Aaron Levie has successfully run a $1.2 billion company for eight years, and he's only 28-years old. This year Levie, CEO of Box, a cloud computing company, has been named Entrepreneur of the Year by Inc. magazine.
Inc.'s Editor -In-Chief Eric Schurenberg says Levie "is doing what all great entrepreneurs have always done. He sees the future before almost anyone else, and then, by the force of his personality and drive, he gets his colleagues and his customers to see it too."
Levie sat down with The Daily Ticker to share the top three secrets of his entrepreneurial success: great timing, an underdog mentality, and always remaining vigilant (if not a bit paranoid).
"We've been very fortunate timing the market...both when we started the company and when we made some critical moves that allowed large companies to adopt box," Levie says.
Among those critical moves, according to Inc. magazine: switching Box’s orientation from consumers to business enterprises after recognizing that cloud storage had become a commodity. And having developers create a Box iPad app before the Apple tablet was even available for sale.
"Our industry and our business changes so rapidly on a weekly or monthly basis so you always have to be moving onto the next thing. If you make the wrong decision or miss a step by a quarter that could mean the life or death of your company." Levie adds: "You have to always be thinking and acting like an underdog and be focused on the next thing you have to accomplish."
Levie cites former Intel CEO Andy Grove's Only the Paranoid Survive as the manifesto that he and most entrepreneurs in the Valley follow.
"You always need to make sure that you're disrupting yourself, watching all of the trends that could potentially disrupt you and always generally have a heightened sense of awareness and paranoia about what could happen at any given time," he says.
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