'Don't give up, don't give up, don't give up'
Q: Describe your company.
A: We're a small, four-person organization, mostly Chicagoans. Each individual has their own specific specialty from tech to design to sales. Between the four of us, we think we've put together a unique team that each brings something different to the table.
Q: Do you plan to hire any additional staff or make any significant capital investments in your company in the next year?
A: The only additional staff that might come into play would be sales people. We've already made some significant capital investments and we hope to soon reap some reward. We're working with Amazon (U.S. and U.K.) and Home Shopping Network (among others).
Q: What will your company's main challenges be in the next year?
A: To gain some traction, to get some name recognition and the best outcome would be to become somewhat of a household name (something I acknowledge is a bit of a stretch in one year but we're still hopeful).
Q: What's the hottest trend in your industry?
A: Right now, wearables. And we think we're more unique than what everyone else has. Selfsafe gives me the security knowing all my vital medical, financial, insurance information is right on my wrist. It's one of those products you hope to never need but it's there when needed.
Q: If you had one tip to give to a rookie executive, what would it be?
A: As corny as it sounds, don't give up, don't give up, don't give up. Believe in yourself.
Q: Do you have a business mantra?
A: See above.
Q: From a business outlook, whom do you look up to?
A: I look up to the CEO of our company, Ed Jacobson. I have great respect for him and an insurance company he built from scratch -- a 100-person organization in Texas and was very successful at it.
Q: What is one interesting fact about you or your company that most people may not know?
A: I had a stroke on Nov. 1 and I truly became a real testimonial to this product. I fully realized the medical necessity side of SelfSafe and how it will save lives.
All the things you take for granted like walking, writing an email, going for a run, become more evident when you can no longer do them. Ironically, SelfSafe became more important to me than ever with a long list of meds and doctors.
Q: Was there a moment in your career that didn't go as you had planned? What lesson did you learn from it?
A: Too many moments to count and you have to understand we're all going to have them. As an ex-trader, the trading world went electronic beginning in the early 2000s and pretty much was done by 2010. I was someone who had spent 30 years on the trading floor and all the sudden there is no trading floor left. Then I had a fantastic job traveling around the world teaching trading and then along came COVID. That was the end of that. Things never go quite as planned so you always must be ready to adapt.
Q: What do you like to do in your free time?
A: I'm basically a bit of a home handyman and I like to take care of my yard, read about history, bike ride.
Q: What book is on your nightstand?
A: Kahil Gibran, "The Prophet." I've always found it very inspirational and gives some great advice I always come back to.
Q: What keeps you up at night?
A: Nothing. I sleep like a rock.
Q: If you were not doing this job, what do you think you would be doing?
Philosophically speaking subscribe to Napoleon Hill and his belief of having more than one income string. "Think and Grow Rich" is the name of his book. While I'm involved with SelfSafe I still have two other businesses I work on as well. I like to stay busy and engaged in promising endeavors.
Q: What was your first paying job?
A: Slapping hot dogs at Fluky's in Rogers Park when I was 15. I made $1.25 an hour.
Q: If you could put your company name on a sports venue, which one would you choose?
A: Wrigley Field.
Q: Two people to follow on Twitter and why. (besides your company).
A: I don't tweet. Have to be honest here.
Partner/VP of Sales
SelfSafe Address: 790 Frontage Road, Northfield, 60093
Industry: Wearables/health wellness
Annual revenue: New startup, none yet. Just officially launched at the Consumer Electronics Show in January after a soft rollout in October.
Number of employees: 4
Family information: Married, two children, two grandchildren (newest grandchild born on Christmas Day, pretty fun for a little Jewish boy) and a dog.