Dynamic IT entrepreneur Robert Herjavec the Shark

ROBERTY HERJAVEC 

AMBITION, SPEED, INSTINCT…SHARK

PHOTOS BY CEMHAN BIRICIK

WATCH CHIC TV – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JUzXgRS2UEA&t=2s

 

Robert Herjavec, the shark. Sharks are known for being aggressive: ambitious on the hunt, fast on the move, and led by instinct. Much like a shark, dynamic IT entrepreneur Robert Herjavec also embodies ambition, speed, instinct – but he also has a softer, funny side that we were able to experience in our Chic interview. Hosted at his mansion in Toronto, Canada, we talked about his cyber security company: The Herjavec Group, his insights on leading a business, and his humble beginnings. Oh, and we definitely talked about his cars and bikes!

 

 

The Herjavec Group caters to enterprise-level organizations offering a suite of information security services including gap assessment, consulting, implementation, storage, and remediation. The firm’s managed service offering, with expertise in personalized incident response, breach management, and compliance, is supported by a state-of-the-art Security Operations Centre operated 24.7.365 by certified security engineers.

 

1) You were 27 when you founded your company Brak systems. You started by
interning at an Internet company and working your way up to manager. How
did you come up with the idea for your company?

 

“Every great idea I had was inevitably from a customer. It’s never your or my idea. It’s always the guy who is writing the check. I went to see a customer and he gave me an idea and I ran with it.”

2) After her emigration to Canada, I understand your mom spent her last
savings on a vacuum salesperson’s swindle, and you vowed to never let your
family fall into poverty. Is this the incident that built your drive and
hard work ethic?

“Yes, that was one of the incidents for sure. I still have that vacuum. I remember the incident like it was yesterday. I also remember I used to get beat up from kids in school and on the way home, which shaped me too. That is why I hate Mark Cuban; because he is such a bully. (He laughs profusely).”

3) What was one of the hardest decisions you had to make for your company?

“To keep it. I had no money and I couldn’t even imagine 100,000 dollars. I had a hard offer for five million right in front of me to sell it. I would’ve gotten the money in 24 hours and I didn’t even have $5,000 in my bank. It was late at night and I thought it over and turned down the offer. To walk away from five million dollars is very hard when you have never even heard offers like that. Three years later I sold it for over $100 million.”

4) Tell me why THG is one of the leaders in cyber security.
What are some of the tricky moves hackers make these days and how do you
stay ahead?

“We are at the tipping point of cyber security. There’s roughly two and a half billion people on the internet and 5 billion IP addresses. Every device has to have an IP address. By 2021 there will be 5 billion people on the Internet and 343 trillion devices. Each is an access point that can be used for state sponsored or cyber security.”

5) What’s the fastest you have gone in your fastest car? What is the
favorite of all of your cars? Do you name them?

“That’s a funny question. Most people ask me, ‘How fast were you going when you hit something?’ The fastest I have gone in a race was 203 MPH and the fastest I have gone was 215 MPH but I’m not stating whether that was on a highway or a public road. I was going 180 when I crashed and thankfully survived. When people ask me what my favorite car is my usual line is the ‘next one.’ However, my real favorite car is my 1986 Ferrari Testarossa , which was the first hot car that I owned. Before I had my first child, my son, I thought that I could never love anything as much as I loved that car. Then I had my son and I realized that I can. I drove him home from the hospital in that car. So when he turned 18, I hired a detective to track down that exact car and I gave it to my son for his birthday. The funny thing is that he doesn’t like fast cars and cannot drive a standard.”

Kelly: “HA. The shoemaker’s son wears no shoes, right?”
Robert: “Exactly.” (Robert laughs heartily)

 

 

6) How many Ducatis do you own? What’s the fastest you’ve ever gone on
your Ducati?

 

“Too many. I was at the race shop and I said to Paul, the sales manager there: “That’s a beautiful Ducati in the corner. I want to buy it,” and he said, “Robert, you already bought it three years ago. “

Kelly “That’s what happens to me with shoes! I bring home a new pair and realize I already own a pair of the same exact ones.”

Robert, ” (chuckles) Bikes are more serious. There’s nothing more fun that going fast on a bike.”

Kelly, “Yes, they are more serious. You cannot survive a 180 mile per hour crash on a bike.”

Robert, “No, you can’t.”

7) How many hours a day / week do you typically work? I heard Shark Tank
films only 20 days per year so you really spend most of your time at The
Herjavec Group?

 

“I work all the time, but I try my best to find a balance and I have a great team that organizes me and helps me keep that balance. I really don’t consider it work, though. I hate when people call it ‘work.’ I love what I do. If there were more than 24 hours in a day, I would do it more.”

 

8) I understand that your goal is to build a billion dollar company.
Would you sell it once it reaches one billion dollars?

 

“Probably not; THG is the best company I’ve ever worked at. It’s not just because it’s my company. We are a world-class security company. We have unlimited opportunities and we are beating out world-class competitors. The future is unlimited.”

 

9) What are some of the luxury items you have chosen to buy for yourself
and family after hitting certain financial milestones, besides your car
collection and your homes? Like a gold toilet seat?

 

“I’m not like that; I am just a simple guy (laughing). A jet, a few Ferraris and I’m good to go: so no gold toilet seat. I think the jet is one such luxury item. I had never met anyone who owned a jet until I was 35. It really is an incredible luxury – a great business tool of course.”

 

10) People have said of you: “Robert has a softer side, offering empathy for entrepreneurs who
enter the tank.” What kind advice would you give a new entrepreneur?

 

“Find a problem. Solve a problem. Start a business. The greatest businesses were built because somebody saw a need. You don’t build a company and then solve a problem. People too often start a business because they romanticize it or do it for the wrong reasons. Great businesses were built around a need.”

11) You have been a “shark” to many, offering advice, money and
encouragement. Who has been a “shark” to you?

“I’ve been incredibly fortunate along the way. I was in a coffee shop the other day and there was a kid working behind the counter. He was about 19. He said that his mom had passed away and he was watching Shark Tank and was so inspired. I had given him hope. I love Shark Tank for that reason. It gives me hope too.

It’s easy to expect that the world owes you something. But the world only owes you whatever value you create that day. One of my favorite Sharks, Mark Cuban, has a saying: ‘Every day someone wakes up with the sole intention of kicking your ass.’ I framed that and put it on my wall at work.”

 

12) What are some of the businesses you never thought you would own that
you do now? Such as food businesses, rock bands , etc…

 

“I’m in the guitar business, food, slipper business, inapp​ropriate ugly sweater business…..so many. They’re all great entrepreneurs. They’re all passionate about what they do.”

 

 

https://www.herjavecgroup.com

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