Gagan Grewal, CEO of Mogul Productions, leads the financial vision for the platform, including development of the Mogul Continuous Organization and Smart Wallet. Prior to joining Mogul, Gagan was the managing partner of a private equity firm, led the private banking team for Scotia Wealth Management, and founded his own recruiting firm with a successful exit. Gagan brings his expertise in partner-client relations, capital management, and operations to Mogul Productions.
Where did the idea for Mogul Productions come from?
All of us on the Mogul team share a passion for film and are excited by the possibilities enabled by blockchain technology to make the entertainment ecosystem better for everyone, including creators, movie fans, and financiers. We have coined the term “DeFiFi” for Decentralized Film Financing, and aim to support the creation of more great content through empowering the “crowd” to make decisions on which projects should get greenlit. One story that inspires all of us on the Mogul team is how the film Deadpool was shelved for 8 years because studios weren’t giving it a chance, but when the proof of concept trailer was leaked, the response from millions of fans is what led to the film getting produced. It ultimately grossed billions of dollars, proving that giving fans a voice works as a model.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
In a start-up no day is the same and the biggest challenge is learning to multitask, filling many needs at once. Each evening, I walk through my schedule and action items for the next day, ensuring I am prepared with notes for upcoming meetings and interviews. It can be rewarding to create shared to-do lists with your team so that everyone can share in the feeling of accomplishment when a goal is achieved and can be checked off the list.
How do you bring ideas to life?
It’s easier to come up with ideas than it is to execute them. In fact, ability to execute is what separates successful entrepreneurs from everyone else. Bringing an idea for a startup to life and generating revenue involves incorporating people of many different skillsets, and so being able to recognize and foster talent is incredibly important. Your vision for the project is what will guide everyone on how to make even the smallest decisions, and so having a clear vision and being able to express that to the team is also key.
What’s one trend that excites you?
I’m very excited by the concept of “wisdom of the crowd.” Research shows that decisions made by “the crowd” are often much more accurate than those made by a single expert. At Mogul, we use blockchain technology to empower our community with the ability to decide which films should earn financing. These films will be much more likely to achieve success upon distribution after gaining buy-in from the intended audience prior to production.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I really value my alone time and silence. I think it’s important to set aside time for “nothing” so that you can process all the different things that are going on in your mind, prioritize, discard garbage information, and formulate plans for how to achieve your goals. A long walk in nature always helps but when that’s not possible just putting in some ear plugs and an eye mask works.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Learn to execute on ideas. I mentioned earlier that execution is what distinguishes a successful project from one that fails. It’s a tough skill to build, and I’m reminded of a quote from George Patton, “A good plan violently executed today is better than a perfect plan executed next week.”
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
I think post-secondary education shouldn’t place such a high emphasis on grades as part of the entrance requirement. There are a lot of bright people out there who have been raised on the basic school curriculum, which isn’t designed to help them find their true strengths. I don’t believe grades accurately encapsulate a person’s capabilities.\
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I do a lot of reflection. Think back on each day. What went well? What didn’t go so great? What would you have done differently? I remember reading about this as a habit of successful people, and believe reflection is necessary for self-improvement and achieving success in your enterprises. It’s also a healthy practice to set aside time to reflect at the end of each year and mind-map goals for the next year.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Make decisions. Sometimes we’re afraid of making the wrong choice, but in order to move forward you need to commit to a decision and follow through. The worst decision you can make is to do nothing.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I’ve had so many failures that I can’t bring attention to just one. The important thing is to learn from them. Failures are like experiments; you’ll never discover “the best” way to do something if you don’t try many others first; the most accomplished people in this world have failed time and time again.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
An online photo storage company that isn’t connected to social media or anything else; just a place for people who are afraid of technology to store their videos and photos without worrying about privacy settings or data collection. If someone is interested in building this, get in touch.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
There was a promotion with Apple Airpods recently where I was able to get a pair for $100; I’ve never been a fan of Bluetooth headphones but these have been amazing for phone calls and music.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
Personally, I would be useless without my calendar syncing all of my personal and business appointments. Scheduling tasks ensures that things are completed in a timely manner. As a company, our team uses Trello and Slack very effectively; both are great tools for working in smaller teams and keeping track of tasks.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
How To Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. I know that many people think it’s outdated and not relevant, but I disagree; showing respect and being sincere is something we should all work towards.
What is your favorite quote?
“Twenty years from now you’ll be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.” – Mark Twain
- An ability to execute is what sets successful entrepreneurs apart from those who never achieve their goals -It’s much easier to come up with ideas than it is to execute them.
- Make decisions – The worst decision you can make is to do nothing.
- Take time to reflect at the end of each day and every year to learn from what went well and what didn’t go so well – This is what will enable you to build upon the foundation you have created.