An Interview With Fotis Georgiadis
Fail fast, iterate. We are a learning team. We’re not afraid to fail, but it’s important we keep track of our findings so we can fix things and do better each time so our company reaches its KPIs.
As a part of our series about business leaders who are shaking things up in their industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Guy Melamed.
Guy Melamed is co-founder and CEO of Exberry, the exchange technology pioneer that is revolutionizing marketplaces. As a serial entrepreneur, Guy leads the way by being innovative, a results-driven product strategist, and passionate about bringing top notch products to the market.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! 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’ve been an entrepreneur ever since I can remember. When I was ten, I asked my parents if I could sell balloons in the local square on Saturdays, and they said yes! That first week, I went out and made it big! To everyone’s surprise (even me), I sold out and came home with a handful of cash. The following week, I was motivated to do even better. I knew I needed more manpower so I recruited 10 of my friends to cover the main shopping street! We did very well.
I have worked in tech for the last 20 years. Designing viable solutions for real business challenges has always intrigued me. I am most energized when we solve, not only for the immediate pain but for the future existence of the product we create.
I am also intrigued by the industries that are experiencing significant change and are undergoing exponential growth.
Over the years I was fortunate to work with gifted professionals in the areas of Education Technology, Natural Language Understanding, Shared Mobility, and Fintech, and specifically since 2016 in Blockchain. Finding real use applications and solutions that could be implemented and make an impact on our customers is a concept that becomes more important to me with each new product. Having solid tech is never good enough. The goal is to have tech that can change lives and businesses.
Can you tell our readers what it is about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?
From a methodological point of view, we always start with the tech. Can the tech solve a problem? but that alone does not give the solution enough wings to fly. You can only claim true success when you master the other stages as well, from the product strategy, and customer experience all the way to GTM and penetration strategy.
This is a challenge when you are working towards innovations that will overlap with traditional industries. This is especially true when regulators are involved and the players are locked into lifetime contracts and legacy or proprietary tech.
The speed, cost of ownership, and performance at which we can help entrepreneurs and traditional markets launch their own exchanges or products is so fast, and in a SaaS model, this is really exciting to see! Until now, only the elite had access but now we are empowering big and small players that may have been previously closed off.
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?
In my very first interview for a managing role in tech, a missile attack alarm went off ten minutes into the meeting. The HR director and myself were locked in the safe room for an hour and a half. It was a crazy. It was funny. And, definitely a scary moment. This was one of the best interviews I ever had. An intense interview resulted in one of the most transformational roles for me as a young manager. I landed the job and went on to build the largest UX/creative department in Israel at the time.
We all need a little help along the journey. Who have been some of your mentors? Can you share a story about how they made an impact?
One thing I have definitely learned along the way is that you cannot do anything alone. There are four people that have made a massive impact on me.
Shmuel Meitar, is the Founder of Amdocs, he inspired me to switch from film and television to the tech industry. I learned from him how to dream big. He was a master at taking the most traditional industry (education at the time) and bringing it to the 21st century.
Shalom Passy, was a COO that I worked with at the same time. He was most influential in teaching me how to prepare a company for growth. I learned about recognizing the weakest links and taking action to correct them in order to build a stronger organization.
Uri Inx — Was a hire I made as an illustrator and art director for one of my product development teams. He has a unique way of thinking and is excellent to have when disintermediating. He knows how to ask tough questions. To this day, I make sure to bring him along to product and strategy meetings with some of the biggest players. Tech leaders are often surprised to see him sitting at the table, but I know that having smart individuals from different industries and with unique thought mechanics challenges us to be truly innovative. People love having him there.
In today’s parlance, being disruptive is usually a positive adjective. But is disrupting always good? When do we say the converse, that a system or structure has ‘withstood the test of time’? Can you articulate to our readers when disrupting an industry is positive, and when disrupting an industry is ‘not so positive’? Can you share some examples of what you mean?
We cannot grow without disruption. We cannot disrupt without listening to feedback.
The core value of disrupting an industry or tech is always a positive concept. Any negatives from disruption would be the ripple effects that come from the disruption. And, those negativities should be temporary, expected, and evaluated because your feedback loop is a top priority.
Artists need an audience. Stores need customers. And, in tech, we need traction, users, growth, engagement, and retention. Without those four elements, we cannot even speak of disruption. Being locked into your own predisposition and waiting to make it big is not enough to disrupt an industry.
Listen, yes…really listen, to the feedback you get from the market and your users, iterate and evolve. Sometimes, Exberry will integrate solutions from totally different industries to test new growth models and solution designs. Sometimes it’s these minor fraction points that create exponential change.
Can you share five of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey? Please give a story or example for each.
I recently asked my colleagues to share their thoughts on what they believed was the difference between wanting to get things done and actually getting things done. These, among others, were my favorite answers:
- Knowing when to say NO and when to say YES. Especially, when working with a team. Sometimes, we need to say NO to things that don’t align with our big goals. However when you are working with a team, sometimes the correct thing is to say YES so that everyone in the room is heard, understood and given a chance.
- Fail fast, iterate. We are a learning team. We’re not afraid to fail, but it’s important we keep track of our findings so we can fix things and do better each time so our company reaches its KPIs.
- Have the right team next to you. There is no “I” in team. Cliche, I know, but it’s true! We are responsible to support each other and respect each person’s role in the company.
- What happens…and when! If we don’t see results or change we know we need to recalibrate. So we pay attention to the results. Have we met our goals? If not, why not?
- Action > emotion. We are our own bottlenecks. The key is not getting stuck in our own heads. Ask for a second opinion, take a walk, and make changes if necessary, but DO something instead of worrying.
We are sure you aren’t done. How are you going to shake things up next?
We are just getting started with Exberry, and some exciting things are coming up! So what’s coming next is a positive disruption of the ecosystem. Stay tuned!
Do you have a book, podcast, or talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking? Can you share a story with us? Can you explain why it was so resonant with you?
Apart from our podcast that is launching soon, one of the books that have guided me along the years is ‘How to Create a Mind’ by the futurist Ray Kurzweil. He suggests that the brain contains a hierarchy of pattern recognizers. This impacted me greatly in exploring how we can accelerate and create exponential growth by using new thought models. It’s a fascinating concept and opens your mind when trying to explore innovation.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“If the wave is up. Leave everything in the office and get in the water.”
Meaning, look for opportunities and go for them.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I think everyone should take on surfing! I live by the beach and I have surfed all my life! Water is an energy and movement in itself. But in all seriousness, we need to be inspired by the ocean and take care of it. Our children and their children will probably be living off of it. There are many environmental movements, but this one is near and dear to my heart. Take care of our ocean!
How can our readers follow you online?
Connect with me on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/guymelamed/
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!
Meet The Disruptors: Guy Melamed Of Exberry On The Five Things You Need To Shake Up Your Industry was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.