Diego Prusky, Founder & CEO, Inpulse Digital
What do you need to be an entrepreneur?
Thick skin, creativity and passion. Thick skin in order to still be creative throughout the hurdles of running a business. Creativity is absolutely essential to create new services and products, new processes, and to imagine something that doesn’t yet exist. And without passion for your business, you can’t spend the endless hours that it takes to run it successfully.
What inspired you to start your business?
My parents, although I didn’t know it initially. My father and my grandfather were entrepreneurs. I enjoy the challenge of building something. It is a huge source of energy for me (which my team has to cope with). At some point I realized why my dad had done some things that as a kid I didn’t understand (I was the youngest). I know now that he was strategizing.
How did you finance it?
With my own savings, I have been saving all my life. We had a ranch in Uruguay. When I was about 10, I bought a sheep, which had twins. About six years later, my dad made me sell everything because between me and my brother we had grown a herd. While finishing college I also spent some time in software consulting for Y2K projects and that allowed me to save money too.
Does being Hispanic/Latino have any influence on your business?
We are all about understanding our client’s consumers. What really helps is having lived, travelled, studied, and analyzed different cultures. We are focused on the Hispanic market because we feel very comfortable and passionate about it.
In the face of adversity, how do you decide to drive ahead?
Experience helps. After making a few mistakes, you learn that adversity and economic downturns are all opportunities if you are prepared.
I love my work, I believe we are the best Hispanic social media agency around; we thrive on Intel’s principle of destroy your business or others will. We are always evolving.
What is the biggest challenge your business has faced?
In the early stages, going from a single large client to multiple clients in the middle of a crisis was tough. We needed to build up and grow our infrastructure while dealing with the uncertainty of the market. Music was our first industry and they’ve been ahead of the curve, which helped us a lot.
If you could change one thing about your business. What would it be?
I’m constantly changing things. We are always developing new services, testing new approaches. We started a social video lab just in time for Facebook’s auto-play video launch. We also created a social media research department this year. There’s a lot more we need to do.
What was your childhood ambition?
According to my mom I would say I wanted to be the boss like my dad. I used to read a lot about animals, especially African wildlife and I wanted to help save these amazing animals. I still hope I can help. I talk to my kids about it. Fortunately kids today know about Polar bears being close to extinction, and water preservation, all things that I had to learn on my own. Right now the White Rhino is about to go into extinction, there are about 5 left. I think we can take better care of our home.
Tell us about three entrepreneurs that you admire.
In general I don’t admire people by the size of what they’ve built, but by how they did it, the teams they’ve assembled around them, and the challenges they’ve faced. I admire friends who have been able to keep a balance between work and life, while maintaining a low profile. I’m also very intrigued about what Amazon’s Jeff Bezos’s endeavors will look like 10-15 years from now. He has been spending on growth and expansion, and the stock has tripled in 5 years. I admire entrepreneurs that give back to the community. I think they can really save the world by showing the rest of us mortals a better balance in life.
For business meetings, which do you prefer: breakfast, lunch, or dinner?
Usually lunch, I try to have breakfast with my kids when I’m in town.
What sacrifices in your personal life did you have to make in order to become successful in your business?
My wife probably has a long list! Being away from home, working long hours, not taking enough vacation, and probably the biggest challenge is, as an entrepreneur you are always thinking about the business. It’s a 24x7x365 job.
What is your favorite quote?
“El diablo sabe por diablo pero más sabe por viejo” My mom used to tell me this when I challenged some of her responses as a kid. It reminds me that we can always learn new things and that experience is very important.
Is it difficult to be unconventional?
Not if you trust yourself and why you are doing it. I meet hundreds of people per year and some are way more unconventional and successful, and that gives me courage and inspiration.
Biggest mistake made?
Not taking more risks. Since we are self-funded, and have gone through the dot com bust, 9-11 and the Great Recession, I’ve tended to be conservative, but we’ve probably lost some growth opportunities because of it .
Do you consider yourself an innovator? Why?
I’m a Chemical Engineer, then I got into software development in the late 90s with Y2K projects. I then went on to launch the hosting & digital arm of the company I was working for and then launched InPulse as a social media agency. I like change, I like constantly thinking about and understanding how technology is changing our habits, how we communicate and what we expect from brands and entertainers.
Description of the company
InPulse Digital works for the most demanding clients at the forefront of digital: media & entertainment. InPulse Digital manages over 40 million social connections and is continually innovating and adapting to changing digital platforms and social media landscapes. As a leading Hispanic marketing social media agency, InPulse Digital has executed hundreds of projects in over 20 countries for clients such as Universal Music, Warner Music, Sony Pictures Television, MTV, Univisión, E! Online Latino, as well as various celebrities and athletes.http://inpulsemd.com