[quote style=”boxed”]I would take a breather once in a while. I’d do a look-around-and-smell-the-roses kind of thing. While I’m trying to improve in this area, I’m usually so focused on pushing forward that I often underappreciate what we’ve done, which from a managerial standpoint shouldn’t be overlooked.[/quote]
Nicolas Gremion is the founder and CEO of Paradise Publishers. Paradise Publishers is a new media company that holds several online properties and focuses on digital publishing. While incorporated in Nevada, Nicolas leads the organization from the main office in Costa Rica. Paradise Publishers has expanded its membership base from 0 to more than 1 million subscribers and provides more than 10,000 ebook downloads per day. In 2011, the company provided new books (physical books, not ebooks) to more than 1,500 underprivileged children. The company’s newest venture, Foboko.com, serves the desire people have to publish. Foboko is a revolutionary concept because it’s a website that gives away free ebooks while empowering users to publish and profit as ebook authors. Foboko created the first “social publishing wizard” to allow community members to collaborate on writing, receive help from peers and connect directly with readers.
What are you working on right now?
I’m working on an online tool that will allow anyone to write, publish and have his or her story read by a large and responsive audience.
Where did the idea for Foboko come from?
Listening to the difficulties would-be authors are facing gave me the idea. I realized that there was market potential and unfulfilled demand. It wasn’t a light bulb going off, but rather, I started planning how current obstacles could be overcome.
What does your typical day look like?
Never-ending emails consume my day. In reality, it’s a mixed bag. I complete my fair share of managerial and administrative duties. We work in an open office, so there’s lots of interaction, brainstorming and bouncing ideas around. While I try not to micromanage, our team is always looking for my final approval on all aspects of our development, so a lot of time is spent testing, reviewing and commenting on projects.
How do you bring ideas to life?
An amazing feature of the Internet is that you can bring any idea to life!
What’s one trend that really excites you?
According to USA Today, 70% of adults in the U.S. want to write a book. That’s right up there with weight loss. It’s this hugely under-served marketplace we’re positioning ourselves to support.
What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?
I’ve had at least one job at any given time since I was 9, so I’ve gone through the gauntlet of worst jobs, including dishwasher, telemarketer, janitor and street food vendor. “Construction bitch” (the shovel boy) is right up there with selling ladies’ shoes at Sears. Besides learning to work hard, to value money and to produce results, I learned I should go into business for myself.
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
I would take a breather once in a while. I’d do a look-around-and-smell-the-roses kind of thing. While I’m trying to improve in this area, I’m usually so focused on pushing forward that I often underappreciate what we’ve done, which from a managerial standpoint shouldn’t be overlooked.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I voice my ideas. I don’t claim they’re all great ideas. Heck, most aren’t. But as a group, we’re trying to put out as many ideas as we can and see which make sense.
Alternatively: have fun! I don’t mean turning your business into a circus, but enjoy what you do, keep your team cheerful, enthusiastically reach for your goals and celebrate your achievements.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Perhaps this is more of a strategy, but never allow your staff to bring you a problem without at least one solution. When people come to me with a problem, I immediately ask how they recommend solving it. Nine times out of 10, their replies mimic what I would have suggested.
Tell us a secret.
Mind your own business. 😉
What are your three favorite online tools and what do you love about them?
- Skype for business and pleasure because it keeps me connected and saves a bundle.
- TripAdvisor because we travel a lot and I prefer reading opinions from a variety of people rather than a narrow point of view from a travel guide.
- SocialBakers, although I’m not sure it’s in my overall top 3, it’s a social media tool that we’ve just started using. I am really warming up to it because it offers unparalleled insight into metrics, including competitive analysis, that I find very useful.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner. Think Indiana Jones, but swap archaeology for economics.
What’s on your playlist?
On my iPod, there is mostly electronic music that I use when I exercise. At home, I play classic rock that can be low background music when we entertain. I used to be really into music, but it’s probably been 10 years since I bought something.
If you weren’t working on Foboko, what would you be doing?
I’d be working as a dive master or possibly as a chef. Sometimes working in front of a computer all day leaves me wanting to get a little more active. I have a few more online ideas, but I already mentioned I wasn’t going to share secrets!
Three people we should follow on Twitter and why?
I don’t have a Twitter account, but if I did, I’d follow Ashton Kutcher. Hmm…I wonder what he’ll be having for lunch today.
When was the last time you laughed out loud? What caused it?
I handcrafted my own Christmas sweater for the holidays. It was tough keeping a straight face while wearing that thing in public.
Who is your hero?
I look up to a lot of people from various walks of life for different reasons. It ranges from the men and women of our armed forces, to Gandhi, Mother Teresa and of course my parents, who have given me so much. If I could have even a small percentage of their good traits, I’d be a content man.
What is the strangest ebook title that has been published on one of your sites?
Here’s a recently published one: How to Marry a Psychopath. It’s comedic and candid.
Where was your favorite place to lived during your moves across the world?
I’ve been fortunate enough to experience a wide variety of cultures and each has its appeal. I’d love to go back to India for the culture and to Vietnam for the people, although I’m not sure I’d want to move full-time to either place again. I’d seriously consider Italy because it’s a darn good time, but the overall quality of life in Switzerland makes it very appealing.
Foboko Website: http://foboko.com/
Free E-Books Website: http://www.free-ebooks.net/
Nicola Gremion on LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/nicolasgremion
Mario Schulzke is the Founder of ideamensch, which he started a decade ago to learn from entrepreneurs and give them a platform for their ideas.