of resumes that would waste their time, but instead they would only receive the best two to three candidates that I had personally interviewed. In return, I asked for immediate feedback on the candidates’ resumes, an interview within 48 hours, quick and precise interview feedback, and a quick decision on candidates who were a good fit. I got most of the managers to open their calendar to me so I could automatically schedule an interview at the end of my own phone interview with candidates I knew would be a great fit. I had the human resources department’s full backing to speed up the process in any way they could, including putting pressure on any hiring managers that were problematic. Their SVP of HR was an ex-NFL lineman who could be very persuasive, if needed.

Monster.com was a good resource in 2000 after their famous Super Bowl ads in 1998. The site wasn’t overrun yet and had no real competition. I had graduated from college with a sales executive from Monster, and he offered to post several of the jobs on Monster.com for free (as long as they met very specific criteria). I also reviewed applicants and searched their resume database at night. I called candidates at companies with similar employees and got referrals of people to headhunt each morning. All of this took me around 100 hours a week for the first four weeks. Another two months of 80-hour weeks, and I had knocked out all but a few of the original fifty-two jobs. They then had only twenty- to twenty-five openings at a given time, so my workweek was cut down to 60 hours a week. Within six months, I could do the job in 40 hours a week and start working on other clients in the payments industry.

Is your workweek around the same today?
No. I oversee four companies that all have their own president. I work anywhere from 10 to 30 hours a week and concentrate on ministries that give back the rest of the time.

Did you have a lot of competition?
No, I had an exclusive contract. So I had no competition with my largest client. Throughout the payments industry, there wasn’t much competition, initially. We did begin to have some competition over the years, but we were blessed to be early in that niche.

What was your marketing strategy?
The business grew very fast, so there wasn’t much of a strategy. The strategy we did employ was to only have three very senior recruiters (myself being one of them) to handle all of our clients. Most of our business came from referrals of satisfied clients, so we never needed to market our services.

Were you profitable by the end of year one?
Yes.

How fast did the company grow during the first few years?
We grew quickly all the way through 2007, before the economic crash of 2008.

What do you think caused that high spike in growth?
Hard work and serving the fast-growing payments industry were key.

Did you ever feel like giving up?
No. I enjoyed the work and the success we were blessed with.

Did you ever feel you had to sacrifice a lot of personal time for the business?
Yes. I worked extremely hard in the early years and then again, from 2008 to 2010, when we were navigating the disastrous economy.

Fast-forward to today. How fast is the business growing?
Our IT recruiting company, IMPACT Technology Recruiting, was #85 on the Inc. 500 with 3,500% growth over a three-year period. My other three companies are growing, but at a slower pace.

Why did you choose not to take on outside financing?
It wasn’t needed.

How do you organize your day?
I’ve never been a big organizer, but I’ve always had a strong sense of what activities are both urgent and important for the growth of the company.

What has been your primary source for new clients?
Originally, I emailed all 900 executives from the Electronic Transaction Association show asking if they could use our services. This was back when people freely gave their email address and phone number. Around thirty executives initially responded asking us to perform recruiting searches for them. As we completed searches, our reputation spread by word-of-mouth, and we had more business than we could handle.

What are some of your daily habits that have contributed to your success?
Working hard on whatever is both urgent and important has been a staple. Conducting business with full honesty and integrity has been key to our success. As I started the second, third, and fourth companies, hiring the right leaders became the most important aspect of my job. Now I fully empower the four presidents who work for me and try to make their jobs easier in whatever way I can.

What are some quotes that you live by?
Three of my favorite quotes are, “The appetite of the lazy craves and gets nothing, while the appetite of the diligent is richly supplied” (Proverbs 13:4), “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Proverbs 15:1), and “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And he shall direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:5). These quotes are all from the Bible. I personally believe the Bible is God’s Word and the greatest book of wisdom ever written.

What are some of your favorite books?
Besides the Bible, I really loved David Platt’s Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream. I also loved Charles Colson’s Born Again, Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People and Jim Collin’s Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Other’s Don’t.

How do you define success?
It’s changed over the years. It used to be about making money and growing companies. For the last decade, it’s been about seeing how much our financial success can serve others. Those of us who have been blessed are called to help those in need. We’ve had the privilege of building orphanages, helping refugees, and feeding children who are starving through no fault of their own. Basically, we’ve shifted from serving ourselves through our hard work to serving God and those in need.

What is the key to success?
Remembering that all good things come from our Creator has helped to create a more humble servant attitude that has affected the lives of thousands who are less fortunate.

Did you always know you would be successful?
We are blessed to live in a country that has unlimited opportunity. I was personally blessed to be born into a family with incredible intelligence where I’ve never had to wonder where my next meal was coming from. Both of my parents and all four of my grandparents were humble servants of God, and those role models contributed a great deal towards my success today (or at least success as I now define it).

When faced with adversity, what pushes you to keep moving forward?
I love God and realize that God works all things together for the good of those who love Him. This gives me peace, patience, and calmness during adversity to easily get through the challenges. Helping the poorest people on earth has shown me that my adversity isn’t really adversity at all.

What is the greatest lesson you’ve ever learned?
It’s from one of my quotes, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And he shall direct your paths.”

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I serve on the boards of two incredible ministries (The Jesus Film Project and Partners in Action). I also serve on the missions board of our church, where I’ve had the opportunity to serve in Cuba.

What makes a great leader?
Humility is the greatest trait that I can think of. Jim Collin’s Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t really showed me how the difference between good and great is the attitude of serving others versus serving yourself.

Tell me about one of the toughest days you’ve had as an entrepreneur.
We had an unscrupulous company make a seven-figure offer to buy away the president and vice president of our fastest-growing company. Our top two executives said “no,” and that this company would have to buy the entire organization. We felt forced into a situation where we were negotiating a sale with our hands tied behind our backs. We worked out a deal, and unsurprisingly, this company reneged on a major deal point. We eventually turned down the offer and allowed our top executives to walk. There were a few sleepless nights making these decisions.

How did you overcome the challenges at hand?
Honestly, I used the counsel of other wise men. I had seven people advising me on whether to sell or not to sell. All seven advised to sell after we negotiated the final terms. All seven advised to back away from the sale when seeing how unscrupulous the buyer was in reneging on an important deal point.

What is your vision for the future of IMPACT?
It will be a company that will make an even bigger impact on the lives of those who weren’t blessed to grow up in the United States. If we look back at the history of the United States, I believe slavery and racism are the biggest black eyes in our history. I believe 200 years from now, we will look back at world history and see that allowing over 20,000 people to die needlessly from hunger or preventable diseases was the biggest black eye on humanity. We want to love others and be a part of the solution.

What do you think is the most common mistake entrepreneurs make?
The biggest mistake I’ve seen is running a business with pride and arrogance. Those who run their business this way and achieve great financial success end up divorced and empty as people. They defined success in terms of money instead of love for people, and in the end, they lost. Most of these entrepreneurs have burned a lot of employees along the way. The small IT staffing company that I started working for twenty years ago was like this. It had grown from sixteen employees to 105 employees in my three years there, but never truly valued or cared about any of those people. A few years later, they were down to the owner working by himself and hiring his wife, part-time.

One other mistake is not hiring excellent leadership. Many bootstrapping entrepreneurs run companies and only promote the people that they have trained. While this may work, a large part of my success has been from hiring the best leaders of other companies to take my position. Each of these leaders have been able to bring on key people who I never would’ve known. I wouldn’t have four successful companies today without hiring great people.

What advice would you give to young entrepreneurs?
Be an outward-focused servant leader who provides your clients the very best products and services. People want to work for those who care about others. Long-term success requires that good employees see a future for themselves, feel loved, and therefore stay working for your company.

Joe Pulizzi – Founder, Content Marketing Institute

Joe Pulizzi is an entrepreneur, speaker, author, podcaster, father and lover of all things orange. He’s the founder of multiple startups, including the Content Marketing Institute (CMI), the leading content marketing educational resource for enterprise brands, that has been recognized as the fastest-growing business media company by Inc. Magazine in 2014. CMI is responsible for producing Content Marketing World, the largest content marketing event in the world (held every September in Cleveland, Ohio), as well as the leading content marketing magazine, Chief Content Officer. He began using the term “content marketing” back in 2001. CMI also offers advisory services for innovative organizations such as HP, AT&T, Petco, LinkedIn, SAP, the Gates Foundation and many others.

Joe is the winner of the 2014 “John Caldwell Lifetime Achievement Award” from the Content Council. Joe’s third book, Epic Content Marketing: How to Tell a Different Story, Break through the Clutter, and Win More Customers by Marketing Less was named one of “Five Must-Read Business Books of the Year” by Fortune. His fourth book, Content Inc.: How Entrepreneurs Use Content to Build Massive Audiences and Create Radically Successful Businesses, was released in September 2015. Joe has also co-authored two other books, Get Content Get Customers: Turn Prospects into Buyers with Content Marketing and Managing Content Marketing: The Real-World Guide for Creating Passionate Subscribers to Your Brand. He has spoken at more than 400 locations in 14 countries advancing the practice of content marketing. He’s delivered keynote speeches for events and organizations including SXSW, NAMM, Fortune’s Leadership Summit, Oracle Eloqua, DuPont, SAP, HP, and Dell.

1. How do you define success?
Making a positive difference in the lives of others.

2. What is the key to success?
Setting career and personal goals, reviewing those goals consistently, and striving every minute of every day to reach and exceed those goals.

3. Did you always know you would be successful?
There were times when I honestly wasn’t sure. There were some low points that made the prospects unimaginable, but I always believed deep down that I could make a difference. Maybe that’s what kept me going.

4. When faced with adversity, what pushes you to keep moving forward?
“Without struggle, there is no progress.” – Frederick Douglas. I think about that often. Adversity is a natural part of success.

5. What is the greatest lesson you’ve ever learned?
If you have tried something and failed, you are vastly better off than if you had tried nothing and succeeded.

6. What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
Spending time with my family and two boys. I love to read, golf, run and keep active. In addition to the business, we run a nonprofit called Orange Effect Foundation to help children with speech disorders.

7. What makes a great leader?
Lead by doing. Treat others with respect. Listen before speaking.

8. What advice would you give to college students about entering the workforce?
Don’t think about the job or career you want. Just do what you want, now. There are no barriers to entering literally any field today, and there is no need to wait for opportunities to open up. Make your own opportunities.


This interview is an excerpt from Never Give Up by Jason Navallo.

Greg Muzzillo – Founder, Proforma

Greg Muzzillo founded Proforma in 1978 as an industry distributor. Within five years, he grew the company to several million dollars in sales, and by the mid-1980s, Proforma had been recognized as one of Inc. Magazine’s “Fastest-Growing Private Companies in America,” three years in a row.

In the late 1980s, Proforma introduced its membership program to enable distributors to retain their business ownership and independence. This allowed owners to share in sales and marketing resources, purchasing power with industry suppliers, back office support including all billing, accounting, vendor payments, cash flow, computer systems, and more.

Today, Proforma has more than 750 members with more than $500 million in sales. Proforma has more than 100 members of its Million Dollar Club and more than 40 members of its Multi-Million Dollar Club (with sales ranging from $2 million to over $26 million). Eight of Proforma’s members have been included in Inc. Magazine’s “Fastest-Growing Private Companies in America” list in 2015.

1. How do you define success?
Business success is nothing without success in other phases of your life, including your marriage, family, and being a wonderful citizen of this world. Going home at night and having no friends or family because you cheated people is no way to get there.

2. What is the key to success?
Many people have big dreams and lofty goals, but there is one key ingredient for big dreams and lofty goals to become reality: getting started. No one ever accomplished anything without simply getting started. And sometimes the start of some very big things may be very simple. Check out the history of Steve Jobs and the Apple computer: a very simple start to a phenomenal success. There are more examples, including Microsoft, Facebook, and Subway.

3. Did you always know you would be successful?
When I was a 3- or 4-year-old, my mother told me I went door to door trying to sell neighbors empty packets of seeds for the pictures on them. Someone eventually called my mother and told on me, so that was the end of that racket. But what I really learned from that, and jobs like snow shoveling was that I loved being an independent business owner. I can remember when a guy opened the door to pay me, and he had this big wad of cash in his hand. I thought, “Man, I want to be like that guy. I want to have that much cash in my hand.”

In 1978, we started Proforma with only $200. Within a year, we had $250,000 in sales. We put an unbelievable amount of time and energy into building Proforma, but we were determined to be successful. Bringing those first 50 to 60 franchises on board was unbelievably difficult work, and we figured out our business model on the fly. Fortunately, we had great relationships with them, and they believed in us. Now, we have 750 member offices, 60,000 clients, and $500 million in annual sales.

4. When faced with adversity, what pushes you to keep moving forward?
The dreams of our family, friends, franchise owners and vendors are what inspire me. Also, knowing that my work and success have a direct impact on other people’s lives.

5. What is the greatest lesson you’ve ever learned?
I live by two key lessons I learned over time. The first is that there are only two kinds of activities in business: wealth building activities, and everything else. Figure out what the wealth building activities are, focus on them, and delegate everything else. Secondly, only a few people get wealthy because everyone else gets stuck at comfortable. Most folks get stuck at comfortable because they can. No one is pushing them. They are not pushing themselves. Creating wealth requires a compelling vision to pull us past comfortable and propel us to wealth.

6. What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
Spending time with our ten children and two grandchildren.

7. What makes a great leader?
At Proforma, we believe leadership requires having a flat organization with as few layers as possible between the top leadership and the customer. The natural tendency of many leaders is to build ivory towers and fiefdoms. But ivory towers and fiefdoms create too much separation between the people at “the top” and the people that are “growing and serving customers.” At Proforma, we believe that if we want more and better customers, the key is to value and listen to the people who are growing and serving customers.

8. What advice would you give to college students about entering the workforce?
Preparation and perspiration (hard work) are important, but the one thing that separates those who will go on to do amazingly average things in their lives and those who will be amazingly successful is this: inspiration. You will spend hundreds of hours preparing, studying, working hard to get your degree, and that is very important. But it will only get you so far. To be successful beyond your wildest dreams, you first have to have big, wild dreams. So dream big, make a change, and don’t be afraid to take a risk.


This interview is an excerpt from Never Give Up by Jason Navallo.

Jeff Grover – CEO & Co-Founder, SkyRocket Media

As CEO and co-founder of SkyRocket Media, Jeff Grover leads a rapidly-growing company with a mission of empowering the world to make better decisions by providing consumers clear, relevant and unbiased truth. Under the brand of BestCompany.com, SkyRocket owns and operates in over 125 business and consumer categories. These online resources are instrumental in helping individuals and businesses to research, identify and choose the best company for their specific situation.

Jeff has an extensive history as a successful entrepreneur. In February of 2003, he launched his own marketing agency, Flashpoint Enterprises, which he led and grown for the next six years. He was then brought on by One On One Marketing as their profit center manager over education. Prior to starting SkyRocket, he helped One On One establish itself as the country’s premier marking and lead generation firm in the education industry.

1. How do you define success?
I define success as getting what you really want out of life. Often times, people don’t know what they want out of life, so they don’t know if they were ever successful. It’s important to be very specific in your pursuit of success so not to be chasing a moving target.

2. What is the key to success?
Define your goal and create your definition of success so that you can focus! Without a clear goal or success metric, you’ll never attain it because it doesn’t actually exist in a concrete form in your mind. That lack of focus will lead you down random paths. A laser focus on a goal gives you definiteness and simplicity in decision making. Everything is either supporting your success goal(s) or it isn’t. So you can easily say no to everything that doesn’t support your goals.

3. Did you always know you would be successful?
More or less, I’ve always believed, since being a small boy, that I could do great things. In fact, if I’m honest with myself, I have already had all of my dreams come true, but I’ve consciously raised the bar on myself because I’m still learning and I want to have a much larger, positive impact in this world.

4. When faced with adversity, what pushes you to keep moving forward?
I’ve developed an unnatural ability to see problems as learning opportunities to grow and become better. This has been a major key to my success so far.

5. What is the greatest lesson you’ve ever learned?
Failure is never as bad as you think it’s going to be. More or less from my perspective, the price of success is a series of failures.

6. What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
There is no such thing as “spare” time because that implies there is time when there isn’t something to do. When I’m not working at SkyRocket, I love spending time with family, reading, thinking, and working out.

7. What makes a great leader?
A deep sense of love for your organization’s cause, and a deep sense of concern for the wellbeing of everyone involved in supporting the cause with you.

8. What advice would you give to college students about entering the workforce?
Your degree alone will not make you successful. You can never say to your boss, “I failed that assignment, but look, I have a degree.” Your degree is, at best, a foundation of knowledge and theory that gives you a starting point. In the real world, especially in bleeding-edge technology, your value is directly connected to your ability to identify and create solutions to problems within the company and create solutions, where others only saw briers and thorns.


This interview is an excerpt from Never Give Up by Jason Navallo.