Jad Jebara – Leader and Co-Founder of Tuangru

I keep reminding myself that I don’t have all the answers. Surround yourself with smarter people you trust. Put your ego aside, have passion and model the right behavior.

Jad Jebara is the leader and co-founder of Tuangru, a leading marketplace focused on the Data Center Infrastructure vertical with integrated SaaS applications. Prior to Tuangru, Jad served as SVP of Finance and Administration at Peer 1 Hosting for five years. He was responsible for finance, supply chain and IT, and was part of the executive team that successfully turned around the company. Peer 1 was acquired by Cogeco Cable Inc. in 2012 for $650M, (in 2007 it was valued at $35M). Prior to Peer 1, Jad ran a successful consulting firm focused on ERP implementations and business process design and optimization. In early 2001, he was the financial leader for another successful corporate turnaround, IDS Software, a semiconductor yield management software that was acquired by PDF Solutions.

Jad is a Fulbright Scholar, holds an MPA degree from the University of Texas at Austin and several accounting designations–CPA (CA), and CMA, CFM.

Where did the idea for marketplace with integrated SaaS applications come from?

The IT industry has entered a new era. It started with the mainframes in the 1950s to the client/servers of the 1980s, to cloud/mobile/big data/social of today, or what is also referred to as the Third Platform. This platform dictates a new kind of data center that can support millions of apps, billions of users and trillions of things. It requires a data center that can seamlessly scale, be agile and proactively cut costs. This is where Tuangru comes in.

Tuangru is a marketplace for buying and selling new technologies at the lowest price, allowing data center operators to significantly lower costs while increase IT efficiencies. We offer:

1. Access to original design manufacturers (ODMs), Open Compute, Open Networking, All-Flash storage, and other next-generation technologies.
2. Procurement features like multi-user accounts, approval workflows and purchasing analytics ideal for B2B customers.
3. A smart configurator that allows both customers and vendor partners to configure complex technology solutions online.
4. Group buying services that provide small-to-mid-size customers with the scale to purchase from ODMs, which is typically only available to hyperscalers like Facebook and Google.
5. An integrated data center infrastructure management (DCIM) that measures and monitors all purchased hardware/software from the marketplace upon being deployed in the data center.
6. Predictive analytics and metrics for the complete lifecycle of the purchased technologies that allow operations and financial departments to understand and communicate the value of IT.
7. Vendor partners access to an active and targeted technology customer base to sell their technologies in a low friction, automated and profitable manner.

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

Wake up at 5:30 am and have my double espresso. Take my dog out to the park and try to fit a workout in before I head to the office. Once in the office, have a quick ‘standup’ with the team to review the top three things we need to accomplish that day.

How do you bring ideas to life?

Surround myself with people smarter than me. Not just our team, but also advisors, customers, partners and analysts. Keep asking questions and listen more than talk. Once we agree as a team on a direction, trust one another to deliver; align incentives, and; communicate the vision and mission clearly..

What’s one trend that really excites you?

The growth in new entrepreneurs and businesses built off of mobile, big data, social, cloud and IoT. We are just in the early stages. As these platforms continue to mature, we will see products and services emerge that we can’t even imagine right now. Very exciting.

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

Prioritization and focus. I use reminders and deadlines to organize what needs to be done. If one can’t measure, one can’t improve. Relying simply on email and memory is asking for problems. Having a process in place to allow the team to prioritize and provide visibility to one another is key.

On personal level, I remind myself that I work to live to live to work!

What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?

While doing my undergrad, I held different jobs. One was as a waiter. A high pressure job that keeps you on your toes while having to deal with many different personalities. I learned to never take my eye off of delighting customers.

If you were to start again, what would you do differently?

To be more metrics-driven and to make sure every team members is aligned around the metrics.

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

I keep reminding myself that I don’t have all the answers. Surround yourself with smarter people you trust. Put your ego aside, have passion and model the right behavior.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.

Adopt the “Lean Startup” approach by starting with MVP – Minimal Viable Product. Test assumption, adjust and pivot, if needed. Otherwise, you may spend a lot of time and resources building something no one will use.

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

Don’t hire a sales team until you, as a founder, and the other executive go through the challenges of selling your own products. The insight you gain is invaluable and will help you build a successful sales team.

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

Specialized big data analytics–find a vertical that needs big data and focus on it. (i.e. agriculture)

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

A beautiful bottle of red wine that I recently enjoyed with friends.

What software and web services do you use? What do you love about them?

I use the Apple Mac eco-system with Google Business apps in the backend. I created some Apple scripts in Automater to make me more efficient. I like the refinement of Apple products and how well the hardware and software seamlessly work together. I also applaud how they handle their customers’ personal data and privacy,

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

Lean Startup by Eric Reese.

What people have influenced your thinking and might be of interest to others?

A good friend and mentor of mine once told me, “Jad, remember love is attention. If you love your family, you give them attention. If you love your work, you give it attention. So, always remain aware where you spend your time.” He further added, “ You either own the relationship or someone else does.” Both are great pieces of advice I’ve taken to heart.

I follow closely what Jeff Bezos of Amazon does and says. He is a role model for me. I’m continually amazed at his breadth of innovation inside and outside the company he started.


Jad Jebara on Twitter: @jadjebara
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