We were excited to show our value, and we went straight to work. On the day we deployed our product to the company’s employees, we celebrated what we believed was a flawless launch. But a few hours later, I received a phone call from the CEO:
“What the f*** is your problem!” he screamed.
I was shaken, and wanted to fight back. Instead, I closed my eyes, took deep breaths, and reminded myself that the man was in pain, and that I could be a support. Finally, he calmed enough for me to ask a few questions and learn about the problem:
He hadn’t received the welcome email giving him access to our product, and the rest of the executive team was already enthusiastically talking about it. He felt that he looked like an idiot in front of his team, and he blamed us for failing him.
Instead, I profusely apologized to the CEO and helped him fix the problem. Before we got off the phone, he reminded me that I’d “really f***ed up” and that I didn’t know how to run a business.
I wiped sweat from my forehead, and called my business partner and cofounder, Prosper. I shared with him the call I’d had, and let him know that I didn’t want to keep the client. “We have standards,” I said. “Nobody should be allowed to treat us this way.”
He laughed. “When we have two thousand clients you can believe that, Daniel. Right now we have two. So shut up and make the guy happy.”
That day, I pledged to become an expert in working with difficult people – which has really meant becoming a better person myself. I’ve learned to listen deeper, understand it’s never personal, apologize when needed, and love finding resolutions to hard situations.
And my first instinct, today, is never to run or think I’m too good for anyone. Instead, it’s to figure out what I can learn… how I can be better.. and how I can serve. For me, that’s made all the difference.
Co-Founder, CEO Avanoo
He has devoted his adult life to social and philanthropic endeavors that have large-scale impact. Before Avanoo, he built philanthropic technologies that have served millions of people, and built successful entertainment and financial organizations. Additionally, he has received a number of accolades that make for endless nights of interesting stories. For instance, he’s a 3x US wrestling national champion, and he was once called one of People Magazine’s 50 Hottest Bachelors.