NO TIME FOR IDIOTS, Interview with Mitesh Gala by Brook Dougherty

By Brook


Mitesh Gala, Successful, Funny, Philanthropic.

If you want deep story on this rich, dashing forty-something, go to the OC Register and get the details. What I want to share here are a few tid bits Mitesh gave to me that are important for you-- emerging artists and executives.

You have to know I thought he was fascinating when I heard his maverick talk at the Recurring Revenue Conference, or I wouldn't have driven an hour down the 405 to sit down with him in Costa Mesa at the H.Q. of his $90M company, Altametrics. What does Altametrics do? Provides software to the restaurant and hospitality business. That's all you need to know.

The basic story is that Mitesh started working in his mom's Jack in the Box when he was thirteen. Because he was a curious kid, he wrote a little money-saving program that over the years, and I mean MANY years, morphed into this mega business that Mitesh and his co-founder own today. Pretty much EVERYONE is their customer from Chipotle to McDonald’s to Denny's.

If you're planning on making excuses for why you could never be him, now is the time. You could say “Oh he’s successful because he had a dad who worked at IBM.” Or you could say, “He had a real business mom who owned a franchise so he had a chance to be a manager early,” and that would be true.

But Mitesh maintains he could have ended up exactly where he is today by doing nothing more than being born in America-- which he was. But his mother was born in India in a place that was so under resourced he couldn't really describe how much it took for her to get from where she started to where she was when Mitesh was born.

Here’s some relevant stuff that pertains to you. First off, Mitesh had a day job. He’s a big believer in actual jobs with a paycheck and not so much a fan of follow your bliss and the money will follow. He flipped burgers and worked on his project with his partner at night. For years. All they were in the beginning was two guys with an idea and a couple of jobs.

One piece that stood out to me was that Mitesh got a good girlfriend-- when he was sixteen-- who he is married to today. Because of her urging and support-- call this guy, ask that guy-- try this-- try that-- Mitesh made some smart moves that ended up being life changing. Takeaway to you guys: Don't waste time on someone who isn’t helpful and supportive of what you’re doing-- even if you’re just playing. If you're trying to seriously make it, you have no time for idiots.

Next, Mitesh and his business partner did something YAN is a huge fan of. They put all their pennies together and attended a TRADE SHOW. They didn't know what they were doing, but they went. And they got a booth all the way in the last row, at the end, and it was a total failure. EXCEPT, that this one guy came buy from a restaurant business called Taco Time, and he became a customer.

Not that they made big money with him, but they got to say they had a customer. Point is, go to shows. We scraped up the dough to send Mike Riley of our podcast to the DNC and to the inauguration. Why? Because it’s important to be seen in the places where you want to do business.

This leads to Mitesh’s formula for success. These are the three questions he says you need to know the answers to for greatness.

1. Who are your customers?

2. Where do they hang out?

3. How do you reach them?

Easy, right? The other thing Mitesh did so he could bankroll a next step for his business was learn how to trade stocks. I’m going to give you the books he read, because he was just a young guy just like all of you, and he did something that you don’t see too often-- he cracked a book. Then he took the little money he saved from his day job, and he flipped it, like a burger, and made a little more money.

Here they are: Growing Your Money (hyperlink

The Richest Man in Babylon

One Up On Wall Street

Maybe you don’t have time to read? Buy the audio version. Think you can’t learn how to grow money? Think again. Mitesh taught his eleven-year-old son how to trade stocks. Just give it a think. The other habit Mitesh has is that he feeds his brain everyday when he’s on the way from here to there. Here are his podcasts:

Planet Money.

Freakonomics. Marketplace


The last thing I want to say about Mitesh Gala is that he is generous. He took two and a half hours out of his day to chat with me so I could dive in and collect some good words for the incubator. So remember that when you hit it, take the time to give back to the smart guys who are coming up behind you.

Recap: Get a job. Get an idea. Get a girlfriend/boyfriend. Get a partner. Make a do-it-yourself version of your idea. Take it to where the customers are. Get one customer. Get another one. Don’t quit. Learn about business. Invest in business. Don’t care if you don’t know what you are doing. Do it anyway. Be less than perfect.