Don’t overthink, compare yourself to others or set traditional societal expectations.
James Giglio is the CEO and Founder of MVP Interactive, a consumer engagement technology company that enhances brand experiences through custom software, product design, and social media. His vision in linking technology to consumer engagement has been paramount to the growth of MVP Interactive. James’ passion to innovate, buck trends and embrace technology worldwide has led MVP to evolve prototype-level inventions into useful marketing products. His team was responsible for the formation of the first in-stadium experiential media network. Prior to founding MVP Interactive, James held successful management positions for small and mid-sized financial firms, leading teams to launch new products and deploy market strategies that helped grow the companies beyond expectations.
Where did the idea for MVP INTERACTIVE come from?
I was working in the out of home advertising industry and noticed early trends in brands looking to engage consumers through technology. However, up until that point, there weren’t many ideal settings or circumstances that allowed for a proper execution of it. So I thought, in order to achieve that, there needed to be the right piece of real estate and a strong conduite for content to tell the brand message. I then sketched out a few devices that I thought could achieve that. One was an interactive kiosk and another was a video wall structure. From there, I traveled to Tampa, FL for a presentation and discussed the idea of building these interactive units and installing them in professional sports stadiums to a colleague. The idea behind this was that stadiums would be a perfect location to create interactive experiences for these devices where they can live on a concourse for fans to participate in. Brands are involved heavily in sports sponsorships so they could achieve a new level of engagement to consumers and the team benefits by creating a better overall game day experience for their fans. It felt like the most holistic solution for a new, non-traditional form of media.
While in Tampa, I decided to cold call the professional teams in the area to try and get a meeting to continue to vet the idea. Luckily, the Tampa Bay Rays had time in their schedule to meet with me. Without any real collateral or presentation, I pitched the concept and they loved it! After 3 months of additional research and preparation, I quit my job and started MVP Interactive.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I get up at 6am each day and go through a pretty simple routine of making coffee and asking my Alexa “what’s the news” while thumbing through the Wall Street Journal. I’ll spend another 15-20 minutes cycling news networks and of course sports center. I do a quick, intense workout and then walk to the office. I’ve tried to make it a habit recently to not check my phone until about an hour into my day.
Each morning, I meet with the team for a general brief, mixed with personal and current events and work itinerary. I try to tackle most of my administrative duties like accounting/billing and contracts early in the day since, undoubtedly, I will be pulled away by a phone call or meeting in which I can pick up where I left off in the afternoon. I always take a walk in the mid afternoon and then try to finish up the day with outreach to new prospects, team members or vendors helping us with productions.
Each day is really different but my main focus is to try and maximize my time by always doing something to help the company.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I try to move fast. Once an idea is formed, I look to our internal resources and get going on them. Generally, we’re able to test new theories with existing technology to get some type of alpha ready. We have great relationships with our clients so I’ll call them to pitch the idea and get their thoughts. Thankfully, we keep a strong pulse on what the market is looking for, so many of our ideas are well received. From there we go to market and make it happen.
What’s one trend that excites you?
Artificial Intelligence. It’s both exciting and terrifying at the same time but when executed properly, it’s such a fascinating capability.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Reading. Whether its a trade publication, a business book, or even social media, there is always a nugget of information that is discovered that I apply to my day to day or business practice.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Not to overthink, compare yourself to others or set traditional societal expectations.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Writing things like “ASAP, I need or we need to” does the exact opposite of its intention. Words matter and requests should be just that, not demands.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Make phone calls. Some say it’s a dying form of communication but I find it incredibly important to develop and maintain relationships. There is nothing to hide behind, nothing to be misunderstood, and it helps determine where you stand. There’s a valuable lesson to learn if people don’t field your calls.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.
We have been fortunate with implementing a licensing model for our software. As you can imagine, it can get costly when developing a completely custom interactive experience for a client, so being able to relicense our existing content has not only eased development costs for our clients but it has provided an avenue for recurring revenue.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
The most important thing is to not dwell on the failures and keep moving forward. Learn from mistakes and keep trying.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I like the idea of automating home appointments. We’re all busy and no one wants to wait 3 hours at home for the cable guy or plumber. Let’s build an app and community of roaming home concierge’s. You can log into your app, see the available professionals in your neighborhood, and hire them on the spot. Background checks for every concierge and smart door locks and/or keys would be provided to those who download the app.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
They were a bit over $100 but Apple Airpods. They are a perfect blend of form & function and actually stay in your ear when you’re on the go.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?
Gsuite from Google. Hard to imagine any startup not using the Google suite of products from gmail, calendar, drive for documents and storage, slides for presentations and even hangouts for project management.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
“ReWork“. It’s a quick, digestible read and helps establish what’s really important in starting a business. It offers a nice blend of conventional and unconventional wisdoms.
What is your favorite quote?
“What you do is what matters, not what you think or say or plan.”
Execute your thoughts. You’re not going to succeed in every single one but the act of trying is so valuable and helps build confidence in establishing what you’re capable of.
Always be nice and build relationships: Brands, Agencies and Teams are simply a collection of individuals who come and go. Those individuals will remember you not only by your work but how you made them feel. With that, it’s important they remember you throughout their career and when your services are needed again.
Communicate: Some of the easiest solutions come from the hardest conversations. No one loves conflict but I’m convinced most problems are a result of poor communication and assumptions. It’s important for issues to be addressed and individuals point of views to be heard in order to find a resolution.
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