CEO INTERVIEW - GROW360 : Empowering Teams, Developing Leaders
Share briefly what you do.
I am CEO and Co-Founder of Grow360 , an online leadership development platform used by individuals and teams to unleash top-notch performance.
What were you doing before this?
I worked in marketing and tech in Unilever, Mondelēz and Google.
Describe your product. How does it work?
Grow, with its suite of leadership development tools and resources, helps individuals and teams work on their personal and collective goals.
What are the key benefits?
Grow's unique proprietary methodology is designed by leadership experts in INSEAD where I took my GEMBA. It has leadership development tools and resources that aid teams and their members become more aware, align their personal and team goals to overall company strategy, create a safe space for collaboration, and track their individual and team progress.
Who are your closest competitors?
Impraise and 15Five
Who is your first customer? What were they using before this and what made them switch?
Our first customer was INSEAD Business School. For their leadership development programs, they used Word documents for feedback. With Grow, they were able to digitize and simplify the process for 360 feedback and data was more organized and easier to administer.
What motivated you to start this business?
I'm a big believer in developing ourselves to be the best we can be. A lot of companies have training sessions and development programs their employees can enroll in, and there are seminars and conferences they send their people to. Some companies even have career coaches and leadership mentor offerings to develop their talent. While all these have merit, not everyone has access to it.
Oftentimes, programs like these are offered to what the company will consider as “high potential employees.” Also, a lot of programs are pricey, and they require the employee to be taken out of their work.
Moreover, with training programs and the like, which last from a couple of hours to several days, development becomes an event instead of an on-going “practise-able” activity.
I started this business to address all these issues and to make leadership development more accessible, efficient and effective."
What is your biggest sacrifice to make this work?
Building and growing a business takes a lot of my own personal time, and I’d say it has been the biggest sacrifice so far.
How did you get funded?
Our co-founders initially funded us and then we secured our early customers. We were then able to raise our seed round with angel investors.
What has been your most successful form of marketing?
LinkedIn and our social media sites have been very useful for us, as well as our site where we publish leadership development resources.
Describe a typical workday.
My day really depends on what the priorities are. I mostly plan my day, but I am flexible if something urgent comes up. I also try to meditate and/or exercise upon waking up (even when I’m traveling) before I get into meetings - whether online or face-to-face.
I also get into calls with the product team, but lately, it’s mostly with the business development team. My calls and meetings can be at whatever time of the day as Grow is a global team and has members in Singapore, the Philippines, Canada, and Switzerland.
Who has been the greatest influence in your business and why?
The people I met when I took the GEMBA program in INSEAD - my classmates and professors - were great influences for me to start the business. The program allowed me to be more aware of myself and my vision and goals. With Grow, I am able to share that with others.
What is your favorite business failure and what did you learn from it?
When I was in corporate, I launched a consumer goods product in the Philippines that did not take off. I was able to generate management support for a product that was unique and at that time, unlike any other. I was able to launch it with my best efforts even with limited time, but it just didn’t click in the market.
That experience taught me that a product may be unique and different, but it doesn’t mean it will be relevant.
If you could go back in time and speak to your 20-year-old self, what would tell him?
I’m a work in progress and I think I will always be, but if I could go back in time to speak to my 20-year-old self, I’d tell him to be present and to be in the moment. I was always after the achievement and the success that comes with working hard and giving my best. There’s nothing wrong with that.
Doing my best will always be a part of who I am, but there are so much sense and peace that comes with living in and enjoying the present. I used to be all about milestones and while that’s good, I shouldn’t forget that it’s also about the journey.
What's one productivity hack that you can't live without?
My hack is quite simple. I disabled notifications on my laptop. We already live with so many distractions as it is. I also calendarize everything.
Where can people find more about your product and you online?
We’re on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook, and of course, there’s www.grow360.com.
More about Rudi
- First Job - My very first job was an auditor in KPMG in the Philippines.
- Someone you admire - my mom. She was kind, generous and very wise.
- Favorite Book - Ben Horowitz’s The Hard Thing About Hard Things resonated with me.
- Favorite Film - The Shawshank Redemption
- Favorite Music Genre - OPM (Original Pilipino Music)
- Favorite Author - JK Rowling
- Favorite Gadget - MacBook Air
- Favorite Holiday Destination - Philippine beaches
- When you are not at work, where can we find you? - watching my son bowl
Rudi Ramin, CEO and Co-Founder
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