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Tech Stories For New Age Entrepreneurs - Gary Bizzo [Interview]

Shruti Pawar
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24
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Tech Stories For New Age Entrepreneurs - Gary Bizzo [Interview]
Tech Stories for New Age Entrepreneurs- Gary Bizzo [Interview]

About Gary Bizzo

Gary Bizzo is the CEO of Syphon Nanotech, and Bizzo integrated marketing corporation. He was listed one among the top 25 businessmen to follow. Bizzo has an International reputation as an 'Agent of Change' using Social Media. He is the Adjunct Professor of Integrated Marketing, MBA School of Business, New York Institute of Technology. We are extremely happy to have someone of his stature on our interview series.

Tech Stories for New Age Entrepreneurs- Gary Bizzo [Interview]

Aishwarya Jain

We have the pleasure of welcoming Gary Bizzo today to our interview series. I’m Aishwarya Jain from the peopleHum team. Before we begin, just a quick intro of PeopleHum.  peopleHum is an end-to-end, one-view, integrated human capital management automation platform, the winner of the 2019 global Codie Award for HCM that is specifically built for crafted employee experiences and the future of work. We run the peopleHum blog and video channel which receives upwards of 200,000 visitors a year and publish around 2 interviews with well-known names globally, every month.

Aishwarya

Welcome, Gary. We’re thrilled to have you.

Gary

Thanks for the introduction. I'm impressed with your credentials, too. It's very good. 

Aishwarya

Oh, thank you so much. And it's a pleasure to have you. 

And I'm really curious if you could kind of tell us about your journey and about experiences that kind of, you know, shaped your thoughts and led you to this wonderful place you are today?

Gary

Well, I've always been looking for a challenge all my life, so a lot of my careers and I've had many careers. They've all hinged around something I thought sounded cool and interesting. Like, I became a photographer back when I was a young boy. I always thought that was kind of cool. And then, I went to work for the government, became a parole officer working with criminals. I started an arms dealer company, where we resold weapons of mass destruction. Maybe not the best job right now, but we only sold to licensed people who could buy our stuff.

I started an ad agency with my marketing experience. I even started an aircraft company. So all the kind of things that I've worked at has a sort of been exciting. I thought and took me through to the next step in my career. And I guess about 15 years ago, I started falling in love with entrepreneurs and startups.

So I ran two business incubators, which gave me a lot of joy because I was working with young people like yourself. And as you can see, I'm a little older. I'm really only 30 years old, but entrepreneurship makes you look older. So, that's pretty much where I am today.

I wanted to do two things in my life as I grew older, and one was to teach at university, and I was talking to a friend and he said, That's like a great idea. I'll introduce you to the dean of my university. So the next thing I know, I'm a professor at the New York Institute and funny enough, all the students we have are from India. I'm overwhelmed and overjoyed that they are because I've never run across such polite, caring individuals in my life and the second thing I really wanted to do was to write.

So, I'm now on my fourth book. Three are business and one is fun. So, I think what you do is, you have to find your goals and you have to live them instead of putting them off and waiting for someone else to show you what their goals are.  

“So, I think what you do is, you have to find your goals and you have to live them instead of putting them off and waiting for someone else to show you what their goals are.”

Aishwarya

That's just fantastic. And I think it's just, you know, inspires me so much to do something, where you can really be passionate because I think a lot of people stop following their passion or do not realize the value of following your dreams or chasing something that you are passionate about. And it's a reminder, that you know why we kind of lose ourselves in doing things that you're not even cared about. We must really look at these things in perspective and try to chase things that we think would be fun or would be something that we are passionate about.

Gary

I think that the most important thing is passion. Like, do what you love and you're never too old to be an entrepreneur. I was doing a lecture to a group of people at a mosque. And this lovely woman sat in the front with their arms crossed for the whole hour and 1/2 lecture and at the end, she said, I'm 93 years old. Do you think I'm too old to start a business? And everybody leaned forward in their seats wanting to hear my answer because it sounded crazy. 

And I said, Well, let's check this out. Do you live in a neighborhood with children? She said, Yeah. Do you have a home or an apartment? She said, A home, I said, Are there any younger children in the neighborhood? She said, Yeah. I said, Well, why don't you take two or three for after school? You know, 7,8 or 9 years old. So they're not a big effort and see how that goes. And she did.

And I always wondered what happened to her because she said, I'm too old to do this and I said, No, nobody is too old. I'm starting new businesses every day. And I'm in my late sixties.

“And I always wondered what happened to her because she said, I'm too old to do this and I said, No, nobody is too old. I'm starting new businesses every day. And I'm in my late sixties.”

Aishwarya

That’s just amazing, very inspiring and you know through all your experiences and through your learnings, what have been the core values, the core principles that you always follow?

Gary

You have to have empathy for people. And I think when I started my incubators, I realized that paying it forward was a big deal. Like, if there's someone that can benefit from your tutelage and your mentorship and that is an honorable thing to do and, I'll never get rich being the person I am. But I certainly can live comfortably and know that I've made changes for people or helped them make their own changes.

“You have to have empathy for people. And I think when I started my incubators, I realized that paying it forward was a big deal. Like, if there's someone that can benefit from your tutelage and your mentorship and that is an honorable thing to do and, I'll never get rich being the person I am. But I certainly can live comfortably and know that I've made changes for people or helped them make their own changes.”

Aishwarya

Absolutely. I think especially in these times when there's a pandemic out there, and if you do not have empathy, then you probably will not be successful with your teammates or with the organization, Right? What's your advice on that?

Gary

No, I totally agree with you. I think the world is gonna come out of this stronger in terms of caring for others and the funny thing I'm watching intently because opportunity comes from diversity. And I'm already starting to see companies springing up because of this virus. Delivery services and personal shoppers and care homes. And I just see a lot of good changes coming from this, even though it's a terrible thing.

Aishwarya

Yeah, that's great. I think humans have always come out of adversity much stronger. They have survived and they have thrived. So we have that in need, the human capability of changing the negative to positive and building on opportunities since just I think a matter of perspective. Just need to kind of hit the eye and when it's for.

And you know, there are a lot of entrepreneurs trying to get the limelight right now but it's such a struggle, even for them, in businesses out there. Do you have any advice for them off? How to kind of cope with this?

Gary

I think you really have to put yourself out there. A lot of people will do their job, but they don't reach a critical mass in what they're doing, so they only become average. If you work hard and promote yourself in a niche that identifies you as an expert, I think that's a whole positive way of looking at it.

“I think you really have to put yourself out there. A lot of people will do their job, but they don't reach a critical mass in what they're doing, so they only become average. If you work hard and promote yourself in a niche that identifies you as an expert, I think that's a whole positive way of looking at it.”

And the other thing is, people can't be afraid to engage with other people, communicate and ask for help.

For instance, I mentioned earlier about mentors. If I was retired, I would love to mentor people. I know a lot of my friends who are my age who have retired and any opportunity there is for someone to ask their advice, they love it because they have got nothing else to do. And there's all this wisdom in their head that is just sitting there waiting for someone to ask. So couple that with the fact that you have to be good at what you do and confident at doing it and a little less humble. Too many people are humble about what they do. So, it's harder to get your word out if you're keeping it to yourself.

Aishwarya

Oh, yes, so true. And you know when it comes to leaders and leadership, there's just so much that leaders have to focus on.

But is there something that's really lacking in the leadership focus today? Why is it so hard to build the right organization culture with increased employment, increased employee engagement?

Gary

I’ll talk about a slightly bigger company than a five-person business. As a company gets bigger, they have all these grandiose HR philosophies about what they will do for the employees and all the benefits the employee has. But in reality, they're not walking the walker, talking the talk. 

So I think employees are more and more underestimated. I think this Coronavirus will open up a whole new thing for people to do remote work. And trust me, if you're working from home, as you know, you have to be very careful that you don't get taken away by all the things happening around your house, like the dishes or your favorite TV show is on. You have to be focused. I think large companies have lost how important an employee is to the company.

You know, they've reduced educational opportunities. They demand more work from you and don't give you raises anymore. So, like, what's that all about? As we can tell by this Corona, employees are the backbone of our business. Look at the health care workers and the the supply chain people from the food industry. I mean, how did they keep it up? And those people deserve all kinds of kudos?

“As we can tell by this Corona, employees are the backbone of our business. Look at the health care workers and the the supply chain people from the food industry. I mean, how did they keep it up? And those people deserve all kinds of kudos?”

Aishwarya

Absolutely. They do. You know, there's so much hard work that's going into that, and they are being very selfless and trying to do their bit.

Gary

It's on one of my shirts. I wore one of my shirts because I came up with the same, doubts kill the warrior. Okay, if you doubt yourself, it'll kill you in battle and in business. And after I would mentor my clients, I would give them this shirt. I gave them the first shirt when I started and I gave them this one. Because success gives you the fuel to continue. So that's another one. Sometimes it takes everything in your toolbox to be able to help entrepreneurs grow and move that one step further.

Aishwarya

Absolutely. And that is such a beautiful quote. Really beautiful quote.

Talking about marketing and marketing strategies, from your experience can you give us a gist of the evolution of marketing strategies over the years?

Gary

Well, I could give you the 16 week-long answer. That's what I teach at the New York Institute is consumer and corporate behavior. And up until the sixties, we were marketed to buy marketing people who wanted to sell us something. And they pushed in your brain that you had to have this because this is the latest, the greatest and all this stuff when in fact, it has now turned into rocket science.

Marketing is now a viable science. Where we analyzed the needs, the social economic, the anthropological and the psychological dreams and aspirations and goals of the customer and then adapt our product and our marketing to fit that people.

“Marketing is now a viable science. Where we analyzed the needs, the social economic, the anthropological and the psychological dreams and aspirations and goals of the customer and then adapt our product and our marketing to fit that people.”

I mean McDonald's, for instance, when they came out with their colorful interiors, everybody said, Oh, it's so colorful. But you don't stay in McDonald's like you do at Starbucks, because the colors were designed to get you in and out quickly. 

Who would've thought? So when you're selling a luxury item, you, for instance, you'll appeal to the ego in vanity and people with money to buy it. Like, be exclusive. I had a lot of fun with my students in my last semester because I went around the classmates and said, Why don't you buy Adidas runners? So why did you buy that Gucci bag? You know, they all have different answers but it was all the same. The product was geared to them.

Aishwarya

Absolutely. And do you believe in that? This kind of adage that says that you need the brand to be put inside your head at least 10 times, so it has to be visible to you. At least 10 times for you to register the brand name?

Gary

That's an amazing observation because, back in the days when the print, like magazines and ads in magazines, this local newspaper would tell people that if they didn't advertise for seven weeks, they wouldn't see any results. And that's exactly right. I started off by writing a free column in an immigration magazine. And I would just talk about basic business concepts, maybe how to start a business, but very short. Just a column. And at the bottom, I just put my name and how to reach me. 

And that's how I started my marketing, marketing my brand. And it became easy for them for people to see that, 'He’s talking about marketing in the magazine. This guy must be an expert' when in fact, I wasn't paid any money for it. It was just a filler, really. But that allows you to go to the other areas, like podcast interviews and stuff like that.

So now I write for big companies like Equities.com, which is based in L.A. And I worked for some companies. I write about them, so I get paid there. But typically, people don't get paid for writing at these big magazines. It's all about marketing yourself, branding yourself. So every opportunity is an opportunity for you.

“So now I write for big companies like Equities.com, which is based in L.A. And I worked for some companies. I write about them, so I get paid there. But typically, people don't get paid for writing at these big magazines. It's all about marketing yourself, branding yourself. So every opportunity is an opportunity for you.”

Aishwarya

Traditionally you used to write in magazines or newspapers, but now everything's moving to digital and there are social media, right? Suddenly everything's just so transparent now. And how is that kind of impacted marketing as such?

Gary

Well, I almost changed Canadian law about 10 years ago with my Twitter account. I was promoting the transparency of salaries paid to CEOs of charities. And, the government of Canada invited me to speak before the host of the Commons in Ottawa on why I thought and my followers thought that, if the CEO of a charity, should have a decent wage, but not millions. 

And after that, I came to the conclusion that one person can change the world. You couldn't do that before now you can and the big thing in the sixties was, people were getting 15 minutes of fame. Now, everybody has the opportunity to have 15 minutes of fame if you want to put it in those terms. And I mean, my reputation was built on Twitter. I had half a million followers at one time.

And people followed me because they liked what I said and now moving into YouTube, I've set up a big studio in my home, and my wife is now my editor. She's doing my video editing, so stay tuned for that. So we keep expanding, growing and transforming into what works. And obviously, as I'm an older guy, it's kind of odd that I'm so deep into social media, but I think you have to keep track of the trends and be part of them, not have them steamrolled over you.

“So we keep expanding, growing and transforming into what works. And obviously, as I'm an older guy, it's kind of odd that I'm so deep into social media, but I think you have to keep track of the trends and be part of them, not have them steamrolled over you.”

I took a Tic Tok account the other day. I'm not sure how to use it, but you know and so I'm on Instagram. I'm on most of them. So the one I like the most is Twitter, cause it's immediate, you engage people right away, and I know I just had a lot of success with it.

Aishwarya

Yeah, it's just such an open platform, right? It's very transparent. And it does not even give you the liberty to edit your tweet once you have tweeted. 

Gary

Well, that's a problem. Late at night, when you're tired and you've had a glass of wine.

Aishwarya

I agree. And you know how you've kind of adopted all of this because a lot of baby boomers are not very comfortable with social media as such?

Gary

My 90-year-old mother is on her iPad all the time. Yet my best friend doesn't know how to turn on his computer. So don't give up on baby boomers yet, you know, there's still some life in us.

Aishwarya

For sure, for sure and, you know, talking about that. Do you see generational gaps and, you know, mindsets that do not align when it comes to millennials, Gen Z and the baby boomers? Do you see that in workplaces?

Gary

The biggest thing I've seen in my book ‘Social Media Rockstar’. I pick up on the fact that I think millennials have a totally different mindset. The millennials in their twenties or more so, they just don't care about certain things that we've taken for granted. So I think when it comes to marketing, it's a different way of looking at it. When it comes to engaging with them, you have to have a different approach. I mean, the age gaps are definitely there, but again, you have to educate yourself on who you're talking to. It's particularly important if you're a millennial and your market is baby boomers. Because unless you talk our language, we're gonna just blow you off and think that you're another one of those millennials.

“I mean, the age gaps are definitely there, but again, you have to educate yourself on who you're talking to. It's particularly important if you're a millennial and your market is baby boomers. Because unless you talk our language, we're gonna just blow you off and think that you're another one of those millennials”

Aishwarya

Absolutely. Yeah, I think it would be important if you need to have an inclusive workplace. You need to build those bridges between all generation and really work it out.

Gary

Oh, yeah. I mean, all my students, obviously, are graduate students, so they're all like 23-24 years old. They bring in birthday cakes for me and at the end of the semester, we go in and have a few beers. I relate to them, and I don't know why, but we appreciate it. And it's fun. It makes work fun for me. 

Aishwarya

Absolutely. This is so nice, you know, to hear that you're just so fluid about this and you're not stuck up, right? Because alone the baby boomers that I talked to just have the silo to my incense, which is just so sad. 

Gary

And that's more or so in my age bracket because I think, it's because we don't understand. where some people don't understand the differences in generations. But if you're a business, you have to understand those things.

Aishwarya

And with respect, to New Age technology and this artificial intelligence and automation. Do you think that these will drive the workplaces of the future and are they really enablers in the process or are people still kind of reserved to use technology?

Gary

No, I again if you're not on the leading edge of technology. You're gonna be left out like, 5G has allowed AI to become the robust technology that it should be. I mean, it's been around 30 years. AI, But it's never been unleashed until the power of the cloud. Big data and 5G have come to support it

And now, AI is responsible for teleconferencing, high speed, research in the Coronavirus for autonomous cars, virtual reality. I mean, it's there, it's for quantum research, what we're doing here in one of my companies, quantum research and alternative generators for power. We couldn't do that without, in my case, we use a quantum computer that is called the Sycamore at Google headquarters in California, and that allows us to model our data so that we understand where our technology can scale too.

So, yeah, I'm not sure many baby boomers know as much about leading-edge technology as I do, but I'm on top of it.

Aishwarya

That is so wonderful. And I think we really need more people to understand that technology can really be a supporter and not just, you know, not hinder your progress, and it could lead to some amazing discoveries than it has in the past too, right?

Gary

Well, I think it's just a scary proposition for a lot of people. Like, zoom, for instance. You know, last week they were called Zoom Bomb or something. It's not secure. Well, who cares? Hardly anything we do is secure these days. So you really can't be afraid of technology and you have to embrace it. That's what it comes down to.

“Well, I think it's just a scary proposition for a lot of people. Like, zoom, for instance. You know, last week they were called Zoom Bomb or something. It's not secure. Well, who cares? Hardly anything we do is secure these days. So you really can't be afraid of technology and you have to embrace it. That's what it comes down to.”

Aishwarya

Absolutely, That makes so much sense. And, I mean, you're there on almost every social media platform and your information is just out there, and we're interacting with, you know, chatbots. If you go on, let's say a shopping website. Or even if you have to apply for a job you’re interacting with chatbots. There's just so much automation around you, but still there are a lot of people who have automation anxiety as we call it.

Gary

Yeah that's a good one, Automation Anxiety. Yeah, I can see that.

Aishwarya

Yeah, well, do you think that after the pandemic is done and over with it, Do you think that's going to change the way we work, the way we look at people? Is that going to change?

Gary

Well, one of the things that are the big changer, I’ve written an article on this 10 trends after the Coronavirus that is gonna happen is remote working as to has to take a better hold on employees because every time you have an employee working from home, a good employee, the company saves like $29,000. It's a cost-benefit analysis.

You actually save money by working from home, and people are happier at home. I mean, I can get up, make lunch, and where I could go up in my backyard and visit the birds for half an hour and come back. I'm more productive than if I'm sitting in an office with fluorescent lights beating down on my head.

Telemedicine you know, the big problem with doctors is trying to get into their office, and a lot of times, ‘Hey, I've got an owie on my finger. Can you look at it? Well, why can't you look at it on Skype? like, one morning a week instead of having office hours, he has a two minute, five minutes Skype call with you, to look at your little blister. I mean, things are going to change in it and it's good, You know, we need a wake-up call every once in a while.

The educational aspect of it, You know, there's so many people that are learning from Coursera and all the other ones out there that, the new technology is just gonna make it easier. And that's what people are looking for. Easy, right?

Aishwarya

Absolutely. I think it's a good time. To upskill every skill and take some time off and kind of go into retrospection or just get things from a different perspective, in a different night. That might probably give you more clarity if you are a lost person, as I think almost all of us are. I think this would be a good time to reflect on ourselves. 

Gary

Well, that's a good one. Yeah, for sure. There's a lot of people out there who don't know what to do with themselves. So reaching out to people that don't normally you’ve talked to just to re-engage with, see what they're doing. Maybe there are opportunities, I've had a lot of friends from Facebook. Call me up out of the blue. I haven't spoken to them in years since. Like, hey, how are you doing up there in Vancouver? Is Coronavirus bad? Yeah, but the same where you are. What are you up to? And that leads to a business conversation so it'st's possible. Everything happens for a reason.

Aishwarya

Absolutely. I completely believe in that. And I also think that whatever happens, happens for the good. So, you know, there will be good coming out of this. You know, bad times are always followed by good times. Well, I had an amazing conversation with you, Gary. Thank you so much for taking out the time and for sharing your thoughts and your views. It's been very thrilling.

Gary

Well, thank you very much for taking your time. I know it's quite late where you are, it's 3 in the morning, isn't it? 

Aishwarya

It's okay. We're used to it. And I love talking to you. 

Gary

And I really love your channel. I think it's great. I've gone through it a lot and looked at what you're doing and you keep up the good work. 

Aishwarya

Oh, thank you so much. Thank you. It's just people like you that keep us going, so thanks a lot.

Gary

That's nice to hear. Thank you very much.


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