[quote style=”boxed”]No matter what happens, it’s important to always stay a little hungry.[/quote]
Lior Maimon has spent the past 12 years in entrepreneurship, business development, marketing and management roles. He was founder and CEO of Zone1 Ltd., a web and mobile software solutions firm. He founded Tavshil.co.il, a leading web 2.0 food network service, and served as co-founder and CEO of Picaro Consulting and Placement Ltd., an HR and outsourcing provider (acquired in 2008). Lior co-founded Cellularix Ltd., a mobile solution company that develops a speech-to-text (SMS) solution, and Seebow.com, a global business opportunities network, where he also served as CEO.
What are you working on right now?
Honestly? Stagee’s second round of investment. I feel like we’re on the brink of something big. The next few months are critical. We’re pretty close. Talk to me in December.
Where did the idea for Stagee come from?
Actually, at first, I was inspired by reality shows. I was struck by how much some people are driven to catapult themselves into the limelight. On the other side of it, I noticed how much audiences are constantly fascinated by witnessing real-time, real-life success stories of people who come from nothing yet are able to live their dreams. I wanted to recreate this phenomenon and make something similar come to life on the web. The result, which became Stagee, offers talent a valuable social and professional experience online that is specifically for them. We’ve also added the element of helping users discover professional opportunities by socially connecting them with industry pros and insiders.
What does your typical day look like?
I wake up at 6:30 a.m., get to the office by 8:30 and work until 7:00 p.m. Then I go home, get back online and work for another several hours–so it’s pretty much a 24/7 thing. Oh, and I also have a wife and three kids. Somehow it all works.
How do you bring ideas to life?
My brain basically never stops. I’m also pretty intuitive, so I’m usually good at telling whether or not an idea “holds water.” I start by consulting with my team and trusted advisers for feedback. This is when an idea starts to either grow and blossom or fall flat on its face. If it’s still relevant, we take it on as a project. I believe in the 20:80 way of life at Google, so I’m trying to implement it at Stagee as much as I can.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
All social trends excite me. The way we interact in our digital lives has changed dramatically since social networks appeared. The most amazing thing is that we are only witnessing the beginning of the social revolution. I believe that the world will continue to see incredible and fundamental changes in the next few years, and that Stagee will join this revolution.
What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?
I’ve been an entrepreneur most of my life, so I’m not sure if I can really answer the question. What I can say is that I’ve made a lot of mistakes. But that’s part of the game, and I feel very fortunate for having made the mistakes I’ve made because I learned a lot from them.
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
As I mentioned before, we’ve made a lot of mistakes. But again, this is part of the process. So I don’t think I really would do anything differently (unless you mean if I knew then what I know now–but since that scenario only happens in the movies, let’s just keep it in the movies). I think everything that has happened somehow has value and is an important part of the company. In order to be good, you need to do a few bad things as well. Most mistakes, in retrospect, were like gifts. They may not have been wrapped like gifts, but they were definitely gifts.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Believe and believe and believe. Believe in yourself, believe in your product, believe in your team, and believe in your dreams! Don’t let anyone stand in your way–unless “anyone” is “everyone,” in which case you should probably take a step back and think.
What is one problem you encountered as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I’ll call it a challenge. I think the most important challenge was to understand that we built a beautiful product, but not a correct product. Our last version had really nice graphics and a strong concept, but the flow and user experience fell flat. The challenge was to take the entire product apart and rebuild it. It was pretty tough both physically and mentally, but was worth every hour and every penny.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Sorry. I cannot divulge any at the moment.
If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be and how would you go about it?
I would create a really open and available Internet for everyone, which means that even in some of the more underdeveloped parts of the world, every citizen would have universal access to the world’s information resources. I believe that in such a world, all people could be given an equal opportunity to learn and improve their quality of life.
Tell us a secret.
When no one was looking, I developed an app for my iPhone that communicates with aliens from outer space.
What are your three favorite online tools or resources and what do you love about them?
- LinkedIn is the perfect tool for networking and finding professional opportunities. I use it a lot. It’s really helpful and doesn’t have a lot of noise.
- Facebook gives you the power to reach and connect with everyone.
- Dropbox is easy to use (which is very important) and is available at a good price.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
The Very Hungry Caterpillar. The caterpillar spends his whole time eating way too much food (and a lot of junk). He gets really big and fat and then sick. He goes on a diet of healthy green leaves, feels much better, and then turns into a beautiful butterfly. Right now, our company is a small caterpillar. We need food to eat, but must be careful not to eat too much too fast. We also must be careful where our food comes from, and make sure it only keeps us healthy (not fat). Eventually, our turn to grow into a beautiful butterfly will come. No matter what happens, it’s important to always stay a little hungry.
Three people we should follow on Twitter and why?
Someone who makes you think, inspires you, and makes you laugh.
When was the last time you laughed out loud? What caused it?
Every day! This is our way of life at Stagee. You might call it our culture. Don’t take life too seriously. It will kill you–in the end, anyway. Find enjoyment and humor in whatever you do, and especially enjoy laughing out loud.
Who is your hero?
I don’t have one specific hero–maybe some of the great tech leaders like Steve Jobs, Larry and Sergey, Jeff Bazos, Mark Zuckerberg, and Bill Gates. We can all take a great deal from these guys. I’m using the word “leaders” and not “entrepreneurs” because I think that the most important people in the tech community are more leaders than just entrepreneurs. You need quite a bit of courage, belief, passion and smarts to build a global brand like those the people I’ve mentioned built.
How do you deal with repeated rejection?
I keep my eyes firmly on my vision. I never look back and always move forward as quickly as I can without tripping on my shoelaces. Your bounce-back speed is critical.
If the Internet broke down for a week, how would you spend most of your time?
I wouldn’t have a choice; I would have to take a vacation. Maybe the Internet gods will let me take a vacation soon!
Lior Maimon on LinkedIn:
Lior Maimon on Twitter: @liormaimon
Stagee on Twitter: @stageeinc
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Lior Maimon’s email: [email protected]