Hernan Lopez – Founder and CEO of Wondery

Hire people who think differently from you.

Hernan Lopez is Founder and CEO of Wondery, a network of storytellers and a media company specializing in mobile and on-demand audio. Wondery creates and curates podcasts and makes them available to consumers and brands.

Hernan started his career in radio and went on to become President and CEO of Fox International Channels (FIC) until early 2016. During his 18-year tenure, including 5 as CEO and 3 as COO, FIC grew to $3bn in revenue, launched hundreds of channels, and expanded into premium, sports and original production in multiple languages. FIC pioneered the global day-and-date launch of TV shows with “The Walking Dead”. Today, Fox, National Geographic and Fox Sports are consistently among the most valued TV brands internationally by consumers, advertisers and affiliates.

Prior to Fox, Hernan held positions at different companies in Argentina including Canal 9 and Cablevision/Radio America.

Mr. Lopez has been a featured speaker at multiple events including The Cable Show, NATPE, Promax, Asia Pacific Operator Summit, the Festival of Media and numerous investor conferences. He has also been published in trade magazines such as Ad Age and Broadcasting and Cable.

A native of Argentina, Mr. Lopez earned a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from University of Miami, a Degree in Advertising from the Escuela Superior de Publicidad de Buenos Aires, and most recently a Board Governance Fellow accreditation from the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD). He serves on the board of not-for-profit GLAAD and currently lives in Los Angeles with his family.

How did the idea for Wondery come from?

I was spending a lot of time on planes, listening to podcasts. And one day I realized that just like television had moved to on-demand, music had moved to on-demand, audio entertainment was next to go. In other words, radio was moving on demand – and this is a unique opportunity to capitalize on a powerful consumer trend.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

I start by meditating with the Headspace app, then exercising, then getting to the office early; that makes a huge difference in productivity. I have some days that are packed with scheduled meetings, and some that are intentionally kept free. I am a junkie for productivity tools like to-do lists.

What’s one trend that really excites you?

Crowdsourcing – the idea of creating value through community in the digital age is really inspiring.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

Being a morning person.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Move to the US sooner (I moved at 27).

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Do your research. Hire people who think differently from you.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

This is my first business as an entrepreneur, so it’s too early to talk about failures!

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

An ad agency specialized in small businesses. Facebook and Google have made small business advertising accessible and intuitive; if you are a small business, how do you advertise in every other platform? Search “small business advertising” and you’ll be surprised at how few options there are.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

A premium DropBox account. I was wasting ten minutes almost every day deleting files.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?

Slack – there is nothing like it for team communication – and Salesforce Inbox. I just started using it – it’s great at helping you follow up on emails you send but don’t get a timely answer on.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

“The Lean Startup” – then read “If You Really Want To Change The World”; two opposing ideas of how to start a business.

What is your favorite quote?

The true test of intelligence is the ability to hold to opposing ideas in your head, and still be able to function – F. Scott Fitzgerald (as you can see this is a recurring theme of mine).