Richard Burry

Founder of Smartvu Ltd.

With more than three decades of experience in management, technology and business startups, Richard Burry leads Smartvu Ltd., a global investment company that specializes in online e-commerce businesses.

As founder and CEO, he guides Smartvu Ltd.’s investment strategies, focusing on Internet businesses in key sectors such as marketing, search, Internet domain names, crypto, webcams and gaming.

Prior to founding Smartvu Ltd. in 2000, Richard Burry led Web Krew S.A., an Internet development company specializing in webcams, SEO, online directories, web hosting, emails and website design and development.

He accumulated extensive professional experience as Director of PC Interactive Services for Shaw Communications, where he oversaw the development and operation of a residential Internet service delivered to customers over high-speed cable modems. In this role he was responsible for sales, marketing, finance, technology, content development, installation, maintenance and customer support.

His background also includes a position as Director of Information Systems for CUC Broadcasting Ltd., where he maintained the information systems of a 500-person, $100 million broadcasting business which included Trillium Communications Ltd., Trillium Network Services and NPC.

Earlier, Richard Burry worked as a Computer Services Manager, LAN Analyst and PC Analyst for William Neilson Limited. There, he was responsible for AS/400, PC LAN/WAN, data and telecommunications and managed 10 technical and professional staff. His team supported over 250 computer users and 500 phone users at this 800-person $190 million confection manufacturing business.

Richard Burry’s varied interests range from board games and poker to sailing, swimming, art and design, investing, travel, music, drones and American football.

What is your typical day, and how do you make it productive?

I live in Europe so most people that I deal with live in America. This allows me quiet time to read in the morning and then do calls and meetings in the afternoon.

How do you bring ideas to life?

Try out a lot of things out to see what happens. Most ideas fail but sometimes people are interested and ideas can take off.

What’s one trend that excites you?

I would have to say AI. I’ve followed developments since the 80s. I believe it will have a greater impact then the internet. We have been waiting a long time for significant advances in AI and they are starting to come now. It’s great to see the development of computer-generated photos, video, information. It impacts everyone and every field of endeavor.

What is one habit that helps you be productive?

Making lists. I love to make lists of things. It really helps to organize things and get them done. If you don’t know what you need to do, you don’t do it.

What advice would you give your younger self?

You are not your work. It is a separate thing. Don’t take it personal. You will be very stressed otherwise.

Tell us something you believe almost nobody agrees with you on?

Business is irrational and unpredictable because it involves humans who are emotional by nature.

What is the one thing you repeatedly do and recommend everyone else do?

I like to read or watch videos that teach you new things. Never stop learning.

When you feel overwhelmed or unfocused, what do you do?

If I am overwhelmed, I stop trying to do anything productive or related to what is bothering me. I like to ride my bike or swim and think about things. It’s like meditation for me. I am always unfocused. I can’t do anything for more then half hour without a break. I don’t see that as a problem. I like to multi-task, and it helps to give time to think about things.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business or advance in your career?

Look at what others are doing, try to figure out why they do things in a certain way, try different ways of doing things and see how people react to the changes.

What is one failure in your career,  how did you overcome it, and what lessons did you take away from it?

I failed at a job selling computers. I’ve been told that I am the worst sales person ever. Mainly because I tell the truth. I learned that you cannot be great at everything and that you need a team to be successful.

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

Don’t be afraid to raise prices.

What is one piece of software that helps you be productive? How do you use it?

I use it for how-to videos.

Do you have a favorite book or podcast you’ve gotten a ton of value from and why?

“Don’t sweat the small stuff”. Just bought it for a close friend and CTO that is overwhelmed by work.

What’s a movie or series you recently enjoyed and why?

Rabo de Peixe. I live in Portugal and it’s great to see the success of this series starring local actors and from a local director. Netflix has helped showcase so much talent from around the world that would not have been seen in the past.

Key learnings

  • If you are feeling overwhelmed, try to take a break and come back to the task more refreshed;
  • Never stop learning
  • Make lists!