The best strategy is to push what is working and cut out what isn’t — especially with people. Focus on how your employees and partners handle tasks.
Ronald Russo is the founder and CEO of GLX.com. His company is building the world’s only capital market directory and social finance network, which is a global capital market news data portal and groundbreaking financial networking platform. He has been an entrepreneur and an active member of the private equity and investment banking communities for more than 24 years.
Where did the idea for your company come from?
I have always tried to organize basic financial data in a way that is interconnected, seamless, intuitive, and extremely easy to access. In 2008, when I was transitioning from the investment banking to the financial media side of the business, I immediately recognized that social media was the answer. I studied the market for the most obvious examples, and the idea for GLX was formed.
What does your typical day look like, and how do you make it productive?
My days are overwhelming, as I have so much I want to accomplish for GLX. First and foremost, I think to be productive, you have to be extremely organized, which I strive to be. Second, I try to move through the day wasting little to no time. For example, I would not think of stopping work to go to lunch. I prefer to drink a protein shake at my desk while reading emails.
Often — but not often enough — I start the morning by reading a personal mantra I created and continually edit. This mantra is a set of rules that I frequently remind myself to stick to. At the end of the workday, I normally fit some exercise in and then wind down completely by cooking myself a beautiful dinner.
How do you bring ideas to life?
In the words of Pablo Picasso, “Good artists copy; great artists steal.”
My process for any idea or topic is to take said idea or topic and Google it. From there, I see how other people have used it or talked about it, and I compile notes on what these individuals have created.
Then, to bring my idea to life, I review the notes I compiled, steal little bits and pieces, add a dose of personal creativity, and combine everything into a unique end product.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
Blockchain is one of the most exciting things happening in technology right now. It has been said that it is as important an invention as the internet itself.
Being a fintech company with broad applications, GLX is capturing so many different opportunities to incorporate blockchain into our business model and platform, from issuing our own cryptocurrency — the GLXCoin (GC) — as the payment method for our ecosystem to moving our shareholder issuance ledger onto the blockchain.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Being ultra-organized. I believe that nearly all of my daily work-related efforts and outputs should be recorded in some fashion. In order to accomplish this, I use three note-taking tools for different functions: Evernote, Apple Notes, and Sublime Text.
At GLX, we are currently building our own proprietary software that will help keep us and our users organized, connected, and productive. We are optimistic that as our software develops, we will unlock even deeper levels of productivity that will impact the lives of many others.
What was the worst job you ever had, and what did you learn from it?
My father was a carpenter, and I grew up doing a lot of manual labor work. Every summer in high school, I was reminded that this type of work is the last thing I ever wanted to do — not even for one minute. For example, you won’t catch me growing a garden.
In a way, this inability to disconnect is probably a character flaw. I have so many visions for the GLX platform that I am so excited to try and bring to fruition; they are constantly on my mind. If I do not listen to music when I am cycling, these ideas scramble incessantly through my head.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
The best strategy is to push what is working and cut out what isn’t — especially with people. Focus on how your employees and partners handle tasks. Is someone focused on staying busy and talking about work, or are they focused on creative problem solving and the end result of actually doing productive work?
What is one failure you’ve had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I consider every endeavor I have tried to date to be a failure. For me, success will be defined as having millions of passionate fans (customers) using your product. I overcome my frustration with the fact that GLX will be that product.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Offer notary public services on the blockchain. I came up with this idea recently while standing in line at Wells Fargo, waiting to get something notarized. I may execute this within GLX, but it will be pretty far out into the future.
What is the best $100 you recently spent?
We have all become so dependent upon our smartphones that we literally think of them as an extension of ourselves. I am guilty of this. So I would have to say that spending $100 on a proper screen protector and a nice case is money well spent.
What software and web services do you use? What do you love about them?
Currently, we enjoy using Salesforce, Skype, Slack, Yahoo Finance, and Google’s G Suite. However, while these services help keep us productive and organized, we are in the process of replacing them with our own proprietary technologies. We’ve already created solutions to replace our reliance on MailChimp and eShares, and we’re excited to continue building out our internal products.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read?
“The Lean Startup” by Eric Ries. It is a must-read for any modern-day entrepreneur who is looking to make a splash.
What people have influenced your thinking and might be of interest to others?
Cornelius Vanderbilt, John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, Steve Jobs, and Elon Musk.
- There is no shame in borrowing great ideas from other entrepreneurs and making them your own. In fact, this is how many of today’s terrific products were built.
- Blockchain is poised to revolutionize the fintech world in many fascinating ways.
- Organization is a big key to entrepreneurial success. Don’t be afraid to keep a living, breathing list of all your tasks, thoughts, and actions.
- Busy work can be an entrepreneur’s — and a company’s — kryptonite. Don’t hesitate to cut ties with processes and people who are not pushing the company forward in creative ways.
- Read “The Lean Startup” by Eric Ries because it contains useful advice on how to launch a modern-day business.
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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.