In an interview with Insights Success, the Founder of CloudFX and UNIoTE Companies, Damian Crotty, nominated as the Entrepreneur of the Year, shares his insights behind commendable global ascension as an entrepreneur. This exceptional industry leader has spearheaded his companies’ product offerings to a massive scale with his prolific and innovative management and technological expertise.
Below are highlights from the interview conducted between Damian and Insights Success wherein:
1. Give a brief overview of your background as an entrepreneur.
I started my entrepreneurial journey in very late 2009 having recognized the significant changes our industry was undertaking as a result of the introduction of virtualization services and subsequent to that, cloud services. Those two interrelated technologies catalyzed a movement best described by one word, “transformation” where organizations globally, began to consider and those forward thinkers particularly, embraced unprecedented initiatives that would see IT change forever. For me personally, I entered the industry just as x86 servers where introduced into the Data Centre, as opposed to using Unix and Mainframe equipment and whilst it was slow goings at the start, I loved being at the forefront of that generational shift with Dell and have now led the next wave of generational technology via my own company in CloudFX, it’s been an incredible journey although, our generational shifts in technology are every 20 years vs. other industries which may move faster so the accumulation of knowledge, lessons, experience and wisdom has helped me be a better entrepreneur vs. someone just starting out.
2. How do you diversify your organization’s offerings to appeal to the target audience?
CloudFX Group Holdings is actually 2 entrepreneurial journeys vs. just one, truth be told. CloudFX started out as an advisory, consulting, virtualization, operational management professional services transformation firm, a business I was able to build from $0 to $30M in value within 3-4 years.
Once Cisco and Intel invested, I made what at the time was perceived as a contentious decision and one without a lot of support from my investors and board, which was, to turn CloudFX into a Digital and Cloud platform company. Those segments at the time where nascent, we had significant staff churn as a result of focusing on a completely unrelated sector of the industry and ended up missing several quarters in a row, needless to say, I was under the spot light. Fast forward to today and it was the best decision we ever made, period.
We are now global, some of the largest companies in the world white label our technology, we are the worldwide leader of Enterprise and Data Centre transformation when it comes to being open, agnostic, flexible, customizable and easy to work with, and I believe we can take those lessons into my next entrepreneurial journey via a vehicle called UNIoTE, which was just incorporated in Singapore some weeks back, exclusively focused on IoT Services and Solutions automation and management and also, Industry 4.0 Solutions. I am really excited about CloudFX’s future and UNIoTE’s future, given it allows us to cover Digital, Cloud and IoT – the 3 layers of the 4th Industrial Revolution, and I remain fervent, that we are doing it better than anyone and if we aren’t, we are working harder than anyone to achieve the number one position in this space globally.
3. Describe some of the vital attributes that every entrepreneur should possess.
No two entrepreneurs are the same, therefore, there is no one personality type that naturally gravitates towards this approach to business and specifically, putting it all on the line, taking unprecedented risks and believing that your idea, hard work, comrades and your own energy will win the day.
That said, if I had to answer this question at a macro level, the attributes would be – Driven, Focused, Passionate, Intelligent, Resilient and Unwavering. Frankly, it suited my personality well, but I’ve seen introverts do incredible things and extroverts fail miserably, it’s a hard, long and lonely slog, but belief and having a no “quit” button whilst remaining adaptable to the changing internal and external conditions around you, are all key to sustainability.
4. What were the past experiences, achievements or lessons that have shaped your journey?
Answer: 4 things stand out. My time at Dell was incredible. I worked for great people and was given a lot of responsibility at a very young age. Two, I’ve worked with some great people they have taught me a lot. Three, an incredible family that have always been in my corner, they’ve kept me focused on contributing vs. simply making money. Four, is my personal journey with regards to self-development. I’ve loved being able to tap into PodCast’s, Meditation, Yoga, Martial Arts and a myriad of other things to keep me centered, focused and always appreciating the moment I am in whilst keeping an eye out for what’s next.
5. How do you strategize your game plans to tackle competition in the market?
Markets are always interesting, in that they are stale and ready for disruption or being disrupted or are over capitalized covering up for poor execution and needing to be disrupted. In tech, there is a slight nuance and that’s the fact we move much faster than most, if not all verticals re: innovation. It doesn’t take me long to breakdown a market, what’s happening, what my business needs to do and who I will take out one by one. I live for this, I am equipped to do this kind of work and I enjoy bringing greater value to partners, customers and the broader industry, that’s the very definition of progress and I want to reflect on my career, not as a career guy, but a person that pushed the envelope, took risks and perhaps not changed, but certainly influenced the game.
6. What were the primal challenges and roadblocks you faced during the initial phase of your career as an entrepreneur?
Two things; One, going from managing a multi thousand-person organization to being in an organization of one, no-one can discount the impact of that unless you go through it yourself. It’s a wonderful lesson in humility, when one day people are rolling out the red carpet and the next, they won’t answer your phone call.
The second thing is, at least in my case, I self-funded CloudFX and I am self-funding UNIoTE, that’s how strongly I believe in these transformation vehicles. Arguably, CloudFX will make a lot of money for all investors, but decisions – self-doubt – money – they all inter-related to create an interesting conundrum in that every bad decision or even misplaced decision hits you hard in every conceivable way, but frankly, I love it, so yes, there are a myriad of roadblocks that we can change into wins, losses, lessons or negativity. I prefer wins and learning.
7. Where do you see yourself in the near future and what are your future goals?
I’ve just stepped down as CEO from CloudFX but remain the strategic advisor for that business, the majority shareholder and on the board. I’ve just started UNIoTE, an adjacent company that I believe I can build with a wonderful (but small) group of people I truly care about, at a multiple of CloudFX’s growth, so between the two of these ventures, I am reasonably time constrained.
I try and mentor as many people as possible, I continue to push the envelope on my companies areas of focus in an effort to improve the quality of people’s lives and partner’s success, and I remain truly committed to coaching and mentoring of those people around me looking to pursue similar paths that I have taken in an effort to ensure they avoid my mistakes and capitalize on the insightful decisions I’ve made.
8. What is your advice for budding and emerging entrepreneurs?
Uncover an incredible idea. Find an unbelievable mentor. Moderate your expectations. Hire wonderful people. Leave nothing to chance and be prepared to fail, most entrepreneurs do, be someone that doesn’t.