Learn from others, stay on top of your game, stay positive all the time and up beat no matter how difficult your day was or how tough things are going you must never let your guard down.
Paul Amelio is Co-Founder, Inventor and Chairman of N2 Global Solutions, Inc., a Delaware C corporation. A New York City-based technology company that has developed “the first integrated wireless network” of its kind—an Internal ‘SuperGrid’ that consists of modules that retrofit into a building’s existing electrical junction boxes, that communicate remotely with an existing Building’s Management Systems (BMS), support today’s new construction Net Zero initiatives and formidably aids in documentation and compliance with the US Green Building Council (USGBC) Well Building Standards. Mr. Amelio is an expert at optimizing brand recognition and equity and the key inventor of the N2 SuperGrid, technology with a Snap-on, M2M agnostic protocols that communicate agnostically to integrate with other best-of-breed solutions. Academicians believe that this revolutionary technology may lead to the platform to Internet of Things.
Prior to N2, Mr. Amelio served as creative consultant to LOIS/USA, Serino Coyne, Inc., Lowe Lintas, and Havas Worldwide, before becoming Co-Founder/CEO of Wicked Lizard Advertising, an international advertising agency, where he built strategic global partnerships and developed innovative programs in conventional consumer advertising, marketing and branding sector. He has worked with some of the greatest creative minds of our time. In a world increasingly driven by computer and mobile phone screens, the visual component of marketing has become even more important, elevating the importance of integration with truthfully disruptive communication, effectively translating the marketing strategy into a persuasive message. Mr. Amelio was responsible for more than $50 million in billing to a privately held corporation. He delivered multi-million dollar campaigns for its high profile clients, helping them to become market leaders: Steve Madden, AT&T, Coca Cola, MTV and Inter IKEA Systems, B.V., where Mr. Amelio analyzed and introduced a new product idea that redefined the logistics platform. He had similar success with CHEP, a Bramble-owned, global pallet, pooling distribution company.
Mr. Amelio received a bachelor’s degree in advertising and a BFA, Advertising & Design, from Syracuse University.
Where did the idea for SuperGrid come from?
The SuperGrid concept was ignited by a documentary that David (co-founder) and I were watching together that pitted Nikola Tesla with Thomas Edison.
It was understood that the electrical infrastructure has not changed in many years and I (Paul) couldn’t help but notice that the face-plate for the electrical socket and the face-plate for the light switch were similar in size and I kept seeing the smart phone replacing the light switch and then thought, “has anyone ever considered adding smart phone technology into the electrical infrastructure? “The though haunted us so we searched everywhere and couldn’t find anything specific to that concept so we began to visualize a system that empowered the end user to communicate with energy with the use of a mobile device and that was at the end of 2009, and by 2012, we secure the first provisional application of it’s kind which has led to multiple global patent claims that continue to accumulate.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
Every day is different and unpredictable. Time flies by so quickly that we have to remind each other to have lunch as we often realize it’s 3:30pm, we haven’t eaten and constantly on the move. We stay productive by cross reviewing and setting up agendas, with top priorities on the list getting first attention. We put a lot of time into upgrading material and keeping up with the evolution of our technology and hardware communication. We interface with our corporate council to avoid any potential issues, review documents and supporting us through the patent process. We interface with everyone on the team to keep communication consistent and we try to have fun in between.
How do you bring ideas to life?
No one knows where ideas come from initially; most of the time, ideas come to me in my dreams, forcing me to jump out of bed to write the idea down so that it’s not lost by morning. Embellishing on an idea is kind of like the opposite of pealing the onion… you add layers instead and for me, it’s the most exciting part of developing on a idea. The most important part of developing an idea is the research to make sure it’s unique, the other is to be sure there is need and value in exploring that idea or you’re just wasting time. I love finding solutions but it’s just as fun to see that concept come to life. What’s gratifying is when others see the value and when those looking to invest also see the potential and actually make an investment or a purchase. Today, we have so many options to bring ideas to life but it all starts with a sketch, then a detailed line art, then a 3D drawing, and with the use of a 3D printer we can build great things. A well orchestrated appearance model can be extremely gratifying by it can also become a great vehicle to begin your business with credibility and compelling confidence.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
The growing trend of nano technology, the incredible ability to interface with like minded entrepreneurs and the potential of helping the communities economic and environmental climates.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Staying up late at night… I love the night, no interruptions, no phone calls and a great time to reflect but not a healthy way to live but time is never on your side when you’re an entrepreneur.
What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?
I have to be specific on that one because there are many mistakes that happen along the way that are painful but I would imagine that there is nothing worse than bringing in a friend to help with the hope that they perhaps may have an equal amount of passion as you do with your company and you find yourself wondering why you even considered bringing that person on board to begin with.
What’s worse is knowing that it’s making your day more difficult and uncomfortable and then you have no choice but to let him/her go. The other worse job ever is the grant application process.
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
I would have been more considerate of the time element. Initially, I thought that within 2-3 years we would have been in business but I was way off, it took 8 years and we are in the process of going into our 9th year in 2017. I’d find a way to support my family while working towards entrepreneurship and developing a new technology rather than stop working all together to focus on N2. I would have made people more accountable earlier in the program than to give multiple chances but it’s impossible to predict what may happen but all things considered, we made a lot of great decisions too and we learned a lot from the mistakes that we have made.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Learn from others, stay on top of your game, stay positive all the time and up beat no matter how difficult your day was or how tough things are going you must never let your guard down. Be transparent particularly with your investors; never, ever hold back the truth but share information, even negative information in a positive light. Be a great story teller, people are intrigued and live vicariously through the growth of your venture business. There are few that succeed and if your business is one of them, it makes people want to follow your success and potentially invest in the opportunity and lastly, self promote; those associated with you love to witness a potential celebrity in the making.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.
Persistence, and pivoting during the product development process. Building a team around a trust that has merit is hard to find but not impossible. Finding like minded individuals come in time but finding the talent to fortify and build your technology is not easy to corral. You first need to have the leadership qualities that they respect and appreciate, you also need to have a concept rich enough that will attract them away from other opportunities and focus on the project offer that you have. A great team of programmers, engineers and architects want to belong and involved in exciting projects so marketing, sales and conviction need to be your greatest characteristics. Being a convincing presenter, a strong designer with qualities to show impeccable power point presentations to encourage a team to work with you is just as important as presenting to potential customers and investors.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
My greatest failure and my greatest asset is my ‘trust’ in others—it’s hard to be assertive when inviting friends or family into your business. Friends and Family do not always make great business associates and separating them from your business and making tough decisions to remove them can shorten the longevity of a friendship that took years to cultivate and the silence of a family member are difficult realities that can only be overcome through time, success only makes it worse.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I have been dreaming of a technology that will allow children and adults who are handicapped and even the elderly to live much more meaningful lives with the use of technology—this is my ultimate goal.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
Dinner with my wife who has put up with so much—she and my family are my inspiration and why I am crazy enough to dive into a venture business at my age and the three reasons why I know that I need to succeed (1. My wife, 2. My Daughter, 3. My son). Everything else is not as important but I also owe it to my parents who brought me here to a country that can make dreams a reality.
What software and web services do you use? What do you love about them?
We have our own database or OS that is proprietary that communicates with an agnostic system that brings together all the various wireless protocols that brings N2 SuperGrid technology, components as well as existing best-of-breed solutions in an effort to integrate a buildings communication and infrastructure into a holistic potentially NetZero fit building. There is nothing specific to love about software and services, we have high expectations that will require an upgrade in customization and customer support so there is a high demand on performance, customer services, safety, security and accountability.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
There are several but one of my favorite was, ‘Swim with the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive’ by Harvey Mackey. Although times have changed since the book was written there are real life experiences included that is sobering and influential. Also recommend Steve Jobs; The Man Who Thought Different because it takes you through the development of a true entrepreneur whose success is unlike any other with potential insights on how to grow your business.
What people have influenced your thinking and might be of interest to others?
I would have to begin by saying my parents. Why? Not just because they are my parents but the selfless risk that they took during their middle age years to bring a family of 6 children to America without a dime in their pocket is nothing short of astonishing to me.
My late father was a sharecropper and stone cutter in Italy who left his homeland at the age of 55 just to see his children succeed and my mother then 44 (now 93), with both going hungry to see that the children always had something to eat every day. Being a parent myself, I could only imagine now what the evening hours were like for them who were compromised with the English language, education, financial and social differences to figure out how they would get through to the next day and the next and so on.
Another on that list would have to be Steve Jobs, he was a motivator, a shrewd businessman, with strong marketing sense who always believed in himself and his vision.
Jimmy Valvano who led North Carolina State basketball team to its Cinderella 1983 national championship, and died after a yearlong battle with cancer at the young age of 47. Jimmy taught me to stay focused and to never give up.
And I can’t leave out the legendary George Lois who became a mentor to me; I worked for George for many years. I learned a lot about the advertising world; to challenge yourself to create great work and to tell a great story and sell your idea. He taught me how to curse in Greek language, observing him I also learned what NOT to do and to take shit from nobody—in this regard, I had and continue to have a privileged life of building my world around some of the greatest creative minds of our time.
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.