Interview with GARY PUDLES
Gary founded AnswerNet in 1998 and has driven the growth of the organization through sales, acquisitions and partnerships. He’s also won the prestigious “Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year” award, the American Teleservices Association’s “Spirit of Philanthropy Award,” and has led AnswerNet to numerous awards including gaining the #21 spot on Inc. Magazine’s Inc. 500 List of America’s Fastest Growing Private Companies! This is a man you definitely want to hear speak so make sure to catch his talk at the event!
StartupFest: What one thing did you realize was a completely wrong assumption during your career?
GP: I assume that people with me early on could grow with the company, and me as the company grew. But this was not the case in a number of instances and we were often faced with some tough choices. In some instances, people were asked to leave because they could no longer do the work demanded by their job in a bigger company. In other instances, the person who was in a job that had grown removed themselves from the company due to stress.
StartupFest: What advice do you have for entrepreneurs about selling early versus make big bets?
GP: My best advice is to follow your own instinct and path. Investors will want to get out when they think they have maximized their return or when they think they have lost an ability to get the return they want. These are not always the exit drivers for entrepreneurs who also get satisfaction from running their businesses and also monetary return.
StartupFest: What one piece of technology could you not live without, which wasn’t here 10 years ago?
GP: My smartphone. While I don’t use the phone part because the sound quality is poor, being able to have instant access to the answers to business questions without pulling out my laptop is amazing.
StartupFest: What do you think we’ll take for granted in 10 years that isn’t here today?
GP: In ten years we will take for granted where a communication originated or is terminated. Instead we will just look at all communications in our “stream.” What will look stupid and out of date? Anything called an app will look stupid and outdated. We will have mobile web technologies that do all that “apps” do now.
StartupFest: How do you think startups should handle the trade-off between doing good, making money, and building an open marketplace? MAKE ENOUGH MONEY SO
GP: You can do well later unless doing good is part of the marketing strategy. The key is to have a sustainable business first so that you can give back and not put peoples’ jobs and lives at risk.