Pop Quiz, Monday with Angelo Paolillo

With smart ideas and humility, ethical conduct and being always there to lend a hand or give valuable advice.

Angelo Paolillo

The Pop Quiz, Monday is a fun little exam that we love to give to savvy business owners. The examination is not a surprise after all since the interviewee already knew about the questions in advance. However, we can always pretend and have fun with the scenario of a young entrepreneur sitting in class nervously biting on their pencil. They are ready to take a pop quiz on a chapter that they were supposed to read the night before. Instead, they played Metroid all night on their SNES (Oops, this was me in high school). The real purpose of the pop quiz is that this is a fun way to introduce business tips from real-world experiences that you can not learn in a classroom. We want to thank our entrepreneur for being a good sport and volunteering their time to answer a few questions to help our community grow from their knowledge.

I want to introduce you to our guest today who will be taking our Pop Quiz Monday.

Can you please tell everyone your name?
Angelo Paolillo

Angelo Paolillo
Photo credit: Angelo Paolillo                                                                                   

What is your job role?

Tell us about your company?
Cleerup is an integrated digital consulting company with a focus on digital education. We run strategic and tactical consulting and development on a variety of digital topics, often related to marketing, data analysis, and business efficiency. We develop, and delivery offline and online training for business, and have recently developed programs on the Blockchain and digital marketing.

What do you love most about your job?
Freedom and flexibility. It’s a gift to be able to work from everywhere delivering quality services around the world. Being able to shape my day in autonomy is precious.

What motivates you to get up every day and go to work?
The ability to help others and have an impact on solving problems. Whether it’s a business challenge, or our work on accessibility, or digital ethics, I feel we have the privilege of helping others find their own direction in the digital world and gain advantage from the million opportunities it offers to uncover.

How do your co-workers inspire you?
With smart ideas and humility, ethical conduct and being always there to lend a hand or give valuable advice.

How do you have fun at work (team building, pranks, etc..)?
Fun is embedded in our everyday life and must be found in every moment. I don’t feel we need special occasions to have fun. Sometimes a team building event is just a burger and a laugh, I find inspiration in simplicity. I actually have often found ideas and solved problems while playing a board game. I like to think of the office as a playground as much as I can.

What are some of the challenges of your job?
I think the most exciting challenge is being genuinely able to speak your customer’s language, helping them to evolve without taking distance from their world. It’s a very fine balance to strike.

What are some lessons learned from a past project that you can share with us?
Lessons learnt I have galore. One above all: don’t build a monorail to cross the road. Often my way of thinking has been too complex, and I have found benefit in re-learning how to think simply and look to a closer place to find a good solution. It also helped me refocus on understanding where the real problems of the users are. Sometimes playing it a bit smart.

I remember a story shared by one of my favorite Italian writers. The Directors were looking for a solution to make elevators faster in their office following complaints from the staff. They had several meetings for days and came up with modifications at the cost of several thousands of euros for each elevator. The office doorman came up instead with a solution in 10 seconds, for a few euros: just put a mirror at every floor, so the employees will look at themselves in the mirror, fix their hair or straight their jacket collar, and not complain about the elevators. And so the problem was solved.

What advice would you give to someone who is starting in your industry?
I’d like to make it very real world and simple, I think this would be valid advice for any industry. Make sure you have a proper runway, savings or lifestyle modifications to be self-sufficient for at least a year, better two. Prioritize cashflow and payment collection, test your customers for real intentions and budget. Speak your customers’ language and offer a solution or service description that is clear to understand. Differentiate in sub-brands or projects if necessary to tailor your services if fairly wide. Once you get through your first 18 months with solid practices established, then you’re in good shape. Don’t be afraid to explore where you really want to make an impact, be practical in meeting a demand but don’t be to discouraged: sometimes the world needs time and help to discover what you already know, so once you have chosen something close to your heart where you want to make an impact, go for it!

Thank you for taking our pop quiz today. You get an A+ for effort. You can learn more about our interviewee and their business by visiting them on the web:

Sprint: How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days

Sprint offers a transformative formula for testing ideas that works whether you’re at a startup or a large organization. Within five days, you’ll move from idea to prototype to decision, saving you and your team countless hours and countless dollars. A must read for entrepreneurs of all stripes.” —Eric Ries, author of The Lean Startup

Author: Ricky Singh, MBA

Editor of The Startup Growth.

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