As a part of our series called ‘Five Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Became A CEO’ we had the pleasure of interviewing Entrepreneur and Philanthropist, Rick Langley.
Rick Langley is a successful entrepreneur and philanthropist, also known as @Scorpion.Rick. Founder of the world’s largest Blue Scorpion farm and state of the art lab, he went on to create the MRVL Group, which uses a ground-breaking proprietary ingredient, Blue Scorpion Peptide in all their products. Rick adopted a business philosophy of social responsibility & is the founder of Today’s Promises, a non-profit charity that aids impoverished children in the Caribbean.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular career path?
Thank you for having me. I started my career in Venture Capital and accumulated over thirty years of experience in mergers & acquisitions and international business. In 2012, I was asked to evaluate a wide array of opportunities and one was to identify compounds with pharmacological potential in scorpion venom and in essence, milk Blue Scorpions for research and development. This piqued my interest and eventually changed the direction of my life. The existing studies and usage by people all over the world to employ healing properties really excited me. Farmers were literally stinging themselves with scorpions to relieve their arthritis symptoms!
This discovery was also personal for me, my cat was diagnosed with cancer, and then members of my family were aging and getting diagnosed with cancer. My passion really grew from there, I have always been very passionate about helping people. For example, I created a foundation called Today’s Promises.org which helps support children living in orphanages in the Caribbean.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?
We discovered a new Peptide in our Venom extraction and signed Kate Beckinsale to be the face of our anti-aging skincare line.
Scorpion venom has been used for human health going back to the Egyptians and ancient pyramids, so it isn’t new, I just think it got lost in time. However, we are the first to recognize the benefits and add it to skincare. We discovered a brand new peptide for skincare that is essential for collagen growth and anti-aging. This ingredient is going to change the game in anti-aging skincare, as it is the first time it is being used this way. We applied the peptide to our revolutionary skincare line that will be launching this Fall 2021.
Our scorpion breed is a non-venomous species, so if you get stung by it, which often happens in our lab facilities, it’s similar to getting stung by a bee. There are 5,000 different species of scorpions and only a handful are venomous.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
I can’t recall a funny mistake but the biggest mistake I do recall is not following my gut and letting outsiders influence me. I am here because of my gut and I need to stick with it.
For example, I knew I should create a scorpion shaped bottle for our signature piece. Everyone was concerned about the timing and price. I knew it was the correct path to go but let the people with industry knowledge make this decision. Wrong idea. We are now doing a beautiful scorpion shaped glass bottle for our signature anti-aging serum and I anticipate it to be the #1 seller in the line.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
My grandmother was a huge inspiration who taught me to pay attention to detail, to appreciate beauty and to try to help others from a young age. I also was fortunate to have a beautiful mother and two aunts who were beautiful inside and out. My father instilled in me a strong work ethic which is critical to success in this very competitive world.
As you know, the United States is currently facing a very important self-reckoning about race, diversity, equality and inclusion. This may be obvious to you, but it will be helpful to spell this out. Can you articulate to our readers a few reasons why it is so important for a business or organization to have a diverse executive team?
I am very proud of our diverse team at MRVL. Having such a strong and diverse team allows for multiple points of views. The understanding of various cultures ultimately increases our ability to communicate with all of our customers.
As a business leader, can you please share a few steps we must take to truly create an inclusive, representative, and equitable society? Kindly share a story or example for each.
I think we need to think outside of the box. For example, when I staffed the facilities in Turks & Caicos where we are building our spa, I not only brought workers from other countries but also reached out to other communities to diversify my work force and management team. We were able to include the local Islanders and a diverse work force representing many cultures.
Ok, thank you for that. Let’s now jump to the primary focus of our interview. Most of our readers — in fact, most people — think they have a pretty good idea of what a CEO or executive does. But in just a few words can you explain what an executive does that is different from the responsibilities of the other leaders?
As executives, we make decisions and make them quickly. It may not always be the correct decision, but it is important to be able to pull the trigger on something and not sit and ponder too long.
What are the “myths” that you would like to dispel about being a CEO or executive. Can you explain what you mean?
It is not always the best job in the company. You often have to make decisions that you wish you could avoid. It is difficult making everyone happy all of the time, but the company has to come first for the benefit of all.
What is the most striking difference between your actual job and how you thought the job would be?
It is actually exactly what I thought it would be. I am pulled in 1000 directions and multi-tasking from 530 am to 10 PM. It is a lot, but it comes with great reward and a true sense of accomplishment.
Do you think everyone is cut out to be an executive? In your opinion, which specific traits increase the likelihood that a person will be a successful executive and what type of person should avoid aspiring to be an executive? Can you explain what you mean?
Absolutely not. Some people are skilled leaders and others are skilled followers. The person who watches the clock to leave at 5 would never make a strong executive. The person that is in the office first and the last to leave always climbs to the top, regardless of the industry.
What advice would you give to other business leaders to help create a fantastic work culture? Can you share a story or an example?
I think listening is very important and knowing how to delegate. Delegating is often the hardest task of a CEO. It has taken me years to be able to let go and trust my team to make decisions. Sometimes those are mistakes and other times they are the ones that move the business forward.
How have you used your success to make the world a better place?
I have always believed in social responsibility and the importance of giving back. Our company donates 5% of every purchase to Today’s Promises, a non-profit charity I founded that aids impoverished children.
Fantastic. Here is the primary question of our interview. What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why? (Please share a story or example for each.)
As you know, I created MRVL so I was not told anything, and it is exactly what I anticipated. We are growing as fast as I knew we would. Not only delivering revolutionary new beauty and health products but also making a positive impact on the world we live in.
1. Trust your gut. no one knows your vision better than you do.
2. Don’t second-guess yourself.
3. Be prepared to work extremely hard. No one ever got anywhere by taking shortcuts.
4. Be prepared to make mistakes. This is how you grow and do better.
5. Have a mission to do some good in the world. With that as your driving force, you cannot fail.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.
I would stop the fishing of the oceans for a ten-year period to let the oceans rebuild. Without them, earth cannot survive.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
Every time a door closes another door opens. We just have to be calm and wise enough to see the door in the distance. I went through many potential locations for our lab and spa in Turks & Caicos. I was $400k into a unit when covid hit and we lost the location. The location I always wanted became available almost simultaneously. We were able to build it out for a fraction of the cost and it is far more suited for our needs. Not panicking and watching for other doors to open is essential to good leadership and success.
We are very blessed that some very prominent names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them
Another good question. There are many extraordinary people I would love to have the opportunity to sit with and learn from. I must say one who intrigues me is Jeff Bezos. Talk about a vision and the execution to see it through! I am impressed every day with my Amazon deliveries and what a visionary he was to create this company.