Jacob Gitman is a scientist, inventor and entrepreneur who lives in Florida, USA. He holds a PhD in Solid State Physics from the Russian Academy of Sciences, which he received after completing an undergraduate degree in Physics and Mining at the Moscow Mining Institute. Following his participation in a science exchange program at Stanford University, Gitman moved to the US in 1992.
While successful in the world of business, Gitman’s true passion lies in science and discovery. He loves to create new, innovative devices and to accomplish the unprecedented. Along with his partners, Gitman has nearly 20 patent applications to his name on inventions ranging from an electronic defect analyzer, an apparatus for growing biomass, and ways of growing bio cultures to the creation of continuous pyrolysis and the stimulation of rainfall. He also has written prolifically in both English and Russian scientific publications on subjects including renewable energy and how to tackle water crises in developing nations.
In 1998 Gitman opened VGM International, Inc., when the internet was merely in its infancy. The company was one of the first to assimilate VOIP into the international arena. He sold his assets in the company and decided to reinvest the funds in the field of aviation, which remains one of his favorite hobbies.
From 2006, he served as the president of Signet International, LLC. The company focuses on cross-industry solutions based on Microsoft Dynamics 365 ERP and CRM modules, enabling digital transformation for corporate clients.
Gitman currently serves as the president of Athena Medical Group, which has 12 medical centers throughout Florida as well as in Chile and Brazil. It is the only organization with outpatient facilities conducting cardiovascular surgeries using robotics technologies
Besides aviation, Gitman also enjoys fishing and boating, so much so that he founded the company Your Charter Solution, a business for booking yacht trips.
Gitman has three sons—David, Jon, and Larry—and appreciates having them involved in his companies and working together with them. He lives in Florida and is proud to be an active member of the Chabad of Sunny Isles.
Where did the idea for your career come from?
All my businesses and companies are driven by potential income generation. So when I see an opportunity for a high return on an investment, I definitely like to explore that.
On principle, I only get involved in things that I like and truly enjoy in some way. Corporate social responsibility is also something that is very important to me, so I like to look into how much any new idea or company will be helping the community.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I like to think of my day as being regularly irregular. At least, that’s what I always tell my friends and family. I usually have two meetings before lunch, one of which being with a business partner of some sort and the other being more about operations and logistics. That’s what I really like about being in the business world, or at least in my business world—there is no such thing as a typical day. What each day does have in common with the next is that it is usually quite hectic. So, I do my best to try to reduce the entropy and instill some sort of order. Most days, though, that just never happens. My family is pretty used to me getting back late by now.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Well, when I first think of something new, I usually begin looking online to see how big of a market there would be for it. Specifically, in the case of Athena Medical Group, I wanted to provide a better healthcare experience than what was already on the market. While I learned from those who were already successful in this field, I have to say that I learned more from hearing about people’s failures. That’s really the most important thing to study. If someone else has already made mistakes and you can learn how not to repeat them yourself, that already is in and of itself the start of a recipe for success.
What’s one trend that excites you?
In the age we live in, the world is moving at a very rapid pace in general. Today’s news is often forgotten by tomorrow. The one thing that is consistently needed and keeps showing its value is access to up-to-date information. That is something that is really needed the world over.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I’m always alert, always looking around at the environment around me. This enables me to have a good sense of how to evaluate a situation and also how to read people’s faces. This is especially important when dealing with people and making down-to-the-wire decisions about whether I think a partnership will be worthwhile.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Always be true to your core inner nature. You don’t want to become a product of the social environment around you, even if that environment is good. You need to be entirely your own person. Fortunately, though, I was able to realize this fairly early on.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
I like to concentrate on a lot of things at once, to really fill up my plate, maybe borderline overfill it. A lot of people think you should focus on one thing at a time, but I find that it really keeps me on my toes to constantly be dealing with something different. That’s why my days are so hectic, but I love it. I view it simply as diversification.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I constantly try to learn new things, every day. If you do that, you will always keep growing and evolving. The mind is really like a muscle. If you don’t use it, you lose it.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
I have always tried to be novel and daring but also willing to change, if necessary. Why? Because history always repeats itself. Whatever you’re doing or planning to do, someone somewhere is probably already doing it or tried to do it at some point. That is why I’m always looking for a new twist in whatever business or idea I’m exploring, but necessarily to reinvent the wheel.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
Deciding to work with the wrong people is definitely a mistake I’ve made in the past. It is of utmost importance to choose the right partner for your mission. Others may have different goals, working styles, mindset, and even values than you, and it isn’t appropriate for everyone to work together. They may not necessarily be bad people, but different people work in different ways that may not mold together. So, it’s important not to rush into partnerships without due diligence. It’s important to also find someone who complements your style–not necessarily a yes man, but someone who works together with you and not against you. As my experience grew, I learned to become more discerning about the people I work with.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I don’t know if this is a very unique idea per se, but I would encourage people to pursue different ways of how to convert waste into energy. You can get waste plastics nearly for free and in some cases, you may even be paid to take them. A metric ton of plastic can yield you at least 800 kilograms of diesel fuel. The technology is there—pyrolysis, plasma. It’s a hot topic today, and it can lead to a win-win situation. You can battle climate change and reduce pollution as well as the overuse of plastics, while being an entrepreneur at the same time.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I bought books for my grandchildren. I adore them so much and am happy to see them grow and succeed. Like I said before, it’s important to learn something new every day, whether as a child or as an adult, and reading is instrumental to that.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
I built my own CRM systems, which I find are very useful for managing business contacts and daily tasks. They can fully integrate with other work tools so that makes them very helpful.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
The Bible. Why? Because there is “nothing new under the sun.”
What is your favorite quote?
“Either you run the day or the day runs you.” – Jim Rohn
- It is important to have some sort of formal education in technology, computer science, or biology, but it is most important to make sure you learn something new every day of your life.
- There is no need to go to business school or to get an MBA in order to succeed in the corporate world. If you want to get a good grasp of business, watch Shark Tank.
- A successful business venture can be like a piece of art. It can appear chaotic, but at the end of the day, there has to be organized thought behind it
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.