As part of my series about the “How Business Leaders Plan To Rebuild In The Post COVID Economy,” I had the pleasure of interviewing Mario Veraldo.
Mario is the CEO of the start-up Reinvention Revolution. The time was right to help people reinvent themselves and their business due to the unprecedented development in multiple industries, the low barriers for entry in different businesses, and the convergence of diverse technology. COVID-19 made the interest grow tremendously, especially as people understood that the acceleration Mario has been talking about for years, is now real and more pressing than ever.
Thank you so much for your time! I know that you are a very busy person. Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?
In August 2018, the company I had worked for during 24 decided it was time for me to continue my career somewhere else. It not different than in many of the times I had moved before, however this time, I had one of my daughters starting 1st grade and did not feel it was the right time to move.
I was observing how much technology across different industries was changing and how many opportunities were being created. When we consider we will live much longer than our ancestors, it is only natural to think that people will want to have multiple careers in their lifetime.
When studying how that development converged, it was clear we had tectonic shifts not only in technology but also in how you approach selling your services and products. Wrapping all that around, we have the mindset which needs to change — generation X was not born with seamless connectivity that is ever-present now, and we need to change how we think to take the most advantage of it.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘take aways’ you learned from that?
The starting point for the business is that I want my customers to see how much I have done what I preach. So I tried to capture all the different technologies I could possibly do to automate our processes as much as possible.
The problem is that our technology stack became unbearable early on. Today you have way too similar off the shelf tools, which can be confusing. We have since then established a checklist around what do you need to capture the need for a specific tool.
We begin with what we are trying to accomplish and determine first how to get it done THEN (and only then) what is the tool(s) we will deploy to execute that.
The primary learning was to avoid the bright shiny object syndrome. Not only on the tools but across the different parts of the business. This is particularly important when the pressure starts building — either because you have too few customers (or too many).
Is there a particular book that you read, or podcast you listened to, that really helped you in your career? Can you explain?
Since 2007 I have been following Tim Ferris and a lot of the ideas that made their way into the Reinvention Revolution start by reversing engineering what he was doing. He is a master of understanding successful patterns and describing them effortlessly.
However, it was when I read The 100-Year Life by Lynda Gratton and Andrew Scott that I realized things had evolved to the point where a lot of the ideas I had would become opportunities in the years to come.
Extensive research suggests that “purpose driven business” are more successful in many areas. When you started your company what was your vision, your purpose?
Contributing to a more significant cause is the core of human existence. I am very grateful as my starting point in life was very low, and it was only having so many mentors in my life that gave me their time and knowledge condensed in a way that made me believe my dreams were possible.
My purpose in life is to equip everyone who wants to experience that sense of possibility and help them take action. Hard work is no guarantee for success, but you will never succeed without working very hard.
Do you have a “number one principle” that guides you through the ups and downs of running a business?
People will always make a difference. Our philosophy is very set on the intersection of mindset, marketing, and technology; however, this can only be achieved if you have your community fully engaged. Your employees are people, your customers are people, and regardless of the value you generate as companies, people will always matter.
Thank you for all that. The Covid-19 pandemic has affected nearly every aspect of our lives today. For the benefit of empowering our readers, can you share with our readers a few of the personal and family related challenges you faced during this crisis? Can you share what you’ve done to address those challenges?
Because of how the company is structured, we have not been affected that much. We serve customers in Mexico, Brazil, USA, and do that mostly through remote interactions. Working from home was normal for us, but having the kids with their homeschooling schedules and finding time to do house chores has been challenging as well.
Can you share a few of the biggest work related challenges you are facing during this pandemic? Can you share what you’ve done to address those challenges?
The most significant challenge is around the fact that everyone is now looking for the magic wand to solve their problems. CEOs who have been against home office policies before are now asking how they can continue to generate business using that “tool.” We have been working to shorter processes to help our customers, but we have to work very hard on mindset to make those changes stick.
Lots of new models are emerging in our customers on how to take genuine advantage of the situation — which is something only possible if the mindset is in the right place.
Many people have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. The fears related to the coronavirus pandemic have understandably heightened a sense of uncertainty, fear, and loneliness. What are a few ideas that you have used to offer support to your family and loved ones who were feeling anxious? Can you explain?
First, following the news cycle is a choice. The first part of what I recommend to family and friends is to allocate a small amount of time to follow what really matters. My parents live in Brazil, so I ensure I observe how the situation is evolving there to help them if that is needed. However, I could bury my day with endless news on the global crisis, and that would not allow me to act on any of it.
So the choice is if you need to follow something, make sure it is information that will allow you to act on. That takes me to the second point, resources. We have never had as many resources available if you want to learn something, improve yourself, start a business.
You can start a simple internet page, sell your services, and build a business mostly for free today. All you need is the time to learn — that is the most perishable element in our lives, and when we build the mindset, it is not worth spending that with something you cannot possibly use, your life changes for good.
Obviously we can’t know for certain what the Post-Covid economy will look like. But we can of course try our best to be prepared. We can reasonably assume that the Post-Covid economy will be a trying time for many people across the globe. Yet at the same time the Post-Covid growth can be a time of opportunity. Can you share a few of the opportunities that you anticipate in the Post-Covid economy?
First, changing how we serve our customers. There will be a multitude of customers in places we never thought possible to serve, and they will first need our help. So selling by educating is a good starting point if you want your business to thrive. It may sound naïve, but we have a shift in perception resulting from so many people losing their jobs. I will give something first, and I am sure these customers will reciprocate later.
In a more specific industry, I am confident that global logistics will change forever after these extreme circumstances we are living. There will be a lot of opportunities to bring production close to the end consumer whoever can help that process will have a lot of business in the months to come as the economies re-open and supply chains are depleted. I have a couple of customers focusing on that as we speak.
How do you think the COVID pandemic might permanently change the way we behave, act or live?
First remote work will cause a significant shift in the workforce. Everyone will be competing in what I call the global market. Many companies adopted a distributed model before, but this process is going to be accelerated. I think the main limitation will be around the time zones customers need to be served, but for most functions that can be performed asynchronously, even that will be a minor issue.
Another one is technology adoption. Video conferencing was frowned upon just 3 months ago and is now how many companies have continued to operate. This was one technology, but we have VR, AR, AI, and a lot of other accelerators in the pipeline that will make professional and personal lives more intertwined than ever.
Considering the potential challenges and opportunities in the Post-Covid economy, what do you personally plan to do to rebuild and grow your business or organization in the Post-Covid Economy?
When the world is focused on their screens, you have to be there. It is challenging to cover every single customer, but investing in visibility is more critical than ever. Every single business that is still standing is now online, and the winners are investing heavily in being known.
Similarly, what would you encourage others to do?
On top of visibility, which is critical now and forever, get your technology to support what you need to do. You have a vital mission in serving your customers, and now you need to serve more of them with fewer resources, faster and better. You can only do that by deploying a layer of technology that will help you.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“You must become the change you want to see” (Mahatma Gandhi). Over the years, I have seen people pleading for success to strike but not intentionally doing the work of helping others to get there. This is the change I think most people mistakenly avoid.
How can our readers further follow your work?
We are also developing a weekly newsletter which you can subscribe to on our website http://www.reinventionrevolution.net and a facebook group called you reinventing. All these are free resources and meant to help as many people as we can.
Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!
About The Author
As Exec. Creative Director, Charlie Katz spearheads the full gamut of creative marketing for Bitbean Software Development in Lakewood, NJ. Charlie has over 20 years experience in major NY and west coast agencies, including Dancer-Fitzgerald-Sample, now Saatchi & Saatchi, D’Arcy-MacManus & Masius, and Wells, Rich Greene. Starting as a junior copywriter and moving up to Exec. Creative Director, he developed creative strategies and campaigns for such clients as Colgate, R.J. Reynolds, KFC, and Home Depot. Along the way he won numerous national and international awards including the NY Advertising Club ‘Andy.’