An entrepreneur is commonly seen as a business leader and innovator of new ideas and business processes. These are the people who have the skills and initiative necessary to take new ideas to market and to make the right decisions that lead to profitability. Most entrepreneurs have some traits that make them successful and that distinguishes them from others and many of these traits were developed through years of hard work and trial and error.
In this particular regard, Damian Crotty, Founder and CEO of CloudFX Group, is an energetic, manically focused, well prepared, disciplined entrepreneur, who is passionate about staying true to his life mantra which is “think arete.”
A prelude to him becoming an Entrepreneur
Damian has spent 15 years on the corporate side of the industry working for leading companies and serving with good leaders. He believes that no two companies or the leaders he had worked with, were alike, but each possessed different leadership qualities that Damian has learnt to modify, operationalize and integrate into his own persona. Damian believes that all companies start out with an inherent desire to serve, although many are motivated by the monetization of their customers as opposed to serving their clients’ needs as their primary priority. This represents the cultural foundation of CloudFX business, putting the customers’ needs ahead of their own.
Starting CloudFX; Decisions and Doubts along the way
The industry was changing and Damian was part of that change so the decision was ultimately an easy one for him, manage it or lead it, he chose the latter.
Though, his decision wasn’t as simple in reality. Damian had to take some tough choices in his career, like starting a business and walking away from a lucrative corporate career. He decided to stick with it, despite the downsides and the risks. While transitioning the CloudFX business model, there were lots of non-believers. In fact, Damian believed that even his board members doubted him at times. But he eventually crossed that bridge with some great people, and now CloudFX is well on the road to a better tomorrow, growing at an unprecedented level and generating great financial outcomes.
CloudFX: Peerless Services Propounded
Launched in the Asia Pacific market in 2009, CloudFX is a strategic technology advisory firm, enabling customers that are wishing to prosper in the Digital age through the adoption of industry-leading Cloud platforms, disruptive technology innovations and proven advanced services.
What is unique about CloudFX is that, the company has evolved to such an extent that they have built two very different companies over a 7-8 year period. The first company was services focused and went from a start-up to a $30 M valuation in less than 4 years, when they completed a Series A investments from Intel Capital and Cisco. Before the investment, the company was entirely self-funded to that point and whilst that was rewarding, CloudFX 2.0 is on an entirely different growth, with an ability to execute and valuation planar.
CloudFX have transitioned from a professional services company to a platform company. They have evolved from being regional to global, having built industry leading technology, CloudFX is changing the way their clients do business and through this they draw an immense satisfaction.
A greater Intent Towards his Customers
When talking about his objectives towards his customers, this is what Damian says, “We are in an industry that is changing rapidly with technology and I am someone that pursues and distills best practice, assimilates large amounts of data quickly and harmonizes that with a strategic understanding of my industry, our customers current state challenges, yet future state opportunities, so synthesizing these elements together in an agile, innovative and yet refined way is less about my mission and more about developing capabilities which aligns with the reality of the market today.”
Damian entails his mission is rather simple, he wants to enable customers to capitalize on the opportunities the 4th industrial revolution (Digital) represents – particularly in the Enterprise segment enabled through industry leading platform technology. He is working towards transforming his clients into better companies which are optimally aligned to the Digital tomorrow with specific focus on Cloud Computing and evolving into IoT.
The Flawed Assumptions and Lessons Learnt
Having completed several executive management assignments around the world, Damian can draw a line between these experiences and tell the differences in the industrial paradigm. He had always believed that there was a better way of managing the generational industrial shift. Unfortunately, the failure in his assumption was that he believed everybody would embrace it, believe it and could articulate it to their clients.
After working for 7 years for 7 days a week, 15 hours a day, Damian have realized that, there is no substitute to hard work and unless you truly believe in what you’re doing, you will run out of gas. Damian further adds, there are two fundamental lessons he has learnt with time. The first is to have a great product, “Deliver exceptional quality of service and out do the next guy by being smarter, while never taking anything for granted; hustle every single day.” The second major learning is more subtle – be careful who you trust and realize that you’re probably going to have to go largely “all alone”.
Responsibility as a Dynamic Entrepreneur
When you decide to be an entrepreneur, you inherit some responsibilities; you have the opportunity to generate a real impact on others. Similarly, Damian has a responsibility towards serving his staff, customers and shareholders by providing them with a framework that enables each employee, each business function and each client engagement to realize their greatest potential. Damian achieves this by understanding the markets his company serves, customer needs and the employee’s motivational profile intimately, so that he can triangulate “potential need” with the combined energy and capability of his team to deliver aspirational outcomes for all constituents he is responsible for and accountable to.
What Success means to Damian?
Every person thinks differently, and defines his success accordingly. For Damian success isn’t measured in money or assets, he measures success by his ability to fulfill his vision for the company. And today, Damian is on that path to accomplish that vision. Having seen an equal measure of success and failure, Damian tends to see himself as a very open and evolving entity and deeply committed and capable of bringing about the outcomes he sees available to the clients. Connecting the dots on his and his team’s capabilities and with the resources they have now put in place, he is ready to execute that vision. Damian has been successful in defining and operationalizing the success equation for CloudFX, but the ultimate yard stick is the success of their customers, the emotional engagement of his team and their ability to fulfill the fundamental desire to bring about positive change. For Damian, “Once these are converging and scaling, I will feel a small measure of success.”
“In terms of people that influenced me, I draw inspiration from the environments I’ve worked in, a fundamental desire to drive positive change, people, experiences – good and bad and I’ve had my share of both, people’s love and people’s negativity. Ultimately they are simply events that shape my motivation profile.”
After 8 years into this journey, what truly inspires Damian, is that he is more passionate, more committed, more engaged and more enthusiastic than he has ever been about CloudFX, despite the opportunity to turn his back on it dozens of times.
Guidance for Aspiring Entrepreneurs
Advising someone who is just starting out, Damian says, “You must be prepared to forgo today, tomorrow, a year, perhaps even a decade to realize the fruits of your labor, delayed gratification in other words.” He further implies that, one must be passionate about what they’re doing, believe that its unique and be relentless in making it work. Damian also reveals the need to be open to new learning’s during difficult times, rather than look outwards and blame others. You need to ask yourself “what can I take from this that will make me better?”
Damian distinguishes 5 elements in order to start and run a successful business, which are, Quality of idea, Quality of proposition, Size of the problem being solved, Personal tenacity and being Multi-skilled, being prepared to accept failure and adapt quickly.
Is Entrepreneurship, Something in your Blood or Something you can Learn?
It is an almost tangible question touched by every entrepreneur through their experiences and intellect. The unresolved question has a deeper meaning for any business to succeed.
Things like passion, work ethic, desire, a will to win, the ability to never quit, learning qualities or to inherent someone’s personality, are some very important qualities Damian acknowledges as key for a successful entrepreneur. Through his personal experiences, Damian is convinced that entrepreneurship is something that is in your blood. He says, “I’ve seen too many people say “I want it” and when challenged by the first series of hurdles, they give up or blame others and walk away.”
Damian adds, “You cannot beat the man who never quits, you can’t have a quit switch. The pain of self-discipline is less than the pain of regret.” To attain this level of success, Damian had to do his fair share of sacrifices as well. He had to sacrifice every tangible asset he has ever owned to pursue his goals, give up lots of “associates” and keep his life very simple but extremely disciplined.
Relinquishing the challenges
The favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur for Damian is the opportunity to lead people, share his experiences with people (employees and customers). Strangely enough, he relishes the prospects of failure while constantly testing his ability to bounce back from adversity. But most of all, he enjoys in delivering on his promises made to his clients and it bring about the positive changes he planned for, which is fulfilling.